This week, we celebrate the superhero that started it all.
Admittedly, while Superman has been my favorite superhero after years of comic book reboots, Smallville, animated series, animated movies, DCEU movies as well as the original Christopher Reeve movies, he is also a tough character to crack, and this is apparent in many of his stories as a result.
However, here are some of the best comics (or at least the more eventful/interesting ones) in recent years that prove that Superman can still be king of the genre.
If you’re looking for some Silver Age Christopher Reeve Superman nostalgia then look no further. As far as Superman homages go, this one is the best (sorry, Superman Returns). Geoff Johns captures the charm and spirit of the character displayed in the Reeve films while placing him into a more contemporary setting. The result is an origin about an optimistic figure who finds purpose in combating our bleak and pessimistic times.
A younger, less seasoned Superman than the one we’re used to is still finding his way as a hero, while under constant scrutiny and international military threats. A new world-ending threat and a long lost weapon kept secret since World War II will test the Man of Steel and all that he wants to stand for. Superman will have to overcome his doubts and insecurities to find confidence in making his own decisions, in hopes of inspiring others to do the same for the better.
A weird DC Comics reboot changed the multiverse and the events of its timeline, displacing the classic Superman, Lois Lane, and their newborn son, Jon, on an alternate Earth. For the sake of protecting his family’s anonymity, Superman decides to resume his superhero work in secret. Nothing can keep him from trying to make the world a better place, no matter how world-bending the circumstances might be. However, the Super family can’t stay hidden forever, no matter what Earth they live on, and their safety will be put at risk. Fixing a situation with stakes as high and as personal as this is a job for Superman.
Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound! Who can achieve these remarkable feats! You all know him and you love him: Superman!
Superman is a cultural icon and in many ways, the first superhero of American media. He’s the Man of Steel, the Last Son of Krypton, the Man of Tomorrow, and the Big Blue Blur. You all know Superman, from his iconic wardrobe, to his fantastic array of powers, his supporting cast (Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, Supergirl), his villains (Lex Luthor, Braniac, General Zod, Doomsday, Bizarro), and his setting of Metropolis. Superhuman is a fascinating character, both as a cultural icon and what he represents. Let’s take a closer look at this famous superhero of American myth!
Image via Wikipedia
Superman made his sensational debut in Action Comics #1 in 1938. He made a strong impression, headlining the cover of the book, raising a car over his head and smashing it against a boulder as men around him fled in terror. The man himself was created by the duo of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. Siegel wrote the storylines, while Shuster drew the art. The creators, both Jewish, initially wanted to create the superhero as a villain(!) but later redesigned him to be a hero instead. They drew inspiration from the Golem of Judaism, circus strongmen, and movie stars. His costume most obviously incorporated the strongman ideas, both for Superman’s feats of strength and his fabulous supernatural feats. Superman began as a figure to the lower class, a symbol of fighting back against the ‘man’, appropriate considering America was just pulling itself out of the Depression. As such, Superman tackled authority figures, fighting against men of the establishment like corrupt governors, oil tycoons, and con-men. His status quo was quickly established, with Lois Lane entering the picture as the object of Clark Kent’s affections, while Kent himself posed as a reporter at the Daily Planet.
Superman’s popularity exploded overnight, with his comic books selling more than any other comic book character in history. Due to his popularity, Superman was followed by a host of imitators such as Batman, Wonder Woman, Shazam!, the Flash, Green Lantern, the Atom, the Spectre, Hawkman, and many, many others. From all this came the foundation of the DC Universe, a host of imprints that DC eventually folded under one label, with Superman now sharing his world with dozens of other superpowered people. In fact, he became a founding member of the Justice League, the most famous team in comics history that brought its assorted heroes together.
Image Via Alex Ross
Superman’s popularity allowed him to expand from the comics, first in a radio show entitled The Adventures of Superman in 1940 and ran until 1951. The radio serials were fifteen minutes in length and aimed at a young audience but it made a huge cultural splash when it dared to go against a real life foe: the Ku Klux Klan. Seeing the Klan experience a resurgence, human rights activist Stetson Kennedy contacted the radio show and shared with them his research on the Klan. A storyline was created, entitled ‘the Clan of the Fiery Cross’ where Superman took on the Klan, stripping away their mystique of the organization and making them experience a severe drop in membership thereafter. So, Superman has always been a force for good, even in the real world. It didn’t hurt the storyline earned spectacular ratings as well.
Superman’s first cinema appearances were in the Superman theatrical shorts, each made for very lavish budgets of 50,000 to 30,000 for the time. The result was spectacular animation that blew audiences away and showcased Superman’s power on the big screen. The shorts were highly popular, created between 1941 and 1943, contributing to Superman’s ongoing popularity. He also had a TV show called Adventures of Superman, starring George Reeves as the titular hero and was highly popular in its hey day.
Image via Comicbook news
In 1978, the first big budget Superman film was produced, known as Superman: The Movie starring Christopher Reeve as Superman/Clark Kent, Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor, Margot Kidder as Lois Lane, and Marlon Brando as Superman’s father Jor-El. The film was directed by Richard Donner and lauded for its impressive special effect sequences, as well as Christopher Reeve’s portrayal of the titular superhero. Reeve managed to embody the classic character completely, making Clark Kent and Superman feel like truly different people, making Superman feel like a real character, rather than a archetype. The second highest grossing film of 1978 behind Grease, the series spawned three sequels, all of diminishing quality. But it remains a classic and Christopher Reeve, along with John Williams iconic score for the film, remain the definitive, enduring representations of the hero in the public eye.
Superman remains a classic of iconography and will always be a classic! We can’t wait to see what the future brings for the Man of Steel but for now, celebrate Superman Day by reading his comics or watch one of his cartoons, TV shows, and movies! As the man would say: this looks like a job for Superman!
Shazam! comes out this Friday (April 5th) and its going to be great to see a favorite superhero of the comics, not to mention an icon who outsold Superman in his day, get his debut on the big screen. But before the movie comes out, it is probably best to get at least a little familiar with the character in his home series of comics. But where to start with Shazam? Well, have no fear, here are a few of the best and essential storylines of the so called Big Red Cheese.
‘Shazam! And the Monster Society of evil’ by Jeff Smith and Alex Ross
Shazam! And The Monster Society of Evil is an all-ages condensed adaptation of Shazam’s origin story. Capping out at 4 issues, the story tells of how young Billy Batson got his powers, his first battle against his rogues gallery, and the introductions of supporting characters like Mary Marvel and Freddie Freeman. This story serves as a great introduction to the Shazam universe, as well as being well written, full of dynamic action, and showcasing Billy Batson’s inner hero for a new generation of readers.
‘Shazam! The Power of Hope’ By Paul dini and Alex ross
Famed Batman: The Animated Seriescreator and writer Paul Dini takes a swing at Shazam with this comic, with wonderful artwork provided by Alex Ross. It’s a very simple story that shows the inherent purity of the character, showing Shazam visiting a terminally ill children’s hospital and granting their birthday wishes. Few comics capture Shazam so well and this one is his character distilled to its basic form, showing him without fighting villains or around other heroes, just doing what he does best: bring hope. It’s a wonderful, sometimes tear jerking read that excels in showing its character with minimal dialogue.
‘The Power of Shazam!’ by Jerry Ordway
A title so popular it helped launch an ongoing comic, The Power of Shazam! is an original graphic novel that offers another take on Billy Batson’s origin. Lushly painted and an epic in its own right, this comic chronicles Billy Batson’s first adventures against a backdrop of an adventure that takes inspiration from horror movies and pulp serials. Black Adam becomes Billy’s first nemesis here and the reader roots for Billy as he rises above his traumatic circumstances to become a superhero. Highly recommended and a great take on the character’s origins, even if some of the writing is slightly dated.
‘Superman/Shazam: First Thunder’ by Judd Winick and Joshua Middleton
Superman and Shazam have always been connected, this team-up showing their strengths as superheroes as they team up together. When Superman meets Shazam, they initially throw down but afterwards, just talk and learn about each other, becoming fast friends over a mutual bond. Then, several villains including Lex Luthor and Eclipso team up, the two heroes joining forces to take them down. It’s a great story, full of fun character interaction between the leads, great action, and a fun contrast between the different worlds of these two iconic superheroes.
Are you looking forward to Shazam! this Friday? Which comics featuring the character are your favorites?
In honor of Batman’s 80th anniversary, we’re going to celebrate The Dark Knight with the most memorable scenes from his on-screen history. I also recommend DC’s celebratory Detective Comics #1000 special if you’d like to be hardcore with me.
Image via DC Comics
Now, you might be expecting a compilation of Batman’s best ‘fight scenes.’ This is not one of those compilations (especially since there’s only one live-action Batman movie that actually has incredible fight sequences—thank you, Zack Snyder). Instead, these are the scenes that truly speak to the Batman’s character.
1. Batman Begins – Bats Frighten Me
This scene perfectly captures Bruce Wayne’s ability to turn personal trauma into strength. He found the means to turn his own fears “against those who prey on the fearful.”
2. Batman: Mask of the Phantasm – The Birth of Batman
Bruce Wayne is frequently portrayed as obsessive and in need of the crusade against crime to define who he is. This scene shows a side of Batman that is rarely seen. He has moments where it is actually possible for him to let go of ‘Batman.’ Tragically, this was not one of those moments.
3. The Dark Knight – Joker Interrogation
There was nothing that Batman could have said to prove the Joker wrong here. The Joker is the kind of artist who laughs at your bullsh*t, successfully holds a mirror up to your world, and burns it down.
4. The Batman vs. Dracula – I am Batman
‘Most Ambitious Crossover’ status achieved. Yes, DC actually had the Batman square off against Dracula, the OG literary bat-master, and he won. Take that, Bram Stoker.
5. Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker – Crying for Mommy and Daddy
The Joker always had a difficult time getting under Batman’s skin in The Animated Series. It wasn’t until Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker that he successfully sh*t all over Batman’s way of life and took away the things most precious to him: his unwillingness to compromise and his ability to protect those he cares about.
6. The Dark Knight – Sometimes People Deserve More
The Batman was always meant to be something that defies our often unjust reality. The Joker’s victory and perversion of the truth would have destroyed all of the good that Gotham’s protectors had fought for. Therefore, Batman: 1, Truth: 0.
7. Batman v Superman – Luthor Spared
Batman’s character arc was quite something in this movie. After going off the deep end and losing his way, his encounter with Superman made him remember why he became a hero and chose not to kill in the first place: he never wanted to see loved ones separated from each ever again because of murder. He even had the chance to give Lex Luthor, a person no one would miss, a well deserved death, but he didn’t.
8. The Dark Knight Rises – Rise
Bruce Wayne won. The Batman won. The battle to end crime may be never-ending, but the legend of The Batman will live forever.
Okay, I’ll stop quoting Adele – even though Rumor Has It is a great song – but according to WeGotThisCovered and CosmicBook , DC and Warner Bros are looking for a Muslim actor to star as Hawkman:
Sources close to We Got This Covered can confirm that as has been rumored a few times now, WB is definitely developing a Hawkman movie and apparently, are eyeing a Muslim actor (who wasn’t named), between the age of 30-39, for the lead role. Furthermore, it’s said that Hawkgirl will feature as well, though no details on who may play her were disclosed.
This would be a great win for diversity in the comic book world, as well as for Hollywood over all!
For those who don’t read comic books (why don’t you? They have words and pictures! The best of both worlds!) Hawkman is a dude named Carter Hall. Introduced back in 1940, he’s an archaeologist who finds an ancient knife, and upon touching it, he realizes he is the reincarnation of Khufu, the Egyptian Prince which an evil priest named Hath-Set killed with that very knife.
Well, that’s the Golden Age origin. He’s also got a second origin, which basically just adds to his first origin.
Basically Prince Khufu reincarnates himself using alien technology and becomes cursed to be reincarnated countless times – always finding the reincarnated love of his life before being killed by a reincarnated Hath-Set. Who knows how far they are going to dive into his origin?
In fact, who knows anything? Let’s face it: DC movie news is constantly in flux. Remember when Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was cast as Black Adam.
For those of you who don’t know Dwayne Johnson has been cast as Black Adam since forever ago. Heck, back in August of 2018, Hiram Garcia, president of productions at Seven Bucks Productions, told Collider that, “…I pitched [the character] to Dwayne early on, and he loved the idea, and we’ve just kind of kept it in the back of our mind”.
So Dawyne Johnson has been cast as Black Adam – they just need a movie to put him in. Could this Hawkman movie be it? Or will it go the way of “Rumor has it Michael B Jordan might be Superman” and disappear from our consciousness, making this article obsolete?