Now we know why Superman is wearing his underwear on the outside again

Brian Michael Bendis’ Man of Steel, a prelude to his imminent storylines in Action Comics and Superman, has been a story framed by mysteries. Who is the barbaric alien warrior, Rogol Zaar, who has suddenly appeared? Where are Superman’s wife and son, Lois Lane and Jon Kent, who seem to have disappeared?

Next to those mysteries, the question of why Superman suddenly started wearing his costume with the red trunks, instead of the trunk-less one he’s worn since 2011, could have been just another thing to hand-wave away, like the idea that nobody recognizes Clark Kent when they see Superman.

But Man of Steel’s final issue shows us that Lois and Jon’s disappearance and the reappearance of Superman’s underpants are inextricably linked.

And it’s not because Clark doesn’t know how to do laundry.

[Warning: This post contains spoilers for Man of Steel #6.]

My Summer Vacation in Space

Superman’s battle against Rogol Zaar, who wants to eradicate the universe’s final living Kryptonians — i.e., Superman, Supergirl and Superboy — takes the action-packed fore in Man of Steel. And even while he contests with Rogol Zaar, Superman is also busy with a rash of arsons in Metropolis and editorial changes at the Daily Planet.

But between all that, Bendis and artist Jason Fabok have given us flashbacks to a single evening in the Kent/Lane apartment, where a mysterious intruder has appeared. Last week, we discovered his identity: Jor-El, Superman’s Kryptonian father, who was revealed to be alive (and now kinda villainous) in Action Comics last year.

Jor-El has shown up with a sort-of demand, sort-of offer: He wants to take his grandson on a trip. A long trip.


Jor-El, Superman’s Kryptonian father, in Man of Steel #6, DC Comics (2018).

Jor-El explains his plans for grandfather/grandson bonding.
Brian Michael Bendis, Jason Fabok/DC Comics

Jon very much feels like he needs to go. But Jor-El’s tendency towards villainy, or at least the view that his son is wasting his time helping a species as self-interested and petty as humans, gives Clark and Lois some understandable pause.

After a lot of thinking — about how much their son wants this, and how hard it would be to try and prevent super-powered Jon or Jor-El from just stealing away in the night, AND how damaging it could be to their relationship with their super-powered, pre-teen son to even try — Lois makes a decision.

Jon can go with Jor-El on one condition: that she goes with them. Lois just signed on a two-book deal with a publisher, and decides that she’ll make one of them about her galactic adventure. Perry White at the Daily Planet will be mad — in fact, he fires her — but she expects he’ll come around.

Clark knows he’s been outmaneuvered, and he’s mad about it, but … he’s still been outmaneuvered.

Anyway, the underwear

As Clark and Lois say their goodbyes, he hands her nothing less than his Superman costume (see the image at the top of this post). It’s for her to wear on her big summer vacation in space.


Lois Lane and Clark Kent in Man of Steel #6, DC Comics (2018).

Brian Michael Bendis, Jason Fabok/DC Comics

Don’t worry, it fits.

And there you have it: Superman’s gone back to the red trunks because he loaned his modern suit to his wife, to keep her safe as she travels across the galaxy with her son and father-in-law. Man of Steel has given us a story that temporarily isolates its hero from his support network.

At the end, Supergirl takes it upon herself to scour the galaxy for Rogol Zaar, while the rest of his family goes on a trip without him. Bendis and Fabok give us a quiet, sad page of Clark alone in his son’s room, strewn with action figures and decorated with a poster of the Teen Titans — taking the time to give that isolation the weight it deserves.

What happens next — and what happens when his family returns, will play out in the pages of Bendis’ Superman #1 on July 11, and Action Comics #1001 on July 25.

From: https://www.polygon.com/comics/2018/7/5/17536922/superman-costume-change-brian-michael-bendis-man-of-steel

Henry Cavill’s Mission: Impossible Mustache Was Inspired By A Superman Villain

The character of Elias Orr, or simply Mr. Orr, is a mercenary who has gone to work for everybody from world governments to Lex Luthor. One has to assume that Cavill came across Elias Orr while reading comics to prep for his role as Superman. His background is mostly shrouded in mystery, but in the end, what’s key to the character, in this case, isn’t necessarily who he is — we have no idea if the two characters have much in common from a personality standpoint — but what he looks like, and a look at Elias Orr in the comics makes it quite obvious how he inspired Henry Cavill’s facial hair decisions.

From: https://www.cinemablend.com/news/2449419/henry-cavills-mission-impossible-mustache-was-inspired-by-a-superman-villain

Brian Michael Bendis’ Superman: The Man of Steel, reviewed …

There was an element of shock when DC announced that Brian Michael Bendis was taking over Superman. Bendis had spent nearly two decades as the top writer at Marvel Comics, and, in all honesty, Superman wasn’t the obvious choice for him. While he’s certainly no stranger to the kind of cosmic superhero epics that readers expect from the Man of Steel, Bendis’ long history in crime comics and grittier superheroes made Batman the more obvious pick. There was even the potential to pick up a character like the Question or Cameron Chase and take them from the B list to the bestseller list overnight.

But if Bendis’ first six issues at DC Comics, the miniseries Man of Steel, have shown anything, it’s that Superman was the obvious choice. The Marvel Comics titan has a genuine and obvious affection for Superman that’s every bit as strong as his connection to Peter Parker or Luke Cage, and it shows in the way that he writes him.

The tricky part is that it doesn’t always come through with everything else.


DC Comics house ad for Brian Michael Bendis’ Superman.

Jim Lee/DC Comics

There’s a longstanding tradition at DC Comics that when someone who defined their career at Marvel comes over, they wind up on a Superman title. When Jack Kirby crossed the street in 1971, 10 years after he launched the Marvel Age of Comics alongside Stan Lee and changed superhero comics forever, he started in the pages of Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen. That was the title that launched the Fourth World saga, in which the Last Son of Krypton — redrawn by Al Plastino so that their flagship character wouldn’t use Kirby’s style and look too much like a Marvel hero — was as much of a major player as his redheaded sidekick.

It happened again in 1987, when John Byrne relaunched an all-new Superman #1 after spending the previous decade redefining the Fantastic Four and, with Chris Claremont, the X-Men. When John Romita Jr. finally came to DC in 2014, after a 30-year career of working almost exclusively for the competition, his first gig was Superman, too.

In 2018, the same thing happened with Bendis. After spending the past 18 years becoming the ultimate company man for the House of Ideas — to the point where he even moved his creator-owned titles to Marvel under the Icon imprint — Bendis made the leap to DC, debuting in the pages of Action Comics #1000 and launching a new Man of Steel miniseries right after.


DC Comics’ house ad for Jack Kirby’s DC Comics work.

DC Comics

His arrival was heralded with exactly the kind of fanfare that had been given to Kirby, in a very literal sense, with house ads proclaiming “BENDIS IS COMING” in deliberate recreation of the “KIRBY IS COMING” ads from ‘71. And honestly? It should’ve been.

Kirby had been one of the driving forces at Marvel for ten years when he came to DC, and while there’s no disputing that he’s one of the most influential comics creators who ever lived, Bendis’ career at Marvel had gone almost twice as long with a massive influence of his own. He was the writer on Avengers when they became Marvel’s flagship franchise, picking up the reins put down by the X-Men at the end of the ‘90s. He’s the co-creator of Jessica Jones. He reinvented Spider-Man twice. Like it or not, for a long time, on the writer side of things at least, Bendis was Marvel.

Superman is the kind of character that you don’t associate with Bendis, who has always found a solid footing in his characters’ most engaging flaws. He defined his tenure at Marvel by exploring Spider-Man’s youth and all the mistakes that go along with being a teenager, and by exploring dark themes with Jessica Jones, who might end up being his most famous original co-creation.

Those are stories that are far removed from what works for Superman, but they’re also pretty far afield from what we’ve seen so far of Bendis’ Superman work. The most “Marvel Comics” writer of the 21st century has gone right for the character that the entire DC Universe is built around, and while it didn’t take the form we might’ve expected, it was pretty great.

Or at least, Superman himself was. Bendis is well-known among readers for his signature dialogue tics, including the repetitive, rapid-fire, back-and-forth conversations that often fill his panels. It was something on display in his Action Comics #1000 story, where the Gilmore Girlsian patter was focused on the subject of Superman’s red trunks making their triumphant return after seven years of increasingly bad redesigns that tried to one-up the most iconic superhero costume in history.

His take on Clark Kent and his invulnerable alter-ego, on the other hand, didn’t feel like Bendis. It felt like Superman. He’s thoughtful, he’s concerned with the people around him, he’s smart and curious and kind of charmingly square. He feels awkward about discussing his personal life because he literally has all the responsibility for everyone in the world resting on his shoulders, and he uses that responsibility as an understandable reason to get out of uncomfortable conversations with Green Lantern. He gets frustrated with himself. He’s exactly the kind of relatable, responsible, solid dude that you want Superman to be.

There’s a scene in the final issue of Man of Steel that might honestly be one of my favorite Superman scenes in recent memory. When his son, Jon Kent, freaks out about how there’s a possible future where he ”kills millions of people” because he can’t control his powers, Clark kneels down and tells him that you can’t spend your time worrying about possible futures and bad timelines, and that all you need to do is focus on what you’re doing in the world right now.


Clark Kent and his son, Jon, in Man of Steel #6, DC Comics (2018).

Brian Michael Bendis, Jason Fabok/DC Comics

The wonderful moment builds on the incredible metaphor of what anxiety looks like in a world full of talking telepathic gorillas, where you can actually travel to the future and see if everything works out okay. In the best case, you run into the Legion of Super-Heroes and an art-deco 31st century. But what if you see something else? Would you be able to act, knowing that any action you take could send you hurtling towards a timeline that’s even worse than the one we’re in?

Beyond that, though, Superman is the perfect character to give this speech. There are few things DC Comics as a company loves more than an alternate timeline where Superman is either a killer, a villain, or otherwise in need of being beaten up by someone, usually Batman. They’ve done two video games about this exact premise, which are the only non-Lego video games Superman has starred in since 2006.

The idea that Superman is aware of all this, because he lives in a world where alternate timelines are a tangible fact of reality, is great. It makes him smart. It makes him a person whose concerns are commensurate with the abilities that he has. But the fact that he’s talking about this stuff while also dealing with the (relatively) smaller problem of a string of arsons in Metropolis reinforces the idea that he’s out there fighting his Neverending Battle at all possible scales. It makes him a good dad, and for people who are coming to Superman for the first time in a while, putting that version of Superman forward instead of scowling strongman with glowing red eyes means something.

Bendis is working with artists like Steve Rude, Doc Shaner, Ryan Sook, and Kevin Maguire, any of whom could be a draw on a Superman title no matter who was writing it, but there’s something that’s really working here. It’s always a tricky proposition to ascribe opinions to creators based solely on their work, but it seems pretty safe to say that Bendis likes Superman as a character, and it’s evident that he understands him.

The biggest problem comes in the form of the book’s villain, Rogol Zaar, whose name I have to look up every single time I want to talk about him, because he’s less of a character and more of the superhero equivalent of radio static in a humanoid shape. I have my sincere doubts that there is any force in this world or the next that will make me care about him. That’s partly because I have a particular, personal dislike of stories that center on Krypton, but partly because of the simple fact that it’s already been done.

“What if Krypton… was murrrrrdered?” is one of the first ideas you’d come up with if you wanted to tell an epic Superman story, and makes sense, too, if you view the destruction of Krypton as the great motivating tragedy of Superman’s past, as many writers do. It’s like having Batman run into Joe Chill as an adult; it allows for the possibility of a resolution to that tragedy. It becomes something to confront, and since you can’t really do that with geologic instability, there has to be a villain.


Rogol Zaar in The Man of Steel #4, DC Comics (2018).

Brian Michael Bendis, Kevin Maguire/DC Comics

That’s probably why it’s exactly the plot of Superman: Earth One, by Shane Davis and J. Michael Straczynski — another Marvel-exclusive transplant who wound up on a high-profile Superman project. That book featured a different genocidal alien with a name that’s not worth looking up, and it wasn’t good there, either.

The only time it has been good is in Superman: The Animated Series, and even there it was shifted into a form that made more sense, and was a little more complicated than just “what if it was this guy, though?” It wasn’t a new villain created for the role, it was the long-established Brainiac, and he wasn’t truly responsible for Krypton’s destruction, he’s just the one who allowed it to happen by discrediting Jor-El.

The simple fact is that there’s already a huge presence in the Superman mythos that ties Superman back to the destruction of his home planet. It’s called Kryptonite, and it’s kind of a big deal.

There’s always a possibility that this idea could work, but Rogol Zaar isn’t the character to make it happen, even if Superman showing up at as he’s trying to bomb the Earth’s core and asking “Hey, what’s that?” is a pretty great moment. Despite a few efforts to tie him to the history of the DC Universe, there’s just nothing to Rogol Zaar in the six issues we’ve got. Plus, we don’t actually get to see him fighting a bunch of tiny Supermans on panel, which is the real tragedy of the destruction of the shrunken Kryptonian city of Kandor.

As for everything else in Man of Steel, most of it falls into the realm of unexpected, but not necessarily thrilling. The great moment in Superman talking to Jon about alternate futures is balanced out by Jon talking like a tiny adult rather than a kid, and while Bendis’s signature patter actually does work well for Lois Lane, whisking her out of the book seems like the weirdest choice of the whole run.


Jor-el in The Man of Steel #4, DC Comics (2018).

Brian Michael Bendis, Jason Fabok/DC Comics

Along the same lines, doing a story where the guy who destroyed Krypton shows up to murder anything even touched by that planet’s legacy is undercut quite a bit when Superman’s Kryptonian dad, Jor-El, inexplicably pops out of a spaceship to drag the supporting cast into an off-panel space adventure. I’m behind on a lot of titles, but I am by no means the new-to-DC reader that might be pulled in by Bendis’ arrival, and I have no idea what that dude is doing alive and not exploded into bits by the literal premise of this story.

What sums it up best is the book’s new character, a firefighter named Melody Moore, who’s also investigating the arsons plaguing Metropolis. Her appearance is far more notable than that of similar characters we’ve seen in the past — like Lupe Leocadio, another boots-on-the-ground public servant from Greg Rucka’s short run on Action Comics back in the 2000s — because of the absence of Lois and Jon.

There’s a deliberate line drawn between them — the fact that Melody has M.M. initials rather than the Superman mythos’s traditional double-L isn’t a mistake. It’s a choice; and easy to see as a mission statement about moving the book forward, even if it’s only by a single letter further in the alphabet.

The potential to do that is clearly here. This week, the first issue of Bendis’ Superman focused on some genuinely great character work of Clark Kent alone and adrift without his supporting cast, but it also bore an ominous blurb touting Rogol Zaar’s imminent return: It looks like that precarious balance is going to continue for now. At the core of it, though, is a Superman that’s easy to like, whose humanity comes through not in spite of trappings of Krypton or the powers that are far beyond those of mortal humans, but because of how we see him dealing with them.

From: https://www.polygon.com/comics/2018/7/13/17568974/brian-michael-bendis-superman-man-of-steel-review

Bendis Promises Lois & Jon Will Return to Superman Comics in ‘Big Bold Story’

While writer Brian Michael Bendis‘ run on Superman has seen the Man of Steel isolated from his wife and son, the writer assures fans the separation is only temporary.

When a reader expressed dismay that the new DC writer had written Lois Lane and Jonathan Kent from his upcoming ongoing run as seen in the recently concluded Man of Steel miniseries, Bendis tweeted that Clark Kent’s burgeoning family will return in the pages of both Superman and Action Comics.

RELATED: Brian Michael Bendis’ Superman Comics to Be Promoted With TV Campaign

One of the central mysteries driving the six-issue miniseries officially launching Bendis’ run on the character was what became of Lois and Jon. Gradually revealed over the course of the story, the final issue showed the Man of Tomorrow’s biological father Jor-El inviting his grandson to accompany him on an educational tour of the universe rather than confining his formative years on Earth. Despite his own grave concerns, Kal-El was unable to convince Jon otherwise with Lois volunteering to accompany her son and father-in-law rather than leave Jon alone with his less-than-trustworthy grandfather.

Before taking to the stars, Lois secures an advance book deal for her upcoming interstellar voyages and promises her husband that she and her son will return to him.

RELATED: Bendis On Reviving Jinxworld, New Collaborators His DC Comics Imprint

With Bendis teasing a “big, bold story” returning the mother and son to both Superman ongoing series, the Kent family reunion is shaping up to be one for the ages.

In the meantime, Superman #1 relaunching DC’s flagship character is out this week on July 11. The issue is written by Brian Michael Bendis with art by Ivan Reis and Joe Prado.

From: https://www.cbr.com/bendis-promises-lois-jon-return-superman-big-story/

Henry Cavill Reveals He’d Like to Make a Film Based on DC’s … – CBR

Henry Cavill doesn’t seem anywhere near ready to put away the cape and tights, and the Man of Steel actor even has an idea which famous comic book storyline he would like to see adapted as a Superman film.

Speaking with with Square Mile, Cavill discussed the possibility of doing a Man of Steel sequel, rather than another ensemble film in the vein of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice or Justice League. He also called the DC storyline “For Tomorrow,” by Brian Azzarello, Jim Lee and Scott Williams “one of my favorite comic books. I would definitely like to tell a story like that.”

RELATED: Is Henry Cavill Preparing to Play Superman Again (Pretty Soon)?

“For Tomorrow” was Lee’s follow-up to the epic success of Batman: Hush, on which he collaborated with writer Jeph Loeb and, of course, his longtime inker Williams. Just like “Hush,” the storyline was a year-long effort, taking place in Superman #204-215. Unlike “Hush,” however, which was framed in such a way that Batman would either team-up with or fight a classic supervillain or superhero in each issue, “For Tomorrow” had more of an contained narrative, with Superman dealing with an ethical conflict throughout the story.

The storyline took place one year after “The Vanishing,” where a million people disappeared from Earth, including Superman’s wife, Lois Lane. Superman had been talking over his issues with a fatally ill priest, Father Leone, since the Vanishing. Eventually, he traced the effects of the Vanishing to a Middle Eastern country whose tyrannical leader has a superpowered being working for him known as Equus. After a brutal clash between Superman and Equus, there was a second Vanishing. Superman decided to trigger another Vanishing himself, but Wonder Woman arrived to try to stop him from what seemed to her to be certain death. Superman fought her off and successfully vanished. He then learned that he had himself built an alternate dimension as a place to send the people of Earth if the events of Krypton’s destruction occurred again. He had wiped the events from his mind, but that is where the vanished people had been for the past year. In the end, he brought the people back home, but in the process, Father Leone was manipulated into becoming a new version of Equus.

RELATED: Henry Cavill Flies to Iconic Superman Score in Justice League BTS Video

Cavill specifically talked about what he hopes to accomplish with new Superman stories, noting, “There’s an opportunity to keep on telling Superman stories, and getting them exactly right. Showing the things like hope and joy and that wonderful power of his to make people believe in themselves.” Those were elements that were certainly present in “For Tomorrow,” so it will be interesting to see if it ever does get adapted.

From: https://www.cbr.com/henry-cavill-superman-comic-adaptation/

Watch DC Comics’ Official TV Spot for New Bendis Superman Comics

Watch DC Comics' Official TV Spot for New Bendis Superman Comics

Watch DC Comics’ official TV spot for new Bendis Superman comics

After wrapping up his Man of Steel mini-series, Brian Michael Bendis is moving on to bigger things. The famed comic writer will be taking over both the Action Comics and Superman series moving forward and to commemorate the occasion DC has officially released a commercial for the new comics. Check it out in the player below and look for it to air on television!

The first of these new issues to debut will be Superman #1 which arrives in stores on July 11. Featuring art by Joe Prado and Ivan Reis, the series is described as follows: A bold new chapter for the greatest superhero of all time begins here as the superstar team of writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Ivan Reis begin their run on the all-new SUPERMAN! The fallout from the Man of Steel miniseries has Clark Kent looking at the world through new eyes…with new ideas about what Superman could and should do for the city of Metropolis and the planet Earth. His first job? Getting the planet back out of the Phantom Zone!

In a continuation of the ongoing series, Action Comics #1001 will arrive on July 25. Featuring art by Patrick Gleason, the series is officially described as follows: “Acclaimed writer Brian Michael Bendis’ new chapter for the Man of Steel and the world of tomorrow begins here! The devastating repercussions from the Man of Steel miniseries still reverberate as Metropolis enters a new age! The Daily Planet teeters on the brink of disaster! A new criminal element has made its way onto the streets of Superman’s hometown! The longest- running superhero comic of all time explodes off the page with art by fan favorite Patrick Gleason.”

Are you looking forward to the new Bendis Superman comic books? Sound off in the comments below!

From: http://www.superherohype.com/news/418533-tv-spot-bendis-superman-comics

Bendis Promises Lois & Jon Will Return to Superman Comics in ‘Big …

While writer Brian Michael Bendis‘ run on Superman has seen the Man of Steel isolated from his wife and son, the writer assures fans the separation is only temporary.

When a reader expressed dismay that the new DC writer had written Lois Lane and Jonathan Kent from his upcoming ongoing run as seen in the recently concluded Man of Steel miniseries, Bendis tweeted that Clark Kent’s burgeoning family will return in the pages of both Superman and Action Comics.

RELATED: Brian Michael Bendis’ Superman Comics to Be Promoted With TV Campaign

One of the central mysteries driving the six-issue miniseries officially launching Bendis’ run on the character was what became of Lois and Jon. Gradually revealed over the course of the story, the final issue showed the Man of Tomorrow’s biological father Jor-El inviting his grandson to accompany him on an educational tour of the universe rather than confining his formative years on Earth. Despite his own grave concerns, Kal-El was unable to convince Jon otherwise with Lois volunteering to accompany her son and father-in-law rather than leave Jon alone with his less-than-trustworthy grandfather.

Before taking to the stars, Lois secures an advance book deal for her upcoming interstellar voyages and promises her husband that she and her son will return to him.

RELATED: Bendis On Reviving Jinxworld, New Collaborators His DC Comics Imprint

With Bendis teasing a “big, bold story” returning the mother and son to both Superman ongoing series, the Kent family reunion is shaping up to be one for the ages.

In the meantime, Superman #1 relaunching DC’s flagship character is out this week on July 11. The issue is written by Brian Michael Bendis with art by Ivan Reis and Joe Prado.

From: https://www.cbr.com/bendis-promises-lois-jon-return-superman-big-story/

In the age of Trump, we need new superheroes


The June 1938 cover of Action Comics featured Superman. (Metropolis Collectibles/AP)

Superman was the first superhero to introduce Americans to a new role for their government. Unlike the grandiose spectacle of the hero’s current cinematic iterations, Superman’s first appearance in 1938 showed him combating social issues. In the debut issue of Action Comics, he saved a woman from death row who had been wrongly accused, prevented a domestic abuser from further harming his wife and stopped a gangster from blackmailing a senator.

Delivering justice, protecting family and stopping corruption, Superman represented the newly expanded New Deal state. His immense power could seem threatening — after all, an unstoppable alien could just as easily be villain as hero — but Superman vowed to use his powers only to advance the greater good and fight pervasive social ills. He had an infallible moral compass and an unquenchable desire to make the world a safer and fairer place.

At a time when President Franklin D. Roosevelt made bold claims of leadership and executive power, Superman mirrored the benefits for American society, embodying the palpable determination of an administration calling for “action, and action now.” Admonishing the greed and selfishness of the Roaring Twenties, the Roosevelt administration swiftly enacted laws and executive orders aimed at protecting and assisting those most vulnerable in society, such as the Social Security Act, the Wagner Act (which protected unions) and the formation of the U.S. Housing Authority.

In the pages of the comics, Superman did the same. Stories like “The Blakely Mine Disaster” and “Superman in the Slums” highlighted issues surrounding the right of the worker to a safe working environment and the need for adequate housing.

If Superman helped readers adjust to the sweeping social reforms of New Deal America, another superhero — Captain America — prepared them for war. Making his first appearance for Marvel (then known as Timely Comics) in March 1940, this indefatigable patriot represented “the American ideal — individual freedom, individual responsibility, moral sensitivity, integrity, and a willingness to fight for right,” an editor wrote in one issue.

Both his costume and his iconic round shield were emblazoned with the Stars and Stripes of his home country. Captain America battled Nazis and any other villain who dared threaten the unquestionable divinity of a free world. Planting the seeds of American interventionism mere months before the attack on Pearl Harbor (and at a time when Roosevelt was struggling to convince Americans of the threat they faced), the superhero simultaneously embodied and protected the fusion of American identity and foreign policy.

On comic pages, Superman and Captain America championed American self-confidence at a time of international uncertainty. The Writers’ War Board understood this well. During World War II, the U.S. Office of War Information used comic books as propaganda tools to encourage brave and admirable depictions of America’s identity. On the cover of Captain America Issue No. 1, a fearless Captain delivers a knockout punch to Hitler, decrying fascism as “the menace of hate and oppression, of tyranny and evil which is sweeping over the world.” Superman, in turn, sought to raise money for the war by encouraging readers to buy war bonds to “knock out the Axis.”

These characters sold a particular version of the war and its aims: celebrating diversity, domestic cooperation between labor and business and an international role for the United States abroad. Contrasted against the evils of fascism, America became the antithesis to a gruesome ideology espoused by Nazi Germany and its contempt toward freedom, individuality and human rights.

And it worked. The overt patriotism of Captain America and Superman contributed to the confidence, morale and pocketbook of the Allied Powers. Their moral certainty stood in stark contrast to the chaos and anarchy ravaging the European continent, and it helped Americans adjust to a new internationalism that the war ushered in.

During a time of upheaval at home and the looming threat of war aboard, comic books fortified new interpretations of the American spirit and a burgeoning American hegemony. Superman and Captain America were idealized notions of the American character, notions that became deeply intertwined with U.S. foreign policy. These heroes acted as a vehicle through which America could explore, dissect and ultimately understand both its national character and, eventually, its Cold War foreign policy.

And so, perhaps as America’s international prestige diminishes and its national identity becomes more exclusionary for the first time in decades, we should revisit the pages of comic books and those early adventures of Superman and Captain America for inspiration. Their early stories cemented the vision of America as a righteous and noble leader of nations in the hearts and minds of readers, a vision either lost to antiquity or simply lying dormant. And it’s a vision that we must endeavor to resuscitate in a world once again yearning for moral leadership.

The United States once again finds itself at a momentous turning-point in history. By casting its gaze back to these influential stories from a time of great uncertainty, the nation has an opportunity to adjust its faltering course, reevaluate its core principles and strive anew for the virtuous and heroic identity it has long sought to champion.

From: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/made-by-history/wp/2018/07/08/in-the-age-of-trump-we-need-new-superheroes/

Bendis Says Summer Superman Comics to be Promoted on TV – CBR

Man of Steel writer Brian Michael Bendis has confirmed that DC Comics’ upcoming summer Superman titles will be advertised via television commercials. It’s uncommon for comic book ads to appear on television, but, according to the writer, it is exactly what some comic book shops have been asking of publishers for years.

RELATED: Is DC Universe’s Comics Library the Answer to Marvel Unlimited? Not Really

The move comes just one week after DC Comics unveiled more details about its long-awaited DC Universe service, which will bundle together a streaming library, comics reader and store when it releases in August. Much like Marvel Unlimited, the service looks to bring more comics readers into the hobby through increased accessibility.

If anything can be extrapolated from recent comic book sales numbers, it’s that a hefty dose of accessibility might be what the industry needs right now. CBR’s April tabulations pegged 2018 as the worst year for comic book sales since 2011. Even Action Comics #1000 impressive sales didn’t significantly tip the scales for the month.

RELATED: Supergirl Is the Most Tragic Character in Bendis’ Man of Steel

Meanwhile, Bendis has garnered praise for his Man of Steel run, which has pitted Superman and Supergirl against the villain Rogol Zaar. August will see the return of Bendis’ Jinxworld line, the name of the writer’s creator-owned series that predates his run at Marvel Comics.

From: https://www.cbr.com/brian-michael-bendis-superman-tv-commercials/

Electric Superman Is ‘Not Superman…and Never Will Be’

In Meta-Messages, I explore the context behind (using reader danjack’s term) “meta-messages.” A meta-message is where a comic book creator comments on/references the work of another comic book/comic book creator (or sometimes even themselves) in their comic. Each time around, I’ll give you the context behind one such “meta-message.” This time around, we look at some friendly teasing of the “Electric Blue” era of Superman during a “Y2K” storyline in 2000.

Many moons ago, there was a classic early 1960s “imaginary story” in Superman #162 (imaginary stories were DC Comics stories that were set outside of the regular DC Comics continuity. So stuff could happen in them that would never actually happen in the comics) about Superman being rebuked by the people of Kandor for not doing enough for the world (by the way, that is such a Silver Age conceit – people turn on each other WAY too much in the Silver Age. Can you imagine someone saying, “You suck, Superman! If you don’t shape up in the next six months, we’re replacing you”?

Anyhow, Superman is saddened by their disappointment in him so he decides to do an experimental procedure that transforms him into two duplicate versions of himself, who are now both even smarter than before…

Superman Red and Superman Blue essentially solve all of the world’s problems and they even each settle the whole “Who will Superman choose between Lois Lane and Lana Lang?” debate by having Superman Red and Superman Blue each marry one of them.

It was a memorable story, but it was “just” an imaginary story.

That was until many years later, when Superman lost his powers during the Final Night crossover (where the Earths’ sun was extinguished). Superman got super-charged to get his powers back, but as it turns out, he got TOO much of a charge and slowly but surely, the solar energy in his body was getting out of control and his body began to change and transform into pure energy. Profesor Emil Hamilton built him a special containment suit and Superman now had a new costume and new powers that were based on energy rather than pure physical strength.

After a while, the Superman writers then took this twist a step further by having Superman’s energy split so that he formed, yep, you guessed it, two versions of himself, one dubbed Superman Red and the other Superman Blue…

The two energy beings merged back together and brought back classic Superman just in time for his 50th anniversay in 1998 (funny how that stuff works out).

In any event, by this time, the main Superman creators had been on the books for a number of years and DC decided to do a big change, replacing a number of the more veteran creators on the series for a new group of creators (while keeping a few of the newer creative teams, like Mark Schulz and Doug Mahnke and Stuart Immonen writing/drawing a book, on board).

The new teams took over in late 1999.

One of their first big crossover was as a “Y2K” event with Brainiac-13 coming to Earth from the future. Brainiac-13 was drawn with computer imagery…

Superman had to figure out a way to stop Brainiac, even if it meant revisiting his “blue period”…

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From: https://www.cbr.com/superman-electric-blue-not-superman/

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