Truth, Justice and the Death To America Way: Guys, I honestly cannot tell you how glad I am that Graeme has been blogging about Superman renouncing his citizenship or whatever in Action Comics #900 (here and here). When I first heard the news, I gasped “Oh no!” Not because I particularly care about imaginary character Superman’s imaginary citizenship—dude’s not even “real” within the fictive DC Universe, where Clark Kent and Kal-El are his “real” identities, and spent about a year exiled from Earth on New Krypton at the request of planet Earth—but because the last thing I wanted to do was sift through mainstream media coverage of another ginned-up comic book “controversy” like Batman hanging out with a Muslim or Captain America comic book featuring signs taken from a real world protest of a black man being president. Heidi MacDonald of The Beat has a stronger stomach than I, and is paying attention to the mainstream reaction, so check her out for more. I think Mike Sterling sums it up pretty well in this post at his Progressive Ruin blog (you’ll have to scroll past the really important news of the day, regarding Swamp Thing action figures), noting that the subplot is “causing people who’ve never read Superman comics to threaten to never read Superman comics.” Political satire blog Wonkette has a similar take about the importance of threats to “boycott” Superman, expressed in their own particular style and vitriolic viewpoint:
So here’s mythical metrosexual King of America and lamestream media reporter Clark “Superman” Kent pledging to join the U.N. or something. Teabaggers will be very upset! Even though the only comics they read are “Mallard Filmore” and those emailed pictures of the Obama Chimp Family picking watermelons outside the White House.
Will that stop teabaggers and Palin slobs from “boycotting” something they don’t read and would never purchase. Of course not, c’mon, are you new around here?
Hard to argue with the conclusion of their post either, of which I’ve taken out a swear because we try not to use those particular swears here: “You know what’s going to be…awesome? Never looking at the Internet again.” Oh, if only it were that easy…
You know, it’s really too bad there’s no way for DC to be able to track what element of a particular comic book effects sales for it. See, this scene that’s getting all the attention occurs in Action Comics #900, which is a big anniversary issue featuring all kinds of famous folks with one foot—or one toe—in the comics world, and the other in the movie/TV world, and was therefore always going to attract hefty sales. If the controversy attracts new readers—either rubberneckers picking it up to see what all the fuss is about, or folks buying it just to be more accurate when expressing their outrage over Superman’s un-Americanism—and DC had a way of sussing out that that’s what caused a big spike in sales, then maybe it would behoove them to get more political more often.
Then Wonder Woman could return to her feminist, socialist, peace-mongering, activist roots in a big way, and maybe her always-troubled title could start to climb back up the sales charts.
In other, less depressing news…
“Forge: The Wotst X-Man Ever”: That’s a bold statement, considering how many terrible, terrible X-Men there have been over the years. (Actually, Ben Morse puts forward a convincing argument; he means worst X-Man within the confines of the X-people universe, not from the outside looking in where, c’mon, Marrow? Maggot? Bishop? Cable? Gam-Well, maybe I should stop there, or I’ll be here all day.)
That’s a lot of potential for spin-off movies: “10 other superheroes who possessed the powers of Thor” (Hey, how come Wondy’s Thor outfit is so much more revealing and less bad-ass looking than Storm’s?)
Steven Weissman draws Harry Potter: Check it out here.
R. Sikoryak’s Jerry Robinson’s Joker (And Jerry Robinson, too): The artist has a nice illustration of Robinson and Robinson’s most famous creation in The New Yorker, accompanying an article on Jerry Robinson. You can see it here. And, of course, in The New Yorker.
Oops, I’m not done with politics just yet after all: What’s the difference between depicting a white president with big ears as a chimpanzee and a black president with big ears as a chimpanzee? Alan Gardner of The Daily Cartoonist links to an NPR piece on potentially offensive political cartooning, in which Tell Me More host Michel Martin interviews American Political Cartoons author Stephen Hess and political cartoonist Mike Luckovich. I’m linking to Gardner’s post instead of just straight to NPR, as Gardner provides a bit of background. Do give the interview a listen, or read the transcript here. Luckovich is a hell of a cartoonist, and there’s some interesting stuff in there about political cartooning in general and a bit about his thought process, and Hess has some funny stories, like one about a 1902 conflict between a cartoonist and a governor.