Saturday, July 11, 2009

io9 article on Superman

I really didn't want to click the link on this story at io9 (Sigmund had also sent me the link. Thanks, Sig! And happy belated b-day!).

But I'll tell you why I liked the article.

A) This person seems to have actually read the Superman comics and have a working knowledge of Superman's history, which many writers seem to find surprisingly irrelevant when discussing The Man of Steel.

B) The author recognizes that as a fictional character with a lengthy history, Superman is not completely doomed to actually be whatever the latest incarnation appeared to be in feature films, on TV, etc...

C) He actually calls out these stewards of the property, more or less, on a lack of vision. (I'd go so far as to suggest that to live the life of a movie studio chairman, you're probably also so far from knowing what an honest to goodness decent person looks like anymore, the idea of Superman would seem quaint, alien and freakish.)

D) He points out how Batman worked with the culture at key particular points that may or may not have had much to do with the character himself (I'd argue that we didn't really see anything resembling what/ who I consider to be Batman on film until "Batman Begins", and that Nolan sealed it up with "Dark Knight". Also, Batpods are awesome.).

E) The author understands that there's a difference between a bad idea and bad execution. Superman III and IV (and these days its hip to say Superman returns was awful, but I'll still go to the mat for that movie compared to 75% of Marvel's output) were terrible movies who slipped into camp when the largely straight reading of Superman I was what made it a classic.

I love the character of Batman, so I find it ridonkulous that folks feel like they have to take up sides, like they're picking a sports franchise to back. There's room for all the big guns.

I haven't addressed the legal issues between the Siegels and Warner Bros., because, frankly, I don't understand much of any of it, and I'm sort of cheering for both sides to win. I'd love to see the Siegel and Shuster estates receive their due, but find a way to negotiate with WB, who truly have done an amazing job of keeping a pulp character alive in a completely unequaled way for 70+ years. (How many kids do you see wearing Doc Savage, Buck Rogers or The Shadow t-shirts on college campuses?).

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