Tag Archives: Superman

Superman in Color

Many of you may not know this, but I consider myself a DC guy. You may not know it because of how much coverage I have given the MCU as of late. The truth is, there is just a lot more going on there right now than in the DC Universe, and I still enjoy what Marvel is doing, and I am hoping that somehow DC will pull it off just as well.  Not only am I a DC guy, but my favorite is Superman. He has been my favorite for pretty much all of my life. I went through a phase in High school where I wore nothing but Superman shirts. I was, and, to a lesser degree, still am, obsessed with Superman. I also like some of the more human DC characters, my second favorite being a tie really between Green Arrow and Nightwing. Superman has always been my go to though. For the most part, I enjoyed Man of Steel,  and I am hoping that Dawn of Justice will be a great launching vehicle for Justice League. That being said, there was just something off in the Man of Steel  film that just didn’t feel absolutely right. It wasn’t that he broke Zod’s neck (Superman also kills Zod in Superman II, so it’s not like there isn’t a precedent set here), or that he just stood by and did nothing while a tornado killed his adoptive father (I do still claim that Superman would have saved him, no way would he just sit there and watch him die). There has always just been something off with the film, and I feel the same way when I watch the trailer for Dawn of Justice. I couldn’t explain until I saw this video on YouTube, released on 4/21, and it put into words what I think my real issue is with the latest version of Superman. Check out the video:

I watched that, and it was like something clicked. That is what felt off. The film looked and felt like one of the Dark Knight films. I know that other people have talked about that before, but I guess it never really resonated for me until I watched this video. Superman shouldn’t feel dark and gritty. I get that they wanted to give the character an edge, but this just doesn’t work with Superman. Watching the Man of Steel has always felt really heavy and laborious for me, and I think the darkness of the film may be why.

I get that part of the plan was to create a continuous look and feel for the DC movies, but there are other ways to do it. I have read a great number of comics in my life, not as many as some, and probably too many if you ask my wife. I have always thought that Batman sounds like an intriguing character, and he is, of course, just massively popular. That being said, I have never been able to get into his books. Why? They are so dark. I just don’t like it. Some people go for that thing, and that’s fine. I realize I am being purely subjective here. This was my big complaint with the new Daredevil series. It was good, well written, for the most part, well acted. It was just too dark for me. That is what it feels like for me when I read a Batman title. It is really dark.

3402566-3317487-batman

And it’s not just that the character himself is dark. The whole Batman world is dark. I am still unclear on whether the sun ever shines in Gotham City. I don’t think I have ever seen it be daylight in any of the comics or movies. It is night-time all the time. Not just night-time, but middle of the night, pitch black, night-time (this is an exaggeration to make a point. Please do not respond with instances from the films or comics of daylight in Gotham). The villains are darker. In the way the look, and in the fact that hey are all psychopathic, homicidal, maniacs. The whole Batman world is littered with these folks, and they are all dark, bad news. That is the world that Batman exists in, a world that Tim Burton successfully brought to the big screen, and Christopher Nolan perfected it.

By contrast, there is nothing dark about Superman, or the world he lives in. I have always felt that Superman and Batman have been opposites in some ways. One big way is that Batman has worked hard to become darker and scarier than his opponents, dropping down to their level in some ways, and sometimes even lower. Superman has always worked hard to be that beacon of hope. I know that makes him cheesier than Batman, but when you are more powerful than everyone on Earth combined, then you can afford a little cheese. Besides, how scary would it be for the world if Superman had gone the Batman route? That would be terrifying.

3237825-superman-jim-lee-new-52
Here’s the crazy thing, though: Both of these characters have been like this for a long time, and they have both successfully lived in the same universe for a long time. There is no reason it can’t work like that in the movies. In fact it would be a nice contrast, a good juxtaposition. It would demonstrate how different the two of them are, even though they are on the same side. That contrast works really well, Superman in his bold primary colors flying across a blue sky, sun behind him, and Batman in his dark grey and blacks, hidden in the shadows. It is a contrast that has worked for years in the comics and could work on film too, if they went for it.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like it  is going to happen. Looking at the new trailer for Dawn of Justice,  it looks like we are getting more of the same. It just feels so dark and heavy and depressing, compared to what we are getting from Marvel. I saw someone post that this is because DC has always been a lot darker than Marvel generally speaking. I don’t think this is true. There are plenty of dark and light comics on either side. Just like both exist in the real world. Right now, though, one might think that’s the case because that is what we are getting in the theaters. Here’s hoping that what we have seen so far from Dawn of Justice  is not a good indicator of everything we will see in the film. Here’s hoping they choose to work that contrast between Batman and Superman instead of forcing Superman into a dark, gritty role. One can always hope, right?

Eine Kleine Geek Musik: Songs About Superman

When you’re as iconic as Superman, eventually you start spilling over into other mediums like TV, movies, books, and even popular music. I don’t know if any other superhero has had as many songs written about them as Superman has. I’m not just talking about mentions of Superman in a song, I mean the song is actually about Superman in some way. I have compiled a list of songs, not a long list, just 6 songs that are about the Man of Steel. These are 6 of my favorites. Some were big hits or were really well-known, others not so much. They all have Superman in common though, and that’s pretty cool.

Even Superman-  Ryan Shupe and the Rubber Band

This twangy band is one of my favorite “Mormon Pop” bands. If you are not familiar with Ryan Shupe and the Rubber Band, you should totally check out their stuff. From catchy little numbers like this one, to their big hit “Dream Big,” to their classic “Corn Dog Song,” they are just a lot of fun. This is obviously not an official music video for this song. It is a fan made video. I would ask you to ignore the video part, and just listen to the song. You’ll notice the video is a compilation of Anakin Skywalker scenes from the Star Wars prequels. Because, you know, if you’re compiling footage from different movies to match up to a song all about Superman, why not use Star Wars footage? It’s not like there are any Superman movies to use footage from. Uhhh…

In any case, the song is great, and I think it demonstrates some of the difficulties and struggles and challenges of being Superman. I mean sure, it sounds great, super strength, flying, near invincibility, X-Ray vision, but hey-even Superman has Kryptonite.

I am Superman- R.E.M.

This is actually a remake of the The Clicque’s 1969 song. I like R.E.M.’s version a little more. The song is all about Superman competing with another guy for a girl. Good luck other guy! I mean really, Supes has the look, the moves, the super powers- forget about it. I mean ignore the creepiness of Superman going almost stalker on the girl with the line “If you go a million miles, I will find you.” Just a little creepy. Just a word of advice, Superman, if a girl goes to all the trouble to get a million miles away from you, she’s probably not interested. This is another fan made video, but they did something strange, they found video clips of Superman to make a music video for a song about Superman. They also only used like a quarter of the screen. It’s kind of weird, but it was made in 2007, the early days of YouTubing.

Jimmy Olsen’s Blues-The Spin Doctors

You think Superman has it rough? Try being his best friend, Jimmy Olsen. You would constantly be in his shadow. How could you not be jealous? Especially when you have the hots for Lois Lane, and of course she doesn’t even know you exist when Supes is around.  That’s tough. How do you deal with it? You’re there when she needs you, while he’s off saving the world. This is the premise for this classic from the Spin Doctors. What would it be like to be Jimmy Olsen in that situation? The reality is, who of us has never been in that situation. You have that secret crush, and you’re just stuck in the friend zone with them, probably because there is some “Superman” you have to compete with. There’s no way Jimmy could compete with Superman, unless he has a pocket full of kryptonite…

Superman’s Song- The Crash Test Dummies

You know these guys- they gave us that “Mmm…Mmm…Mmm” song that was huge in the early 90’s. You know what else was huge in the 90’s? Killing off Superman. It seemed like there was this obsession with imagining what the world would be like without Superman. Of course, DC did kill Superman off for a couple of weeks (not really, it was more like a year, almost), but he got better and came back. This song actually predates Superman’s meeting with Doomsday, but it is a Eulogy of sorts for the Man of Steel. I mean, the music video is literally taking place at his funeral, complete with heroes in bad 90’s style superhero costumes. The song is maybe over the top, laying on the sentimental cheese, but I like it. I think it shows why Superman is so special. Plus, that voice, you just can’t go wrong.

Kryptonite- 3 Doors Down

I loved this song when it came out. I don’t know why. I think I thought it was pretty hardcore rock (it’s not) and it was about Superman. Now, I listen to it for nostalgic reasons mostly. I used to put it on repeat on my CD player, and then, in my bedroom, with the door closed, I would rock out to it and pretend I was performing it in my own big rock concert. Let’s see, it was released in 2000, so I was 18, so that seems pretty normal for an 18-year-old, right? I mean I still do that now. Overall, it’s a catchy song. I still enjoy listening to it, and I couldn’t put a list like this together without it. Especially with lyrics like “You stumbled in, bumped your head, if not for me then you’d be dead.” Wha?! Please ignore the weird video. It was the year 2000, before superheroes were really cool, and when every band thought they needed to be gritty and artsy.

Superman (It’s Not Easy)- Five For Fighting

We all need a reminder about how hard Superman must have it. The truth is, I think what this song really reminds us is that everybody has issues of some sort. We might look at other people and think I wish I was this or that and then I’d be happy. According to this song, Superman is a pretty depressed guy with plenty of issues. Bryan Singer would later base the movie Superman Returns on this concept. I had never seen a Superman as depressed as Brandon Routh’s. Or as depressing. In any case, I like this effort from Five for Fighting (it’s hockey penalty). I think it was one of the better songs. maybe it was just the subject matter.

Well, there you have it. A list of 6 Superman themed songs to start your weekend off right. What did you think? Was it a good list, or did I totally blow it? What songs did I miss that you would have included? Let us know in the comments. We would love to hear from you.

DC’s Multiverse vs. Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, Part 2

Marvel-vs-DC-Wallpaper

 

Yesterday, I began my look at the two big comic book companies’ future movie plans with a look at Marvel. I think, at this point, the only thing you can really call Marvel’s attempt at creating one cohesive television/movie universe is a big success. Well, more like a giant success. With GOTG being the major blockbuster it was last year, it became apparent that Marvel can do no wrong (as long as you forget Iron Man 2). They are the reigning champs, and it doesn’t look like they are looking to give up that title any time soon. Avengers: Age of Ultron looks amazing, and somehow, Ant-Man is picking up steam. DC has only put one movie out there as part of their cinematic universe, and that was a couple of years ago. It will have been 3 years by the time the next one, Dawn of Justice, comes out. By comparison, in that same span of time, Marvel will have released 7 films total. 7. It almost seems like DC isn’t even trying.

That’s not totally true. The idea for DC to put together their own universe like Marvel’s has been around for a while, but they just haven’t been able to get it off the ground. The original plan was to launch the DC universe with Green Lantern (2011), and begin building from there. Unfortunately, we all saw Green Lantern and it was just painful. That put the stop on the whole one universe, Justice League idea for a while. DC started going in a different direction, called TV, as it launched Arrow. The series became a hit, leading to a spinoff series, The Flash. These two series, however, were not attached to the Green Lantern film. Or to the Nolan Batman trilogy, which was also not connected to the Green Lantern film. Leaving DC with three different universes in which their heroes now resided. Enter Man of Steel (2013). This introduces yet another universe, and DC’s first hit movie of this century not starring Batman. In the time between 2011 and 2013, it became apparent that Marvel’s whole plan is coming together nicely, and with MOS’s success, DC revisits the idea of creating one big universe where all their heroes can reside. They decide to go for it, but they still take a different approach, as Geoff Johns refers to their productions as being part of a Multiverse, instead of a universe. Oh bother, DC.

What is it?

Justice-League-Movie-Discussion-Characters

 

Basically, it was DC is calling their upcoming productions, both Films and TV shows. Marvel had their catchy “Marvel Cinematic Universe,” so DC had to come up with something catchy to compete. Hence, the DC Multiverse. Think of it as being similar to when DC started their “New 52” in the comics, so Marvel had to respond with “Marvel NOW!” The good news for comic book fans is that both companies have kept both stupid monikers going for way to long. (What is the rule for how long something can be called “New”?) To be fair, DC isn’t just trying to come up with a clever name. They are also trying to cleverly sidestep a major issue. They don’t want to tie in Arrow and The Flash  with their upcoming films. They want them to be totally separate. So, because fans eat this stuff up, they have decided that DC will have a multiverse in their Television/Cinematic world just like they have in the comics. In other words, don’t expect to see Stephen Amell or Grant Gustin sharing the screen with Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill. In fact, they have already cast Ezra Miller to play the role of the Flash in the Justice league and Flash movies. No special appearances by the heroes in the big movies on the small screen either. It’s just not happening.

Why it Works

wall_01_1080_by_loganchico-d7jdosz

image by LoganChico at loganchico.deviantart.com

It will work for one big reason. We, the fans, want to see it. We finally got to see the Avengers come together, and it was awesome. Now we get to see the two biggest superheroes ever come together for the first time on the big screen. That alone is worth all of it. At least I hope it will be. DC really has an opportunity to make all of this something special, just like Marvel has. Let’s just hope they don’t screw it up. In addition to seeing Batman and Superman together, we will get to see Wonder Woman for the first time on the big screen, as well as the Flash, and of course, everyone’s favorite, Aquaman. DC has so many characters that we have not seen up on the big screen before, so it will make for some exciting, fresh characters.

It will also work, because this model allows DC to do whatever they want on the big screen as well as the little screen. They have a good thing going on Arrow and The Flash,  but they aren’t tied to making that world the same for every character. In fact, it seems like Gotham is taking place in another universe as well. The result is, Gotham is not hindered by what’s happening in Arrow or The Flash. The studio doesn’t have to give any explanation for any kind of inconsistencies fans will see when Batman is on the screen in Dawn of Justice and something doesn’t match up to what is happening in Gotham.  The studio has already provided us with the answer to any of those questions-it’s a multi-verse.

Why it Doesn’t Work

arrow-flash-will-have-their-crossover-episodes-this-fall

 

To be clear, The Flash and Arrow are not reasons why this model does not work. Well, maybe indirectly. More like examples of a potential issue. That issue is that it is going to get confusing. Right now, DC has 3 different universes going: The movie universe, the “Flarrow” universe, and the Gotham universe. Wait, 4. I forgot Constantine. 4 different universes right now. That could potentially grow with other projects that DC has announced, like Titans on TNT and Supergirl for CBS. Both of these series could be set in a different universe. A different universe from the 4 mentioned, and a different universe from each other. That could bring it up to 6 different universes. That is going to be hard to keep track of. Who is in which universe? And who knows about whom, and so on. Maybe the plan is to have a universe for each network that DC has a show on, and then the plan is to have a show on 52 different networks (they seem obsessed with 52). I doubt that is really the plan, but hopefully you get the point. It seems like, at least on TV, there is little to no cohesiveness, and that is kind of lame too. At the very least, keep all the TV properties in one universe and the movie properties in another.

That wraps up my look at the two different models, at least for right now. It is really hard to tell what will happen with DC because we just don’t have enough from them right now to make any kind of judgement. All we can do is speculate on how it will all play out. I am hoping for the best. I am not really interested in who “wins” between the two companies, because in the end,I am hoping I win and we have years and years of quality superhero entertainment coming our way. What are your thoughts on the whole thing? Do you like Marvel’s or DC’s model better? Let us know in the comments.

 

The Mount Rushmore of Superheroes

mount_rushmore

This is Mount Rushmore. It is basically a mountain that has 4 massive Presidential mugs carved into it. 4 Presidents that were not selected by accident. The sculptor, Gutzon Borglum, selected each of these men based on what they had accomplished and their impact on our nation. Today, people will refer to the Mount Rushmore of Basketball Players, or football player, or actors or even superheroes, as a way to discuss who were the greatest of all time. I saw someone post an image of their Superhero Mount Rushmore, and I began to wonder who would be on mine? Who would I consider the greatest 4 superheroes of all time, and I thought that would make for an interesting post. Then my wife suggested I pick four heroes and tie them in with the Presidents that were selected, which I thought sounded even more interesting. So, here is who would be on my Superhero Mount Rushmore. I am not saying these are my 4 favorites, but each played a role in the history of Superheroes, somewhat similar to the Presidents who are up on the mountain. (Some of it might be kind of a stretch, but it’s all for fun anyway).

George Washington-Superman

f_washingtonGeorge Washington was selected because he was the original. He was the first President of the United States, he started it all. His place on the mountain was assured because of that, if for no other reason. However, he was also the general that led the colonists against the British and helped us gain our independence. He seems to stand for everything we think of as making America great, and if all the Presidents were to ever sit down and have a meeting, George Washington would be the head of that meeting.  I always liked the legend of George Washington refusing to be crowned King. He had just fought a war to liberate us from a king, he didn’t want us to return to that. The people gave him all the power, and he could have taken advantage of that, but he didn’t.

3605753-1936874063-31646Similar to George Washington, Superman was the first Superhero, or at least the first one that really caught on. For me, this was the easiest connection to make. Without George Washington, there wouldn’t be the other Presidents, and without Superman, there wouldn’t be the other Superheroes. Superman has the power to be a god over the people of Earth, and it’s a good possibility that id he asserted that power, people would follow him willingly, and he could be king of the Earth, but he doesn’t do that. Like George Washington, he acts responsibly with the power he has been given. You may not agree with all of my entries on this list, but it would be hard to have a superhero Mount Rushmore without Superman.

Thomas Jefferson-Batman

Mount-Rushmore-Natl-Monument-Thomas-Jefferson-SD-1-2011-09-14_496x684It seems like Thomas Jefferson is always stuck in George Washington’s lofty shadow. George Washington was the 1st President, Jefferson was the 3rd. George gets the $1 bill, Thomas gets the $2 bill, a bill no one ever uses. Yet, it would be hard to argue that any one man did more to frame the foundation for the liberties we enjoy today. Thomas Jefferson is credited for writing the Declaration of Independence, a document that is probably more important to the history of our country and our world than almost any other document. Jefferson was also a big proponent of the government stepping in and being more involved, where as Washington was a little more hands off. Plus, it is only proper that Jefferson be up on this mountain, since his Louisiana Purchase bought the actual mountain and made it part of the United States.

3084172-2727164-batman_by_el_grimlock_d4sntu0Batman and Superman are opposites in a lot of ways, but they both have similar goals, to protect the innocent and all that stuff. This is similar to Washington and Jefferson. Each performed their role as President very differently, but each had the same end goal: to prosper and protect our young nation. Batman continues to sit in Superman’s shadow, at least in the mainstream, but I think he likes it in the shadows, so it’s ok. Batman, as we have seen in many story lines, is ok with stretching his influence as much as he can to bring order to Gotham, where as Supes seems to want to minimize his. One thing that you have to credit Batman for is his story which has become the ultimate Superhero archetype. Plus, Batman has spread the popularity of comics further than Superman ever could have on his own. If Superman gave us the Superhero model and laid that foundation, then Batman expanded and built it up to what it is today.

Theodore Roosevelt- Wolverine

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATheodore Roosevelt has always seemed like the odd man out to me on Mount Rushmore. He was wildly popular in his time, and he did establish the National Parks, and Rushmore is a National Park, but really he didn’t do anything especially mountain worthy. Looking into it a little for this post, I realized that when this sculpture was started in 1927, Roosevelt was a pretty big deal still. He brought our nation into the 20th century and into an economic boom. He was feared and respected as President, especially by those who would threaten our country. He coined the phrase to “talk softly, but carry a big stick.” It seemed to work for him as President. Plus he was a world traveler and renowned hunter. Then there was the Panama Canal which offered a quick connection between east and west. Then there were his days with the rough riders- he was a man’s man, which made me think of…

0147…Wolverine. Also a world renown hunter, and survivor of multiple “military exploits,” Wolverine is a man’s man kind of Superhero. He may not carry a big stick, but his 6 adamantium claws are a pretty good substitute. Wolverine became the face of marvel comics during a boom time as well: the 1990’s. Since then, his face has been everywhere. He may not be as old or as iconic as the others on this list, but for the modern generation, he may be just as important, similar to Teddy. Wolverine goes his own way, not really fitting into the traditional Superhero mold. Similarly, Theodore Roosevelt felt like he didn’t fit into the traditional mold of his political party, so he started his own, the Bull Moose Party. Because of his past, many may have thought that Wolverine was not really leadership material, but as of late he has taken over as the head of the Jean Grey school, and has done alright, proving to be more of a leader than some gave him credit for.

Abraham Lincoln- Captain America

4861843101_074edf2665_zThe thing that Abraham Lincoln is best known for is abolishing slavery and holding our country together through the Civil War. He knew what was right and what was wrong, and he wasn’t going to let anyone tell him differently. He would not back down, and believed that the Union would prevail in the Civil War because it was on the right side of the debate. After the war was over, Lincoln’s plan was to be very forgiving with the former confederate states to help speed along the recovery and peace of our country. Unfortunately, he was gunned down before he could move too far into his reconstruction plans. As a result, our country was left in quite a mess. More than almost any other man in history, Lincoln seems to embody everything America is about or what it should be about, especially considering he had political loss after political loss before becoming President and stepping into his shoes as one of the greatest leaders in the history of the world.

1163159-80_marvel_adventures_super_heroes_3There can be only one Superhero that embodies all of that, and it would be Captain America. He stands for everything good about our country and he sometimes has to stand for it all alone. He also led one side of a civil war in the comics, knowing his side would prevail because they were right. In fact, Steve Rogers has found himself in quite a few of those kinds of conflicts, and he always seems to find a way to bring everyone back together again.  Sometimes, that’s no easy task. In addition, he was also gunned down by an assassin’s bullet, leaving the Marvel fictional world to figure out where to go next and what to do next. I think the biggest reason I thought to connect these two was because like Lincoln, when Cap knows something is right, he knows it and that’s where he stands, even if he is all alone.

There you have it, my Superhero Mount Rushmore. Just to be clear, this is all in good fun, and by no means do I mean to belittle anything any of these 4 great leaders have done by comparing it to fictional characters. It’s just not the same, and I recognize that. Just for fun, i thought I would include 2 more Mount Rushmore lists, with just the names, not descriptions. One is the DC Universe Rushmore and the other is Marvel.

DC

Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and Green Lantern

Marvel

Captain America, Reed Richards, Hulk, and Wolverine

Who would be on your Mount Rushmore of Superheroes?  I am sure our lists would disagree somewhere.  Let me know about it in the comments.

Superman vs. Batman: Whose Side are You on?

Batman-Vs-Superman-1-TPTIVIRZ0S-1024x768_0

It’s a question as old as comics.  Batman or Superman?  Not necessarily who would win in a fight (although that is a fun argument), but simply which character do you prefer, and why.  I know that Batman usually wins that battle as well in the court of public opinion, and it really irks me.  I am obviously, then, a Superman fan.  I don’t buy into this idea that whichever one you choose tells a lot about your personality.  I a firm believer that if you choose Batman over Superman you are buying into 1 of 2 major Batman myths.  In other words, you just don’t know better.  So, today, I am going to breakdown each of these myths, and hopefully convince you of what I have known for years, Superman is better. (Ok, I don’t really plan on convincing you, but it still makes for a fun post.)

Myth 1: I Identify More with Batman

I have heard people say this, and I laugh out loud each time.  Inside, I cry a little.  It makes me sad that so many people believe this.  Let’s take a hard look at Batman.  I want each of you to keep your hand raised until we get to something that is totally different from you.

Bruce Wayne was born on Earth. (unless my blog has much farther reach than I thought, everyone should still have their hand up.)

Bruce Wayne was born into the elite, super wealthy class. (I have probably lost the majority of you.  If your hand is still up, please know that I am currently looking for sponsors for my site. You can contact me at thegeekymormon@yahoo.com)

Bruce Wayne’s parents were brutally murdered during a robbery (Although fairly common in comics, not as common in real life)

Bruce Wayne was raised by his strangely protective butler. (Do you even have a butler?)

Bruce Wayne used his limitless wealth to travel the world and learn every type of martial arts, as well as chemistry, biology, physics, and detective skills, turning himself into a one man war against crime. (If you are keeping you hand up to impress some girl, put it down, she doesn’t believe you either)

Bruce Wayne uses his limitless wealth to create the Batman persona, including the Batcave, Batsuit, Batmobile, Bat-computer, and any other Bat-accessory he might need. (There really should be no one left)

Batman goes out each night and miraculously survives endless encounters with criminals, ranging from strew-thugs to super villains. (Nope, hands down please)

And it goes on.  Bruce Wayne continues to live the life of the super rich, doesn’t seem to age, comes back from the dead, etc.  He’s not quite the average guy we all seem to identify with.

Now, take a look at Superman:

Kal-El was born on Krypton, and as the planet was blowing up, his father sent him hurtling to Earth in a small spaceship designed only for one baby.  (I know, everyone’s hands went down.  Please feel free to raise them again if anything else sounds familiar)

Kal-El was raised as Clark Kent by middle-class, blue-collar parents. (Some hands might be up)

Clark had to work in high school because if he wanted clothes or to go out on dates, he needed cash, which meant work.  This of course was in addition to the chores he had to do around the house. (More hands up, others staying up- sounds pretty relatable)

Clark finds out he is different from everyone else.  He is scared and feels like he doesn’t quite fit in.  (Who didn’t feel this way at some point between the ages of 13-18, or beyond?  Everyone’s hands should be up.)

Clark goes to a state university, studies Journalism and has to work his way through school. (Other than the journalism part, that was my college experience)

Clark gets a newspaper job, and moves to the big city and lives in a tiny, crummy apartment. (Sounds glamorous, right?  It at least sounds real)

Because of the principle his parents taught him, Clark, as Superman uses his limitless power to help those who can’t help themselves and to become a beacon of hope. (We may not have limitless power, but how many of us strive to do what we can to help?)

Looking at the two examples, who is really more relatable to the average Joe?  I submit that it’s Superman.  Underneath the tights and the cape, he is just an average guy.  Yes, he was born on another planet, but he grew up here, and his growing up was pretty similar to yours and mine.  Way more than Batman’s.  You have more in common, really, with Superman than you do Batman.  The myth is based only on the first line I wrote for each of them: Batman was born here, Superman was born on a different planet.

Myth 2: Batman is Somehow More Realistic

This is really a 2 parter.  Part 1: Because Batman has no powers, someone could become Batman, it could actually happen.  In fact, given enough time, money, and resources, I could become Batman.  Part 2: There is always a chance that Batman could end up losing because he has no powers, and goes up against people with super powers.  There is always that risk.  Superman has too many powers, so he would never lose.  Thus, somehow Batman is more realistic.  Let’s take a look at each part of this myth separately.

Part 1: No one could ever become Batman.  Going out every night and getting crap beat of you would be pretty taxing to your body.  No one could take that kind of damage over a long period of time.  Or, really, over short period of time.  Of course, whoever tried could die the first night.  Not even Chuck Norris could pull off a real Batman.  Sorry Chuck.

Chuck norris wow

More importantly, YOU could never become Batman.  The truth is, you don’t have the time, or money, or resources to become the caped crusader.  No one really does.  Think about the amount of time it would take to learn everything that Batman supposedly knows.  Just to master all the martial arts skills alone would take most of your adult life.  You would be like 70 by the time you mastered it all, or older.  A really old dude is not going to make it long as a super hero. Then you would still have to learn all the science, like chemistry, biology, and physics.  Not to mention studying and mastering your detective skills.  Now, you’re probably like 100 years old, or dead of old age.  That’s just the time aspect.  Then there’s the money aspect.  It would take billions to bankroll being Batman.  That’s billions with a “b,” not millions.  That is a lot of money. Then there’s the resources, like having a company that happens to have an R and D department that won’t ask too many questions when their best stuff goes missing.  You just don’t have what it takes to be Batman. No one does.  You have a better chance of finding out that you were really born on another planet and our yellow sun gives you super powers.

Part 2: Batman never loses. N-E-V-E-R. I mean, yes he dies once, but he got better.  He cam back to life.  He conquered death.  I mean, Superman conquered death, but he’s Superman, with amazing powers, so it’s to be expected.  Batman has no powers, but somehow he died, and then he wasn’t dead.  The point is, he’s a fictional character, so super powers or no powers, Batman can do whatever the writers want him to do.  And everybody wants to see him win, so he always wins.  How is that more realistic than Superman?  At least Superman is almost all-powerful, so his win streak makes sense.  Of course Superman wins, he’s all-powerful.  But Batman has just as impressive a streak, and we are ok with that, and somehow buy the myth that it is more realistic.  Wrong!  He is just as fictional as Superman, and frankly more unbelievable.  Sorry, Bats, it’s not looking good.

FLQhzOF-620x412

The reality is this, whether you prefer Superman or Batman is really a matter of opinion.  Most of you will respond by saying you like Batman because he’s cooler, has more of an edge.  I can’t argue that.  Superman has never been edgy.  It’s not his style.  That is a fine reason to prefer Batman, but don’t hide behind one of these myths.  Batman is not more relatable or more realistic that Superman.  They are both fictional characters and like most protagonists, we can see a little bit of ourselves in either one. Neither character is really based on anything remotely factual or everyday life, but isn’t that part of why we love them?  It’s an escape from reality.  I don’t want to read comics that are easily relatable to my everyday life.  I get to live my everyday life enough, thank you. (Speaking of course about work and bills and things like that, and not of my family. I can’t get enough of them.)  I doubt I convinced anyone to come over to Superman, but hopefully you’ll think twice before saying something like “I just identify more with Batman because he is just a regular guy in a costume.”  It’s simply not true.

Can the New DCCU be Better Than the MCU?

In case you missed it because A. You’re not really a geek, or B. You have been living under a rock somewhere, DC made a major announcement involving 12 films between now and 2020.  They even managed to one up Marvel by not just revealing the dates they have marked and set aside for the movies, they have also told us which titles will be released on which dates.  It is clear, they are stepping up to go toe to toe with Marvel.  This leads me to ask the question: Which is going to be better in the long run, the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) or the DCCU (The DC Cinematic Universe)?  First of all, I don’t even know if the new DC movie world will be called the DCCU.  I just did that because of MCU.  I saw it called the DCCC or the DC Cinematic Continuum. That’s a lot of C’s, so I like the DCCU better, but of course they will need to be different from Marvel, so maybe the DCCM-The DC Cinematic Multiverse.  Or maybe the DC C52-The DC Cinematic 52, because we all know how much DC loves the number 52.  In any case, the question remains, will DC be able to compete with the Marvel on the big screen? Or is it too late?  Marvel has been doing this for a few years now, and it seems like they can do now wrong, with Guardians of the Galaxy blowing up the box office this summer, after being a title that no one had ever heard of over the last 30 years.  The truth is, I don’t think that is going to happen with every random title Marvel might try to ram down our throats, and I think DC really has an advantage to be more successful in the long run.  It may not seem like it now, but trust me, it’s going to happen.  Let me tell you why, I think, DC is going to outlast and eventually take down Marvel at the box office.

oneearth2.png

It might seem like Marvel has some amazing stuff coming our way, especially with the announcement that Captain America 3 is bringing us the Civil War story line. And that is probably true, but this announcement brings up what I believe are the two biggest issues facing the MCU right now.  Let’s look at issue number one.  Civil War is going to be massive and huge and change everything, and then what?  Cap will be dead, it looks like Robert Downey, Jr. is planning on playing Tony Stark forever, we don’t know if Hemsworth will be back as Thor, and for whatever reason, Marvel has zero plans to do a really good Hulk movie.  The four biggest names and most marketable characters Marvel has in the MCU will be gone.  The Iron Man movies were all huge hits, and Cap and Thor did alright on their own, leading to the massively successful Avengers movie, leading to more successful sequels, that will be followed by another huge Avengers movie, which will lead to another round of successful movies for the big four (minus Hulk, sorry big guy) that will lead to a huge, epic Avengers 3, followed by nothing.  Talk about a let down.  The good news is that Marvel has plans to expand their universe with the likes of Ant-Man, Doctor Strange, Daredevil, Iron Fist, and Luke Cage.  These characters are popular with hard-core comics fans because their titles typically had some of the premiere writing and stories, but they are not that marketable.  Marvel led with the biggest names they had, and like it or not, they will be on their way out, just as DC is hitting their stride.

The lack of back ups for the big four brings us to issue number two.  Quick think of your favorite Marvel super hero not named Thor, Iron Man, Cap, or Hulk.  Did you think of this guy?

amazing_spider-man_cover

Or maybe this guy?

wolverine-comic

Or maybe these folks?

250px-FF509

Or maybe even this guy?

3906856-deadpool_the_gauntlet_1_preview_3

Well forget about all of them.  While each of the above referenced characters will be appearing in movies, none of them will be appearing in the MCU.  Way back in the day, in the time before RDJ became Iron Man, the idea of a combined cinematic universe for Marvel’s characters just didn’t exist.  Marvel believed their characters were marketable, and could draw in big crowds, but they didn’t have any way to put it out there.  There wasn’t a Marvel Studios, and at the time, marvel wasn’t doing so hot. They did what seemed like the only smart thing at the time.  They sold off the rights to their more popular characters.  Spider-Man went to Sony, X-Men went to Fox along with the Fantastic Four.  Other characters were sold off too, like Daredevil, The Punisher, and Ghost Rider.  Their movies were so horrible, that we won’t mention them here again.  The point is, this was the only way Marvel saw to get their product out there, so they sold the rights, and those studios all still have the rights, and they’re not giving them up.  The only reason Marvel still had the rights to the Avengers is because nobody wanted them.  That worked out well and lucky for Marvel, but the time is quickly approaching when the Avengers as we know them won’t be around, and having properties like the X-Men or Spider-Man would be nice when that happens.  Plus, now that they are doing these major events like Civil War in the movies, it is going to hurt to not have those properties.  Spider-Man played no small role in the Civil War story.  I’m just saying.

00-New-52-Justice-League

These are the two major issues why I think in the long run, DC will do better and outlast Marvel. When it comes to forming one unified Universe in the films, DC just has the upper hand.  Yes, DC is leading out with their two most well-known characters to start things off, but they have a lot of interesting, main stream characters that they can throw at us as well.  I mean, Yes, Superman and Batman are as big as it gets, but the Flash and Green Lantern and Aquaman and Wonder Woman are all pretty well-known as well.  The movies that they have announced are all heavy hitters, minus Suicide Squad, which will end up being DC’s version of GOTG, incase you were wondering why the rush for that title.  There is not really an Ant-Man in the bunch.

Of Course, the reason why this is the case is because all of DC’s characters have been owned by Warner Bros. for a while.  They have always had a medium for their films, so they haven’t sold off the rights to their characters like Marvel had to.  Not only does this mean that all of their popular characters are available, it also means that there is zero crossover issues that they will need to overcome as they start making the films.  If they want to throw together a “phase” that focuses on one of the Crisis events, they can, and they don’t have to worry about who they might sub in to take Barry Allen’s place to save the world and die for 30 years, since some other studio owns his film rights.  They own the rights, so he’ll be in the movie. No problem.  They have a whole universe, nay, a multiverse available to them.  No legal barriers to stand in their way.

There are a lot of different directions DC can go too.  Unlike Marvel, not every DC character or title revolves around New York City.  Each Hero has his own distinct city with its own distinct feel to it.  Gotham is very different from Metropolis, which is different from Coastal City or Central City.  Plus, Green Lantern can be his own whole spinoff universe, going throughout the cosmos and involving the other Green Lanterns and the other corps.  It is a limitless supply of backdrops, expanding way beyond just New York City.

Don’t get me wrong, I have at least one major issue with the new DCCU.  Well, maybe a couple of issues, that are really rolled up into one issue:

Arrow-Flash-Producers-Talk-Upcoming-Seasons

There will be no crossover between the DC shows and the DC movies.  In fact they have already announced that the guy playing Flash is not the same actor playing him currently on TV.  They haven’t even announce Green Arrow having any kind of presence in the upcoming films.  That makes me sad.  I have enjoyed the Flash so far, and I love Arrow.  Plus there is also news that TNT maybe picking up a Teen Titans pilot involving Nightwing, which may be existing in the same world as Arrow and Flash.  DC is really putting together a nice little universe on TV, but it will have nothing to do with the movies.  Maybe the TV shows will serve as practice for the movie universe.  Who knows?  But this is the saddest part of the announcement this week.  I would love to see Stephen Amell show up as Green Arrow in one of these films, but I won’t hold my breath.

So what do you all think?  Does DC stand a chance, or will Marvel always rule supreme at the box office?  All I know for sure is that both studios will be getting a lot of money from me over the next 5 years.

Death in Comics

DEATHOFWOLV2014001_DC23

One of the big, if not THE biggest, story lines of the Fall this year is the Death of Wolverine in Marvel Comics.  The creators, artists, writers, everybody at Marvel are all saying that this is it for Logan.  He is not coming back, his death will be final, no coming back.  And everyone who has ever read a super hero death storyline just smiles when they hear Marvel say that, because we all know the truth.  We are all sitting here, ready to call “BS” on Marvel.  Yeah, right.  If there is one thing death isn’t in the comics, it’s permanent, at least for heroes.  As a side note, the lovely cover art you see above is a Salt Lake Comic Con exclusive cover for this issue.  There will only be 3000 available, and they will only be available at Salt Lake Comic Con, if you’re interested.

Death is a funny thing in the comics.  We all know that when a hero dies, it is only a matter of time.  I remember being a young lad when Superman “died.”  I was shocked.  He was always my     favorite, and I was shocked to see him go.  I wondered what the world would be like without the Man of Steel in it.  How would it go on?  Even at the age of 10 or 11, I was intrigued to find out.  DC did let this play out for a little while, but eventually, Big Blue was back, better than ever.  And by eventually, I mean it was about a year. Of course, one of the huge benefits for DC was the number of issues they sold of the “Death of Superman.”  This was a pivotal moment in comics.  There had been deaths before.  Some of the more impactful ones would be the death of The Flash, Barry Allen, the death of Robin, Jason Todd, and the death of Phoenix, Jean Grey.  These each had been a big deal, and very meaningful in their respective series, and in the case of the Flash, to the whole DC Multiverse.  Up to this point, though, by and large, the heroes had remained dead. We saw how the world moved on after each of these deaths.  For example, Wally West stepped in to fill the shoes of the Flash, and became a very popular character in his own right.

Killing off Superman was a big deal, though.  This would have greater ramifications than any other super hero would, and where would you find a replacement Superman? You couldn’t.  DC tried with 4 different versions, and none of them would have worked out long-term.  They knew the issue would be huge, and it was, but they also knew it would be huge when he came back.  The Death and Return of Superman basically set up a model for super hero deaths that has been followed again and again.  DC may be a slightly worse offender, but it is by a narrow margin.  Since Superman died we have seen the death and return of Batman, the Green Lantern  (Hal Jordan, a couple of times), and the return of Barry Allen and Jason Todd.  Big Blue set the precedent.  In Marvel, the biggest name to die and come back has been Captain America, not to mention Jean Grey who came back, and then died and came back and then died again (at least I think she is still dead), a trick she must have learned from Charles Xavier who has also died and returned multiple times. We have even seen the return of Bucky Barnes as the Winter Soldier.  Bucky had been dead so long, that it even became a running joke that all the other heroes come back except Bucky.

Death just doesn’t have any permanence in the comic book world for heroes.  This is actually kind of sad, and deprives the fan from a little bit of realism.  I write that with a grain of salt, realizing that we are talking about comics, a world where there is not a lot of realism.  Death happens in real life.  Sometimes it happens to the good guys.  In fact it happens a lot to the good guys.  It would be nice to see a little bit of that in the comics.  See how the world goes on with Batman or Superman.  I was intrigued when Batman died a few years back.  For the first time in a long time, I picked up a Batman issue (it’s true, I don’t read Batman, not at all.  Ask my comic book guy, Greg, at Black Cat Comics, he’ll tell you).  I bought it, because I was intrigued by the idea of Dick Grayson taking over for Bruce Wayne.  It was a story line that had a lot of potential with time, but DC barely gave it a shot.  Batman was back before we knew it.  Bucky filled in for Cap, and it was interesting to read his adventures as Captain America, but soon enough Steve Rogers was back.  I think comic book companies are really missing out on some great opportunities to tell some great stories and allowing us to get to know these characters in some new ways.  But it never really happens.  The hero never stays dead.

The strangest part is how pivotal death is to a lot of characters.  Some characters are dead and have remained dead and never come back.  Uncle Ben and the Waynes are the two best examples.  Uncle Ben’s death was the most important event in the history of Spider-Man.  Without that happening, Peter Parker would not be the hero he is. Period, end of story.  The same thing for Bruce Wayne witnessing the death of his parents.  These characters can never come back because that would change everything too much.  The truth is, look at how much depth they have added to the characters they have affected. That is what a good death could do.  It would add some depth to the characters that are left behind.  IT would also leave the door open for some other characters to step up.

I don’t know if Wolverine is going to stay dead (doubt it), but I hope he does.  His death would mean more if it was permanent.  It might actually matter.  Either way, Marvel will sell a ton of this series.

Batman vs. Superman vs. Captain America

superman-batman-and-captain-america

We all saw the date on our calendars, set roughly two years from now.  Two major superhero blockbusters set up to square off against each other on one weekend.  Once Warner Bros. announced that they would be moving Batman vs. Superman: The Dawn of Justice back a year to 2016 and that it would be May 6, many began to wonder if Marvel would move Cap 3 to a different date.  This week, Marvel confirmed that they would not be changing the date, but instead would set up what is bound to be one of the biggest movie showdowns in recent memory.  It leaves the rest of us wondering: Which do I see?  Or, do I decide to just see both in the same weekend.  Or, by that point, will either really be worth my time? Decisions, decisions.

It’s a bold move by Warner Bros. and DC.  Let’s be honest, Marvel has been building quite the hit machine.  The success they have had at the box office has been astounding, and their movies have all been pretty high quality.  There’s not a Green Lantern stinker in the bunch.  DC, on the other hand, has been left out in the cold.  They had success with Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy, and Snyder’s Man of Steel, but it seems like they are almost late to the game.   Marvel has been quietly (or not so quietly) building a strong group of characters on the big screen, while it looked like DC could only successfully develop the big two, Batman and Superman.  They had one effort in there with Green Lantern and it was so rotten, that it was probably a good idea to just walk away from it.  Marvel has even beaten DC to the punch with a team based movie that didn’t suck.  Avengers and its success started all the same questions about a Justice League movie and if it could be done.  Unfortunately, it took Marvel 4 years to get to Avengers, and DC is already so far behind that they can’t take 4 years to develop their team in the same way.  Just for fun, by the way, Marvel is now ready to have a second team movie success with a non-major team.  Seriously, other than pretty serious geeks, most people had never heard of Guardians of the Galaxy until now, and it is set up to be a huge success.  Why, because Marvel has been a machine lately.  Everything they have done has been so good and so crowd pleasing that they can now gamble on titles like Guardians and knowing they will be successful.  This is what Warner Bros. and DC is going up against.

But will it still be this way in 2016?  Right now is the golden age of Superhero movies.  I don’t think there has ever been a time when there have been so many big budget superhero flicks, and so many that have been taken so seriously.  Our culture is a culture of fads, however, and one has to wonder how long this particular fad will last.  Looking at it, there have always been superhero films, but this particular run probably started with Iron Man in 2008, so it’s been 6 years already.  How long will the frenzy continue?  All signs point to no time soon, but that’s what a lot of people thought about pogs, and we all know how that turned out.  It was over as quickly as it began.  Or how about alien summer blockbusters?  The 90s was full of those.  Will Smith made his living in the 90s off of big budget alien movies.  That trend is now over.  Trends in movies come and go, and realistically speaking, as much as I want this one to go on forever, it won’t. Will it last until 2016?  I don’t know.  Captain America 3 will take place after Avengers 2, so it will be the 5th movie appearance for Cap.  Will people still care?  I suppose a lot of that will have to do with what happens to the character in Avengers 2 and what else is happening in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  For Warner Bros. and DC, this might be a good thing.  We have never had a Superman/Batman crossover before, and the fans want it.  At least they want it right now, in 2014.  We’ll see if anyone is wanting Superhero movies in 2016.  Chances are they will, but Batman v Superman may just be different enough from what we have seen in the past to draw more people to it instead of Cap 3.  We may be tired of Cap by round three, or we may be deeply invested in the character.

In any case, May 6, 2016 is shaping up to be quite the weekend.  I’m thinking we book the babysitter now for both Friday and Saturday night, and just plan on spending 5+ hours in the theater getting our geek on.

Superheroes: A Never Ending Battle

superheroes_banners

Maybe I am a little behind the times, but I missed this great documentary when it premiered on PBS last year.  Luckily for me, the three-part series is available on NetFlix, and is totally worth the time.  Each episode is 55 minutes long, so it can be easily broken up over three evenings.  This production talks about Superheroes, as indicated in the title, but it discusses them in their purest form: Comics.  I love comics, and for me they are the canon of the superhero world.  Whenever a movie comes out and it doesn’t agree totally with the comics, I always think to myself, “That’s not what really happened.”  Somehow, because this is where they originated, comics have always held a stronger value for me.

This film starts at the beginning of Superheroes in the comics.  The 1930’s and Superman. That’s where it all began.  Say what you will about Big Blue, but he was the original, and without him, you wouldn’t have Batman, or Spider-Man, or Wolverine, or the Avengers or any of it.  It all started with this creation by two boys name Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.  This film does a great job of setting the historical atmosphere for the early days of comics and Superheroes.  I think this is very important, because understanding Superman in his historical context helps us understand why he is such a goody-two-shoes.  That was what was expected at the time.  Plus, with the depression and the war in Europe, we needed a hero who was above it all and could do all the amazing things he could do.  This film also talks briefly about the boys who created Superman personally, and how that influenced how he looked and what powers he had.  IT was very interesting.  Of course, as Superman became more popular, we begin to see the rise of more heroes.  Many are copycats of Superman.  Many others are copies of what was found in another medium of the time, the Pulps.  This is where some of the darker, non-comic heroes lived, like the Shadow, who was a big influence on Bob Kane’s “The Batman.”  The Batman was really something else, as this film discusses.  He wasn’t from another planet, or have magical powers.  He was just a normal person who put on the tights and fought crime to avenge the death of his parents.  While hitting on the bigger names like Batman and Superman, the film also mentions some of the lesser known heroes like Bullet Man and the Blue Beetle.  It describes how many of the titles were so similar to each other, and all of them were trying to catch up to Superman.

I love that this documentary talks so much about the History that was happening in the United States as comics hit the scene and so on.  The next segment in this first episode goes into WWII, and the United States joining the War.  This presented a problem for the writers of Superman.  He was a man who could single-handedly end the war in one day if he wanted to, so how would he fit in with what was happening?  This is also where we see the emergence of Captain America. He was of course, very popular during WWII, and everyone could get behind his patriotic message.  More importantly, Joe Kirby’s art was monumental with Captain America.  They discuss this in detail in the movie and talk about how there was just so much movement in every panel.  As more and more women were going into the workforce to do their part in the war effort, society was becoming more receptive to a super heroine.  Enter Wonder Woman.  She had the basically the same powers as Superman, with the addition of the lasso of truth.  She believed in sisterhood and women’s rights.  She was ahead of her time.

The first episode ends with the 1950’s, which was a rough decade for the comics industry.  The things being portrayed in the books were being called into question.  The film discusses how comics are linked to delinquent behavior and how congress ends up setting up a watchdog organization and a comics code to make sure that the content is all appropriate in each title and issue.  many titles were not allowed to continue, and those that were were strictly monitored.  At the same time, TV was catching on, and it didn’t take long for superheroes to show up on the small screen.  Superman, again was the first.  He now represented Truth, justice, and the American Way more than ever, in an attempt to win over the people who now believed that comics led to juvenile delinquency.

All of that was the first episode.  It was great to see the origins of the comics I grew up reading and seeing how the outside world influenced the stories and the content in the books.  IT was also interesting to see how this truly American art form began to take shape and change over time.  The second episode begins with the 1960’s which means we see the beginning of Stan Lee and his work, and how it was much more relatable than what was in DC at the time.  I don’t want to give you a whole rundown of everything in the show, but I recommend checking it out on Netflix.  It will be worth your time.  It explains the difference between DC and Marvel better than most things that are out there, and gives historical context for why the difference is there.  Superman has always been my favorite superhero, but honestly, the Marvel heroes are much easier to understand and identify with.  Yes they have amazing powers, but really they are just regular people, just like me.  Again, check out this three-part documentary called Superheroes: A Never Ending Battle. It is available right now on NetFlix.  It is also a PBS production, so you can also find it at PBS.org to purchase.  Worth the time, I promise, if you are into Superheroes at all.