6/16/2013

More NonSense: Superman's 75th Anniversary Edition (Updated)

Entertainment Weekly celebrates the 75th Anniversary of the Man of Steel (via Kevin Melrose).

ComicsAlliance honors the artists who have given life to "Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster's brilliant creation" these past decades.

Edward Helmore on the long legal battle to control the rights to Superman.

Siegel family attorney Mark Toberoff swears "This case is by no means over" (via Kevin Melrose).

Alan Moore on the seedy, disreputable comic book industry that profited from Superman's early popularity while ripping off its creative talent:
The industry’s apologists have offered various glosses for the shameful act of theft upon which the vast business that supports them seems to have been founded. One of the more despicable of these constructions has it that Siegel and Shuster should have been more shrewd in signing contracts, which appears to be a variant on the well-known American proverbial advice regarding suckers and the inadvisability of giving them an even break. More lately there have been attempts to mitigate the industry’s offence with an appeal to half-baked mysticism and postmodernism, maintaining that Superman and the commercial children’s comic characters which followed him are all in some sense archetypes that hover in the ether, waiting to be plucked by any lucky idiot who passes by. Ingeniously, this sidesteps the whole Siegel and Shuster problem by insisting that creators in the superhero field aren’t actually creators after all, but merely the recipients of some kind of transcendent windfall fruit that should be freely shared around. Even if this were true, it’s difficult to see exactly how it justifies a perhaps gangster-founded company of fruiterers (just to continue the analogy) declaring that these profitable magic apples all belong to them in perpetuity. Still, one can see why such a morally-evasive brand of metaphysics might appeal to the large corporate concerns which steer the comic industry; to those amongst the readership whose primary allegiance is to a specific superhero rather than the ordinary non-invulnerable human who originated him; and to those loyally and profitably labouring at franchises, who know they’re in no danger of ever creating an original idea which would be valuable enough to steal.
"Five Superman Publications I Like Better Than The Movies" 12345 by Tom Spurgeon and some other guys.

Joe Shuster draws Superman vs. a Grizzly Bear. Awesome.

Classic Superman Radio ads.

This town wants to be Smallville.

Tom Scioli thinks Jim Starlin’s brief stint on the character is the best Superman ever.

Jake Roper explains that Superman, or any superhuman for that matter, hitting an object with a fist that's traveling at 99% the speed of light would be really, really, really, really, really bad (via Kevin Melrose). I suppose that means that if you can take a punch from Superman, you're way beyond bulletproof.

Tom Bondurant on this week's Superman-related projects: Superman Unchained and Man of Steel.

Bully on the apocalyptic aspects of the movie.

Andrew Wheeler would like you to know that Henry Cavill is the latest in a line of unknown actors cast to play the Man of Steel. And if the pattern holds up, this role will be the high point of his entire acting career. It's a good thing then that he is one absurdly handsome man.

Marc Singer in his review of Man of Steel is irritated by the same elements that bother me, especially this particular pet peeve:
Like the ponderous Superman Returns, Man of Steel can't resist the cheap and easy Christ imagery. The subtext isn't helped when the villainous Kryptonian starts talking about how evolution always wins or how morality is an evolutionary weakness. Which I'm pretty sure is not how evolution works, but Snyder made his point. 
(The Superman I love the most, the genial scientist and humanist who walked into a golden sunset in 1986 and reappeared for a dozen glorious issues in the mid-2000s, would no doubt respond with some gentle corrective about how morality is humanity's greatest evolutionary adaptation. And then knock Faora into orbit.)
I'm rarely unequivocal when making recommendations, especially with superhero movies. And Man of Steel is not the greatest example of the genre. So for all the watered-down Nietzsche and muddled understanding of science, I still kinda like the movie, if for no other reason than on the strength of its cast. This off course in no way alters my skepticism of Zach Snyder.

Michael May asks whether there is a meaningfully right or wrong way to interpret corporate-owned characters.

Tom Scioli on how Man of Steel is filled with 80s nostalgia for geeks.