Patterico's Pontifications


Variations on Superman

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 3:56 pm

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; send your tips here.]

It’s funny how stories like this seem to roll in, in pairs.  First, we learn that there is a comic reboot (I refuse to call these things anything as self-important as a graphic novel, even when they are good) of Superman called Earth One.  This seems like a self-conscious attempt to invoke Frank Miller’s classic series “Batman: Year One.”  (Incidentally, Frank Miller was last heard from in July set to release an anti-al-Qaeda comic called Holy Terror, which was originally going to be a Batman comic.)

Anyway, so they have decided to make this young Superman brooding and well, an internationalist.  Think of that what you will.

And then at the same time, we learn some details of Tim Burton’s proposed Superman movie, with the working title of Superman Lives! including pictures of the new costume.  Um, its generally unfair to judge a movie before you see the finished product, but wow, that looks bad.

More  pics at Slash Film.  Let’s hope none of these designs are used in the Chris Nolan produced reboot in the works right now.  I say, don’t screw with the design, but come up with a better story.  Preferably with a villain who is not Lex Luthor.  It’s a little lame to have Superman’s “greatest” enemy be a man he can snap like a twig if he felt like it.

Oh, and if you wish the Superman of that Earth One comic was more straightforward in his patriotism, maybe the upcoming movie Captain America: The First Avenger will scratch that itch.  It will be set in World War II, so I am  hoping he does this:

I mean, let’s face it, we all could use a good Hitler punch, right?  The only thing that would make me happier is to see a good bin Laden punch.  Maybe that will be in the sequel.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

27 Responses to “Variations on Superman”

  1. The comic looks interesting, primarily because JMS (of Babylon 5 credentials) is involved.

    aphrael (fe2ce4)

  2. aph

    good point. that show was pretty well written.

    Aaron Worthing (f97997)

  3. The problem is Batman lends itself to the brooding nihilism that Miller ushered in, Superman doesn’t, that was a fundamental problem with Superman Returns, that even Kevin Spacey couldn’t salvage,

    ian cormac (c07a45)

  4. aaron Define “sometimes” :)

    EricPWJohnson (2d1c68)

  5. Superman has always bored the crap out of me. Aaron’s analysis would help, but the guy is just too powerful. He’s supposed to be extremely smart, but it doesn’t seem like he is most of the time.

    Batman I can really enjoy for the opposite reason. He’s got no superpower but a magic credit card.

    Indeed, you need a better villain than Lex Luthor, ruler of Australia, unless I’m supposed to root for Lex.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  6. Dustin

    oh for pete’ sake can you give it a rest already!…

    So Obam…. wait, never mind..

    EricPWJohnson (2d1c68)

  7. I have always found Superman to be the most narratively interesting superhero. What has always resonated with me is that despite all of his power, he needs to be a part of human society. It echoes Aristotle’s comments regarding the man who doesn’t need a city is either beast or god. Superman is neither, and has a secret identity specifically to retain humanity and to be a full part of the city of man.

    Why does Superman need a secret identity? If he were super all the time, he wouldn’t. It would be next to impossible to attach the permanently heroic Superman with any mere mortal. By taking a secret identity at all, he puts others at risk. His need to be a part of society puts others at risk, his caring about that risk makes him more human, it’s a nice feedback loop.

    Christian (c92ec1)

  8. Cool take on it, Christian.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  9. Eric

    yeah, yeah, I am a geek and not terribly ashamed of it. Now let me go play transformers: war for cybertron. :-)

    Aaron Worthing (f97997)

  10. The best variation on Superman isn’t a Superman book at all. It’s Supreme.

    Supreme was a Superman knock off from Image comics. Alan Moore came in and took over with complete freedom over the storylines. What he did with it is to provide a detailed and rich story that rivals his better works.

    bskb (3a53fe)

  11. Does anyone else see homage to a very naughty Internet symbol in the Earth One poster? With the hands?

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (fb9e90)

  12. Oh one other great Superman series, Red Son. It imagines a world where Superman doesn’t land in Smallville. He ends up in Soviet Russia and becomes a symbol of the USSR. It’s a very entertaining self contained Superman story.

    bskb (3a53fe)

  13. Its…. a….. COMIC….BOOK…..

    written by guys who have never kissed a girl…

    read mostly by guys who have never kissed a girl…

    EricPWJohnson (2d1c68)

  14. Meh, EPWJ. I’ve never read a comic book in my life, but I think it’s fine. Kids reading… it’s probably a good thing. A lot of these things actually have some kind of objective right and wrong, as far as I know.

    Beats watching TV. Kids like silly stuff.

    Its only relevance to me is when it comes out in the movies. Batman’s latest two are excellent movies with substantial sophistication. The Superman one was nearly unwatchable, though.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  15. I would love to see Jon Hamm cast as Superman. If only….

    The Emperor (0984f5)

  16. Dustin,

    I’m… just…. giving…. you… guys a hard time….

    Comic books are fine, in fact some of my “best friends” read once read, comics..

    I am curious about the Green Lantern movie coming out….

    I guess we all have an inner geek

    EricPWJohnson (2d1c68)

  17. Eric

    They are also, for some reason, rebooting spiderman

    that’s right, back to high school. yeah, i guess it could be good, but i’m not optimistic.

    I think the better approach is the way the hulk reboot worked. yeah, it was a different take on the angry green giant, but they didn’t redo the whole origin story. Too bad they have alienated ed norton making a sequel impossible. Grr…

    ign, which is one of the links, has alot of info on the lantern movie. they got, ugh, ryan reynolds to play him.

    Aaron Worthing (f97997)

  18. brother

    no, i am pretty sure he is JUST opening his shirt. But thanks for the mental image.

    Aaron Worthing (f97997)

  19. I agree that Supreme is excellent, as was Moore’s “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?”

    I’ve always loved the Alan Scott GL, but the Lensmanesque Hal Jordan is a close second and I’m looking forward to the film…and the new Cap film…and the new Spiderman.

    Christian (c92ec1)

  20. Aaron,

    and in ten years, after a conservative resurgence Batman will be played by Palins oldest son and Superman will be portayed by a CGI enhanced computer simulation 75% Wayne 25% Stallone

    EricPWJohnson (2d1c68)

  21. Aaron:

    Yeah, the Stracz! At some convention, I forget which one, (liberal) Straczynski and (whatever) I debated McCarthyism, pro and con.

    I was “pro.”

    When the debate began, the audience, nearly all Joe fans, were 100% “con.” At the end of the debate, I had converted possibly 10% of them; and a good quarter seemed to have understood that there really is a “pro” side to McCarthyism, in the broadest sense of the word, even if they still rejected it.

    Joe actually complimented me at the end, saying he was impressed by (a) my command of the material, (b) the logic of my argument, which he was hard-pressed to refute, and (c) my aplomb and savoir faire, in that I never raised my voice or used a single ad-hominem.

    I found it one of the most enjoyable debates I had ever undertaken; I was equally impressed by Straczynski’s (a) cool and unemotional defense of the liberal position, (b) his politeness in letting me speak, and (c) his willingness to concede that McCarthy, Nixon, Chambers, and even WFBjr were right on some of their anti-Communist points — while I conceded that especially McCarthy, but also Nixon were sometimes wrong and brutally unfair.

    It was held in one of the larger, gallery-type rooms, and believe there were about 500-600 fans present.

    I will no longer claim, as I was wont to do before the debate, that Joe Straczynski’s only function in this vale of tears is to allow folks to locate Harlan Ellison in a crowd.


    Dafydd the Name Plopper (632d00)

  22. IIRC the Spiderman reboot is due to the nature of the deal between Sony and Marvel. If Sony doesn’t use the property, it will revert back to Marvel.

    The cast from the previous series is too old and the story-lines went to crap in 3. A reboot was Sony’s only option.

    bskb (3a53fe)

  23. Aaron,
    Sorry. Here’s a more appropriate one.

    Quasi-safe for work, but has political content not flattering to the Big O.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (fb9e90)

  24. Aaron, the Superman Earth One book was pretty good, not great. They changed a few things minor about his origins (no spoilers) but they all worked to tell a good story.

    Sony is rebooting the Spider-Man franchise more because Raimi and Maguire left than because of the rights issues. And putting Spidey back in high school is (IMO) the best place for him. The Ultimate Spider-Man series has been one of the consistently best comics on the market for a decade.

    Funk Doctor (fc31c1)

  25. I haven’t read Earth One, but having read a lot of JMS’s continuing work, I have to say that given his rather…. “measured” storytelling pace, a stand-alone effort like this is probably his strong suit. JMS had some really interesting ideas with Spiderman when he wrote that book, but his reboot of Thor took freaking forever.

    Greg (19bf75)

  26. bro

    that’s it. i am not following your links EVER again.

    (kidding, but barely)

    Aaron Worthing (f97997)

  27. Earth One: An angry, red eyed demonic punk, whose going to show the adults how to behave, while being the biggest jerk of all.
    I can hardly wait.

    SiliconDoc (7ba52b)

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