Monday, August 05, 2013

You guessed it : It´s Man of Steel Monday !

I still haven´t seen the MAN OF STEEL movie but since I haven´t yet prepared all the material for the SERPENT CROWN two - parter or the next post about THE PHANTOM I thought I´d use some of the material I have accumulated so far about the Man of Tomorrow.

So this will not be an in depth analysis about the new movie which I wouldn´t do even if I had seen the movie. I like it when people make up their own mind and while I´m not shy to speak my mind - since I get no review copies from either DC or Marvel or any other comic company and so am not biased in any way - I also don´t like to spoil things.

What I will be talking about is how Superman has been portrayed so far and what defines Superman - at least in my humble opinion. Having read the adventures of the most famous alien for more than three decades I think I can offer a bit more insight than some people who pretend to be experts on the subject and only know the NEW 52 Robotech version.


As you may have guessed I´m not a big fan of the recent abomination Superman wears in the comics because I don´t think it´s a good idea to put a costume that would probably look better in a movie into a comic. As I don´t think you can take a costume directly from a comic and put it into a movie without it looking awkward or silly in most cases.

There are a few exceptions like most of the original JSA costumes which would look terrific in a movie as the SMALLVILLE episode showed ( no pun intended ) but as much as the people at Warner Bros might think comics and movies can be treated the same that´s not the case. I know that those movie guys want to get rid of the pesky comic artistes because either they think they know better how to handle the franchises or they are embarrassed to work on something connected to comics.

Yes, they like to earn the big bucks with comic movies like AVENGERS or IRON MAN 3 but they really would prefer to do superhero or comic movies that are not connected to comics. And thanks to such disasters like ZOOM or ULTRAVIOLET we all know how that usually ends.

Which nevertheless doesn´t keep those Hollywood bigshot execs from interfering with the movies. I never experienced it myself but I think it must be a really pitiful existence if the only way that you can give your miserable life some kind of value is by screwing up something completely that you don´t understand at all. But back to Superman´s costume.

While it isn´t the worst costume that ever appeared in a Superman movie ( Who still remembers the dreadful Chippendale / Stripper costume from the SUPERMAN RETURNS train wreck ? ) there have been better. I mean, even the costume of the fake Superman in that SNICKERS commercial was better than that one and they couldn´t use anything remotely resembling the original costume - they couldn´t even use the same colors.

The thing I never get is why they don´t use the original costume since it´s one of the most recognizable costumes, one of the best known costumes, hell, it´s one of the most often copied costumes.

It may very well be one of the best costumes ever but they just have to do " their own version " of it or " modernize it " or " come up with one that´s more in touch with Today´s audiences ". Sorry, but that´s not what Superman stands for. He´s not at all about change for change´s sake, always following the newest fad and pandering to the masses. Superman is about certain values that have remained the same through decades because - like Alan Moore so perfectly said in WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE MAN OF TOMORROW - there is a way things ought to be.

And  it´s not like there haven´t been instances where they have used the original costume and it worked great. The first Superman movie I ever saw had the original costume and it worked really well. It had the same costume as in the comics I was reading at that time and it was brilliant.

It really made you believe a man can fly. But more than that it also pulled off the whole thing about nobody recognizing that Clark Kent is Superman because of a pair of glasses. Christopher Reeves just was that good of an actor.

Now in the comics there have been all kinds of explanations for why the whole trick with the glasses works. Of which the worst was that Superman uses some kind of unconscious hypnosis on everybody so they see him as really scrawny and meek ( like he was drawn in the NEW 52 SUPERMAN series ) and he was always vibrating so that nobody could take a picture to see how he looks like. And the most logical was that people don´t think Superman has a secret identity. Because if you can be Superman why would you pretend to be somebody else ? And how could you have a secret identity if there are dozens of fotos of you everywhere ? That Superman fella doesn´t even hide his face behind a mask like most superhero so he just can´t have a secret identity. It´s impossible.

So the whole glasses as an effective disguise can work or not depending on the quality of the writer and how he handles it.

Now coming back to the costume in movie and tv adaptations, there was another series which I really liked that used the original costume.

Of course it didn´t hurt that Teri Hatcher played the part of Lois, making it possible for me for the first time since reading Superman comics to believe that Superman would be interested in somebody like Lois Lane.

Instead of trying to get it on with somebody like Wonder Woman which I always found more logical. I mean, the Lois in the comics was not really the best girlfriend to have as she was always trying to either trick Superman into revealing that he was Clark Kent or - even worse - to marry him. In the 80s when John Byrne revamped the Superman franchise they got rid of that but that doesn´t mean the new Lois was any better. The new version showed clear signs of alpha male syndrome, being more interested in Superman than mild mannered " Smallville " which makes it logical that she never found out they were the same. For that she would have had to look at Clark twice. And for those who don´t believe that the new Lois always went for the alpha male let me remind you that she was together with Lex Luthor before Superman became top dog in Metropolis.

Anyway, THE ADVENTURES OF LOIS AND CLARK is a really great series to watch not only for Superman fans and Teri is just brilliant in it. Although she didn´t do much after it until she moved to the Wisteria Lane as a desperate housewife where she showed that she still got it. Massita !

The hot Teri in action :

So far all we have been talking about is the costume but I don´t want you to think I´m the only one who goes of in that direction. Here is a great strip by Karl Heitmueller ( courtesy of tencentticker ) that he did for the excellent BACK ISSUE magazine about the various costumes of Superman. I think he really distills the essence of the question here.


Another comic artist who talked about what Superman is all about is Chris Sprouse who did this wonderful Superman splash ( or rather smash ) which I found on a link provided by fellow comicblog MAN OF BRONZE .

Of course a few people wanted to be clever because of the phrase " an alien, who in my mind, couldn’t conceive of why anyone would want to hurt anyone else " and opinionated that basically Superman was like a child because he doesn´t understand that there are people who want to hurt others. Which clearly is not the case. Superman knows that. He just can´t understand why they would do that. And apparently some people have problems understanding this. So here it is in my own words :

There are hundreds of people out there that buy comics drawn by Rob Liefeld although I - for the life of me - can´t conceive there really is anyone willing to spend money on that. Which doesn´t mean that I don´t understand that there are people out there who buy Rob Liefeld comics. I know for a fact that there must be people out there who do it. And lots of them because otherwise he would not get one job offer after another. I know that there are people out there who buy his stuff. I used to buy his stuff myself. But intellectually I really can´t understand why all these people spend their hard earned money on a comic artist who hasn´t improved in the last 20 years and who can´t draw knees. I can´t wrap my head around that. Or that Deadpool has five or four series at the same time while other much better books like THOR THE MIGHTY AVENGER by Roger Langride and Chris Samnee is canceled. Which I just had to mention because is offering the new 25 bucks trade that collects the complete series for a measly 12 bucks. I recommend it.


Last but not least I wanted to post a link to a cosplayer that I came across on facebook ( Terry Hooper shared one of her pictures as Ivy, thanks mate ! ) who goes by the name of BelleChere. She was one of the unknown cosplayers on my Top Ten list of Power Girl cosplayers although she also does other costumes like Lady Death, Ms Marvel or Hepzibah.

There is an interview with her as Cosplay Babe of the Month February 2012 on THE COMICS NINJA and you can also visit her blog .

Here is the link to her facebook page where you can find dozens of pics of her in mindblowing costumes from which the following 5 ( and it was really hard to narrow it down to 5 ) are only a small selection :


And sadly that´s all I have time for Today as it´s already half past three - after midnight. Once again I got a bit sidetracked so I will have to continue this discussion Tomorrow when we - gods of the internet willing - come to all the weird costumes Superman has worn in the comics.

Now with all the stuff about Superman some readers keep asking me about the better one of his two cousins - which is Power Girl. It has been some time since I mentioned her at all and the way the stuff I find about her keeps piling up when I finally catch up it will be a complete and very long post about Power Girl, more Power Girl and nothing but Power Girl. And you can be sure there will be magical cleavage windows everywhere.

Until then here is another sweet picture by Franchesco borrowing a famous cover from Janet Jackson. I really don´t know why he´s not involved in some way with the WORLD´S FINEST comic at the moment since the art on that book is sorely lacking.

And speaking of covers, sadly there is no time Today for the new IT`S THAT STRANGE FEELING OF DEJA VUE AGAIN section but there will be definitely one - with Superman covers - in my next post. I promise.

Now, with the videos at the end of the post I´m continuing with full movies, this time it´s a kind of pulpy sci fi flick based on a story by Harlan Ellison that was also adapted as a comic by Richard Corben.

It´s the 1975 movie A BOY AND HIS DOG starring a very young Don Johnson in the lead role.

New to the blog ? Everything you need to know about TALES FROM THE KRYPTONIAN : top ten posts / more posts of interest


Anonymous said...

Excellent article. I am going through a few of these issues as well..

Terry Hooper-Scharf said...

Terri Hatcher did not do "much" after Lois & Clark?? A James Bond film?! But, yeah, weirdly not a lot I know of.

Anyway, I, Terry Hooper, being of questionable mind, challenge you to find some info about German super heroes or else...I'll declare myself the Daddy of writing about German super heroes!!!!

SUBZERO said...

Well she also had some smaller roles in movies like SPY KIDS or tv productions but apart from TOMORROW NEVER DIES nothing that was really high profile. TV movies and such.