DC Comics Rebirth Spoilers and/or Speculation follows?
Classic Superman artist Jon Bogdanove recently posted some cover art on his facebook account.
As part of that, he commented on DC Comics Rebirth’s Action Comics #1000 and How Superman’s red “Modesty” tights and The Shuster Family Lawsuit may play into it.
- This is one of my most favorite drawings ever— the original “The Adventures of Superman” #16 cover as it was originally commissioned by DC for the final issue of that title. I was asked to add New 52 Superman after the cover was finished, so he is drawn and inked on a separate board. To fit him in digitally, I had to rearrange the five classic Supes in Photoshop, making all the figures smaller. Nothing against poor, ol’ 52, but I like this version best.
As part of the comments to the image he posted, the question about Supermen’s red trunks or “modesty shorts”, Bogdanove was asked if the New 52 Superman’s lack of red outsider underwear was becaise of the legal battle between the Shuster Family, Superman’s co-creator, and DC Comics? Jon Bogdanove responded as follows:
- That is my understanding. To protect their IP copyright, they needed to distance themselves as much as possible from Siegel and Shuster’s “contribution” to it. The idea was to dump anything that could be contested as being created by Siegel and Shuster, without totally tanking the universally recognized and beloved brand. On New 52, I was even instructed to avoid Sman’s face– no S curl, no cleft chin etc. He was meant to be a totally different man. Some of that has relaxed now all is settled, but the SS heirs only won the rights to his modesty briefs– so no more shorts on Superman without paying them. At least, that is the inside buzz as I have heard it.
Bogdanove followed up with the art colored…
…as well as clarified his comments on Superman’s shorts that sparked much debate.
- Hey, about this business with Superman’s shorts– or “The Modesty Briefs Affair”, wherein people, including me, have speculated that the reason Superman doesn’t wear red trunks anymore is because Siegel and Shuster’s heirs figuratively “sued the pants off him” (to quote a FB pal): I want to reconfirm that everything I have said, and will say here, is just that—SPECULATION. It is based entirely on rumors I have heard from various current and former DC folks and other people inside the industry. Let me reaffirm: I could be wrong.
But since when has that ever stopped anyone on social media? So, in true Donald Trump fashion, here’s what I think happened to The Man of Steel’s pants:
(Remember, this is all distilled in my head from an assortment of inside rumors and confidences from within the industry. I COULD BE WRONG. But please feel free to get worked up, if that’s what you’re here for.)
Someday, I would love to read the settlement that finally ended the nearly 70 years long legal struggle of Superman’s creators and their surviving heirs, to recoup a bigger share of the profits generated by their invention. I’d at least like to read a summarized brief of Warner’s legal arguments over the years. My guess is that one of the provisions of the settlement is that the heirs are enjoined from speaking about it, and I wouldn’t expect Warners to either. So we may never know.
Ultimately, I think this final chapter of the war— this final case— came down to a fine-tooth, point-for-point argument over specifically which defining characteristics of Superman were actually created by Jerry and Joe before they came to DC and started laboring as “work-for-hire”.
For example, Superman’s red boots replaced his Greek lace-ups AFTER Jerry and Joe signed him over. Likewise, the “S” emblem continued to evolve from the original while Jerry and Joe were under contract, as did much of his likeness and appearance– EXCEPT for the modesty briefs. Apparently, that’s the one original characteristic that persisted unchanged from before the boys ever approached DC until the resolution of this case.
As a result, the briefs are the one thing Jerry and Joe’s family were able to hold onto– or regain. DC can’t use the pants without paying the heirs a little something— or so I’m told. Word on the street is that someone at DC or Warners is angrily determined never to pay for those shorts, so off they came!
Now, there is also buzz that Dan Jurgens, and others in the company, have campaigned hard in favor of the traditional, classic, populist brand, appearance and costume– and that Diane Nelson or someone up top recognizes the dollar value of that brand as being worth much more than what it costs to rent the shorts from the heirs.
This buzz suggests that Superman will be restored to his true self in ACTION #1000– which would be awesome in the extreme— an historic comics event tantamount to “The Death of Superman”. I think it would heal and restore a great deal more than just #Superman. I think the effects would be restorative across the industry. I would expect a revamp and revitalization of the movie franchises to stem from it, eventually– worth millions in revenue.
Again, just rumors and speculation. I could be wrong. Have I mentioned that yet?
But, checking out the vibe at DC these days, I have to say I detect a gathering of life force. I think DC is getting its head out of the old “everything must be Batman” days and getting its mojo back, folks. Mark my words and stay tuned!
Interesting. What do you think?