Thursday, June 16, 2005

Sometimes, as a proponent of the comics of Superman, I lose sight of the forest for the trees.

As you might know, "Superman Returns" is being filmed in Australia at the moment. (Truth, Justice and the Australian Way...?) Warner Bros. is producing the movie, and by no small coincidence owns DC Comics as well as Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and many of the other heroes you've seen described here in these pages.

The fact is, most people on the street would be hard pressed to tell you either who publishes Superman comics, or which company owns DC Comics. And that's fine, from a certain point of view. I am sure DC and WB would like for the branding of WB, DC and Superman to go hand-in-hand, but that's a tough sell, especially when the real primary concern is selling licensing and product.

I'm not sure how accurate this is, but I've heard that DC's comics themselves CAN lose money (but it's not smiled upon) as long as they publish and print enough to assist in keeping the Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman licenses viable. In short, what WB really values is the ability to make movies, sell toys, and license the image of Superman to put his face and highly recognizable logo on boxes of Fig Newtons. It's all income at some point.

And there's some pay-off. As many tickets as were sold to both X-Men movies, it was less likely that all age groups were willing to don an X-Men baseball cap.

As a reader of comics who sincerely enjoys his monthly adventures of The Man of Steel, sometimes I forget that it's not necessarily Superman's never-ending battle for the betterment of Earth that folks find appealing. Sometimes it's just the symbol seen for kitsch value, or emblematic of power one would like to associate oneself with (I see a lot of Superman stickers on the F-250's). And you know what? That's fine.

Superman is ingrained in the psyche not just of the U.S., but, in fact, of the entire world. He's a huge, mythological symbol of hidden strength and power used for the right purposes. He's instantly recognizable and yet unknowable. In a few hundred years, he could be up there with Hercules and Perseus as a mythological figure for the 20th Century. Who knows?

Superman, however, apparently holds some cachet in virtually all demographics as a licensable idea. You can read about it here.

Now, The League is a collector by nature and has already infiltrated almost all corners of League HQ with different aspects of The Man of Steel. And while Jamie is a patient and understanding person, one wonders how much Kryptonian Kookiness she will be able to endure with the proliferation of the Superman theme as the release date for "Superman Returns" nears.

If the linked article is any indication, I am just several months from Superman wash cloths and a shoe horn.

2006 looks as if it shall be a Super Year.

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