Even as a big Bat-fan, every so often I have to give the Man of Steel his due!
Now that Superman is going where no longjohns-wearer has gone before – 80 years of being published – it’s time to talk about Big Blue!
A CELEBRATION THAT SOARED ABOVE THE REST!
I recently picked up that amazing hardcover recognizing Superman’s 80 years being published and found just about everywhere a comic-book hero can be found, including daily newspaper strips, monthly (and even weekly at times) comics, animated shows, action figures… you name it, he’s been there!
That landmark 1,000th issue of Action Comics cost $7.99, but it was so worth it! After all, how many comics have soared this high for this long? And this doesn’t even include the number of issues of Superman, either!
Granted, there have been ups and downs along the way. I enjoyed it when Lex Luthor became the focus of Action for a time, still a Superman supporting character, and when his Super Son came around. Some people haven’t been fans of either happening, but during 80 years of storytelling, well, you know the old saying… you can please some of the people some of the time…
We got to enjoy “decades-spanning” covers from terrific artists, not to mention all-new art and stories from some of the very best in the comics business.
What’s not to like?
FOCUSING ON THE ‘SUPER’ OR THE ‘MAN’
There have been times when the storytelling has focused more on the “super” than the “man,” and vice versa.
In eras when comics readers wanted more attention paid to his relationships than his abilities, Kal-El excelled along those lines. I particularly still love his interactions with Lois Lane, which went from her attempts to “trick him into a loving relationship” to actually marrying the big lug. We also saw the contrasts between him and Batman highlighted, and their reactions were very different to the same situations.
Of course, this wasn’t always so. I remember when the biggest differences between the World’s Finest had to do more with costumes and powers than perspectives. Still, over the years, I’ve enjoyed both ways to examine Superman and Batman. After all, I enjoy a good puzzle as much as the next person!
RETURN OF THE TRUNKS
As much as I liked Jim Lee’s armored costumes, I’m happy about the return of the trunks. Again, the vast majority of Superman’s 80 years were spent wearing them, and I bet that if you approached most of the people around the globe, they’d recognize him with them on, and not so much with the armor.
I have a feeling that the trunks are also going to herald the return to a simpler set up for Superman. I’m thinking that his relationship to Lois will become less married and more adversarial. Again, I’ve loved it when even Superman needed a Lois Lane to save his job, as was told in that classic Kurt Busiek story. But we have had this newer relationship to enjoy for a couple of decades now, so I’m sure DC will want to return the Man of Steel to his “glory” days of selling literally millions of issues a month.
I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again – I’m not that big of a Bendis fan, so I’m going to be reading his stories with one eye half open, hoping for the best. My friends who love his stories tell me to dive in feet first, so we’ll see! I hope he lives up to their high expectations! I do get a little rankled when I read headlines saying Bendis will “save” Superman. If he just tells good stories, I’ll be happy!
A CONCERN OR TWO
I was part of the group that was somewhat unhappy when DC renumbered Action Comics back to #1. I know, I know – number ones always sell better than #854’s do.
What I’m going to be interested to see is how fans react to issues numbered in the 1,000s in an era where most comics don’t make it past #52. Of course, every issue is history in the making, I guess!
I’m also worried about making Superman much less “moral” than he has been for a long time. I realize that you always knew where the Man of Steel would come down on an issue because you would take the highest road and find him there. Batman, not so much.
I’m not sure what Bendis should do along those lines. But then, I’m not Brian Michael Bendis, either! Again, we’ll see!
Still, I’m going to bask in the glory of a superhero’s book reaching a previously unheard-of milestone, and see what DC and Bendis have in mind for the Man of Tomorrow now that tomorrow has actually arrived.