In 2017, Warner Bros. and DC released Justice League, the studio’s answer to Marvel’s The Avengers. Directed by Zack Snyder (300, Watchmen), it follows Batman and Wonder Woman as they recruit other meta-humans in a quest to stop the evil Steppenwolf from destroying the world in the absence of Superman, who died previously in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Image Via Method To Madness
Unfortunately, the film’s release was anything but super. Reviews were scathing, criticizing the choppy editing and lack of character development, resulting in the film becoming the lowest grossing film in the DCEU at the time.
The film’s failure can be attributed to all the behind the scenes drama. After the negative reviews of Batman v Superman, Warner Bros. was worried about the critical reception of the next film. After production wrapped, re-shoots were ordered. When Snyder stepped down due to a personal tragedy, Avengers director Joss Whedon stepped in to finish the reshoots and rewrite most of the film. This significantly changed the tone of the movie from its darker predecessors, and well as cutting out many subplots that were previously established.
Since the film’s release, dissatisfied fans have campaigned for the release of a “Snyder Cut”, which would restore the film to Snyder’s true vision without Whedon’s rewrites. There is no word on whether or not a cut of this film exists, but that hasn’t stopped people from letting Warner Bros. know they want it. And now, the film’s stars are joining the campaign.
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Justice League actors Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Ray Fisher, and Jason Momoa, as well as Watchmen showrunner Damon Lindelof, have all voiced their support #ReleaseTheSnyderCut over the last few days:
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!
Since 2016, DC Comics has been releasing two issues of the same series once a month or ‘double shipping’, but it has been announced that the company plans to stop this and instead just release one issue of an ongoing series once a month.
DC told retailers yesterday (and told us it's ok to share today) that all the double-shippimg books are going back to single shipping next year. They didn't want to lose the sales of two issues of Batman, so we get both the normal book and B/C by King (like B&R from Morrison). https://t.co/XC8m09V5mI
Citing this very tweet, Forbes wrote that “…starting in 2020, all of DC’s titles will release a maximum of one issue a month”
DC has not made any public statements about the changes yet, however CBR notes that “DC already announced changes to the Batman shipping schedule earlier this week”.
Image Via The Los Angeles Review of Books
They go to quote DC editor-in-chief Bob Harras as saying, “a new Tom King and Clay Mann Bat/Cat series in 2020 fills the gap once Batman begins to ship monthly”.
Image Via Forbes
The benefit of double shipping are obvious—twice the sales for a must-see tentpole series. That’s your Batmans, your Supermans, your Wonder Womans.
But the downsides are steep. For one, if I want to read Flash and Aquaman, then to keep up I need to spend $3.99 four times in a single month. If I’m not willing to do that, then I’ll only spend $3.99 twice a month, thus costing DC the extra money.
Secondly, double shipping puts pressure on the writers and artists to write quickly and draw even quicker, which oftentimes sacrifices a more polished story and artwork. If I spend $3.99 for a comic only to find out the story needed to go another round at the editing booth, then should I bother spending $3.99 later that month for the next story in that series?
Image Via Newsarama
But DC Comics still wants those Batman sales, given that he is a tent-pole character. As Higgins wrote above, DC doesn’t want to lose those extra Batman sales, so they’ve ordered a new miniseries called Batman/Catwoman, which is to be written by Tom King and drawn by Clay Mann.
DC’s current double shipped titles are Detective Comics, Batman, Flash, Justice League and Wonder Woman. You can order them at Comixology.
Exciting news for fans of Joseph Finder! According to Variety, Atlas Entertainment has acquired the rights to adapt Joseph Finder’s thriller Judgment into a television series. The novel centers on Juliana Brody, a powerful judge in the Superior Court of Massachusetts. After a one night stand, she realizes she’s being blackmailed and her one night stand has been saved on video. As her life spirals out of control, to save her career and maybe even her life she has to become as ruthless as her enemies to survive. Charles Roven, who produced The Dark Knight and Wonder Woman, will serve as executive producer of the series.
Image via Deadline
Roven expressed eagerness to adapt the book, which was originally published in January 2019. Jacob Finder also expressed eagerness to work with the team to bring his ‘tough, nuanced character’ to television screens. It is unsure when the series will land at this point but the drama seems perfect in this age of peak TV.
Superheroes are often underrepresented in literature. To be sure, they dominate the landscape of comics, television, and movies these days, but actual books about superheroes are pretty scarce. Nevertheless, they do exist and there are some real gems among the throngs. You just have to dig deep. But to celebrate the release of Avengers: Endgame, here are some recommendations for the best superhero novels to add to your collection, super-fans!
Image Via Amazon
5. Soon I will be invincible by Austin Grossman
Soon I Will Be Invincibleis a loving commentary upon superhero tropes that also embraces the concepts that make them so endearing to audiences. It tells the story of two characters, a rookie superhero named Fatale and a villainous mad scientist called Doctor Impossible. Both are quite compelling points of view, each chronicling their attempts to become a superhero and rule the world respectively. Eventually, their paths cross, and the novel deconstructs the cliches around superheroes while still making them compelling for an audience. It’s very well-written and highly recommended for any comic book lovers.
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4. Princess Paragon by Robert Rodi
A hilarious satirization of superhero comics, Princess Paragon tells the story of a renowned comics cartoonist Brian Parrish who has fallen on hard times. Bang Comics hires him to redesign one of their iconic superheroes, Princess Paragon, an innocent super-heroine who is considered outdated and needs a grittier makeover. Brian’s solution is to make her lesbian and embrace her sexuality, bringing him into conflict with Princess Paragon superfan Jerome, who tries everything he can to stop Brian. The result is a deranged sendup of superhero stories, providing a great look at the minds of comics fandom and behind the scenes work on comics in general.
Image via Amazon
3. Renegades by Marissa Meyer
Renedagesby Marissa Meyer tells the story of a syndicate of humans with extraordinary abilities. Champions of justice, they overthrew a corrupt society and built a better one, making a utopia. The Renegades are beloved by all, except, of course, for the villains they ousted. Now, Nova, a former villain, wants to defeat the renegades and return to power. But then, she meets Adrian, a Renegade boy who falls in love with her. Now, Nova’s loyalties to the villains are tested as she finds herself caught between two worlds. An alternate history from the villain’s POV, this is a great superhero novel that is heavy on grey morality and showcasing a world where the good guys win… and not everyone is happy.
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2. Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo
Wonder Woman: Warbringer is part of the DC Icons series, a collection of novels about their most iconic characters. By far, the best yet is this novel Wonder Woman: Warbringer, which delves into the origin of Diana Prince before she becomes a superhero. Diana wants to prove herself to her warrior sisters on her hidden island. But when she finds a mortal woman washed up on her isle, a direct descendent of Helen of Troy, she’ll risk everything to defend her new friend. This novel is great both as an origin story, having fun action against monsters and mythic creatures while also forging a powerful friendship between Diana and the woman she saved, Alia Keralis.
Image via Amazon
1. Wild cards edited by George R.R. Martin
Wild Cards is an anthology series of books, centering on different superheroes throughout different ages of history, all written by various authors, including George R.R. Martin himself! An alien virus struck the earth in World War II, giving various members of society superhuman abilities. Some became heroes, some became villains, and the world turns into an alternate history from there, chronicling the so called ‘Wild Cards’ throughout the long history of Earth. From the backdrop of World War II to the Cold War to Vietnam to the modern age, the Wild Cards have a role to play in everything. Some of the best characters of the series include: Fortunato, a man whose abilities are powered by sexual pleasure; the Turtle, a telekinetic who builds a huge armored shell to fight inside; and Jetboy, a legendary hero from World War II who sacrificed himself to save the world. Full of complex, weird, and tragic figures, Wild Cards is the ultimate superhero series.