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Exclusive preview: Superman finds himself under fire in Action Comics #1002

Now that comics legend Brian Michael Bendis has soared into the universe of Superman and Action Comics, the Man of Steel is going to have to face off against some serious accusations — think arson and bodies raining down from space.

Investigate the case with our exclusive reveal of the first five pages of Action Comics #1002, the official retro-futuristic cover by Patrick Gleason, and otherworldly variant covers by David Mack and Francis Manapul.

Superman is on the verge of crashing and burning, as you can tell from DC’s official description of the Patrick Gleason-illustrated controversy:

“A bold new era of the adventures of the Man of Steel continues as bodies fall from the sky and buildings burn around the City of Tomorrow. Even Superman must wonder how well he knows the city he protects as an unknown criminal element begins to rise through Metropolis.”

Action Comics #1002 Superman

Credit: DC Comics

The arson plot that blazed through Bendis’ Man of Steel miniseries and Action Comics #1001 still burns in Action Comics #1002 as Clark Kent and Perry White struggle to figure out the identity of the gangster who goes by the unlikely street name “Yogurt” and what Superman may or may not have to do with starting apartment fires in Metropolis and a different kind of fire within the Daily Planet.

Things already got weird when random falling bodies started freaking out Midtown in the previous issue, but now they get even weirder when Perry swears that he has absolutely no evidence for Superman dropping them from the sky. The only issue is that reporter Robinson Goode refuses to believe that all the witnesses could possibly be spreading false rumors. You can’t just make something like that up.

Action Comics #1002

Credit: DC Comics

 

Action Comics #1002 Superman

Credit: DC Comics

But wait. If Superman really had nothing to do with body-bombing Metropolis, then why does the latest headline of the Daily Planet accuse him of dropping Yogurt (real name: John Bender) to his death in broad daylight? Turns out someone decided to publish her version of the news without Perry’s permission.

Goode obviously didn’t consider the impossibility of Superman joining forces with the Justice League in Seattle and taking on a giant starfish at the exact same time he was supposed to be making Bender fly. This is what happens when Lois Lane mysteriously quits. 

By the way, Kal-El still has no idea where in the cosmos his family is.

Clark also needs a Post-It reminder to return Bruce’s wedding gift.

Action Comics #1002 swoops into stores August 22.

From: https://www.syfy.com/syfywire/exclusive-preview-superman-finds-himself-under-fire-in-action-comics-1002

Krypton cast: Who stars in the Superman prequel series?

Iain McElhinney

Iain McElhinney will play Val-El, Seg’s grandfather.

McElhinney is an actor and director from Northern Ireland. He is best known for his roles in Derry Girls, Taggart, The Fall and as Barrister Selmy in Game of Thrones.

Aaron Pierre

Aaron Pierre will play Dev-Em, a commander of the Kryptonian army.

Pierre has previously had roles in Britannia and The A Word.

There will also be appearances from guest stars including Sherlock’s Rupert Graves and Hollywood A-lister Paula Malcomson, who is best known for Ray Donovan and The Hunger Games.

Krypton premieres on E4 on Sunday, August 19 at 9pm

From: https://www.express.co.uk/showbiz/tv-radio/1004420/kyrpton-cast-who-stars-in-the-superman-prequel-series-DC-comics-E4-Cameron-Cuffe

DC’s Walmart Comics – Round Two Has Begun: Justice League #2 and Superman #2 Are On Shelves

I’ve been hearing a lot of people wondering when the next DC Walmart comics were coming out.  Near as I can tell, you should probably be looking for them around the first weekend of the month and the third weekend of the month.   Well, it’s the third week of the month, so the first set of #2’s shipped: Superman and Justice League.

What was on the shelf this weekend?  At this particular location, 4 copies of Justice League Giant#1, 4 copies of Batman Giant #1, 3 copies of Teen Titans Giant #1, 4 copies of Justice League Giant #2 and 3 copies of Superman Giant #2.

What have we learned here?  Unless some copies sold before I got the issue count, we’re looking at the same initial stocking as last month: 4 for Justice League and 3 for Superman.  They aren’t removing the previous issues from the shelf yet.  (At this location, they were sold out of Superman #1 last week, so that’s why it isn’t on the list.)  Since these are serialized stories, it is absolutely not a bad thing to have #1, i.e. Part 1, available for a little longer.

If you talk to fans who were around when the newsstand was in full swing, they’ll be able to tell you about places back in the day that didn’t keep the best track of their comics and if you went through all the racks, you might be able to find two or three consecutive issues of a title.  I think that was mostly just grocery stores back when some of them would have comic racks in every checkout lane.  There could be a little bit of that flavor here.  We’ll just have to see what happens with the older issues over the next two months.  I’ve been checking at a couple Walmarts that haven’t been totally selling out.  Not all stores are going to have this potential issue.

This round, both issues have the Comic Shop Locator ad in them.  Not the last page of the comic, but towards the end of the issue.  The ads continue to be centered around trade paperbacks with the language about getting them wherever you buy comics.  You’d think if this was an important sales initiative they’d get around to customizing a different call to action for those ads.  Dan DiDio is saying he only wants to sell periodicals in Walmart, so the language really should be directing readers elsewhere if they’re trying to cultivate new readers.  At least the Comic Shop Locator was in each issue this time, though.

In two weeks, we should be seeing Batman Giant #2 and Teen Titans Giant #2.  Will there be a restocking of Justice League Giant #2 and Superman Giant #2?  That’s an excellent question.  There didn’t appear to be any additional restocking going on this week, just the new issues arriving.  It is worth noting the the restock for the #1’s seemed to be in larger numbers than the initial stocking in some areas, so it will be interesting to see if, for example, 5 copies of Superman Giant #2 arrive next week.

I suppose the “Justice League Giant” naming convention is safer for public consumption than Marvel’s old “Giant-Size” convention. “Man-Thing Giant” doesn’t sound quite as provocative as “Giant-Size Man-Thing”

 

Todd Allen wears a lot of hats. At various times he’s been (alphabetically), a bouncer, college professor, humor columnist, Internet producer and an NBA/WNBA Beat Writer, among other things. He’s the author of Economics of Digital Comics. You should probably read it.

From: http://www.comicsbeat.com/dcs-walmart-comics-round-two-has-begun-justice-league-2-and-superman-2-are-on-shelves/

Superman died so Lois & Clark: The New Adventures Of Superman could live

Image: DC Comics

It’s been 25 years since the death of Superman, a cultural event that shocked a nation, swept comic books into the mainstream, and, we’re guessing, inspired that one Our Lady Peace song. The crossover event, which spanned a number of DC publications, is still remembered fondly and, in a bid to make something watchable from the current slate of DC adaptations, will reemerge as an animated film from WB animation this summer. In celebration of it all, SYFY rounded up several of the series’ writers for an oral history of the comic that delves deep into its inspiration, creation, and aftermath.

Probably the biggest takeaway is that the offing of Superman nearly didn’t happen. Superman comics were enjoying a bit of a renaissance at the time, as DC had begun embracing continuity across stories, resulting in richer, more emotional arcs. One arc was inching towards the wedding of the superhero’s alter ego, Clark Kent, and love interest Lois Lane. That had to be put on the back burner, however, when the specter of a Superman-centric soap opera began rearing its head. The show, which eventually became Lois Clark: The New Adventures Of Superman, would center around the romance between the two characters, so there was talk of holding off the wedding in the comics until the characters were also getting married on the series. Synergy!

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The freedom of filling in the gaps of story is what resulted in Superman’s death, which, in itself, was a reaction to what some call “The Dark Age” of comics in the early-to-mid ‘90s.

As writer Jon Bogdanove puts it:

In those days, sometimes referred to as The Dark Age of comics, characters like Superman — good-hearted, purely altruistic heroes — were unpopular. Dark, vengeful, brooding heroes held sway with fans, almost to the exclusion of all other types of heroes, including ours. Superman, the very first comic book superhero, was seen as too “old school” to be taken seriously.

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Editor Mike Carlin adds:

Our own personal frustrations with what was popular in comics at the time, murderers and anti-heroes everywhere, and the persistent labeling of Superman as a “boy scout” and a cornball fueled the death itself. If only murderers and monsters were heroes and you readers were going to take Superman for granted, then you won’t mind if we take him away.

It turned out to be a wise gamble, as the death not only resulted in a sales boom, but also the opportunity to explore spin-offs that spun the Superman archetype in different directions, such as Steel, The Eradicator, and, um, Superman with a mullet.

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As the DC studios try and rejigger their failing EU, might they consider a similar strategy? Just kill them. Kill them all.

From: https://news.avclub.com/superman-died-so-lois-clark-the-new-adventures-of-su-1828332090

Randall Beach: Goodbye Superman! Selling “my youth” for a pretty penny

The ad in the New Haven Register, placed by an outfit called Comic Book Roadshow, carried this come-on message: “We buy old comics!”

It continued: “Coming to Milford! We buy most old comics published from 1930-1979.”

I saw that ad and I asked myself: Is it time?

I thought about that box of my Superman comic books, saved from the early 1960s. I hadn’t stored them in protective plastic wrappers but still they were in pretty good condition.

I had not re-read them nor even looked at them for many, many years. For decades that box had sat in my attic, its contents ignored. My daughters had never expressed any interest in reading them nor inheriting my collection.

Maybe it was time.

Sentiment, nostalgia had kept me from parting with them for lo, those many years. I had bought those comic books, for 10 cents or 12 cents each, in 1962 and 1963. Once a week I stopped in at Kaminer’s, a small newsstand and variety store in my hometown of Mount Kisco, N.Y.

I was 12 years old in 1962. John F. Kennedy was our president. Americans had never heard of the Beatles, who were then honing their skills in England and Germany.

When I pulled that old box out of the attic last week and started skimming through my comic books, I thought back to those days. I wondered why I’d stopped buying them. I guess I figured I was “too grown up,” “too cool” to keep buying them at 14.

But I’m a pack rat, so there they were, patiently waiting for something, some rediscovery, maybe some fresh eyes, some new appreciation by somebody else. As I have written here before, my wife and I are now in the second year of our “joy project,” where every day each of us offloads something that no longer “gives us joy.” Maybe it was time.

The Comic Book Roadshow ad had also noted they buy baseball cards, “pre-1970.” That made me wince: I had no box of old baseball cards sitting next to the comic books. Like most kids of that era, I had had hundreds of them — Mickey Mantle! Yogi Berra! Duke Snider! Whitey Ford! Minnie Minoso! But in that greatest of all Beach family mysteries, and one of the tragedies of my life, one day they all vanished. They simply disappeared. My mother swore she would never have thrown them out. What happened to them? I’ll never know.

Yeah, but I had my comic books. Before heading down to the Holiday Inn Express and Suites in Milford last Saturday afternoon with that box, I did some research on eBay, so as not to be a chump and get “taken.” I got a sense of what Superman comic books from the early ’60s are worth: generally anywhere from $5 to $30, with rarer issues in mint condition fetching up to $180.

I also checked eBay for the value of Howdy Doody hand puppet washcloths and face towels; I have two each. (I told you I’m a pack rat.) I learned that in mint condition they are worth about $20 each. Because the Roadshow people also buy comic and TV-related toys, I threw them in the box with my comics, along with a re-print of a Bill “Moose” Skowron baseball card from the 1950s.

When I walked into the ground-floor room at Holiday Inn that had been taken over by Comic Book Roadshow, I saw four guys with name tags on their chests and just one other what-will-you-pay-me-for-this collector.

Two of the guys wore “Pete” tags. One of the Petes invited me to sit down and unpack my goods. I had counted them: I had a total of 178 comic books; five of them were “Giant Superman Annual” editions that I had paid about a buck for, from 1960-63. I knew from eBay they were worth somewhat more than the 10-to-12 centers.

First Pete picked up my Howdy Doody artifacts and said they were too worn to be worth buying. And of course he immediately dismissed my “Moose” Skowron card as a reprint.

Then he started to look through my comic books. He said, “Too bad these aren’t Marvel comics. The Marvels from these years are worth a lot more.” (Well, I never dug Spider-Man.) He also told me one of my Superboy comics would have been worth a lot more if it hadn’t lost a piece off its cover, and that some of the “Giant Annual” editions would have been worth much more if only their spines weren’t slightly creased.

I was thinking: What the hell? I read these comic books! More than once! I was 12 years old! Cut me a break.

And then Pete offered me $600 for my entire collection. I told him to forget about it. I was ready to “pick up my marbles” and go back home.

But Pete called over Leroy, who went through what I had. He, too, pointed out that some of them were worn and torn and said it was “too bad they aren’t Marvels.” But then he offered me $1,200.

I sat there and looked at my comic books. I’m not a good haggler but I knew this was a time I needed to start haggling.

I told Leroy I wanted $1,400.

Leroy came back with a counter-offer: $1,300.

I took a deep breath and said “OK.”

Leroy went off and then counted out 13 crisp $100 bills and put them on the table. I picked them up.

Pete apologized for low-balling me with his $600 offer.

“That’s my youth,” I told Pete and Leroy as I looked at my comic books for the last time. And then I walked out of there, sad and wistful but not regretting what I had just done. It was time.

When I got home and my wife asked how it had gone, I counted out those 13 crisp $100 bills, laying them on the table, one by one.

“Wow!” she said. “I thought you were going to come back with about $75. Good for you.”

P.S. I still have a few copies of Mad magazine and Famous Monsters of Filmland. And I held onto three Superman “collectors’ editions” reprints so I’ll still have something to admire.

From: http://www.shorelinetimes.com/news/randall-beach-goodbye-superman-selling-my-youth-for-a-pretty/article_f48e5150-09ef-5d1f-bb93-725fef6dbf5b.html

Death of Superman Blu-ray Review: DC’s Superhero Lives Again …

death-of-superman-review

The Death of Superman is a story that’s almost as well-known as the title superhero’s origin story itself. DC Comics fans saw it play out in the pages of an epic crossover event in the early 90s, followed by a multitude of adaptations that included novelizations, video games, and multiple movie treatments. While the clash of titans that was the battle between Superman and Doomsday played out in live action in Batman v Superman, a better treatment of this classic tale can be found in the 2007 animated movie Superman: Doomsday, a title that kicked off the DC Universe Animated Original Movies line that continues to this day. The latest in that line, The Death of Superman, is a better adaptation of that story, still.

In the new, action-packed, animated movie, available now on home video, The Man of Steel meets his ultimate match when Doomsday comes to Earth, hell bent on destroying everything and everyone in his path, including the Justice League. The Death of Superman ultimately finds Superman in a fight to the finish when the Man of Steel becomes the only hero who can stand in the way of the monstrous creature and his unstoppable rampage of destruction. While this version of the story takes some liberties with the original tale and puts a lot of emphasis on humanizing not just Superman but the other members of the Justice League, it’s hands down the best knockdown, drag-out fight between the titans since the comic book arc. And perhaps best of all, this solid adaptation is but Part One of a highly anticipated two-part series that will close out with the rarely adapted Reign of the Supermen storyline.

The all-star cast is led by Jerry O’Connell, Rebecca Romijn and Rainn Wilson as the voices of Superman, Lois Lane and Lex Luthor, respectively. The potent trio is joined by the DC Universe Movies’ veteran returning voices of the Justice League: Jason O’Mara as Batman, Rosario Dawson as Wonder Woman, Shemar Moore as Cyborg, Nathan Fillion as Green Lantern/Hal Jordan, Matt Lanter as Aquaman, and Christopher Gorham as The Flash.

Before we get further into the review, here’s a new bonus clip:

Feature:

The Death of Superman had a tough task ahead of it: How do you faithfully adapt a well-known story using iconic characters that everyone knows, while also setting up the sequel, but make it fresh and new enough to feel interesting without diverging too far from DC Comics’ history and core concepts? The production team found a clever way to do just that. While the narrative may take some liberties with the original story, the stunning visuals are pulled from the many pages of the “Doomsday” arc and, at times, go above and beyond them. Kudos to the Warner Bros. Animation and Studio Mir teams for delivering a thrilling chapter in a long-running story.

Admittedly, the first half of The Death of Superman drags a bit narratively because the focus here is to show just what Superman means to the people of Metropolis. He’s a personal hero to many citizens there, folks like Bibbo Bibbowski, John Henry Irons, and Hank Henshaw. (And the comics aficionados out there should recognize those names.) He’s a looming threat to villains like Bruno Mannheim and his Intergang goons, and a thorn in the side of the ever-villainous Lex Luthor. Much of the dialogue, exposition, and even early plot points are dedicated to humanizing Superman, the better to feel the pain of his passing once the inevitable battle occurs.

death-of-superman-review

Image via Warner Bros. Home Entertainment

But there’s a lot of action to enjoy even before the big bad arrives. Superman deals with low-level villains with ease, which offers up an example of his power level and contrasts nicely with just how much he–and the rest of the League–struggle against Doomsday. There’s also the disastrous mission of the Space Shuttle Excalibur, an event that pays homage to the original “Fantastic Four” origin story in the pages of Marvel Comics, but also twists that narrative quite a bit in DC’s version; The Death of Superman uses it more as a way to establish Superman’s sometimes obsessive fandom and to tease the Reign of the Supermen. We even get to see a Superman/Wonder Woman team-up to take on Cheetah and Metallo, though the reason they’re fighting is cleverly explained plot-wise. So while the humanizing of Superman slows things down a bit, these early bouts before the prize fight keep the energy up.

And then Doomsday arrives. The monster bent only on fighting and winning systematically tears through other members of the League, starting with Atlantis’ undersea kingdom. Other than a brief aside that sees Doomsday doing his best 80s slasher movie villain impression, it’s not long before the members of the League are all dispatched, even the powerful Wonder Woman. This is where the promise of the movie’s title kicks in and things get ramped up right up until the end. It’s a thrilling battle that demands to be seen because it’s unlike any other adaptation of this story we’ve seen before.

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Image via Warner Bros. Home Entertainment

The Death of Superman does fall back onto old familiar tropes in the DC Comics universe from time to time, and it’s a shame that the narrative side of things doesn’t feel the need to freshen itself up for the modern era, but since fans will seek this title out for the final battle itself, I can confidently say that it delivers. It feels like the culmination of decades’ worth of writers’ and artists’ wishes about what they would like to see in a fight between Superman and Doomsday, and now they get to bring it to life (and death) on the screen with cutting-edge animation. It’s brutal, it’s visceral, it’s kinetic and, oddly enough, believable, because as far beyond mortal men as Superman is, Doomsday is his equal, and this is a no-holds-barred street fight with no time to rest and recover. The movie’s PG-13 rating both pushes the limits and, conversely, sometimes masks the fight’s most gruesome moments, but it works well enough for the tale. And despite the familiarity of it, the story’s emotional ending never loses its gut-punch potential, especially because The Death of Superman lays down so much groundwork to show just what Superman means to people and how willing he is to defend their lives, even if it ultimately means his death.

But the story isn’t quite over. I can’t wait to see how Reign of the Supermen picks up from here, and luckily the movie’s four (!) end credits scenes offer up a solid tease. This one’s definitely worth the buy!

Special Features:

A Sneak Peek at DC Universe’s Next Animated Movie, Reign of the Supermen (~10 minutes):

  • DC Entertainment Creative Animation Director Mike Carlin, screenwriter Jim Krieg, screenwriter Tim Sheridan, Warner Home Video manager Jeff Brown, director Sam Liu, actors Cameron Monaghan, Cress Williams, Jerry O’Connell, Rebecca Romijn, Rainn Wilson, and voice director Wes Gleason talk about and tease sneak-peeks at the upcoming movie.
  • The beginning of the next movie immediately introduces the four replacement Supermen, along with questions as to which of them may be the real one, if any. The creative team breaks down their versions of the four “fake” Superman stand-ins as they’ll appear in this follow-up film–Super Boy, Cyborg Superman, Eradicator, and Steel–a first for the iconic title. There are a lot of behind-the-scenes looks here, not only of the cast but of the artwork from the original comics, concept art, character drawings for this new version, and plenty of clips from the upcoming film.

death-of-superman-doomsday

Image via Warner Bros. Home Entertainment

The Brawl That Topped Them All (~15 minutes):

  • The four-issue battle between Superman and Doomsday is discussed by Carlin, artist Jon Bogdanove, co director Jake Castorena, martial arts expert/consultant Christian Medina.
  • Carlin reveals the Doomsday character’s name origin, coupled with Dan Jurgens’ original drawings and designs. Their thought was that the character needed to be big, terrifying–a personification of death, like the hand of fate–and not part of the usual rogues gallery.
  • They compare the fight to a championship bout between heavyweights. Medina brings his improvisational fighting techniques, use of items in the environment, and his expertise in Krav Maga to bear as influences on the look of the fight. The result is a tremendous action sequence.
  • There’s a cool revisit to the history and rollout of the comics themselves. The battle literally got bigger, more intense, and more quickly paced as it went on, going from four-panel pages, to three, two, and ultimately one; the iconic climax was basically an issue of splash pages full of unforgettable scenes, moments, and visuals. Carlin makes the point that it was a real collaboration among 10 comic book artists who shored up each others’ strengths and weaknesses throughout the run, a real rarity in the industry.

From the DC Comics Vault: Legion of Superheroes Season 2, “Dark Victory: Part 1? and “Dark Victory: Part 2? – Catch this two-part animated series tie-in from the mid-2000s series’ finale.

Miscellaneous: 

death-of-superman-lex-luthor

Image via Warner Bros. Home Entertainment

Bibbo Bibbowski gets a good amount of screen time in this one, though he doesn’t get to shoot Doomsday with a laser cannon, unfortunately.

Steve Lombard gets a namedrop and cameo. Other namedrops include Pete Ross and Lori Lamaris. If you knew that the latter was a mermaid, then Ma Kent’s comment about “serving halibut” makes a little more sense.

Alfred Pennyworth, Damian Wayne, and even Bruce’s Great Dane Titus get a cameo near the movie’s end.

The town Doomsday is stomping through, Carlin Heights, is named after Mike Carlin, editor of the original comic book crossover arc and current Director of Animation for DC Entertainment.

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the-death-of-superman-4k

Image via Warner Bros. Home Entertainment

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Image via Warner Bros. Home Entertainment

From: http://collider.com/death-of-superman-bluray-review/

DC Returns to The Death of Superman in New Digital Comic – CBR

One of DC’s biggest stories is coming back to the comic book page, with a fresh creative a team and a much different angle than what we previously knew.

Today, DC Comics has announced that a new digital-first comic series titled The Death of Superman will be released as a tie-in to the animated movie of the same title. In fact, the announcement was made at the same time as the first chapter of the comic was made available for download online. Written by fan-favorite scribe Louise Simonson and illustrated by Cat Staggs, Joel Ojeda, Laura Braga and more, the digital comic is a 12-part series that will unfold weekly.

RELATED: REVIEW: Animated Death of Superman Film is A Worthy Adaptation of a ’90s Classic

The Death of Superman: Part 1 is meant to be a prequel of sorts to the animated film The Death of Superman, which was already released digitally last week. The events that unfold in the comic take place hours before Superman’s fateful battle with the raging monster known as Doomsday. Some of the chapters are said to follow the heroic feats of Superman prior to the confrontation, while subsequent stories will examine what Jimmy Olsen was up to during that time, or deal with the fallout of the death of a major hero.

“These are never-before-told stories of what happened before, during, and after the conflict with Doomsday that cost Superman his life,” the writer of the series, Louise Simonson, said. “Each story will explore what power means—for someone like Superman who wields it for the good of humanity, or the villains who use it to further their own selfish agendas.”

The original Death of Superman comic book was one of the most important in the history of DC Comics’ publishing. The loss of the character made national news, and it established a path for an equally epic story that unfolded in the Superman comics the following year with “The Reign of the Supermen” — a storyline that is set to be turned into an animated movie in 2019.

RELATED: Reign of the Supermen Trailer Breaks Down the Man of Steel’s Successors

The first chapter of The Death of Superman digital comic series, written by Louise Simonson and illustrated by Cat Staggs, with colors by Wendy Broome, lettering by Carlos M. Mangual and cover by Jerry Ordway and Wendy Broome, is availble for download now. The Death of Superman animated movie was released digitally on July 24. The film will be available on Ultra HD 4K Blu-ray Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD August 7.

From: https://www.cbr.com/death-of-superman-digital-comic-prequel/

An Indian Artist is Painting Superman in Thongs to Call Out The Sexism in Comic Books

In an episode of Green Lantern Vol. 3 #54, released in 1994, a photographer for a newspaper in Los Angeles, Alex DeWitt, famously known as Green Lantern’s girlfriend, was murdered by Major Force, the comic’s villain, and hidden inside her boyfriend’s refrigerator. The incident drove the titular character to almost beat up the villain to death.

Taking inference from DeWitt’s manner of death, in March 1999, writer Gail Simone coined the term ‘Women in the Refrigerator’ after an online discussion on the treatment of female characters in comic books after it occurred to her that “it was not healthy to be a female character in comics”.

The list, which was originally compiled by Gail but has had subsequent additions in the next 19 years, includes female comic characters who have been killed, raped, depowered, crippled, turned evil, maimed, tortured, contracted a deathly disease or have had tragedies befalling them.

What the list never covered, however, was the list of ‘sensational’ and ‘amazing’ female comic characters who flaunted their ‘sexy bodies’ in G-strings and superhero outfits — crouching or bending to highlight their perfectly round-shaped derrières.

But for 21-year-old Shreya Arora it was high time to stop looking at women as collateral damage and their life as the sum of the associated honour of their husband/ boyfriend/ brother/ father.

While on an exchange semester in France, Shreya created a series of six posters where she placed posters of the male superheroes in a juxtaposition of the original posters which featured the ‘sensational’ female superheroes.

But only this time it was the ‘amazing’ Spider Man standing naked with a strategically-placed beach ball covering his groin, the Hulk covering his modesty with a newspaper, while Batman, Iron Man, and Superman bending and/or crouching in sexually suggestive positions which highlighted their ‘bubble butts’.

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For Shreya, creating protest art wasn’t the ‘end-goal’, however, upon joining a ‘formal’ course in graphic designing at the National Institute of Design in 2015, she was once told by a professor that the best way to pick her specialisation would be to put her finger on what she wanted her work to accomplish. “The choice became clear when I realised I wanted to do work that could make people think, and start important conversations,” she said.

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Shreya feels that as a society we are trained to seeing women being depicted either as a damsel in distress, or an eye candy. “When I started the project, I wanted to do the opposite — take covers with powerful depictions of superheroes, and recreate those using superheroines.” However, Shreya quickly reached a conclusion that “while it may make for good art, it might not be the most effective way to question the status quo”.

It’s safe to draw a self-admitted conclusion that female comic characters are trivialized, often limited to being a fleeting love interest or simply a sub-plot in the greater scheme of things who are ‘sacrificed’ to develop the mighty male superheroes. But just in case there’s a problem and the said-female character does not tick the above options, she is put into an underwear and then on the comic’s cover. Problem solved.

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There have been reports where comic-book makers have defended their stand by calling it a ‘business decision’, and saying that ‘the readers don’t care about them’. ‘Them’ are the female characters.

Shreya disagrees with their rash justification. “The fact that it’s a business decision doesn’t make it any less wrong. Comic books are absolutely created keeping a section of audience in mind, which leads to a vicious cycle. Companies create problematic content for a specific demographic, and then use that demographic as an excuse to keep creating problematic content,” she said.

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For Shreya, comics follow a precedent that is unfortunately set by a world that is testosterone-driven and more partial to men.

While comics are limited to being fictional representations, Shreya says that comic book makers also need to acknowledge that female characters are limited to being mere accessories to the male superhero’s story. She says that media, which includes comics too, plays a pivotal role in shaping the ‘regressive society’ that the comic books so gleefully take inspiration from.

“Would the Joker ever rape Robin to anger Batman, close as Batman and Robin may be? All these ideas being propagated once again contribute to the objectification of women, and reduce them to nothing beyond a vagina.”

Shreya, who created a part of the superhero series in collaboration with BuzzFeed India, received heavy criticism from Facebook users who categorically asked her to ‘leave comic books alone’, perhaps an eerie signal to how sexism has been ingrained and normalized by the society. But Shreya isn’t discouraged. “Appreciating an art form doesn’t mean giving it a free pass to be as problematic as it’d like. As fans, it’s up to us to call the industry out on these practices,” she said.

But these are changing times– with movies like Disney’s Frozen being acknowledged for its powerful women empowerment message, Shreya is hopeful. But she always wishes that “it doesn’t stop there”.

Talking about Gail Simone’s project, Shreya calls it ‘wonderful’ but says, “There are several initiatives like it (The Women in the Refrigerator), that try to call out this disparity in comic books. If there were no market for ethical, empowering art in comic books, who is beginning these initiatives? The truth is that there is more than enough of a market for empowering content, but sadly, feminism is just another marketing tactic for most major corporations, which is why their gender equality is skin deep.”

Coming to a more Indian setting, Shreya says that she has been revisiting comic books like Tinkle and Chacha Chaudhary, and while they aren’t guilty of hyper-sexualisation, “sexism permeates our cultures in many ways”.

In these comics, the identity of women is more strongly tied to the men they are related to in Indian comics than in western ones — whether they are rebellious daughters, or nagging wives, or possessive girlfriends, it rarely moves beyond the stereotypes. Shreya feels that while recreating it would not be “visually obvious” as it was with the current series, she is working towards finding an equally effective, if more subtle, solution.

While on the exchange program in France, Shreya dismissed several western stereotypes about India, until she realized “how a lot of it was true” — not just in the number of sexual assault cases, but in how they are reported by the media.

1_Good Victim Cover compressed

“I realised how much victim blaming affects our narratives, and how our standards for ‘good’ women are incredibly high, while we rarely ever bother to hold the perpetrators to the same high standards. The series is a satire on this fact, and shows you that no matter how good, conservative, or perfect a victim is, society will find a way to blame her for the assault.”

2_Zip

Although Shreya’s recent works have received much media attention and started conversations, she cautions that “these conversations have a privilege bar” — it’s accessible to those with a smartphone, fluent in English, with a certain level of visual literacy. “With so many young, passionate artists who are working on social issues, there is no lack of good intent. However, we may not always be equipped to bring about a change at a grassroot level.”

For her future projects, Shreya would love to work with “issues that emanate from privilege”.

“What I’ve learnt from this project, though, is that there will always be a bigger problem to solve, but that shouldn’t stop you from working on the smaller ones you are more equipped to face. I absolutely understand that sexism in comic books is a much smaller problem (one that affects the relatively privileged) for the field of women empowerment than, say, female illiteracy, but I’ve learnt that tomorrow if I work on female illiteracy, there’ll always be someone who’ll say that the war in Syria is a bigger problem.”

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From: https://www.news18.com/news/buzz/an-indian-artist-is-painting-superman-in-thongs-to-call-out-the-sexism-in-comic-books-1840145.html

Superman Reveals Why He Doesn’t Shut Off His Super Hearing

Superman has many abilities, but few connect him to the plights of humanity like his super hearing, and there’s one key reason he never shuts it off.

Spoilers incoming for Superman #2 so if you haven’t read the issue yet you’ve been warned.

In the new issue of Superman Clark ponders a question from Green Arrow, who asked Clark if his “life was hell.” When Clark asked why Arrow said “Actual Hell! Because you can never turn off your super-hearing. You can’t not see the madness of the world with your super-vision. You can’t stop seeing and hearing all the horrors of the world.”

It’s here that Clark dispels that theory, saying “First of all…yes, I can. I can turn it off anytime I want. I don’t. I never have and I never will. But I can. We all can.”

Superman-2-Super-Hearing-1
(Photo: DC Comics)

Clark says he could “leave the planet and never come back”, and even admits it gets to be a lot some days, as “the screams for help never stop.” He also says the hate and the ignorance never stops, and at times it “just breaks my heart”.

The thing is, there’s one very good reason he doesn’t just shut it all off, and that’s the wonderful part of humanity that also cares about others.

“But what a lot of people don’t get to see or hear is what I get to see or hear…what happens after the scream,” Clark says. “People help. People reach out. More times than not, a scream–and someone nearby helps before I can even lift a finger. People do their jobs. It’s stunning to see. Beautiful, really. The police, firemen, EMTs, politicians, even. Nothing is perfect, and it never will be, but…the world works.”

Superman-2-Super-Hearing-2
(Photo: DC Comics)

It’s not everyone that springs to help, sure, but it is a significant amount, with Clark adding “not all the time, and not everyone, but billions and billions of times a day, the world works. Billions and billions! I explained it to Ollie: that’s what I get to see and hear every day. The sight and sounds of billions of people trying.”

Sounds like a pretty compelling reason to us. You can check out the spoiler images above and our full review of Superman #2 can be found here.

Superman #2 is written by Brian Michael Bendis and drawn by Joe Prado and Ivan Reis. Prado and Reis provide the issue’s cover with variant covers by David Mack and Adam Hughes. You can check out the official description below.

“The world quakes and shakes as it begins to succumb to the effects of the entire planet being moved into the lifeless realm known as the Phantom Zone. As Superman works with the World’s Greatest Heroes, an old enemy trapped in the same prison returns to stop the Man of Steel and escape.”

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Superman #2 is in comic stores now.

So what did you think of the issue? Let us know in the comments!

From: http://comicbook.com/dc/2018/08/09/superman-why-doesnt-shut-off-super-hearing/

Warner Bros. Is Finally Realizing Supergirl Should Be the Center of the DC Universe

Melissa Benoist doing the heavy lifting as Supergirl.
Image: The CW

Supergirl was a joke. Until about 15 years ago she was memorable mainly for her campy ‘80s movie and that time she died in that comics, possibly because her campy ‘80s movie was so bad. Yet as the Supergirl series continues to be popular on the CW, the DC movieverse’s Superman is in limbo, and a new Supergirl film is beginning to take shape, it seems like Warner Bros. is finally picking up on the fact that Supergirl, not Superman, best embodies the 80-plus years of Super mythos.

And it’s about damn time.

The Super mythos is pretty succinct at its core—a refugee comes to Earth from another planet, integrates, falls in love (with the planet and the people), and becomes Earth’s most stalwart citizen. For decades, the premiere Super has been Superman. The fable of a child cast away to avoid destruction and growing up to defend his adopted homeland was fine Americana and usually resulted in some great yarns.

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I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating—the best Superman stories are the ones that acknowledge and expand upon his experience as an immigrant. The U.S. is a country made of immigrants (political attempts at historical revisionism aside), and one of the reasons Superman has frequently felt like such an American character is because he has that experience. Like Superman, many of us wrestle with reconciling two upbringings. We struggle with long legacies of families who seem frankly alien to our own experiences. Superman realizes his heritage is both a family of farmers in Kansas and an alien language he cannot speak with a culture he cannot understand. That resonates with people!

Yet Superman’s experience as an immigrant who falls in love with an adopted homeland and chooses to protect it (often from all those Kryptonians who are supposed to have died and clearly did not) is a different one from the immigrant experience most of my friends and family know. They come here not as babies, but as children and adults who must assimilate.

Superman: The Man of Steel #19 by Jon Bogdanove and Dennis Janke
Image: DC Comics (DC Comics)

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And for them, Supergirl might be a more appealing figure—particularly after Jeph Loeb and Michael Turner radically transformed the DC Comics character in 2004. From 1959 to 1986, Kara Zor-El was Superman’s cousin who was raised on a barely surviving piece of Krypton flung away during its destruction. Owing to the nature of storytelling at DC, pre-1986 Kara was a fickle figure with no consistent characterization and a deeply convoluted history.

That didn’t improve after she was killed off in the 1986 Crisis on Infinite Earths storyline, because DC then tried to create a new character capitalizing on the surprisingly large fandom that still found her appealing. First came Matrix, who was legitimately a pile of sentient goo that would have definitely bonded with Deep Space Nine’s Odo. Then, when that didn’t work out (she was in love with a hairy Lex Luthor from an alternate universe) she merged with a human woman, became an angel, and moved to a pre-Crisis Earth to have a kid with Superman (gross) and try to save a pre-Crisis Kara. Matrix failed and essentially fled the universe because she was sad that her child with Superman (again, gross!) was probably killed in the Crisis.

In 2004, partially due to the popularity of the Supergirl character introduced in Superman: The Animated Series—whose origin borrowed heavily from the pre-Crisis erashe was rebooted again, this time in Jeph Loeb and Michael Turner’s Superman/Batman series. Once again she was Superman’s cousin, but this time she was immediately allowed a degree of pathos denied her predecessors. Because this Supergirl wasn’t raised on a post-Krypton piece of Krypton, she was a survivor of the destruction, sent by her parents to raise her cousin Kal-El.

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In the new Supergirl comics, Kara has FEELINGS.
Image: Supergirl #21 — Kevin Maguire, FCO Plascencia, and Tom Napolitano (DC Comics)

Supergirl was suddenly allowed to remember what had been lost and was also immediately stuck with the failure to protect Kal-El after arriving on Earth long after he did. The Supergirl book that followed was brief and had some…not good art, but Supergirl felt like an actual character to root for and not just the girl clone of DC’s cash cow. She struggled with making friends and dealing with people who hated her for not being from the same place they were. She also had a big history that she found frustrating to try to impart to her well-meaning cousin.

Many of the beats of that story, as well as that character’s pathos and more consistent characterization, have carried over into the Supergirl stories since—from the TV series to the fantastic Injustice 2 to the comics both monthly and one-off (including her latest story that kicked off this month). Where once Supergirl was a hodgepodge, now she is a constant with an origin that can endure multiple retellings and somehow always stay the same in the best of ways.

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This new story feels more in line with the world we’re living in right now, where immigrants are demonized and where women find themselves stuck trying to claw out of the shadows of men who maybe, sometimes, don’t know as much. DC and Warner Brothers repeatedly struggle to reboot Superman. They’re on film franchise attempt number four, with at least five other failed attempts in the last 30 years, and Brian Michael Bendis has been so flummoxed by the character in comics he decided to send his family—including Supergirl—off to parts unknown to try and understand him.

Supergirl, meanwhile, has actually been pretty successful! Apart from that one film in the ‘80s, she’s been central to the CW’s Arrowverse and the Injustice-universe and is primed to take the DCEU by storm. It only feels right that she gradually take her cousin’s place in DC’s Trinity. Maybe not officially in comics—but at least in the public’s eye, and in movies and TV too. Superman’s cousin from Argos is finally supplanting him as the Super that matters, and that’s wonderful.

From: https://io9.gizmodo.com/warner-bros-is-finally-realizing-supergirl-should-be-t-1828180796

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