Showing 1 - 10 of 168 posts found matching keyword: superman

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.

They're not dead; they're Transformers!

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.

What, did HIV and Ebola not make the news in New Metropolis?

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?)

You gotta admit, his logic checks out

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.

Thanks, Gramps!

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.

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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!

You are watching Foxes

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.

It's a bird, it's a plane, it's a rabbit!

You're welcome, Internet.

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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.

We didn't know what it meant, we swear

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.

We didn't know what it meant, we swear

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.

He's unusually proud of his swim trunks

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The difference between Superman and Santa Claus...

Superman doesn't care for your reindeer games!
Superman's Christmas Adventure #1, 1940

...is that Superman doesn't need you to leave out cookies and milk.

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Want to know why I love Superman? Read this:

It's so obvious, why didn't I figure it out sooner?
Action Comics #322, March 1965

Unless you are steeped in Superman mythology, this panel probably doesn't make any sense to you. Don't worry, that makes you a perfectly normal human being.

Comic-book knowledge is a special kind of knowledge gained only after hours / months / years of immersion in stories about a self-contained universe with its own, unique set of rules. These rules are rarely logical though they are generally consistent. There's no connection between flying fast and traveling back in time, but it works for Superman every time.

Better yet, this knowledge is a badge shared only between the initiated. Once you understand how Superman hides his "Clark Kent clothes" while wearing his primary-colored union suit*, you enter a club of other enthusiasts. Understanding Superman is its own secret handshake!

*He super compresses them with his super strength and hides them in a special pocket in his cape. Congratulations, now you're a member, too!

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Horrible person that I am, I was in 15-items-or-less line at the grocery store yesterday thinking disparaging things about the food choices of the people in front of me. My primary antagonists were an elderly couple who still had a hankering for soda and sweets and an inability to count past 15.

That's when it occurred to me that I was in no position to throw scones. My cart was filled with 5 cans of pork and beans, 5 jars of mayonnaise, and 4 six-packs of Coke. Party time!

You know who probably doesn't judge people on the contents of their cart? Clark Kent. That's a good example to follow.

From now on when standing in a check-out line, before casting aspersions on the sugar junkie in front of me, I'll ask myself "What Would Superman Do?"

He'd probably study the cover of the National Enquirer as he calmly waited his turn. Even Superman wants to know why George Clooney is taking the twins away from Amal.

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WorkWise software has taken the unusual step of blogging about Google searches for ice cream flavor by U.S. state to drive traffic to their website. It's a great idea because it works. I was just there looking at their breakdown of flavors to see if any states preferred my personal favorite flavor, mint chocolate chip. (Answer: only New Jersey.) It turns out that exactly one state loves Superman.

That's right. According to Google Trends data, the flavor that citizens of Michigan search for most is Superman. Technically, this doesn't mean that anyone in Michigan is nuts about tri-colored blue/red/yellow dairy treats, just that a whole lot of people were curious enough about it to type it into Google. My guess is they were actually asking "what flavor is Superman ice cream?"

I've seen Superman ice cream in the wild, though I'm not remotely adventurous enough to have tried it. I'm pretty sure that "blue" isn't a flavor, and whatever it tastes like, I can't imagine that it goes well with lemon and cherry.

Interestingly, Edy's/Dreyer's makes a DC Comics-themed line of ice cream flavors which naturally includes a Superman variety. You might think it would be Superman flavored. It's not.


Personally, I'd stay away from Krypton™ Cookie Dough ice cream. Everyone knows Krypton explodes.

While "cookie dough light ice cream" might seem like a missed opportunity for a Superman-branded flavor, the most popular Google Trends search was far and away cookies and cream (the favorite in 13 states, including Georgia). If cookies are the American way, then I guess it makes sense that's what Superman should be selling.

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Not everyone loves Superman month, especially not that fickle Lois Lane.

(By the way, in case you were unaware, Tom Peyer is the writer and editor-in-chief of Ahoy Comics, and has been making some great comics lately. I whole-heartedly recommend The Wrong Earth to anyone who enjoyed Adam West's Batman.)

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Anyone reading this is likely familiar with the fact that although the character his creators called Superman has been published continually for 81 years, it hasn't always been the same Superman. The vigilante social justice warrior of the 1930s bears little resemblance to the omnipotent policeman seen in comics today.

In reality, those changes over time have often been dictated by publishing trends and a series of lawsuits by Superman's creators, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, about just what rights they had given DC Comics to profit from their intellectual property. But in comics, those eras have always had hard boundaries, each contained in its own dimension, or "alternate Earth." Until now.

Last month, DC published a story explaining that all of those alternate realities are really the same one, each the natural universe's response to a god-like creature, Doctor Manhattan, changing some of the seemingly random, fundamental forces that drove the creation of each environment. In other words, all those Supermen are aspects of the same being, all of them owned by DC Comics, who finally prevailed against Siegel and Shuster's heirs earlier this decade.

The irony in this situation is that Doctor Manhattan's behind-the-scenes history is just as complicated as Superman's. Manhattan was created in the 1980s by Alan Moore under a contract stipulating he would gain ownership rights of his characters should Manhattan's original appearance ever go out of print for a single year, a condition DC has studiously avoided for three decades and counting.

So Superman's contentious publishing history is being justified through the use of a character with an equally contentious history by a publisher with a contentious history. Forget truth and justice; bald-faced greed is the American Way.

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Today marks the start of the 13th annual Wriphe.com Superman Month!

Is this the year I finally make it to the Superman Celebration in Metropolis, Illinois? Probably not. It's next weekend, and I already have other plans.

Their guests of honor will include original Supergirl, Helen Slater, and Erica Durance, Smallville's Lois Lane. Their lists of guest artists, however, leaves something to be desired compared to past years. I guess they do have to save something for next year.

Out of curiosity, I took a look at the Greater Metropolis Convention & Visitors Bureau website to see what else there might be to do in town between autograph sessions underneath the Superman Statue. Metropolis isn't a big town, and the Visitors Bureau only lists 15 total "sights and attractions." Of course the big draw is the Harrah's Casino (which I haven't visited) and the Super Museum & Gift Shop (which I have and highly recommend). They also have a bowling alley, gym, state park, and microbrewery. I guess the town isn't big enough to support a full sized brewery.

Their most unusual non-Superman offering might be the Mermet Springs "full service dive site" inside an abandoned stone quarry that includes "the jet airplane from the movie U.S. Marshals." That short sells what they offer, as the Mermet Springs website lists 2 additional planes and 10 other man made objects to swim around. Not counting Jimmy Olsen.

I find it easier to believe that Jimmy Olsen can hold his breath for three hours than that he can win at checkers

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To be continued...

 

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