Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Time Trapper: Great Villain, or Greatest Villain?

Long time SIB readers know nothing in the world amuses me like a super villain being a petty jerk does. Using that as the standard, I present to you evidence that the Time Trapper may very well be best villain in the history of comics.

Backstory you need: Time Trapper is from the future (the future's future), and his evil plot involves him going back and having the Legion of Super Heroes touch this thing that will de-age them into protoplasmic slime. Yeah, it was the 60s. Any way, the plan fails because they're around a chemical that stops the process with them as toddlers, so he has to take them to a world where another chemical will finish the process. But first!

He has to kick a toddler Invisible Kid square in the ass for no other reason than it's freaking hilarious.

Eventually he gets them to the planet to finish the proscess. (But not before taking advantage of them by talking them into committing super crimes for him. At one point he actually calls himself "Uncle Time Trapper", I swear to god). But damned if they ain't dying quick enough for him. His thought balloon here i find HILARIOUS.

At this point in the issue I'm wondering if time travel will be discovered in my life time, because I swear if I had access to a time machine, I would, in fact, use it to go back in time and write a comic that involved a cranky old bastard telling some kid shut up and turn into goo.

Eventually Superboy and Brainiac 5 show up and the team is made into teenagers again blah blah blah good guys win, but only after making a deal to let the Time Trapper go. What does the Time Trapper do? Set off a weapon to destroy them? Make good his escape before they change their minds? Hell no. That's not how my main man Double T rolls. He calls the Legion to freaking laugh at them. And that is grade A villainy right there.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Seriously, it's gonna be thing

Superman and dinosaurs (and then some). All the cool kids are doing it.

(Thanks to Youri for pointing this out.)

Subliminal sexy talk

There's this issue of Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane. It features Supergirl secretly trying to convince Superman to to fall in love with Lois by making him see her every where. She quickly swoops in, alters a billboard, then back out again. Superman thinks, "I'm seeing her every where, I must be in love!"

It's cute little story. It's actually kind of sweet, Supergirl wants Supes to marry Lois so they can adopt her. Awwww. One of the billboard switches, as seen in the original printed comic, looks like this-

The full billboard's never shown, so I have no idea what we're meant to be trying. According to the original art however, Supergirl wants Superman to try something dirty! Here's the same panel from the recent Showcase Presents Supergirl, the black and white reprint featuring what appears to be the original unaltered art-

Yeah, that's a crappy picture, but the intent is clear. That thing says Try Lust. Supergirl was a closet freak.

My dad actually recognized the product it was meant to be an ad for. There used to be a shampoo called "Lustre Cream" and its ads encouraged you to "try Lustre Cream."

They grow up so fast.

Say It Backwards is one year old today. In that time I've had the opportunity to refer to folks as "my readers," (how cool is that?), started receiving press releases, been linked to from more than one major comic news site, and been called a no taste having goober. Which is hilarious. I've also met a lot of amazing people and seen a great deal of generosity.

So break out the noisemakers, presents and party hats, it's a shindig up in here.

My most sincere thanks to every one who is reading this.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

You had your chance

Who's a playa? Jimmy O, that's who.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

It better come with a $50 bill

Dear DC,

Using the cracktastic prices asked by Amazon marketplace sellers as a guide, I have come to the conclusion there is some demand for Superman: Secret Identity to be put back into print. Please get on that.

Thomas Denton.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Metropolis Mailbag 3

Say It Backwards has its first anniversary is Friday. I can't believe that. I should probably do something for that. So far my three most talked about posts have been about bootleg toys, helping kids with cancer and Lex Luthor having sex with the Parasite. I love the internet.

Some emails I've received

1 How've you been?
Meh. I've found a place to stay*, that's something. Still irregularly employed. I found something, but it didn't work out because of some very ugly things.

2 How's Ben?
He started school a couple of weeks ago! How awesome is that? He's really happy to be back, too.

3 You still doing the plush Mxy thing?
Yeah, it's just all things like that are on hold until after the Charity fund raiser.

4 You didn't finish ______ series of posts
I know. I'm really bad about that. I'm sorry.

5 It's good to see regular posting from you again
Thank you!

6 You didn't mention Jim Mooney's passing
I know. I feel kind of bad about that. I loved Mooney, to the best of my recollection, he was the first comic artist whose name I knew (well, besides Curt Swan). I just didn't know what to say. I'm going to do something about him soon.

7 Composite Superman is lame.
You're lame!

*You've seen me mention moving soon. I won't have much room at the new place, so I can't take much with me. I have to get rid of almost everything. Action figures from lots of different lines (including every 25th anniversary GI Joe figure; I got REALLY carried away with those), minimates, Lego, DVDs, comics, and just whatever else pops up as i finish packing. I'm not looking to make a fortune, just find good homes for some cool stuff. Buy my stuff so I don't have to throw it away! Mention SIB and I'll throw in some free swag like a Superman lunch box or something. Also, I started getting snarky and punchy writing up auction titles and descriptions. I'm a terrible salesman.

DISCLAIMER: The auctions I mention here have NOTHING to do with the Ben's Charity Art Auction. Those will be under a completely different ebay title, paypal and and bank account. Those start on May 3, 2008. This is just me selling some stuff so I have less to pack. PLEASE DO NOT CONFUSE THIS WITH THE CHARITY AUCTION.

I hope you guys don't think the plugging is too tacky.

Did I ever show this to you guys?

Back when Justice Heroes League mania swept the nation, this strip was done at The Boy In The Dress.

It is amazing.

Superman on a dinosaur. It's gonna be a thing. Tell your friends.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

That's what I've been trying to tell you!

DC: "Hey, it might be a good idea to make a Supergirl comic designed to appeal to little girls."

Every one who has so much as heard of the character: "Well, duh."

From Newsarama-

"DiDio asked Jann Jones what's coming up for the Johnny DC line, and she plugged Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the Eighth Grade, a six-issue mini coming "hopefully in the fall" by the creators of the "Kids Gravity" series that originated In Disney Adventures."

All snark aside, I think this is a great idea and its nice to finally see it happen.

Speaking of Action Figures


Answer? Extremely awesome.

Also, DC Direct is releasing a Superman figure based on the art of Jack Kirby in their upcoming Fourth World line, which makes me happy all over.

More pretty pictures of upcoming DC toys from DC Direct and Mattel at TNI.

DC Universe Classics

I got email asking what I thought of new wave (featuring Superman and Aquaman characters, plus several other cool characters) since I've gone on about how much I love these and their predecessor line DC SuperHeroes.

I'd offer reviews and take silly pictures of them, but I CAN'T FIND THEM! And I've looked. I know they've been spotted, has any one out there come across them? Care to share your opinions?

Superman, Inc

I don't know if you guys know this about me, but I like Superman. But not just the fiction, I love the merchandise. I love it any time some one gives me something with an 'S' shield on it. I've owned Superman bubble bath, rusty old lunchboxes with Chris Reeve and Mark McClure on them, aprons, christmas tree ornaments, and just a ton of other crazy things. A drop in the bucket relative to what's out there. I love the variety of things out there, I think it's fascinating and funny and just neat.

I've never owned anything very old though. Nothing I've had went past the 70s, beyond the odd Silver Age comic from the 50s or 60s I've owned here and there. When I was in junior high there was small comic shop that I went to that had all these cool old comic ads framed and hanging around the store. Lots of them were for crazy old Superman merchandise and I used to just stare at them and wish I could get my hands on the things being shilled. They were from a time when Superman was so popular that they all had "© Superman, Inc" on them.

I'd ask about that stuff and the owner would tell me "Oh man, that's stuff's impossible to find these days." These days was 15 or 16 years ago. Today, nothing's absolutely impossible to find with the internet. Still, that "impossible to find" thing kinda stuck with me, so anything with Superman on it made before 1969 is kind of magical to me.

I got this in the mail yesterday-

The note said "It's a Valentine from the 40s- and every one you're helping."

A beautifully and cleverly done one, at that. Its copyright says "Superman, Inc." For those of you who aren't giant geeks, Superman, Inc. was DC's licensing arm in the 40s and early 50s. I've seen ads that said "Superman, Inc," pictures of boxes with that on it, items far of my price range at cons and such with that name on it, but I've never owned anything that had that little legal stamp. Seeing it made me smile the biggest smile I have in quite some time.

Larry Young of AiT/Planet Lar sent it to me with a note mentioning how sad I'd probably be to have then send away all the cool stuff from the auction.

Thank you, Larry. It made my whole week.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Donation preview extravaganza!

Did I spell extravaganza right? Probably not. I'm lame. Two things:

1 The official artist list is WAAAAYYY out of date. Because I suck. But this weekend it will be updated with every participating artist. Literally DOZENS of folks. So if you feel I've overlooked you, I am SO sorry and that is absolutely not my intention. I'll be scanning donations, updating the list, finalizing things with ebay's charity partner, the whole shmeer. I am on the ball!

2 I think I've contacted ever participating artist. I think. But if you have not heard from me, as always, please contact me again.

Anyhoo, look at some of the cool swag!

Just some stuff

Hello there, have some links.

The Daily Superman Random pictures of Superman. Daily.

An in depth look at Superman breaking chains. And you people call me a geek.

Superpup. How creepy is this? Very.

Grant Morrison talks about Superman. Should any one attending NYCC get a chance to meet with Grant, be sure to make out with him and let him know it was from me.

The saga of the Super Teacher! Part 1 Part 2 I love Dial B For Blog.

Lex Luthor is smarter than you

"Whatcha doin', Lex?"
"Building a jailhouse time machine."
"Really? What goes in that?"
"A few paper clips, an alarm clock, and some aspirin."
"That's pretty impressive."
"I thought so. I'm also making some sangria in the toilet if you want to help me celebrate the destruction of Superman later."
"Oh, awesome. I'm down."

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

You got chocolate in my peanut butter!

I like the character profiles I do here, but they get really long. I'm going to try to keep this one short, but I make no promises.

This guy is one of my favorites. Joseph Meach was a loser and he blamed it on the world. When Superman saves his life and gets him a job, he's some how bitter about even that. The wad. Unfortunately for Superman, no good deed goes unpunished. While Meach was working as a janitor for the Superman Museum, lightning strikes a Meach and a set of statues of the Legion of Super Heroes. These aren't just statues though, they possess elements of the Legionnaires themselves, so when Meach is bathed in their energy he gains the powers of the entire Legion. Because science.

What's the first thing he decides to do with these powers? He turns himself into a green half-Superman/half-Batman and swears revenge! He's nothing if not creative. That'll teach you to employ some one, Kryptonian!

He starts his revenge with good old fashioned extortion. Using his telepathy, he learns Superman and Batman's secret identities and forces them to let him join their team. From there he goes on to be one of the most awesome villains ever. Why? Because he becomes a complete ass.

I have a thing for villains who aren't just evil, but flat out jerks. I think they're hilarious. Something about the pettiness of fraying Batman's ropes before he swoops in so he falls on his ass just strikes me as grade A villainy. Composite Superman blackmails, humiliates and eventually just beats the snot out of Superman and Batman. They're whupped. How do they defeat this guy?

THEY DON'T. How cool is that? The only reason Composite Supes didn't kill them both was because his powers faded before he had a chance to do it. Superman and Batman even flat out say it, he kicked our butts-

Batman is correct. Poor Meach lost all memory of his time as a super villain when his powers faded. But that's not the end of his career. After working in the Superman museum for a while, Meach has let go of his anger and now admires the two heroes. That doesn't last.

In a prison some where out in space, a criminal captured by the pair has his son swear to destroy them for incarcerating him. Composite Superman being the only villain to beat Superman and Batman, the alien, Xan, finds Meach and recreates the incident that gave him his powers.

Powers (and bitterness) restored, Meach sets out to kill the World's Finest, and again, they only thing that saves them is the fact his powers start to fade. With the powers fading, his mind returns to normal, and just before the alien can strike Superman and Batman down, Meach goes out like a hero-

Or chump. You decide. And that's it. That's the end of the Composite Superman. Two appearances and we never saw him again. A later two issue story in World's Finest would feature Xan posing as the Composite Superman. Proving he wouldn't know awesome if you beat him in the face with it, he declares the Composite look 'ridiculous,' adopts a new look and continues his villainy with the name "Amalgamax."

One cool thing did come of this story, this cover, which I LOVE-

I guess Composite Supes was still considered ridiculous in the 90s, but a character clearly inspired by him called Composite Man would menace the Legion with all their powers. His origin was entirely different; he was an alien shapeshifter created as a weapon to use against the Legion.

Also worth mentioning is Composite Superboy.

A programmable goop that takes on the characteristics of living things gets into Young Justice's computer. It gets as far as Superboy and Robin's files before the team takes him on. He's eventually tricked into taking a weaker form and defeated. This is great just for the complete and unapologetic silliness of it. (By the way, Ethan Van Sciver drew that. Seriously.)

Composite Superman's design would show up in the current Superman/Batman series a few times. Once as a giant robot built by a kid genius (and I don't care what any one says, that rocks) and another time as Superman and Batman literally combined by magic. There was also a quick gag on Justice League Unlimited that featured the same idea.

So what makes this minor villain with only two little stories under his belt so enduring that he's been revisited so often? A couple of things, I think. First, he got clear victories over the World's Finest not once, but twice, and he only encountered them twice. He's gone 2 & 0. Undefeated world champeen, he is.

Secondly, and more importantly, well, he's a really fun visual. He's the kind of thing a fifth grader would draw on his notebook. Superman and Batman smooshed together is just neat. Here, have a poorly done doodle of the fellow just because he's so fun to draw-

Bad drawing (and this post, really) inspired by It Never Stops Raining.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


I'm sending a reminder around to all the participating artists that the auctions go live in 2 weeks, and to request a scan of the work be made available to me by May first for listing on the third.

Scans can be sent to

Also, could you please pass this along to any folks you've recruited.

And once again, thank you all.

If you have not heard from me, it is because I'm lame and overwhelmed just a little bit. Please try to get in touch with me again about anything you would like to do to help.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Golden Age Superman week: The First Year

I love the The Superman Chronicles. It's a series put out by DC collecting Superman's earliest appearances in chronological order. They're affordable, in full color, and the material they reprint is solid gold.

For your lazy Sunday afternoon reading, I give you an overview of the major events of Superman's first year (and change). Superman and Lois' first kiss, the first mention of his x-ray vision, his first recurring villain, and even his first kill. Seriously.

Action Comics 1, June 1938

The plot-
It starts right in the middle of it. Superman's rushing through through the night with a beautiful woman bound up in tow, crashing through the governor's mansion in an attempt to save a wrongfully accused prisoner about to be executed. It's an exciting start. After that episode we see Superman save Lois from a few tough customers, then onto the investigation of a war brewing in South America we'll see continued in the next issue.

Some thoughts-
His first appearance. So much to talk about. We'll start with the familiar. The blue suit, the cape, the strength. It's all there. We're with him as he first gets a job at a newspaper and meets a beautiful reporter by the name of Lois Lane. We see her appalled by the meekness of poor Clark Kent and wowed by Superman. All things we know as belonging to the classic Superman mythology.

But what's not there! Man, oh, man. No vision powers, no super senses, no flight! No Jonathan and Martha, either. This Superman was found by a 'passing motorist' and brought to an orphanage. The editor that hires him goes unnamed, and there's not a single red haired cub reporter in sight. We don't even know what city he's in.

The villains aren't giant robots or mad scientists, but a failure in the court system, some brutish bullies and corrupt politicians. This Superman really was a champion of the oppressed, and not afraid to confront wrongs inside or outside the law.

Action Comics 2, July 1938
The plot-
Picking up where the last issue left off, Clark's been assigned to investigate a war brewing in South America, but first he detours to Washington where he discovers a conspiracy to inflame the region by a crooked politician and a munitions manufacturer. How does he resolve the issue? By forcing the munitions manufacturer to enlist as a soldier in the conflict so he can learn first hand what his bombs and bullets are doing.

That's not enough for this Superman, though. He sees men dying for no reason so what does he do? Takes the heads of both nations and tells them to settle it, man to man.

Some thoughts-
A random continuity note, when it comes time to file his story, Clark has it wired to "The Evening News" in Cleveland, Ohio. This is the first and last mention of either of those things.

This Superman here? He doesn't leave us to settle our own differences. He sees a petty, meaningless fight and he says 'End this or I will end it for you.' He's not afraid to scare people into doing the right thing.

This Superman also quite possibly intentionally killed a man. Seeing an officer torture prisoners, Superman does not stand for it.

His fate is ambiguous, but death is a reasonable interpretation. Strange to see, huh?

Action Comics 3, August 1938
The plot -
The rich owner refuses to bring a local mining operation up to even minimal safe conditions, so Superman (posing as an immigrant worker) shows him and some other members of the idle upper class what it's like to risk their lives in the mine.

Some thoughts-
Superman only appears in costume for a single panel. The rest he's in disguise. Like the last issue, we see his approach to bringing about change in those that would harm others is to give them a taste of their own medicine. I'd like to see a Superman who fights for the rights of the work force again.

Action Comics 4, September 1938
The plot-
The pursuit of a hit and run driver leads Superman to discover a plot by a crooked football coach to rig games by hiring thugs to take out players on the oppositions team. Superman takes the place of one of the players to put a stop to it.

Some thoughts-
Play fair or don't play at all, crooked football guy. A couple of interesting things in this one. One, the hit and run driver at the beginning comes to a stop in front of a speeding train and struggles with Superman, delaying their escape. This prompts from Superman, "Stop you fool, you'll kill us both!" It's not often you see a Superman worried about physical injury. This was a time when Superman was not yet invulnerable, his abilities 'only' going so far as "Nothing short of bursting shell can penetrate his skin!"

Also of note, Superman's method of making his way onto the team. He doesn't ask to take the player's place, but drugs and kidnaps him long enough to bring the racket down. It ultimately ends well for the player, but still. It would have been nice if you had at least tried to ask, Supes.

Action Comics 5, October 1938
The plot-
Clark is asked to cover a dam that is expected to burst and destroy a town, while Lois plots to steal the story from him.

Some thoughts-
This is the first story that really spotlights the Clark/Lois/Superman dynamic. Absent for the last two issues, Lois returns and for the first time meets Superman with more than fear or curiosity. Ladies and gentlemen, the moment Lois fell for Superman.


Superman appears to be getting stronger. In this issue he performs his mightiest feat yet, the first beyond the already amazing lifting cars and knocking down steel doors. Here he topples an entire mountain peak to divert the flood.

Action Comics 6, November 1938
The plot-
A shyster shows up claiming to have gained the legal rights to Superman from the man himself and begins selling the name for a fortune. Believing Superman to be a myth, he thinks there will be no repercussions. Heh.

Some thoughts-
So yeah, there are obvious parallels to what's happening with the Superman rights at this very moment.

This issue is also the first appearance of my main man Jimmy O. Sort of. We see for the first time around the offices of the paper Clark works at an office boy in a bow tie. He goes unnamed and has blond hair instead of red, but what the hell. Let's say it's our pal Mr Olsen any way.

Action Comics 7, December 1938
The plot-
Superman helps a failing circus that is being harassed by a protection racket by lending his name and abilities the show.

I love the elephant's shock at what's happening.

Some thoughts-
This is a pretty basic story. It lets kids see Superman perform at a circus, and has a simple theme; "Superman hates bullies." Beyond the extortion, we see this in a short framing sequence that takes place back at the office-

The proto-Steve Lombard, jerkass Curly.

He gets his, though.

I really can't recommend this enough. It's a really interesting slice of pop culture history, and it's fascinating, well for me at least, to see how much the character had developed and evolved by the end of his first year alone.

Liberated lady

It was pointed out to me that I don't talk about Lois around here much, and that I've given both Jimmy and Perry their own irregular features but not her. That's a good point. So joining Jimmy Olsen Is Cooler Than You and Perry White Is Senile, I give you Liberated Lady, a new irregular feature starring Lois Lane in out of context panels provin' she don't need no Superman to save her.

You go, girl!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Charity auction fliers! Make with the download!

If you didn't know, my friend Jesse is awesome. I love that image of a character that is a legally distinct entity with coincidental similarities to Superman. It has an elegance about it.

Print out your own and ask your local funnybook store to put it in their window!

Print quality pdf of a:
Full sheet
Four quarter sheets

Thanks to my very good friend Elias for hosting those.

Golden Age Superman week: Okay, this was probably taken in the 50s

And not the 40s, but I love it and I don't recall if I ever got around to posting it. I stole it from Evan Dorkin's blog.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Golden Age Superman week: The Siegel decision

The Siegel decision.

I know this is old news, but people have asked what I think. I've been hesitant to say, really. I just don't know enough to feel like I can offer an well-reasoned opinion. To be completely honest, and this may make me sound like a jerk, but I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, you kind of have to feel like "Well alright, Jerry's family is taken care of. I bet he's some where smiling wide as the ring of a bell." And that's beautiful.

Selfishly, I wonder what it means for the future publication of Superman material by DC, who, though not where the idea started, are just as responsible for the success of the character as Jerry and Joe.

So that's how I feel about the Siegel decision. Ill informed and to some folks probably a corporate devil backing jerkass.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Golden Age Superman week: Max and Dave

The animated Superman shorts of the 40s are one of those things that have seemed conspicous by their absence around here. They're so well covered online with so many resources, I feel my two cents don't really contribute much. But I'd be remiss if I didn't do a little some thing for Golden Age week.

Their praises have been sung since their creation in 1941 all the way until today. The first in the series was nominated for an Academy Award, and Dini/Timm have frequently cited them as one of the primary influences of the animated DC universe that began with Batman The Animated Series.

They're most often referred to as the Fliescher shorts, but Max and Dave Fliescher actually only had a hand in the first nine. The second series of 8 were handled by the Paramount owned successor to Fliescher Studios, Famous Studios. The later cartoons, while still good, don't quite match the quality of the originals in story or animation.

They've fallen into the public domain, Paramount never renewing the copyright way back when. If you've ever looked at the dollar DVD/VHS bins full of old cartoons at Wal-Mart, gas stations, drug stores or just about any where cheap stuff is sold, you've probably seen these in there.

A random interesting bit; the famous taglines "Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound' all started here. My favorite of these, "More powerful than the pounding surf!" never gets much play.

This is my favorite of the series, The Mechanical Monsters. I watched this one over and over when I was a kid; the giant simple but creepy robots, the scenes with Superman in the power lines and protecting Lois from the molten steel, it's all exciting and just gorgeously rendered. Enjoy.

You can read more about them and find links to watch them online at their wiki entry. I can't recommend them enough.

Golden Age Superman week: Reign of the Super-Man

This is a bit of cheat on the theme, as this story actually predates the creation of the Golden Age Supes by about 5 years. Long before they created the man from Krypton and his meek alter ego, Siegel wrote a prose story (under the pseudonym 'Herbert S Fine') called 'Reign of the Superman ' featuring illustrations by Shuster. It was published in a small magazine created by the pair called Science Fiction: The Advance Guard of Future Civilization, which may be one of the greatest titles ever.

The Superman in this story is of no relation to the hero they would later create. In fact, the story doesn't really have a hero. It's a tale of the greed and callousness of one man and another, simple broken man being corrupted power, and with evil ultimately done in by its own hands.

It's a fairly dark tale with dark characters. You can read it here. It's an interesting bit of history.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Golden Age Superman week: Super-Ego

I think Chuck Austen's run on Action was awful. I really do. Thing is, aside from all the horrible elements with the plot and other characters, his attempts at Superman's characterization were sort of a noble failure.

Austen said many times he wanted to bring back the attitude of the Superman that appeared in those first issues of Action comics, but he only understood it on the most superficial levels. He did not get why Superman behaved as he did.

The original version of Superman, in a nutshell, was some one strong who protected the weak. Absolutely intolerant of bullies.

By his very presence he was intimidating because he shouldn't be real. Seeing him do any of the things he could do distorts your sense of reality because you know no one should be able leap an eighth of a mile straight up or have bullet proof skin.

The bullies and the thugs, they were scared of this impossible man for a couple of reasons. One, he was otherworldly and they feared this thing they did not understand, and they also knew wasn't going to let them get away with hurting people. They saw a Superman you and I didn't; one who would say "You can't hurt me, so go ahead and try. It's a lesson that you need to learn- The basic good I fight for is a far stronger force than those who prey on the weak would ever think. "

The every day people knew that if they were weak or not out to hurt any one else, they had no reason to be afraid. They knew he was there to help, and they knew he was going to do the right thing and they knew he was confident and certain in his actions. It wasn't ego, he was just comfortable with who he was and what he could do, and he enjoyed helping and doing the amazing things he could do. He enjoyed being special but never lorded over any one. And they loved him for it.

Austen's big mistakes were two: There was no difference in the Superman seen by the people Superman was fighting for and the people Superman was fighting against. He also mistook that matter-of-fact confidence and confused it with ego, and these things together turned Superman into a bully himself in ways.

There was one moment, though, where he got it right. It's a funny little moment that blends the sense of humor Superman would develop with the kind of self-comfort of that first Superman.

Superman flies in to help the Titans Superboy, Kid Flash and Wonder Girl in a fight, and he mentions that Superboy looks like he's worse for the wear, and then there's this exchange.

It's funny, and it hints at exactly what Superman and Superboy's relationship should have been. It's Superman teasing his little brother, just like any older brother would. It's not Superman being too humble as he was often seen before or being an arrogant jerk, as he was often seen during the rest of Austen's tenure. It's a charming kind of middle ground that shows a friendly teasing. It's the only place I think Austen succeeded in his attempts to make Superman more fun. So thanks for that brief moment of fun character interaction, Chuck.

There's a middle ground between boyscout and jerk, and that's where Superman really should be.

Thanks to Mr Farrell for much of this post, as it's really just a poor transcript of a long geeky conversation we had.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Geoff Johns is actually pretty awesome

This post has spoilers (though with not much context, so they don't spoil entirely), so for folks trade-waiting the Superman and the Legion of the Superheroes arc that just finished in Action, you'll wanna skip this one.

I'm really behind on my comics reading, but I just sat down with with Action 858-863, and damn was it good. I now present to you 4 reasons why you must have some kind of brain worms if you aren't reading Action these days.

Reason the first
Case studies have proven that there are only two things cooler than giant robots.
One, jumping over a tank full of sharks on a rocket-cycle while making out with Jessica Biel as Immigrant Song blares, or;
Two, said giant robots getting jacked up.

Jessica Biel probably refused to sign away likeness rights, but fear not! For here is Superman smacking a giant robot.

Reason the second
The Legion of Substitute Heroes are fucking punk rock.

Reason the third:
Superman is a total bad ass. Spread the word.

Reason the fourth:
Superman is my hero.