Superman and Lois Lane to Break Up in the DC Relaunch?

Superman and his wife of fifteen years, Lois Lane, are breaking up in September as part of DC Comics’ superhero relaunch. At least, that seems to be the case if you read into statements made by Dan DiDio in a recent interview. While discussing of the Man of Tomorrow’s narrative continuity, the DC Comics Co-Publisher confirmed Superman’s matrimony with Lois is being “reexamined” in advance of DC’s imminent revamping.

Lois Lane and Clark Kent were officially married in 1996’s Superman: The Wedding Album. Speaking to NBC New York’s Popcornbiz, DiDio hinted in his typically unsubtle way that the events of that issue will be undone as DC Comics embarks upon its bold mission to jettison continuity and make itself ostensibly more welcoming to new readers.

“Let’s just say [Clark and Lois’ marriage] is being reexamined,” says Didio, who oversees the 77-year-old comic book company, which relaunches all of its titles with 52 new #1 issues in September, “because it’s something that I think is something that is so valuable to the character’s story that you really want to explore all facets of it. Not just as it exists currently.”

The idea of separating Superman from his wife was of course a central tenet of the famous “Superman 2000” proposal by Grant Morrison, Mark Waid, Mark Millar and Tom Peyer. Their plan was for Brainiac virus to infect Lois’ brain and erase her memories of her fated lover. 2008’s Final Crisis: Superman Beyond hinted towards that endgame when Lois fell into a coma, but it seems that the possible de-aging effects of Flashpoint could lead to the same result.

In the issues of The Flash leading up to the Flashpoint, it was revealed that the villainous Reverse-Flash can manipulate the ages of both himself and those around him, providing an in-story mechanism with which to de-age the elderly characters of the DC Universe back to a time when they were more unsure and confused about their powers and places in society. Such a scenario would tie-in nicely with Grant Morrison and Rags Morales’s Action Comics as well as Geoff Johns and Jim Lee’s Justice League, both of which we know will depict explicitly younger and less experienced versions of their respective heroes.

The selective nature of the Flashpoint mechanic may account for Batman’s convenient escape from the invisible yet brutal hands of the DC continuity cops while other characters — like Superman — will emerge in September with minty fresh mythologies.

There’s no doubt that the marriage between Superman and Lois Lane will at some point be re-instituted, but the cyclical nature of superhero comic books prevents the existence of any kind of permanent union. As we know from Marvel’s experience with undoing Spider-Man’s marriage to Mary Jane Watson, it’s a hard lesson for readers to learn and any similar action on DC’s part will prompt an outcry that will certainly eclipse what we saw with Spidey’s One More Day. But if anyone has to re-imagine Superman and Lois Lane’s relationship for a new generation, I’m glad it’s Grant Morrison.

[Via NBC New York]


Superman’s Rebirth – What Does it Mean for ‘Man of Steel’?

Superman Action Comics Reboot

This past Saturday night at Mann’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood, we were made aware of a very startling reality — for the first time in 73 years, Superman will wear his trunks on the inside of his pants.

In all seriousness, as we have discussed, the DC Universe is set to reboot (in a manner) with the launch of 52 number one issues (to be released in print and as a digital downloads simultaneously), beginning this September with Geoff Johns and Jim Lee’s origin story for the Justice League.

Johns and Lee were on hand to discuss the relaunch at the Los Angeles Times Hero Complex Film Festival day 3 (a salute to Superman). Famed comic book writer Grant Morrison also made an appearance (via a pre-taped video) to discuss the release of Action Comics issue number one, which will coincide with the relaunch of the rest of the DC Universe.

The event featured a word from Mike Mignola on his return to Hellboy, a double feature screening of Richard Donner’s Superman 1 and 2, a conversation between the LA Times’ own Geoff Boucher and Donner (and the aforementioned DC team) with updates on, well, the updates.

The bulk of the dialog centered on amusing anecdotes about Geoff Johns’ time as an intern, and then assistant, for Donner and the inspiration for and creation of the first two Superman films. However, that talk eventually wove into a discussion on the rebirth of the DC characters and (as his was the character we were there to honor) Superman in particular.

DC Universe Reboot by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee; All New Justice League

The rebooted Justice League, coming this fall.

When Geoff Johns introduced his old mentor and friend Richard Donner, he recalled seeing a sign in the director’s office that simply read “verisimilitude.” When Johns asked why the sign was up, Donner told him a story about an early draft of Superman in which the Man of Steel was searching for Lex Luthor and swept down to a busy street to grab a bald man, only to discover that it was Telly Savalas. Donner felt that the gag  (like much of the original script) was campy and unrealistic, he wanted to make sure to ground his Superman, to make the character and the story relatable. In other words, to work toward to goal of verisimilitude, or “having the quality of realism.”

Donner confessed that (aside from the (at that time) shockingly high one million dollar salary) the reason that he ultimately agreed to direct Superman was because he grew up with the character and knew that, “It was going to be destroyed by the Hungarians.” The Hungarians in question were producers Alexander and Ilya Salkind who sought Donner out to direct Superman after seeing The Omen. As Donner tells it, the initial script was, “Ridiculous. It was a parody of a parody. It was being made by Hungarians with Costa Rican diplomatic passports (who had never been to Costa Rica) and was being directed by an Englishmen (at the time) who had never seen any Superman or read any comics and it was going to be shot in Italy. And it was like, ‘Hey, this is apple pie man, you’re destroying it.’ So I called them and said, ‘I’m interested, but the only way I will do it is if I can rewrite it.’” When the producers asked Donner which portions of the script he would want to re-write he replied simply, “Beginning, middle and end.”

Which he did, with a commitment to create believable characters and circumstances.

Christopher Reeve as Superman

Christopher Reeve as Donner’s Superman

Some would contend that Donner ushered in the formula for a successful modern Superhero movie. His Superman movie depicted  a world that stays true to the essence of the character and yet has a quality of timeliness and relatability for the audience it is being created for. He also was savvy about how to cast the film. Geoff Boucher recalled that Christopher Nolan credited Superman for creating a template for how he would cast his comic-book movies, noting that having well-established actors (such as Terence Stamp and Marlon Brando) in the supporting roles in Superman “lent a gravity to the epicness” of the tale.

Boucher also acknowledged that there is some concern today about how to stay true to the essence of a character while still adapting to modern trends and cultural mores – especially when it comes to the character of Superman. Many feel that he is in some ways simply too old-fashioned to work today without fundamentally altering the basic nature of the character.

Some theorize that this conundrum accounts for the failure of Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns.

Boucher posed the following question to Donner:

“Today there are so many Superhero films (there are four this summer) and watching a movie like “X-Men” we see characters like Wolverine — anti-heros. Magneto is an antihero in this film and you look at “The Dark Knight” films and they’re very, very dark. Superman is inherently different. He’s a daytime character, Batman is a nighttime character. Some people think that that presents a problem moving forward. Everyone knows that Warner Bros. is about to do another “Superman” film — do you think that Superman is a 20th century hero, or do you think that he’s also a 21st century hero?”

Donner said he felt he was a 21st century hero, that the film has a great director, and a good group behind it and he was sure they will “come up with the right way — whether it is dark, or middle of the road.” Boucher followed up by asking what Donner felt the was one thing they should not do with the character to which Donner replied, “I don’t give advice, I take it.”

Given the revised look of Superman in the upcoming Action Comics reboot (as seen below) and what we know of Henry Cavill’s intense physical training for his role in Man of Steel (from both Cavill himself as well as director Zack Snyder) we can surmise that there are clearly some changes in store for the character in both the comics and the films.

A Rebooted Superman

How these changes will be implemented beyond the physical plane remains to be seen. The language that Geoff Johns and Jim Lee and Grant Morrison were using at the event did feel like an attempt to educate and prepare the audience for a rather large scale paradigm shift for the DC Universe characters, Superman in particular.

As the Chief Creative Officer for DC Entertainment, Johns has the overview of the entire DC franchise (film, television, animation, interactive…) in mind when he is making decisions, and we can only imagine that his ultimate goal is to make a shift that re-energizes established fans as well as drawing in a new generation of comic-book readers and moviegoers.

As Lee said, it is about “re-imagining a lot of the things that established these characters and their backstories.” He continued by saying that there really had not yet been an origin story for the Justice League, which makes it a “prime example of something where we can go in and maybe add something to the lore, and add a really kick-ass contemporary story that feels modern and really shows why these characters really need to be together.”

superman by john byrne

John Byrne’s Superman

He continued by saying that the goal is to go through the entire DC Universe and make it “more contemporary and modern” to create space for new readers to come in. Lee fondly recalled the relaunch of Superman # 1 “Back in the days of John Byrne,” which he cited as a time that re-established his interest in the character, saying, “it felt like my own version.”

Lee emphasizes that, “these iconic characters are never set in stone,” and reminded the audience that Batman was at one time a more “whimsical character” who in the sixties became darker and grittier.

The question becomes: What is to become of Superman now? What is this generation’s version of the character? Does his essential nature shift? If the creators acknowledge that his manner may be disconnected from the sensibilities of contemporary audiences, do they try to change the character to fit the times, or try to remind audiences of the ideals he stands for? These are certainly hard questions facing the creators at DC Comics.

Grant Morrison stressed that in the world of Action Comics they are going to, “recreate the first superhero ever (Superman) for the 21st century and to do something new, take a new look at something that people have preconceptions about and to change some of the basics.” He continued by saying that they wanted to do a, “take on Superman that is so different that no one can expect what may happen next.”

Action Comics 900 Superman Renounces American Citizenship

He indicated that Action Comics #1 would also be an origin tale when he said that:

“One of the things we are going to do in this book is to show you how Superman is who he is, why he ended up wearing the costume that he wears and to show a different side to the character than we’ve ever seen before.” He went on to say, “We want to approach this as the title suggests as a big action comic, to try and create a new language for comics, a new velocity, a new propulsive story — things only comics can do and movies can’t even catch up with.”

So they will (essentially) highlight the action in Action Comics, which may indicate a physically intense, combat heavy, classical action-hero version of Big Blue — exactly the sort of Superman who shows up onscreen in Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel, when it debuts in theaters in December 2012.

How do you feel – does the character of Superman need to be changed? Or does the public need to be reminded of the ideals he stands for? Would you be open to a “new interpretation” of the character showing up in Man of Steel?

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June 14, 2011: DC Comics Debuts New Superman Costume

Ever since DC Comics announced that they would be relaunching their entire roster of comics, fans have been wondering what effect the relaunch would have on Superman. DC answers that very question today with the debut of the cover at right for Superman #1.

As you can see in the image, gone are the red trunks and yellow belt which have been replaced by an almost armor like blue outfit and red belt. The famous “S” shield has been tweeked to give a raised appearance ala “Superman Returns” while the cape looks to remain the same.

The core elements of Superman’s costume have remained relativley the same over the past 70+ years with only subtle changes made in television, film, and comic book appearances. The last time DC decided to drastically overhaul Superman was in 1998. The Man of Steel wound up as an entity of pure energy and had to wear a special blue white containment suit that looked like it belonged in a 1980’s dance competition.

Fans were not happy with this new Superman and the storyline was quickly wrapped up with the Man of Steel returning to his original form and classic costume. One can only wonder if the upcoming relaunch and new costume will suffer the same fate as “Electric Blue Superman”.

The new Superman series is set for release in September and will be written by Grant Morrison with designs by artist Ralph “Rags” Morales.


Check out Superman’s new outfit [PHOTO]

Since the Roosevelt years, the Superhero has flown in television, film, and comics with his classic skin-tight blue suit and his red cape, complemented by a red trunks over his tights. This has been Superman’s costume when the first issue of “Action Comics” came out in June 1938.

With the 21st century reboot in DC Comics, gone is the red Speedo-like trunks in Superman’s ensemble and he will be wearing the skin tight blue outfit. The superhero will continue to use his belt, but it is red, not yellow this time around.

The new Superman series is set for release in September this year written by Grant Morrison with designs by artist Ralph “Rags” Morales.


Superman Getting New Costume in ‘Action Comics’ Relaunch

Superman New Costume

Superman will go pantsless in the 21st century reboot of “Action Comics,” DC Comics said Friday.

According to the LA Times, the long-running comic series will restart at No. 1 in September, with Scottish writer Grant Morrison and artist Ralph “Rags” Morales at the helm.

One of the most notable changes to the original comics so far is Superman’s costume. Although the Man of Steel still sports a skin-tight blue suit and his iconic red cape on the new cover, he no longer has the added protection of the Speedo-like red trunks he’s worn since the first issue of “Action Comics,” published in June 1938.

In addition to the Superman franchise, DC Comics also plans to relaunch other titles in the DC Universe, which includes superheroes such as Batman, Wonder Woman and the Green Lantern. New characters, stories and, of course, costumes will be introduced across the board.


DC Comics unveils new ‘Superman’ line

Saturday, June 11, 2011


DC Relaunch: Superman and The Final Four

relaunch banner

Look, up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s plane! Wait… is that Superman? Today, DC Comics announced the final four titles in their line-wide relaunch of 52 comics being released in September. And those four titles showcased a very different take on The Man of Steel and his Kryptonian cohorts.

This is what we’ve all been waiting for! The big Superman announcement that DC made us wait an entire week for! Aren’t you excited?? I was! And in my ongoing coverage of DC’s relaunch, lovingly dubbed “The Relaunch of Doom,” I’m listing all of the titles announced along with my running commentary, so join me as we discuss the fab four Superman family titles.

Action Comics #1Action Comics #1 – My favorite writer Grant Morrison, writer of All Star Superman, will team with one of my favorite artists Rags Morales to bring us a story unlike anything we’ve ever seen. Superman will be existing in a world that doesn’t trust The Man of Steel, but how will he react? Obviously by wearing jeans and a t-shirt, but what else? Well, since it’s a Superman story “unlike any you’ve ever read before,” I assume that we’ll be seeing The Man of Tomorrow saving the world by day, while spending his nights dealing with people’s mistrust by frequenting local Metropolis night clubs! Superman will be enjoying mojitos while dancing the night away! Oh joy! Of course, I’m only kidding, I would totally read that, but I’m kidding. The only reason I speak in jest about this is we’ve seen Superman interpreted in many different ways, especially on other Earths in the DC Universe, so I’m not sure that they can actually deliver on this promise. I know that Morrison loves and respects the character, so I just hope he doesn’t make Superman dark. The rest of the company’s comics are dark, let Superman the beacon that we can all look towards again. Please. Fans deserve it after the past few years.

Superman #1Superman #1George Perez, the legendary artist of Crisis on Infinite Earths and The New Teen Titans and writer of one of the most important runs of Wonder Woman, will be writing this title alongside the artwork of Jesus Merino, who I love, will be showing us the new status quo on Superman and how it effects his (former?) girlfriend/wife Lois Lane and his pal Jimmy Olsen. This title, I assume, will focus more on Superman and his relationships with those in Metropolis rather than the big storyline that Grant Morrison is concocting on Action. I have no reason to doubt this book, so I’ll probably check out the first couple of issues to test the waters, but if this goes the way of so many other Superman stories, then it runs the risk of a muddled creative direction tied to the standard story of alien attack on Metropolis, Superman fights them, game over. There’s only so many times that can happen before it gets a little old. So, I’m cautiously optimistic in regards to Superman.

Supergirl #1Supergirl #1 – DC describes this new characterization from writers Michael Green and Mike Johnson and artist Mahmud Asrir as having “the unpredictable behavior of a teenager, the same powers as Superman and none of his affection for the people of Earth.” Well, doesn’t that just sound spectacular? Another dark take on Supergirl! Hopefully, that’s just a misdirection. I mean, how dark of character can someone be with knee-less boots on? But does anyone actually like Supergirl when she’s written like an angry brat? Because I sure don’t. I prefer a fun, light take on the character while also never losing the sensibility that she kicks ass, much like we’ve been seeing from James Peaty’s recent arc on the title. Judging by the look of these announcements, it seems like DC doesn’t seem to realize that their characters can be fun and be tough at the same time. And if I’m being honest, I’m not interested in this title in September. Until then, however, I will be purchasing every issue of Kelly Sue DeConnick and Chriscross’ upcoming arc.

Superboy #1Superboy #1 – The other new DC golden boy, Scott Lobdell will be teaming up with artists R.B. Silva and Rob Lean to bring an all sort of new take on the character of Superboy. And that’s really all I can think of saying regarding the title. Although I typically enjoy Silva’s art, I’m not terribly interested in this title. The strange thing about what we see from the cover of this is that this character design is a far cry from what we see from the cover(s) of Teen Titans. So, how knows? The one thing I know is that I probably won’t be picking up this title in September. It just doesn’t really grab my attention, at all.

That is finally it for all of DC’s titles coming in September! YAY!! We’ve finished this chapter in our lives together! Wait… are you telling me this is only the beginning of DC’s relaunch!? In the immortal words of Kel Mitchell from Keenan and Kel, “Awww… here it goes!” Widgets


DC al Fine*: The Great Superhero … Reboot? Relauch? Revamp? Retread?

WE'RE NUMBER 1! Uh, literally. Cover of JUSTICE LEAGUE #1, due in September.
Enlarge DC Comics

WE'RE NUMBER 1! Uh, literally. Cover of JUSTICE LEAGUE #1, due in September.

Last week, DC Comics — the house of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and Beppo the Super-Monkey — called a do-over.

A bit of background: A summer crossover event called Flashpoint is currently wreaking merry havoc across the DC Universe. Just about every superhero title DC publishes is experiencing temporal quakes and reality rifts and throwdowns with alternate-timeline doppelgangers — the whole “EVERYTHING YOU THOUGHT YOU KNEW IS WRONG!” schmear, really.

We true-believers have seen this before, of course. A threat to the very fabric of space-time is a rite of the superhero summer: It is the very zinc oxide. The ice cream sandwich. And, at times, the prickly heat.

What we didn’t appreciate, however, is that this particular crossover event will have real-world ramifications. Come September, DC’s entire superhero line will start over: Some 52 different titles will get all-new “first” issues.

Also? From now on, all of them will be available digitally on the same day the physical comic arrives in stores.


So What’s the Big Deal, Here? The Renumbering?

Depends on who you are. To collectors and speculators, yeah. I mean, superhero titles relaunch all the time — hell, there’ve been like seven Aquaman #1s over the years, if you count mini-series — yet still they get snapped up.

To folk like me, who read superhero books for the characters, stories and face-punching, the number on the cover has never mattered much. Oh sure, when I was a kid, I knew several guys who could reel off the issue numbers of various character’s origins, deaths, costume changes, etc., but lately? Not so much. I’ve a feeling this very particular skill set is going vestigial, the appendix of comic book nerddom in the age of Google.

No, the renumbering’s all about people like you. You, the non-comics reader.

It is an attempt to underscore a point the people at DC are making VERY EMPHATICALLY: You don’t need to know a blessed thing about these characters to pick up any of these #1 issues. They are wiping the spandex slate clean.

So, It’s the Rebooting of These Characters? That’s the Really Big Deal, Here?

Well, it’s a big deal, anyway. Not in the sense that rebooting a superhero is in any way unprecedented — editors at DC and Marvel do so much rebooting they could moonlight in shoe repair — but the scale of this endeavor, its company-wide simultaneity, that‘s notable.

There have been similar wholesale, company-wide changes to continuity, over the years, with names like New Universe and Crisis on Infinite Earths, and all of them – every last one – has been driven in part by the desire to reach beyond the likes of me and my pasty colleagues in comics nerdery, to you. The vast sea of yous, out there, with your money, and your income, and … your money.

For we have arrived at the great, abiding myth that the superhero comics community clings to: “The reason normals don’t read about superheroes is because they’re put off by the dense continuity, so all we need do is give them a clear jumping-on point, AND WE’LL HOOK ‘EM.”

See also: “The reason more people don’t read romance novels is because they don’t like the naughty bits, so all we need do is clean ’em up, AND WE’LL HOOK ‘EM.”

And: “The reason more people don’t watch bridal reality shows is because they hate weddings, so all we have to do is make a show about the rehearsal dinner, AND WE’LL HOOK ‘EM.”

The salient reason that more people aren’t reading about mainstream superheroes, of course, is not because they are unaware of their existence, or confused by backstory — it’s that they don’t happen to be particularly interested in mainstream superheroes.

Any genre self-limits its audience to a greater or lesser extent. My love of the goofier aspects of superherodom, for example, is deep, and it is shared by many different men and women of various ages. But man, is it niche-y.

And while someone who isn’t particularly interested in superheroes might catch The Dark Knight on opening weekend, the experience isn’t going to turn that person into … well, me, for example.

Now: Can a genre like superhero comics, with a bit of proselytizing (hi there!) and innovation, achieve a wider appeal? Sure.

Will September’s company-wide reboot help? It could: The full line-up hasn’t been revealed yet, but there signs and portents that the new line-up will include horror comics, Western comics, war comics — the kind of fare that took over the comics racks in the 50s, when the superhero’s appeal first went into retrograde. (Granted, DC seems to be hedging its bets by making these titles SUPERHERO horror comics, etc. Even so.)

There’s more to say about the changes coming to the titles — including some surprising returning characters and an apparent editorial effort to increase diversity among the super-ranks — but we’ll wait until we get closer to the pub dates, and know more.

What About That Same-Day Digital Distribution Thing?

For my money … literally, for my money … that’s the big deal, here, the part of this whole initiative that’ll have the longest-term effects.

According to DC, the physical and digital versions of a comic released on a given day will sell for the same price (say, $3.99); four weeks later, the price of the digital version of that issue will drop (to say, $1.99).

Retailers and readers alike are sharply and vocally divided on how this will affect comics shops sales. It’ll be fascinating to watch.

And Finally: Batman in Culottes. You Heard Me. BATMAN IN CULOTTES.

In the aftermath of the initial announcement, various DC artists and writers took to Twitter to offer cryptic/cruel teases about what lies ahead.

Writer Gail Simone won the day, the week, and the rest of the fiscal year by threatening to put all female DCU characters in culottes, and following that up with a call for sketches of Batman himself — Batman! The Dark Knight Detective! The Caped Crusader! The Lone Avenger of the Night! — in culottes.

Thus was born a meme. Go here, and make your day better.


*”DC al Fine!” You got my snooty musical-notation-nerd joke, you snooty musical-notation-nerd, you!


Worst. Crisis. Ever: DC Comics “Reboots” Superman, Batman and Co.


Is there anyone on the planet who doesn’t know how Superman became Superman? How about Batman? Despite the fact that everyone already knows the stories, DC Comics is going to relaunch these and the rest of its superhero comic books in September.

DC is calling it a ”reboot.” As far as I can tell, this means restarting the issue count at #1, adding blood and making the superheroines’ clothes even more revealing — if at all possible. (See Catwoman sample at right.)

The Time-Warner (TWX) subsidiary says the move is about adding diversity and a more modern look. This means we may actually get a second African-American superhero (Luke Cage, a lonely nation turns its eyes to you). Nor is that the only addition. As Marissa Meli put it: “So you can definitely expect at least somebody besides Batwoman to be gay. It’s about time, Wonder Woman. It’s about time.”

The real reason, of course, is to make the comics more interesting to new readers and therefore sell more of them.

Hey, DC! Alienate this!

Unfortunately, doing this also means running the risk of alienating long-time customers. And there is no one so ready to be alienated as comic book fan. These are the people (your author included) who have no problem with flying people shooting mysterious rays out of their eyes and destroying entire cities (which are always re-assembled for the next issue), but somehow find it illogical when the weapon or villain destroyed 150 issues ago suddenly re-appears without explanation. Your average comic book fan can pick a nit so fine that Talmudic scholars gnash their teeth in envy.

As one fan put it:

This dismissiveness is offensive to loyal readers. It implies (although wrongly) that all past continuity is irrelevant, and what you’ve read before doesn’t matter any more. Storylines old (”Invasion”, “Legends”, “Judas Contract”, “Knightfall”, “Death of Superman”) and new (”Blackest Night”, “Final Crisis”, “Batman, Inc.”) don’t matter. If true, why are you buying these books any more? Why not quit now and — if you have the stomach for it — start again in September?

And that is one of the nicer posts.

DC fans in particular have every reason to be rolling their eyes and snorting dismissively. This is at least the fifth time the company has tried a restart from scratch (three of those restarts were in the last decade).

  • 1985’s “Crisis on Infinite Earths” – a villain called the Anti-Monitor ripped reality apart
  • 1994’s “Zero Hour” — Homicidal Green Lantern tries to blow up the universe;
  • 2005’s “Infinite Crisis” is my favorite: A homicidal version of Superboy punches the universe so hard it resets history.
  • There is debate in the fan community as to whether 2008’s “Final Crisis” was a genuine reboot or just an ironic comment.

The original Detective Comics #27, which featured the first appearance of Batman, recently sold for $1 million. How much will the new one fetch? If you said about $2.99, you are a winner.

Picture: DC Comics



Is Clark Kent and Lois Lane’s marriage on the rocks?

Busiek said the marriage also makes dramatic stories a little harder to accomplish when writing Superman. “It’s harder for Clark to be in a bind at work if he’s got someone there covering for him. And of course, it’s harder to do stories where he explores the idea of romance, or of finding a place to belong that isn’t necessarily with Lois. It makes him feel less like an outsider, more like a homebody,” he said. “Which is nice for those of us who like those things in our own lives, but it’s not as dramatic. And while there’s drama in marriage, it’s not always easy to bring that kind of drama to the kind of sweeping action-adventure story that’s usually Superman’s wheelhouse.

“None of this is to say those challenges are insurmountable,” Busiek added. “I wrote a married Superman and had very little difficulty with it. But the one pre-marriage story I wrote felt even sharper, livelier in the Clark/Lois relationship. It can definitely work either way, but I think there’s more immediate juice in having their relationship unresolved, more competitive and subject to change.”

But Beatty wonders if the marriage isn’t actually a chance to explore something new, instead of simply exploring the old “love triangle” created by clueless Lois Lane, Superman, and bumbling Clark Kent.

“I think the main benefit of having Clark and Lois married is that it grounds Superman in a very human and adult experience,” he said. “We’ve seen the Man of Steel struggle to balance the life of Clark Kent. … with the role of superhero. And the romantic triangle has been played out for nearly three-quarters of a century.”

Marvel did it

In 2008, Marvel rocked the comic book-reading audience by magically eliminating the marriage between Peter Parker and his wife, Mary Jane. Through a story originally written by Straczynski in “Amazing Spider-Man” — then famously rewritten by Marvel executives — a magic character made it so that Spidey’s marriage never existed.

Yet Straczynski isn’t a big fan of eliminating a character’s marriage, despite being involved in the Spider-Man revamp. “This is an argument we had over and over at Marvel about Spider-Man, and there really isn’t a good answer to it,” he said. “You can tell good stories with them married, and good stories with them single. It’s really a function of what the company wants to do with them, and the image they want to present.

“I enjoy writing strong relationships, and I liked writing both of those relationships [with Spider-Man and Superman] as marriages,” he said. “I was happy leaving the Parkers married, and in terms of Clark and Lois, again it can play fine either way.

“Really, the only difference between the two is that if they’re single, they can fool around with other folks,” he said. “But if it’s a monogamous relationship, and they’re never going to date others, then there’s really not a compelling argument not to have them married.”

Yet the fact that Marvel did put an end to Peter Parker’s marriage, and has maintained the character’s single status since, points to a precedent that may interest DC.

DC has come in second to Marvel every year since 2002 in market share, according to Diamond Comics Distributors, which maintains sales numbers for the comic book industry. With its September revamp, DC is hoping to close that gap.

Flashpoint Lois Lane

Lois Lane has gotten new attention in “Flashpoint,” being given her own series, “Lois Lane and the Resistance.”

In the three-issue story, Lois Lane is single. She’s never met Superman, and she never reported about his existence.

“Lois is exactly the character we know and love, except just remove from her equation the fact that she’s ever met Superman,” said Dan Abnett, co-writer of the “Flashpoint” tie-in series with his collaborator, Andy Lanning. “She’s the spunky, snarky reporter she always was, who hasn’t necessarily had the breaks she’s had in the DC [Universe], because she never got that star scoop story of Superman.”

The story centers on Lois as a reporter who becomes stuck in the middle of a war zone, and she eventually gets caught up in the local resistance movement.

The end of the main “Flashpoint” series, which will be released on Aug. 31, is supposed to be the precursor for the big changes DC is making in September. But it’s the tie-in story of single reporter Lois Lane that opens the door for the character to be single even longer.

Superman in other media

The marriage of Lois Lane and Clark Kent originally occurred in comics to coincide with the characters’ marriage on television. At the time, Warner Bros. was supporting the hit TV show “Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman,” starring Teri Hatcher and Dean Cain.

In 1996, the two television characters got married. So DC Comics timed the comic book wedding to happen at the same time.

But now, Warner is concentrating on its movie universe, with the release of “Green Lantern” this year and the “Man of Steel” film next year.

Starring Henry Cavill as Superman and Amy Adams as Lois Lane, the movie will tell the origin story of Clark Kent, leading up to the early days of his life as Superman.

In other words, his unmarried life.

Despite the success of former “Superman” movies, this film will reboot the story, relaunching the franchise for what is expected to be more than one movie. Along with other characters, Superman will also be part of DC’s current plans for a “Justice League” film.

And if the marriage was used to align the comics with other media, it would stand to reason that the marriage might be ended to align the comics with the new Man of Steel.

New readers

Publishing is a business, and this fact is behind everything DC does. And it’s all about selling comics. So one of the most obvious reasons to make a big change to Superman’s marital status is to not only give the character a clean slate for new readers “outside” the normal comic reading audience, but also attract the attention of the “mainstream” media, to help reach those potential readers.

Giving Superman an effective “divorce” accomplishes both with one stone.

“If we can convince the people here we’re doing something brand-new and fresh, we have a good chance to really get the people outside on board,” DC co-publisher DiDio said.

Comic books, which are primarily sold through small, local comic shops, have experienced a drop in sales over the past two years. DC’s revamp announcement included efforts to add digital customers to its distribution, but the real issue for DC’s characters is the fact they have 76 years of history behind them.

“We’re allowing people who have never bought a comic book in their lives to download them on portable media devices and take a look,” co-publisher Jim Lee said.

The attention the end of the marriage would likely receive new, curious readers learning about it on the same device they can download the story — a combination DC might not be able to resist.

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