Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Scott Lobdell On Changes In Superman
Yesterday, USA Today ran an article about Scott Lobdell and the direction he is going to take on Superman starting this Wednesday in Superman #13. Here is the link: http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/2012/10/22/clark-kent-superman-comic-book-series/1648921/
It lit something of a brushfire across the Superman fandom as it was announced that Clark Kent is going to quit the Daily Planet and become an internet crusader of truth and journalism integrity. Here is a blurb:
However, his still-strong feelings for Lois, combined with Daily Planet editor in chief Perry White getting on his case for not enough scoops on the Superman beat and his boss' boss Morgan Edge also giving him a hard time, leads to a Jerry Maguire-type moment where he quits in front of the whole staff and rails on how journalism has given way to entertainment — in a not-so-mild-mannered fashion.
I have to say ... I don't get it and I don't like it. At least on first blush.
Let me digress for a second.
I have a great idea to revamp James Bond for current times.
My James Bond will be:
2) A pacifist
3) A citizen of France
4) Doesn't drink alcohol
I also have a great idea to revamp Sherlock Holmes.
My Sherlock Holmes will be:
And I also have a great idea to revamp Captain Kirk.
My Captain Kirk will be:
2) Coldly logical
3) By the book military man
4) Scared of physical confrontation
Now maybe there are good stories out there about a French, celibate, pacifist, tee-totaling super-spy. But that isn't James Bond.
And maybe there are good stories out there about a supersititious, illogical, 'lucky' Detective in late 19th century London. But that isn't Sherlock Holmes.
And maybe there are good stories out there about a starship captain who is cold, by the book, meek, celibate. But that isn't Kirk.
Here is the current ideas floated around about the DCnU revamp of Superman:
1) Doesn't have a clear idea of who he is
2) Doesn't want to mentor someone
3) Is feared by half the populace
4) Floats all the time to show his distance from humanity
5) Isn't interested in Lois Lane
6) Doesn't work at the Daily Planet
Maybe there are good stories about this character but that isn't Superman.
When you start peeling away more and more about who Superman 'is', who he has been for 7 decades, you start to move farther and farther away from Superman. I know he worked for WGBS for a while. I know he wasn't always married to Lois. But more and more, the character I am reading sounds less and less like Superman.
After the rushed feeling of New Krypton, a time when Superman was off-earth. After the ludicrous Grounded arc where Superman seemed to be lost. After a year of Lex Luthor headlining Action Comics, you know what most Superman fans were clamoring for. Great Superman stories. Stories of Superman and Clark, in Metropolis, interacting with Lois and the supporting cast, and fighting his rogues, fighting for justice. And frankly we haven't seen that in the Superman title since the New 52 reboot. There is a reason why Superman has lasted for 75 years ... he is a great character. He isn't broken. He doesn't need to be fixed.
And in some ways it feels lazy. It feels like a shake-up of a character for the sake of doing something different. Is DC saying there are no more stories out there with Clark working at the Daily Planet, in love with Lois? No more stories where Superman is a great and trusted hero, an inspiration? Really? Maybe they should read what Morrison is doing in Action Comics.
Now I am not saying that comic book characters need to stay locked in amber. Swamp Thing went from being a muck-encrusted mockery of a man into a plant elemental. Hawkman went from archaeologist to space policeman to archaelogist/space policeman to ... something.
But Swamp Thing and Hawkman aren't Superman.
I'll go in with an open mind. Maybe Lobdell will pull it off. Maybe the stories will be great. But I wonder if it'll feel like Superman.