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Confessions of a Comic Book Guy--Next Stop, The Planet Krypton

Column by Steve Bennett

Published: 11/07/2012 02:32am
Confessions of a Comic Book Guy is a weekly column by Steve Bennett of Super-Fly Comics and Games in Yellow Springs, Ohio.  This week, Bennett goes past the Disney-Lucasfilm deal and heads for Krypton.

I wish I had something interesting to say about the whole Disney/Lucasfilm deal (see "Disney Acquires Lucasfilm!") but at this point I'd settle for being able to say anything at all.  Because the truth is I really just don't care that much whether the Star Wars comics will move to Marvel or if there'll be a Star Wars/X-Men crossover, let alone new movies.  It's not that I wouldn't like to see director Brad Bird helming a new Star Wars (who's currently the leading contender for the job, as least according to the fan rumor mills), it's just that I see the deal as mostly an opportunity to produce more merchandising.  It's not that I'm condemning a company's inalienable right to churn out licensed products and heaven knows the retail market could always uses more merchandise it can move.  Just don't ask me to get all excited by the prospect.

But mostly I'm sidelining myself from this discussion because having worked in comic book shops doesn't really qualify me to Monday morning quarterback the 4 billion dollar business deal of two synergistic young entertainment conglomerates.  Though if I was absolutely forced to have an opinion it sure seems like Disney got themselves a bargain, seeing as how Lucas is throwing in both Indiana Jones and the Industrial Light and Magic special effects house.  Though undoubtedly there will also be hidden assets, such as my personal favorite Lucasfilm, 1994's Radioland Murders.

I really, really tried hard not to write about Superman again this week, but it's kind of hard not to, seeing as how scientists recently discovered the planet (as opposed to the inert gas) Krypton.  At least that's what most of the headlines of the articles I saw on the subject said, like the one by Michael Santo which appeared on the examiner.com website, "Scientists discover Superman's home world of Krypton."  Unfortunately Neil deGrasse Tyson announced no such  thing; what he did say was that an existing star had been located in the Corvus constellation which corresponds with coordinates given to him by DC Comics.  Its proper name is LHS 2520, it's a red dwarf star, is cooler and smaller than our sun and is slightly more than 150 trillion miles or 27.1 light years away from Earth.

The story got a goodly amount of online attention but I must admit for some reason I didn't pay it much mind. Which is probably why I completely missed the news that Tyson, who is also the director of the American Museum of Natural History's Hayden Planetarium, will be appearing in this week's Action Comics #14 to present his findings to Superman himself.  I've enjoyed Tyson's frequent appearances on Comedy Central's The Colbert Report and The Daily Show so if DC really wants to feature more comics featuring people of color they could do worse than a Superman's Pal, Neil Tyson comic.  It certainly makes more sense than them doing one featuring Vibe.

Then there was the whole "Clark Kent, Blogger" story, which also gave DC a surprising amount of free publicity in pieces that ranged from the Los Angeles Times "Superman: Clark Kent leaves the Daily Planet" to The Daily Beast's "Superman Quits His Newspaper Job?  Good, He's a Hack."  But I ignored this one too mostly because it immediately gave me painful flashbacks to the 1970's when Clark was briefly remade into a television reporter.  It smelled to me like another desperate, almost certainly temporary, attempt to make the character "relevant."

But then I read a piece on the Newsarama web site which reported on a Long Beach Comic Con panel that changed my mind.  In it Superman writer Scott Lobdell pointed out another reason to get Clark away from The Daily Planet is to rid the character of the inherent "hypocrisy" of Clark Kent writing about Superman as if they were two different people.  Which is another one of those ethical conflicts of interest in comic book continuity that just doesn't pass the sniff test in our modern world.

I've confessed I wasn't crazy about Lobdell's work on Superman Annual #1 (see "Confessions of a Comic Book Guy--Let Superman Be Superman") but must admit I enjoyed his first work on the regular series, Superman #13 a lot better.  And not just the part where Clark quit The Daily Planet.  As previously mentioned DC is still trying to figure out exactly who this Superman is and in this issue we're given a few more details, like it's established Superman can bench press the planet (yet he still gets regularly slapped around by his girl kid cousin?).  And he's clearly capable of deep space travel as at some point he's encountered both "the talking sun of Alktos Prime" and "the cosmic archipelago."

The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of ICv2.com.

 
 
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