How I Would Have Done It: New 52 Superman by Jerry Whitworth
With DC Comics reinventing itself again with the so-called new 52 following Flashpoint, they had the opportunity to inject new life and story elements into properties that a softer approach like Infinite Crisis and Final Crisis failed to present. The result was mixed: initially boosting sales, after months of publication the result was sales essentially the same as before the change (while angering many fans in the process, most recently with the WTF Certified month of releases). Perhaps a different approach could have offered better results and so I offer my own interpretation. To start with, lets take a look at Superman where his new 52 version has largely been altered to try and separate the character from its perception as a “boy scout.”Read More
It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! It’s Superman! Understanding the Man of Steel by Jerry Whitworth
Recently watching Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part Two, I started a conversation about the film and mentioned some disgust with the portrayal of Superman in the piece. A friend chimed in that he felt the portrayal was fairly consistent with Superman, which struck me as odd. To me, Superman is many things but I couldn’t readily picture him as the moronic, nigh-mindless, sycophant and yes-man in the film. This Superman had lost his hope and faith which largely walks in the opposite direction of what the hero has always represented. A possible future, I chalked up the change in character to background the audience is not made privy to and yet, some people observe that Superman as the Superman. To understand Superman, you have to understand his genesis. The Great Depression had ravaged America. The United States was rife with racism, sexism, and antisemitism. Immigrants from Europe, especially non-Protestants, were treated as garbage by Americans who considered themselves “natives” (having been born on US soil for a couple generations). Likely the most tread upon people were Jewish immigrants. Work was next to impossible to find and so work for Jews was virtually non-existent, often the case only Jews would hire other Jews. Largely, the comic book industry grew out of this condition. Among the echelon of accepted jobs in media, advertisement art and comic strips were pretty low, but even lower was pulp fiction and at the bottom was comic books. Comic publishers were owned and operated by Jews, in part hiring Jews because of the aforementioned reasons, but also because the structure made hiring them cheap. While it would take decades for comic book creators to crawl up this social structure, the comic book would climb new levels with the advent of Superman.Read More
A Bigot Writes Superman: Should We Care? by Jerry Whitworth
Recently, science fiction novelist and anti-homosexuality rights advocate Orson Scott Card has been announced to be one of the first contributors to the digital-first comic series Adventures of Superman by DC Comics. Since the story broke, many comic book fans and blogs have raised the debate if readers should purchase a product based on its content or on the beliefs of the work’s creator. Card, a practitioner of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and board member of the National Organization for Marriage (who oppose gay marriage and child adoption for homosexuals), is most well known for his award-winning books Ender’s Game and its sequel Speaker for the Dead (both of which have been adapted for comics) but has started branching out into comics like Ultimate Iron Man and the adaptation for the video game Dragon Age.Read More
Superman: The Franchise Player by Jerry Whitworth
In comic books, its proven to be good business to not only create a character to base a series off of but to generate a franchise that can morph into its own entity, something with the ability to generate more desired content and sell more product. Within the last few decades, such an ever-growing entity would be X-Men, which started as a small band of mutants that grew to include an international cast, with members moving on to others areas such as Beast in the Avengers (later, in to the Defenders) and Angel and Iceman in the Champions. As popularity grew, Wolverine became a breakout star able to support his own title (and subsequently multiple books), the founding members of the group formed their own team in X-Factor, and the franchise blew up into almost its own universe with books like New Mutants, X-Force, X-Statix, Excalibur, Generation X, District X, X-Man, Exiles, NYX, XSE, and so on. However, this level of franchise development pales compared to that of DC Comics where as part of the Silver Age, the publisher largely developed into a series of ever expanding franchises. The king of this, unsurprisingly, is their star character in Superman.Read More
Make It So: Justice League the Movie by Jerry Whitworth
Most of my Make It So articles have been about projects that make sense to me to be produced but have yet to be realized. For this installment, I’m going to break tradition and discuss a movie recently announced to be in development. The Justice League of America is DC Comics’ premier super hero team generally featuring their biggest icons like Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman (of these, the final film in the Christopher Nolan Batman trilogy will be in theaters next month, the first in a new Superman film series begins the summer of next year, and Wonder Woman has also been recently announced to be developed for film which was previously featured in Make It So). Developing the Justice League in a live action format is nothing new.Read More
Who are the Elite? by Jerry Whitworth
On June 12, Superman vs the Elite will be released on DVD. Based on the story “What’s So Funny About Truth, Justice & the American Way?” produced by Joe Kelly, Doug Mahnke, and Lee Bermejo for Action Comics in 2001, the Elite are a group of powerful younger heroes who have no issue with taking life in combating evil and are generally supported by the public, though it flies in the face of everything Superman and his generation of heroes believe in. The Elite borrow its influence from WildStorm’s popular series the Authority by Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch which features a likewise homicidal group of superheroes. Unable to stand by and allow the Elite to break laws in their bloody path in the name of justice, Superman consistently challenges their practices until they finally battle it out as the world watches.Read More
For Immediate Publication
Date: May 15, 2012
Larry Shell Announces eBay Auction for Superman creator Joe Shuster ACTION COMICS #16 Original
A full-color original by legendary Superman creator, Joe Shuster — a recreation of the image from the cover of ACTION COMICS #16 (December, 1938).
Beginning with Action Comics #19, Superman appeared on the cover of all future issues of the title. A copy of the original comic, in NM- Condition, is valued at $14,500…….more than this One of a Kind original by his creator is starting at!
Drawn in 1983, this is one of only a very few cover recreations that Shuster did and is 100% his work. The art measures a large 15” x 20” in size and is beautifully rendered in lead and colored pencils, which give the image the soft quality of pastels.
Joseph “Joe” Shuster (July 10, 1914 – July 30, 1992) was a Canadian comic book artist who is best known for co-creating the DC Comics character Superman, with writer Jerry Siegel, first published in Action Comics #1 (June 1938). He grew up in Cleveland, Ohio. Shuster was involved in a number of legal battles concerning the ownership of the Superman character, eventually gaining recognition for his part in its creation. Shuster died in Los Angeles, California in 1992.
The auction will run on eBay, the online auction website, from Tuesday, May 15th at 9pm EST through Sunday, May 20th at 9pm EST.
The best offer received wins the art. If the only offer at the close of the auction is for minimum bid listed, then that person will get the art. Bids will be accepted from anywhere in the world.
Any interested bidders who would like to be emailed a reminder the day before the auction ends, should email the seller and let him know.
For questions email the seller at firstname.lastname@example.org before the close of the auction.Read More
Through the Ages: Transition in Comics – Part Three
by Jerry Whitworth
During the Bronze Age, comic books began to make the transition from being sold at newsstands, convenience stores, and supermarkets to a direct market in comic book shops. As people began to stumble upon these stores, they would also discover that comics could be worth quite a profit as some books could be found selling for thousands of dollars. Word would spread and people began seeing comic books as savings bonds, buying and storing them like rare collectibles. Unfortunately, they failed to realize that those books going for thousands got that way because of managing to survive fifty years of being treated as disposable entertainment that was often thrown away or burned (with issues that survived generally being horribly mangled). Still, the industry took advantage, printing issues with multiple covers, sometimes with different cover art, other times with gimmicks like hologram stickers, glow-in-the-dark images, 3-D plastic pop-out items, foldout covers, and more. People were compelled to form “complete sets”, one book notorious for this was Chris Claremont and Jim Lee’s X-Men #1 (1991) which to this day remains the highest grossing single comic of all time making nearly seven million dollars and selling over 8.1 million units (and printed with five unique covers four of which had different versions such as newsstand and direct market editions). The phenomenon was a boon for the industry, with new publishers popping up all over the place and comic companies in many ways couldn’t print enough books. However, as with roller coasters, this success was bound to crash when the people who became collectors realized not only were the conditions not right to make the huge payoff for their investment they believed they would get, but with so much product overproduced, the books they did buy were virtually useless as a collectible because everyone had it. To this day, you can still find comic shops with dozens of copies of X-Men #1 they can’t give away. The comic book industry nearly went out of business again roughly four decades after Wertham and Congress left it crippled.Read More
Make It So: DC vs SJ Heroes by Jerry Whitworth
2D fighting games are big business. In a growing market of highly sophisticated video games with cutting edge graphics, many fans will still buy from traditional franchises like Super Smash Bros, Street Fighter, Tekken, and King of Fighters. Versus franchise games, be it inter-fighters like Tekken X Street Fighter and Capcom vs SNK or mingling external media like Marvel vs Capcom, Tatsunoko vs Capcom, and Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe, look to dwarf their predecessors in popularity. While fighting games improve in graphics, they generally use the same engine meaning with some slight tweaks, you can just continuously update content. Pull in extra fans by adding the Versus franchise aspect and offer pay-for downloadable characters (DLC) and it’s like printing your own money. Imagine, now, mashing up two of some of the biggest media franchises on earth: Warner Bros’ DC Comics and Shueisha’s Shonen Jump. Home to some of the most popular characters in fiction, both companies have previously graced the fighting game genre. DC had Justice League Task Force and the aforementioned Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe while SJ has had Jump Super Stars, Jump Ultimate Stars, Battle Stadium D.O.N., and the wildly popular fighting game series of Dragon Ball and Naruto, a fighting game seeing these companies clash would be titanic (not to mention, imagine accompanying comic book, action figure, collectible card game, table top role-playing games, and cartoon series to exploit the monumental smack down). Lets take a look at some of the possibilities.Read More
Top 10: Rogues Galleries by Jerry Whitworth
For the American comic book, superheroes reign supreme. It doesn’t matter if it’s DC, Marvel, Image, or any of the indies. Throw a cape or mask on someone and you got a much better shot than virtually anything else. But, superheroes are useless without another key component: supervillains. Alien invasions and gangsters are great padding, but we read comics to see colorful characters knocking down buildings or placing loved ones in perilous death traps. Imagine a comic book without a Dr. Doom, Joker, or Lex Luthor or a superhero without some Rogues Gallery, Sinister Six, or Monster Society of Evil to battle him or her. It’s a rather depressing notion because what’s the point of dashing off of rooftops or barreling out of a exploding building if there’s no one to legitimately challenge our hero when they survive? Lets see what villains stand atop all others. Though, before we begin, a little disclaimer: I’m purposely sticking to superheroes. With villains for heroes like James Bond, Doctor Who, and Dick Tracy, the list would be too challenging for me to cut to ten.Read More
Young Justice: Shedding Some Light on the Light
by Jerry Whitworth
In the Young Justice television series, the main antagonist of the first season is a shadowy group of villains called the Light (instigating almost every conflict in the series). What makes this organization unique is that it doesn’t exist in the comic books. As in much of the series it is featured in, the Light is instead an amalgamation of several concepts. Likely the most impressionable, and at least an admitted inspiration by series co-creator Greg Weisman, is the Secret Society of Super-Villains. Originally conceived as a group of operatives for Darkseid called the Brotherhood of Crime, they would perform criminal acts to further his control of Earth, unwittingly bringing about the enslavement of humanity with themselves included. They would realize their folly, break free of his command and go out on their own as the Secret Society of Super-Villains. The concept was reworked due to input from then publisher Carmine Infantino into a massive revolving cast of super-villains in a Mission: Impossible or Suicide Squad type manner originally secretly controlled by Darkseid only to break that tie and evolve into what was also a revolving cast of leaders taking over the group or forming separate splinter cells. The group would later evolve into the Society, where a council of six villains controlled a union of super-villains, drafting every villain on Earth (save the Joker, who was deemed too unstable) under threat of execution for defying membership.Read More