Tuesday, October 23, 2012

DC wastes a headline by recycling an old story. Marvel wastes one with another bad idea.

By now, I'm sure you've seen the headlines in USA Today and elsewhere, spoiling a plot point in Superman (3rd series) 13, out tomorrow. In truth, it's a new twist on an old storyline, and when I say old, I mean, more than 40 years old.

In the 70's, editor Julius Schwartz and his staff of writers created a media conglomerate, Galaxy Broadcasting, which would buy the Daily Planet and link it up with WGBS, a Metropolis television station. Galaxy head honcho Morgan Edge would later be revealed as a master villain in his own right, as demonstrated during Jack Kirby's run on Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen. Edge stuck around, as memory serves, after Kirby left DC, and was downgraded as time wore on. In this storyline, Clark Kent moved from the Planet, transitioning into a TV news anchor, which would be his role for the rest of the pre-Crisis era.

Fast forward to today. Veteran writer Scott Lobdell is now writing Superman and has decided to pull Clark out of the Planet office again, this time with no other job available, which of course would allow Kent to spend more time as Superman anyway. How long this storyline lasts is uncertain, but unlike some of these other media-pimping news releases DC & Marvel have put out in recent months, this actually has some backbone to it. Literally. It's just how Lobdell runs with the story that will require some study, as this leads into a story arc running through all the books in the Superman line, at least through the early part of the winter.

Meanwhile, over at Marvel, Amazing Spider-Man ends with issue 700, and a new book, Superior Spider-Man, starts in January, and hints are that it won't be Peter Parker under the red webbed mask.


Let me invoke the words of George Santayana:

"Those who fail to remember history are doomed to repeat it."

In 1993, DC killed off Superman pro tempore, and introduced four new characters to star in the various books in his stead. Of course, the big guy returned a few months later, and the only quibble was that the time away gave him a longer hairdo. A year later, DC made another stupid decision and put Batman on the disabled list in order to "test out" Azrael as the Dark Knight, mostly to appease violence-obsessed fanboys who were tired of the traditional Caped Crusader, or so it seemed. "Az-Bats" went over about as well as, well, Crystal Pepsi, for example, which means to say, not well. Batman was back inside of a year.

What, then, makes Marvel think that tinkering yet again with one of their franchise heroes, in this case coming out of his 50th anniversary, will have any different result? Writer Dan Slott has all these ideas, but at the end of the day, in all probability, Peter Parker will return. Hasn't enough damage been done to this franchise in the last decade already under Joe Quesada, Dan Buckley, & Axel Alonso? Luckily, the newspaper strip is for now safe from such tampering, though Quesada tried to implement his "Brand New Day" story arc into the strip a couple of years ago, only for that to go over like a lead balloon. Personally, I'd rather read the newspaper strip and play my DVD's..........


magicdog said...

re: Superman

I'm not as comics reader but if the DC writers were honest, Clark being out of work from the Planet would make sense. Newspapers are fading fast with the coming of the internet and alternate media sources. It would be timely for the Planet to let go some of their reporters, maybe close up shop altogether. Newsweek just ended it's 80 year run for its print edition (and from what I've heard, it won't be long before the online edition follows!). I suppose Clark might end up blogging the news or go back to TV. I can even see him writing a book, or become a network pundit as journalists frequently do.

Spiderman however is another matter.

Maybe I'm a traditionalist but you can't close the book on the Amazing series. That's the mainline Marvel universe right? Bad enough they killed Peter off in the Ultimate universe, but it's not the Amazing universe most of us have come to know. Now they want someone ELSE to don the mask?? Someone at Marvel must be smoking the same stuff CN execs have been using!

hobbyfan said...

Newsweek's final print issue is at the end of the calendar year, so we've got 2+ months left on that.

From what I understand, the story on Clark leaving the Planet this time is fueled by a rant he has in the office. You'd have to read the issue to get the gist of it all. I read this story online today, it'll be in the NY Daily News tomorrow.

As for Spider-Man, the Marbleheads in charge are pimping for publicity and shock value. It's been that way with the current regime for a while, before Disney bought the company. All I know is that when it comes to reality, they have their heads in the sand.