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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Superman Month/Month of Superman: The Conclusion

So, I’ve finally gotten to the end of Superman Month/Month of Superman. As usual, it’s been fun going through these different stories. I might be doing it again next year, but I’m not sure yet. Since I went into why I liked Batman a couple of months ago, I might as well see what keeps bringing me back to the Man of Steel. It’s a question I’ve also thought about and I think I have an answer. Don’t worry, folks. It’s not his chiseled chin, the briefs, nor the powers that literally come out of nowhere. That’s right; I’m looking at you, gay pride beams that apparently make little versions of someone!

I don’t know where my fandom actually started. I was first introduced to Superman through the Donner movies and a couple of episodes of an old Superboy series from the 70’s. My first Superman comics (and possibly my first comics) were Superman #82 and The Adventures of Superman #505. I still have the AoS issue and actually repurchased the Superman issue in college. My fandom really began to grow with Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. It’s not the best interpretation of the character, but it had everything a fan would need. My fandom continued to grow through Superman: TAS, the Justice League cartoons, 10 seasons of Smallville, Superman Returns, and Man of Steel. I’ve even built up a nice selection of comics from the 80’s to today. He’s actually the only character I’ve done that for.

So, what is it that keeps me coming back to the character? Is it the powers, the man, or both? I think it’s a lot of things. If I had to pinpoint it, I’d have to say that the man himself that keeps me coming back to the franchise. When you remove all of the “Super” stuff, all you have is a good man who wants to help wherever he can. That’s an important message to send not just to kids but to anybody. The powers are also cool, but they aren’t the only thing to him. He’s just a good guy who stands up for what’s right.

While the powers aren’t the only cool thing about him, they are still cool. I mean, he’s called “Superman!” He’s more powerful than a raging storm! He’s faster than a speeding bullet! He can leap over skyscrapers! He can even heat food with his eyes! Now, I am more a fan of an underpowered Superman. The Superman who can do any and all things is cool, but I like it when he’s challenged. I also like the weird aspects like the Fortress of Solitude.
Huh... looks like my room sometimes.

I also like his supporting cast. Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen (sometimes), and Perry White are great supporting characters. I do like it when his adoptive parents are around, but they’re not always needed. We got Supergirl, Superboy (the Conner Kent variety), Steel, and Krypto around. Then, there’s his friendship with Batman which is great when handled by good writers. I also like his friendships with other superheroes as well.

He’s also got some of the best villains in comics. His gallery may not be as big and diverse as Batman’s, but they aren’t pushovers either. He has villains like Metallo, the Parasite, Toyman, Bizarro, and Intergang to face. He has Brainiac, General Zod, and Mongol who are pretty cool alien villains to battle. While I consider Darkseid to be more of a Justice League villain, he’s more entrenched with Superman than most heroes. Finally, we have Lex Luthor who’s one of my favorite villains in general. As for Mr. Myxylptlk, he’s more like Q from TNG to me than a big threat.

As for what did the character best, Superman: The Animated Series and the Justice League cartoons get my vote. They have good versions of Superman, his allies, and his villains all there. The Donner movies aren’t perfect (well, the first movie gets close) but they have their moments. Man of Steel has its issues, but it brought a nice punch. Smallville did its best to give a different origin and Lois and Clark gave us one of the best versions of Clark Kent. There’s really something for me to like in all the media.

Well, I’m done talking about the Boy Scout who apparently wasn’t one. While I might not do another Superman Month, this isn’t the last you’ll hear of the Man of Steel. Peace, God Bless, and Happy Tuesday! Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go do a little reading.

Tales from the 50 Cent Bin! - Action Comics #9

Well, I’ve finally made it to the end. After this post, I’ll have a couple of more things to say about Superman. Since I’ve done two Grant Morrison stories this month, I might as well do another one. Today’s issue is Action Comics #9 and it actually features a completely different Superman… or at least different in that he’s got my skin tone. Not only is he black, he’s also the President of the United States. “Hmm… I wonder who he’s based off of,” I sarcastically say.

This isn’t the first time this Superman has made an appearance. The Superman of Earth-23 made his first appearance in the weird event known as Final Crisis. He’s actually made a bit of a comeback in another Morrison-penned book called Multiversity. In a lot of ways, this issue is kind of a prequel to that new book. Of course, Grant Morrison is the writer of the main story. Sholly Fisch handles the back-up. Gene Ha handles the art duties on the main story for this issue while Cully Hammer handles the back-up.

Action Comics #9
Writers: Grant Morrison (main) and Sholly Fisch (Back-up)
Artists: Gene Ha (main) and Cully Hammer (back-up)
Colorists: Art Lyon (main) and Dave McCaig (back-up)
Letters: Patrick Brosseau (main) and Carlos M. Mangual (back-up)
Assistant Editor: Will Moss
Editor: Matt Idelson

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Tales From the 50 Cent Bin! - Superman #13

It’s time to come back to the present… or at least 2012 to look at what’s going on in the other Superman book. While Action Comics had Grant Morrison consistently putting out stuff, Superman was pretty inconsistent. George Perez and Jesus Merino did an arc and left. Dan Jurgens and Keith Giffen did an arc and left. It seemed like no one was staying on the book or most books with DC Comics for that matter. Then a man named Scott Lobdell came in. All I can say is that at least he stayed on for more than six issues!

While Superman #0 was his first issue, I’m looking at Superman #13 since that officially started his time on there. Lobdell was also writing Teen Titans, Red Hood and the Outlaws, and Superboy at this time. He had also worked on the X-Men books in the 1990s. The art is done by Kenneth Rocafort who was also on Red Hood and the Outlaws with Lobdell. Rocafort also did pencils for Action Comics before the New 52 and did a lot of stuff for the publisher, Top Cow.

Superman #13
Writer: Scott Lobdell
Artist: Kenneth Rockafort
Colors: Sunny Gho
Letters: Rob Leigh
Assistant Editor: Darren Shan
Editor: Eddie Berganza

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Tales from the 50 Cent Bin! - Superman: The Man of Steel #0

Well, I’m back in the mid 1990’s. I don’t have too many books from the late 90’s, so I decided to look at this issue from 1994. At this time, Superman had been back from the dead for a while and was dealing with a crapload of stuff. Bizzaro came back, Lex Luthor went nutso, and Superman put on some weight… that was weird. Anyway, the “Crisis” event, Zero Hour, happened and while that was pretty convoluted, it was cool. I talked about it and the Superman tie-ins last year. Now, Superman’s done with his space and time adventure.

After Zero Hour ended, DC released zero issues for their titles. All four Superman books went through this as well and they all tied in together pretty well. I might touch on the rest of those issues someday since they actually introduced a new villain for Clark. Superman: The Man of Steel #0 was written by Louise Simonson. The pencils were done by John Bogdanove and the inks were done by Dennis Janke. So, let’s see what happens when someone has their sights out on Clark Kent!

Superman: The Man of Steel #0
Writer: Louise Simonson
Pencils: John Bogdanove
Inks: Dennis Janke
Colors: Glenn Whitmore
Letters: Ken Lopez
Associate Editor: Frank Pittarese
Editor: Mike Carlin

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Movie Talk - Superman: Brainiac Attacks

Well, I had to change plans a little bit. I was originally going to look at a somewhat forgotten Superman animated series from the 1980’s. Maybe it’ll be something for next year. Today’s post will be about the direct-to-DVD movie known as Superman: Brainiac Attacks. The movie came out in 2006. I’m guessing it was to help promote the fact that Superman Returns was being released that year. I rented this back in 2006. Recently, someone got this at Wal-Mart a while back. All I know is that it wasn’t me.

Now, I sort of talked about this a long time ago when I talked about Superman in the DCAU (DC Animated Universe). I now realize that I may have been too harsh on it. It turns out that it doesn’t tie into the DCAU. The creators of the movie only used the designs from Superman: the Animated Series. We even have some voice actors (including Tim Daly) from that series as well. Bruce Timm and Paul Dini didn’t work on it, so I really didn’t consider this in continuity anyway. So, how does this movie stand on its own two feet? I can safely say that it needs a cane, crutches, and some prayer. This was… yeah.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Tales from the 50 Cent Bin! - Superman #423 and Action Comics #583

So, Alan Moore… he’s alright in my book. I haven’t read much of his stuff. He’s just a writer that really doesn’t draw me in with his stories. The stories of his I’ve read are okay in my opinion and that does include Watchmen.  Hopefully, I don’t gather some online trolls by saying that about Watchmen. I’ve read all of his Superman stories in the Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? trade. Other than Watchmen, Moore is also known for crafting a two-part imaginary story that ended the Pre-Crisis Superman.

“Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?” is a story that is loved by a lot of folk. Moore was asked to end this Superman’s story and he did it with a bit of a bang. It’s usually at the top of every “Favorite Superman Stories” list. Is it at the top of my list? I don’t know since I haven’t even made one yet. Moore is the writer of both issues. Curt Swan, one of the most well-known Superman artists, pens the issues. George Perez inks the first issue while Kurt Schaffenberger inks the last issue. After this story, Superman as renamed “The Adventures of Superman” while a new Superman book was created.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Tales from the 50 Cent Bin! - Superman #2

A lot of interesting stuff happened in the 1980’s. The Berlin Wall fell down, music videos became a thing, and Eddie Murphy had a singing career. We only wished he stopped at acting. It was a nice decade for Superman. He had two (technically three if you count Supergirl) movies, a television show (Superboy), and even an animated show on CBS. The final thing I haven’t mentioned is the fact that his continuity got a big face-lift after Crisis On Infinite Earths. As we saw in the Man of Steel miniseries, a lot of stuff changed for the character.

One of the biggest things was changing Lex Luthor from a mad scientist to a corrupt businessman. It’s something that has stuck with the character from the 80’s even to now. This version has been everywhere from TV to the movies… wait, I take the movies part back. Singer definitely failed the character in Superman Returns. Anyway, today’s issue is Superman #2. The writer and penciller is John Byrne. Terry Austin inks the issue, John Costanza letters the issue, and Tom Ziuko colors it.

Superman #2
Writer and Penciller: John Byrne 
Inker: Terry Austin 
Letterer: John Constanza 
Colorist: Tom Ziuko 
Editor: Andrew Helfer 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Tales from the 50 Cent Bin! - All-Star Superman

All-Star Superman: a 12-issue series that took 3 years to come out. Yeah, if the All-Star line of books is remembered for anything, it’s going to be for lateness. At least the story ended! I know there are people still waiting for Frank Miller’s and Jim Lee’s “Magnum Opus” to end.

For those who don’t know, All-Star Superman was the second (and really the last) book to come out of the All-Star imprint in 2005. It was supposed to be a lot like Marvel’s Ultimate Universe where a creative team would take a character and do what they want to do with them. I believe the book started out bi-monthly, so it would have taken a couple of years to end anyway. I was just starting to get back into reading comics at the time, but this series wasn’t one I wanted to pick up. Maybe it was the Silver Age feel of it or maybe my wallet wasn’t interested. Instead of the trades, I only have the single issues. I was able to find them for cheap and it took me a while to get the whole story.

Grant Morrison is the writer and Frank Quietly is the artist. These two have also worked on books like We3, New X-Men, Flex Mentallo, The Invisibles, and JLA: Earth 2. Quitely has also worked on books such as The Authority, Sandman, and Jupiter’s Legacy. The series has gotten a lot of accolades over the years. It’s been well-received and a lot of people say it’s one of the best Superman stories ever. So, does it deserve that praise? Find out… after this quick synopsis!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Random Pics of the Month - The Weirdness of Superman

Superman has had his share of weirdness for a long time especially in the 50's-60's. Here's another thing that he and Batman share in common. At least it's expected with Superman since he's not of this Earth. So, here are seven things that definitely throw Superman onto Chloe's "Wall of Weird."

Super-ventriloquism??? Did the creators just start to pick weird stuff at random when they ran out of ideas for new powers?

The mix of Superman and adult entertainment was unfortunately brought to us by John Byrne. No, I'm not kidding.

Uh... on second thought, whoever wrote this comic may have had some "entertainment" on his mind as well.

One Superman, Two Supermen. Red Electro-Superman, Blue Electro-Superman. No, I can't explain it either. At least Superman went "all-Jacob" on us and wrestled with an angel at this time in JLA.

You know, I thought that Superman keeping a pet sun-eater would be the weirdest thing on this list. Man, I hate being wrong!

Now, I know it's Superman, but how is this possible???

Creating life from a small figment of the universe? Weird. What's even funnier is that this is supposed to be the real world. Morrison's weird like that.

Friday, September 12, 2014

TV Talk - Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman Season 2

You know, it really didn’t take long to get through Season Two. Luckily, that’s not a bad thing as you will find out. My memories of the second season of Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman are a little fuzzy. I remember some episodes but not all of them. I do remember the somewhat big cast changes. I also remember a supporting character getting killed at the end of an episode. Finally, there are the final moments of the season finale where something big happens.

For the second season, the show itself went through some changes. The major changes were that Michael Landes and Tracey Scoggins were gone. John Shea also left but the finale easily gave an answer for that (Lex dead, ya’ll). Justin Whalin replaced Landes in the role of Jimmy Olsen. Apparently Cain and Landes looked too much alike… Grrrrr. Anyway, the show also started to focus more on the growing relationship of Lois and Clark. They went through the usual obstacles like other love interests and the fact that Clark has a double life.

Another change was that stuff from the comics began to show up. Professor Emil Hamilton was in a couple of episodes. Some of Superman’s villains even showed up. We got versions of the Prankster, Toyman, Metallo, and even Doctor Light. Intergang, a crime organization from the comics, played a large role in the season. We unfortunately didn’t get Morgan Edge or Manheim though. The season started also gained a tighter grip on their continuity. It had more of an ongoing narrative instead of the episodic format Season One had. There’s also a little more action in the season as well.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Tales From the 50 Cent Bin! - Action Comics #13

Well, it’s time to get back to that Grant Morrison fellow. Just know that this isn’t the only Morrison-related story I’ll be looking at this month. I’ve already looked at most of his work on the rebooted Action Comics. Today is no different. I sort of looked at the first 8 issues a couple of years ago and at his “Death of Clark Kent” arc last year. Originally, I was going to look at Action Comics #9 (Black Superman ,ya’ll!!), but I’ve decided to look at Action Comics #13 today.

A couple of weeks ago, one of my family’s dogs, Spot, died from a heat stroke. Unlike most dogs we’ve had, Spot was around for the long haul. My dad got him back in 2001, I believe. He’s been at the house since then. He knew to stay away from the highway. He also tried to sneak in our house during thunderstorms. He was a cool dog and he will be missed. Anyway, Morrison was the writer of the main issue while Sholly Fisch handled the back-up. Instead of Rags Morales, Travel Foreman handles the art duties for the main story. Brad Walker pencils the back-up story.

Action Comics #13
Writers: Grant Morrison and Sholly Fisch
Artists: Travel Foreman (main) and Brad Walker (back-up)
Inker: Andrew Hennessy (back-up)
Colorists: Brad Anderson (main) and Jay David Ramos (back-up)

Sunday, September 7, 2014

"It's A Video Game!" - Ideas for a Superman Video Game

When it comes to video games, there is one superhero that’s drawn the short straw: Superman. Heroes like Batman, Spider-Man, and the X-Men have mostly had a lot of well-received games. For Batman, there are the Arkham games. For Spider-Man, there were the movie-based games and the one on the PS1. Unfortunately, Superman can barely even get a decent game. Now, I’m not talking about fighting games like Injustice: Gods Among Us since that was a Justice League game that featured Superman.

I’ve really only played two Superman games: The Death and Return of Superman and Superman Returns. They were the only ones that were on the consoles I had. They were… less than stellar. I know Superman Returns was. I remember renting that game and Marvel: Ultimate Alliance one weekend. I started out playing M: UA for a while and then played SR for a while. I got to the third level of that game and I was done with it. I went back to playing the M: UA which was definitely the better of the two games. It’s not that SR was crap through and through. It was just boring. I’ve seen other comments online and they more or less say the same thing.

So, what can make a good Superman game? I heard some ideas running around a few months ago and it really got me thinking about it. I’ve heard that Superman can’t work in a game because he’s so powerful. To me, that’s a pretty lazy comment. I do believe that one could do a pretty decent Superman game if they really know their stuff and understand the character. So, here are some ideas that could work.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Tales from the 50 Cent Bin! - Adventures of Superman #627-628

The 2000’s for Superman (especially the late 2000’s) was weird. I wasn’t reading comics much in the earlier part of the decade since there was really no way for me to read any. The only time I’d peruse any would be at a bookstore in a mall. I know I saw Superman: Birthright on the shelves at the time, but that was it for me. I know the early part of the 2000’s had two soft reboots before Infinite Crisis. They had Jim Lee on a book. They also had Chuck Austen on a Superman book… no comment.

Today’s issues are Adventures of Superman #627-628. They’re both written by Greg Rucka. He came on during the “Godfall” arc (haven’t read it but might someday). This was the beginning of his run and I think he was also on Wonder Woman at the time. Rucka has also written for books like The OMAC Project, 52, Batwoman, Detective Comics, Batman, and Gotham Central. I will say it sucks that he’s not with DC anymore. Personally, I kind of can’t blame him. Both issues are penciled by Matthew Clark who’s done work on books like the Outsiders. The inker for both issues is Nelson.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Trade Tales! - The Death of Superman

I think I'm going to try out a new title for now. It just makes more sense. 

The 90’s were a big time for comics. It was when I started reading them. It was also when DC Comics decided to shake up the status quo for their major characters. I’ve talked about Batman’s shakeup with Knightfall, so it’s time for me to finally look at The Death of Superman. I’m sorry if I’ve spoiled for you. Now, I didn’t read any of this when it came out. The podcast, From Crisis to Crisis: A Superman Podcast, somewhat fueled my interest in the storyline. I was actually able to find the complete storyline of the Death, the Funeral, and the Return at McKay’s in 2011, I believe.

Sometime later, I found out how this storyline came about. Originally, Lois and Clark were going to get married during this time. Then, Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman came and killed that story for a long while. I think upper management wanted the comics and TV to have them get married at the same time or something. Anyway, someone came up with an idea of killing Superman and that idea came to fruition here. The issues in this trade are Superman: The Man of Steel #17-19, Superman #73-75, The Adventures of Superman #496-497, Action Comics #683-684, and Justice League America #69. We got some of the most well-known writers on the books. Dan Jurgens, Louise Simonson, Jerry Ordway, and Roger Stern handle the writing. The pencils are handled by Dan Jurgens, John Bogdanove, Tom Grummett, and Jackson Guice.

The Death of Superman
Writers: Dan Jurgens, Jerry Ordway, Louise Simonson, and Jerry Ordway
Pencillers: Dan Jurgens, Tom Grummett, John Bogdanove, and Jackson Guice
Inkers: Brett Breeding, Rick Burchett, Doug Hazelwood, Dennis Janke, and Denis Rodier

Monday, September 1, 2014

TV Talk - Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman Season 1

Well, it took a while, but it’s finally time to look at a somewhat fond TV show from my childhood: Lois and Clark – The New Adventures of Superman. The show came out when I was in 2nd grade. If I had to pinpoint where my fandom began with Superman, it would have to be around this time. I think I had seen a couple of the Christopher Reeve movies by now and read some of the comics, so I already knew about Superman. The show aired on Sunday nights after America’s Funniest Home Videos. I think I watched all of the first season. I know I saw the pilot in full and I vividly remember only seeing some of the Season 1 finale. I think we had a long service at church or something.

Since I vaguely remember this show changing throughout the four seasons, I’m looking at this show by season instead of the whole series. Don’t worry, Amy, I’m not stealing your format. It’s just that I got the first two seasons for really cheap a while back and I’ve been going through them. I’m currently watching Season 2 and I may get to it this month.

The overall premise of the show is that it would mostly focus on Lois, Clark, and the Daily Planet staff instead of showing Superman constantly fighting that never-ending battle. The show borrowed a lot of stuff from the Byrne reboot. Clark Kent is a fully-realized character instead of a disguise and Superman is essentially the job and nothing else. The Kents are also still alive and Clark doesn’t really learn of his origins until this season. There are plenty of villains for the first season but only one of them is from the comics: Lex Luthor. Luthor is really the only recurring villain for the first season.