New Doc Ock Hits Spider-Man
Have you seen the new Doctor Octopus, designed by fan-favorite artist Humberto Ramos? Click to dig the Doc.
Marvel Hires New Publisher
Following such rumors, Marvel today announced that Bill Jemas has been replaced as Publisher. Now read who took his job.
CrossGen's Solus #7
CrossGen thinks you'll love George Pťrez's new issue of Solus. And to prove it, here's a five-page preview.
Marvel Searches For She-Hulk
Writer Geoff Johns and artist Scott Kolins reunite for Marvel's Avengers as they search for She-Hulk.
Virtex Returns For Digital Webbing
A comic about a cybernetic cowboy that hunts outlaws riding dinosaurs? Where do we sign up? Read on and find out.
Marvel's Mutants Gains New Penciler
Marvel's New Mutants has a new artist onboard, and we've got a five-page preview. See if he's got the chops.
Image Rocks Out With Shangri-La
Are you ready to rock and roll? Image is, with their upcoming graphic novel Shangri-La. Read the details here.
Marvel Teams Up For A Good Cause
Spider-Man and The Incredible Hulk team up for charity in a special December one-shot. Read all about it.
Davis' Marquis Returns In December
Guy Davis' sin-slayer is back in The Marquis: Intermezzo, coming from Oni Press. Read all about it.
Marvel Unveils '04 FF Plans
Marvel plans three Fantastic Four series for 2004, and we've got the details and preview art. Check this out.
2F2F DVD Contest
The hit street racing film 2 Fast 2 Furious is driving to DVD players near you. Win a free copy from Slush and Universal.

How To Fix Superman
By Joshua Elder


I worship Superman to a degree that borders on idolatry. The total value of my Superman comic collection is equivalent to the price of a good used car. I have a different Superman T-shirt for every day of the week. I even have the ďSĒ symbol permanently etched on my right bicep in red and yellow ink...so I think itís safe to say that Iím a fan. Which makes it that much harder to actually read the swill that passes for Superman comics these days.

According to Diamondís December sales chart, Superman is the number 46 book, right below Marvelís Weapon X. Weapon X! Something is seriously wrong when a book starring Wildchild and Mesmero outsells Superman. Clearly, something must be done.

Article continued below advertisement

Letís start with the format. Currently there are three (Man of Steel is getting canceled next month) inter-linked ďcontinuityĒ titles and enough miniseries, maxiseries and one-shots to choke a Kandorian flamebird. Thatís just way too much Superman. Overexposure dilutes the franchise and alienates the core fanbase. The fat needs to be trimmed.

I would begin by instituting a strict limit on the number of Superman ďside projects.Ē There would be one - Elseworlds, miniseries, whatever Ė per quarter. This will help ensure that only quality books get published. Next I would streamline the ďcontinuityĒ titles to include just Action Comics and Superman. I feel this would be an acceptable compromise between the fans that were willing to buy four interconnected titles a month and those who yearned for a single, self-contained title. Finally, I would transform Adventures of Superman into an anthology title in the vein of Legends of the Dark Knight or Tangled Web. Creators could use this title to tell solid Superman stories without the restrictions of monthly continuity. It could also be the home to more experimental and off-beat stories that would have ended up as overpriced prestige format books otherwise. To take a page from Marvelís playbook, AOS would come out 18 times a year. Itís designed to be collected in trade paperback form anyway, so the faster the issues come out, the faster the trades can hit the bookstores.

Then thereís the matter of creative vision Ė something the Superman titles sorely lack. I place the blame for this squarely on the shoulders of Eddie Berganza, the Superman group editor. He chooses the artists, and he chooses the writers. He is ultimately responsible for the characterís overall creative direction. Iím sure the pressures of helming a franchise character like Superman are immense Ė both from a corporate and a creative level - but that doesnít excuse his poor performance. Some drastic changes need to be made and if Berganza isnít willing or able to make them then DC should replace him with something who is. In the interests of full disclosure, I should say that I interned at DC for two summers while in college. During that time I submitted a story to Eddie that he later turned down. You can read it at for yourselves at www.chron.org/~elder/when_youre_older.htm. I admit to being a little bitter, but I think the facts of this matter speak for themselves.

So whatís wrong with the Superman titles from a creative standpoint? The art, for one thing. Superman works best when drawn in a realistic style, which is why Jerry Ordway is one of the great Superman artists and Duncan Rouleau most certainly is not. Even Ed McGuinness, whose work I love, is still too stylized and cartoony to be the best choice for the regular artist on a mainstream Superman book. Which is exactly the reason a book like AOS should exist - to let those artists whose styles arenít suited to the monthly books still have a shot at drawing the Man of Steel.

Story-wise the Superman titles are floundering as well. I want to preface this by saying that some of the most powerful and moving single issues of any Superman comic Iíve ever read have been published in the last three years, but those are the exception and not the rule. The rule is bloated crossovers, dangling subplots and severe character mismanagement. In order to get the Superman books back on track, some changes definitely need to be made. First, Clark Kent has to become a prominent character again. This essential human element of the Superman mythos has been all but ignored these past few years, and the books have suffered for it. Second, the writers need to move the character forward instead of rehashing Silver Age concepts best left forgotten. Itís time to start adding to the Superman mythos again. Third, the stories need to get smarter. Books like Rising Stars and Astro City show how powerful the idea of a superman is, but the Supertitles themselves rarely live up to the potential of their premise.

In all honesty, Iíve just wasted both your time and mine. Itís highly doubtful that the folks at DC will ever adopt any of my ideas. They just promoted Eddie Berganza, so itís obvious they disagree with me on his job performance. And even if they did take my advice, thereís certainly no guarantee that it would work. Still, I have to hold out hope that somehow the Superman books will turn themselves around. Otherwise Iím going to feel like a real chump for getting that tattoo.


E-Mail Author  |  Archive  |  Tell A Friend



Sword of Dracula
Slush launches our Halloween countdown with the first in a series of spooky reviews. First up? New series, Sword of Dracula.
John Byrne's IMO
This week John points out that fans cannot read the minds of creators, although you wouldn't know that by listening to some of them.
The Dead Zone
Flesh-eating zombies battle the last remaining police officer in Image's new series, The Walking Dead. We review the first issue.
Steve Niles Interview
Slush interviews Steve Niles, the acclaimed writer of 30 Days of Night, who tells us about the relaunch of Fused.
A Spidery Preview
Have you seen the new Doctor Octopus, designed by fan-favorite artist Humberto Ramos? Click to dig the Doc.
Kill Bill Review
Slush reviews the first installment of Quentin Tarantino's kung fu slasher masterpiece, Kill Bill.
Viper Interview
Slush takes a look at new publisher Viper Comics, and interviews the guys behind two of its hottest books.
Peanuts Collected
Cartoon fans rejoice. Fantagraphics is reprinting the entire collection of Charles Schulz' Peanuts. Read on for details.

CHANNELS:  Features | Columns | Reviews | News | Film & TV | Forums | Slushfactory.com

Copyright © 2003 Slush Factory Entertainment (E-mail)
All Rights Reserved : No portion of Slush may be reprinted in any form without prior consent