Showing 1 - 10 of 175 posts found matching keyword: superman
Sunday 28 June 2020
How did Superman get strong enough to break those chains?
Superman #5, June 1940
By drinking straight from the cow, obviously.
Monday 22 June 2020
Your annual piece of Clark Kent trivia: his glasses are indestructible.
Adventure Comics #304, January 1963
Last year we learned that Clark Kent hides his fireproof shirt and shoes in a pouch in his indestructible cape when he becomes Superman. Now we know how his glasses survive that process.
Next year: how does Superman get a haircut?
Adventure Comics #305, February 1963
Saturday 20 June 2020
Tuesday 16 June 2020
A recent survey by the University of Chicago has found that Americans are the least happy we've been in nearly 50 years.
There are probably a lot of reasons for that, but I think it's because 1971 was the last time you could buy this as a 3' x 2' poster for just $1.50 (plus .25¢ postage and handling):
May Superman and peace never go out of style.
Sunday 14 June 2020
I'm an artist with an affinity for history who grew up in the shadow of Stone Mountain, so it should be no surprise that I have a special soft spot for public portraiture sculpture. As you can imagine, I have very mixed feelings about 2020's approach to statues of the past.
Jefferson Davis should be no one's hero. I've been to Richmond, Virginia, and I've seen their monument to a man who defined his political career by trying to force the enslavement of an entire race of men. The monument is a disgusting tribute to the traitorous Lost Cause, and it should have been removed from the public space long before now. Should it be destroyed? It will always have propaganda value for the wrong kind of people; perhaps the only appropriate solution is to melt it down so that it cannot become a subversive icon, the same way there are no longer statues in the wild of Stalin or Saddam Hussein. I have a nostalgic emotional connection to the carving on Stone Mountain, but I rationally accept the world may be a better place without it.
But let's not get carried away. There is a difference between statues dedicated to perpetrators of genocide and hatred and statues of complicated political leaders whose actions have contributed directly to our current freedoms. Without Winston Churchill, whose statue is currently under assault in London because the man had unconscionable views about Indians, it's very likely that the only statues in Britain would be of Adolf Hitler, who wasn't exactly enlightened about race relations himself.
In the past, I've laughed off reactionary arguments that if we allow people to tear Robert E. Lee off his bronze horse, hammers would next come down on monuments to George Washington. Maybe that's not as crazy as I thought. America in 2020 wouldn't exist if Washington hadn't been the man he was in 1776, but he did own slaves in his day and that seems to be criteria enough in the current climate to have him blasted off Mount Rushmore. Washington was by no means a perfect person, but should perfection be the standard for which statue is allowed to stand and which isn't? I can't think of too many idolized men who can clear that bar. Maybe just Christ of the Ozarks, the Lincoln Memorial, and this guy:
So begone with your racist Alexander H. Stephens (no relation) and greedy Christopher Columbus statues if you must, but let's reconsider what modern life might be like without slave-loving Thomas Jefferson's Louisiana Purchase or colonialist Teddy Roosevelt's trust-busting and national park conservationism before we add them to the scrapheap. We could always use the reminder that not all great men who built our civilization were good.
Monday 8 June 2020
The 2020 Superman Celebration would have been held this coming weekend if it hadn't been stopped by a microscopic germ. (That sort of thing happens surprisingly often in comic books.) This would have been the 42nd celebration in 42 years. They already have a date for next year, which I guess will be numbered 42 despite the one-year gap. That won't bother anyone who has read a lot of comics where schedules are mostly a suggestion.
Events that will not be held include the raffling of a 30-inch by 15-inch Superman "S" Shield made entirely of LEGO bricks. Those dimensions were chosen to match the chest of the Superman statue overlooking downtown Metropolis, Illinois, home of the celebration. I hope someone went ahead and built the sculpture anyway. It's not like we haven't had time on our hands.
There was also supposed to be a 5K run through Fort Massac State Park. It's also cancelled. I mean, I guess you can go run it by yourself. The state has opened the park, but race organizers won't be there, and you won't get a t-shirt.
The Metropolis Planet newspaper (which has a totally kickass header banner, by the way), estimates that the cancellation of the celebration will cost the city an estimated $4,427,212. That number seems super specific for an "estimate." Perhaps it came from the Calculator. (That's a reference to a DC Comics villain from my youth. Back in the day, the Calculator wore a purple suit with an electronic calculator stuck to the chest. These days, he's drawn as a suspenders-wearing accountant. I don't consider it an upgrade.)
Action Comics #522 (1981)
Plague or no, I can't imagine that anyone will be making a LEGO statue of that guy anytime soon.
Monday 1 June 2020
June marks the 14th annual Wriphe.com Superman Month, and not a moment too soon! I think we all need to hear Superman's perspective on recent events.
Action Comics #179 was published in April 1953, making that PSA sixty-seven years old!
When are you going to start listening to Superman, America?
Sunday 22 March 2020
An editorial cartoon in the newspaper got me to thinking about how Superman would handle something like the COVID-19 outbreak. In the cartoon, he was staying home to prevent the further spread of the disease. That's cute, but it's frankly a waste of Superman's power. No one who can hold his breath indefinitely as he flies through the Sun to disinfect himself needs to worry about a shortage of Purell.
Ironically enough, a plague was among the problems that Superman 2020 had to deal with in the far flung future of... 2021.
Remember Superman 2020, aka Superman III? He's Superman's grandson, the son of the son of Superman. We last discussed his adventures, written at the dawn of the 1980s, in January. (You know, way back when the threat to the world was white supremacy. Damn. What's it going to be by July? My bet is on Godzilla.)
Anyway, at the end of his first year in action, Superman was confronted with an uncomfortably familiar danger when the doors of the closed city of New Metropolis were opened on New Year's Day 2021, and everyone in the city was found dead.
I did mention this was written in 1982, right? Legionnaires Disease was discovered in an outbreak in 1976 which killed 15% of the original cases. Thirteen thousand cases are diagnosed per year in the US, and modern techniques have squeezed that fatality rate down to about 10%. (For comparison, COVID-19 is still killing under 2% by most reckoning, though it has infected over 26,900 Americans in the past three months alone.)
Maldavia did indeed have a 21st-century outbreak of flu that shut down the country and killed 6% of those infected, though that was in 2017, not 2014. Still, I'd say that's close enough that Nostradamus would have gotten credit for the prediction.
Remember those white supremacists I was speaking of earlier? Superman made about as much progress defeating them as Spike Lee did. When the hero arrives to help the panicked population, those dicks were quick to rush to social media to throw blame. (Life imitating art, or the other way 'round?)
Hey, if he were really at fault, I'm sure the authorities would have called it the "Superman Virus" in public addresses instead of referring to it by its scientific name. Because authorities have a responsibility not to mislead the public. Or so I've heard.
It turns out that Superman isn't the cause of the virus but the solution. Using his aforementioned super-breath, he distributes the cure throughout Metropolis' atmosphere, causing it to literally rain medicine.
It only took Superman eight pages to thwart a plague and save the world, proving that you can save everyone without a single test kit so long as you have one Man of Steel. My hero.
Saturday 22 February 2020
I was watching LEGO Masters (on Fox!) when this was shown on the screen for like, a whole 5 seconds, and I. Lost. My. Mind!
That's Captain Carrot on national broadcast television!
I can see you sitting there shaking your head. No, obviously it's not the real Captain Carrot. He lives on Earth-C-Minus with the rest of his heroic Zoo Crew. And of course, Captain Carrot is a boy. (The original Roger Rabbit, in fact!) But still. On national television!
Captain Carrot and his Amazing Zoo Crew was the first comic book that I collected. The concept was created for DC Comics in 1982 by Roy Thomas and Scott Shaw! with half an eye toward developing a Saturday morning cartoon. The cartoon never materialized, so the genius of a super hero league of funny animals remains visualized only by comics aficionados of a certain age.
I was so excited when I saw my first hero on TV but I didn't know who to tell. Who do I know who would be giddy to see Captain Carrot? We're a very niche group, and I assure you that you don't really want us at your parties. So I'm doing what those of us who were raised as the first Internet Generation do in these situations I'm blogging about my thrilling experience.
You're welcome, Internet.
Sunday 5 January 2020
And so begins a series of backup stories first appearing in Superman #354, released 40 years ago.
It's easy to look at this series by Superman stalwarts Julie Schwartz and Curt Swan and see what the old-timers got wrong about the far flung future forty years forthcoming. (Sorry. You can't talk about Silver Age comics without a lot of alliteration.) Flying cars, domed cities, and passenger flights around the moon are still more dream than reality.
What is considerably more impressive is what they got right about contemporary life, and I don't mean the giant flat-screen TVs.
Superman-III's main antagonists aren't mad scientist or sentient computers. No, in the "future," Superman still has his hands full with intolerant Nazis. Their rhetoric would sound crazy if it wasn't something we heard every day on Twitter and Facebook and White House press releases.
Or saw at Navy football games.
Despite the predictions of many over the years (myself included), comic books still exist in 2020. And it's a good thing, too. We need the Man of Tomorrow as much as ever to lead us in the never-ending battle for Truth, Justice, and the American way.