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 "S" symbol
permanently etched on my right bicep in red and yellow ink
so I think it's safe to say that I'm a fan. Which makes it
that much harder to actually read the swill that passes for
Superman comics these days.
to Diamond's December sales chart, Superman is the
number 46 book, right below Marvel's Weapon X. Weapon X!
Something is seriously wrong when a book starring Wildchild
and Mesmero outsells Superman. Clearly, something must be
start with the format. Currently there are three (Man of
Steel is getting canceled next month) inter-linked "continuity"
titles and enough miniseries, maxiseries and one-shots to
choke a Kandorian flamebird. That's just way too much Superman.
Overexposure dilutes the franchise and alienates the core
fanbase. The fat needs to be trimmed.
begin by instituting a strict limit on the number of Superman
"side projects." There would be one - Elseworlds,
miniseries, whatever - per quarter. This will help ensure
that only quality books get published.
would streamline the "continuity" 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.
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 Marvel's
playbook, AOS would come out 18 times a year. It's
designed to be collected in trade paperback form anyway, so
the faster the issues come out, the faster the trades can
hit the bookstores.
the matter of creative vision - 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 character's overall creative direction. I'm sure the
pressures of helming a franchise character like Superman are
immense - both from a corporate and a creative level - but
that doesn't excuse his poor performance. Some drastic changes
need to be made and if Berganza isn't willing or able to make
them then DC should replace him with something who is.
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 for
yourselves. I admit to being a little bitter, but I think
the facts of this matter speak for themselves.
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 aren't suited to the monthly books still have
a shot at drawing the Man of Steel.
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 I've 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.
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. It's 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.
honesty, I've just wasted both your time and mine. It's highly
doubtful that the folks at DC will ever adopt any of my ideas.
They just promoted Eddie Berganza, so it's obvious they disagree
with me on his job performance. And even if they did take
my advice, there's certainly no guarantee that it would work.
Still, I have to hold out hope that somehow the Superman books
will turn themselves around. Otherwise I'm going to feel like
a real chump for getting that tattoo.