One of the most grim Superman stories, written by Edmond Hamilton (co-creator of the original Starman), takes place in Action Comics vol.1 No.300. Trapped in the distant future by the Superman Revenge Squad, Superman is left powerless by Earth’s bloated, aged, now-red sun. His one hope for salvation lies in the Fortress of Solitude, accessible only by a veritable death march across a dried-up ocean bed populated by strange and deadly creatures.
The story goes a long way towards establishing – as do many stories in 1963 – Superman’s resourcefulness and toughness, qualities left uncelebrated as long as he possesses his tremendous powers. This must have been an engaging read for fans who had become accustomed to Superman juggling suns for amusement.
Famously, Superman Under The Red Sun contains a massive continuity error which was repaired in later reprintings: Finding his Fortress abandoned and the Bottle City of Kandor – whose science he hoped to use to return to the modern day – presumably relocated and enlarged, he uses Red Kryptonite to shrink himself sufficiently to use a left-behind Kandorian rocketship to break the time barrier. As many readers pointed out, Kryptonite only affects super-powered Kryptonians, and Superman was powerless under the red sun of Earth’s distant future…
New trailer for the latest DC Universe Animated Original Movie: Superman Unbound. This film is based on 2008 story arc Superman: Brainiac. Although I am not the biggest fan of the art and coloring right now, I am excited to see Supergirl in another animated feature. I hope she kicks just as much ass as she did in Superman/Batman: Apocalypse. :]
Superman keeps a soft cloth next to the bottle city of Kandor. It’s convenient for dusting. The citizens in the bottle are so small that from their perspective (when they notice it at all) they don’t notice it at all. So they don’t comment on it.
Inarguably the most well-known of the entire catalog of Imaginary Superman Stories, “The Amazing Story of Superman-Red and Superman-Blue” is one of the rare tales which imagines happy endings across the board for everyone. Even Lucy and Jimmy put down their knives and settle down into happy, supportive connubial bliss. (Superman vol.1 No.162)
The ethics of the Supermen’s Anti-Evil Ray were objectionable to me when I first read this story as a kiddewink, and they still don’t hold up. Surely Superman would be a champion of free will. But, then again, perhaps this was the result of a cost/benefit analysis to which I have no particular insight. Also, Luthor got hair.
Please note that the twin-phenomenon is back, with BOTH the Superman/Lois and Superman/Lana pair producing a boy and a girl each. Would they count as cousins or half-siblings, do you think?
For the record, besides finding an antidote for Kryptonite, eliminating crime and evil, restoring Kandor AND rebuilding the planet Krypton, plus marrying their mutual sweethearts, the Supermen also find a new home for the entire race of Atlanteans (who knew they were even looking?).
So I’ve been meaning to get on
Tumblr for a while, and the main reason I think I put it off was that I wanted
a really solid first post. A statement of intent. Something deep, something on
the problems in superhero comics, and where we need to go for a viable future.
So naturally, I figured I’d talk
about why I think Tom Strong is better than Supreme.
Most of you probably don’t need the
background, but for completion’s sake: Supreme is the 20+ issue Alan Moore run
on Superman the world always wanted. Taking an existing 90s Superman pastiche
by Rob Liefeld and sweeping everything that had already been established off
the table on the first page of his first issue (a condition for taking on the
character as he was, in Moore’s own words, “Not very good” – a request that
didn’t disqualify him, because when Alan Moore wants to write your
comic, you let him write the comic), it’s a tribute to all the weird fun that
had been essentially discarded from the actual Superman books since John Byrne’s
revamp in 1986. Rebuilding Supreme’s world from the ground up with Joe Bennett,
Keith Giffen, Rich Veitch, and later Chris Sprouse, Moore filtered in a new
origin, tone, and context for the character, along with analogues for Lois
Lane, Lana Lang, Supergirl, Jimmy Olsen, Krypto, Perry White, Superboy, Batman
and Robin, the Justice Society and Justice League, the Legion of Superheroes, Lex
Luthor, Brainiac, Bizarro, Metallo, Mxyzptlk, the Fortress of Solitude,
Kryptonite, and Kandor. It’s basically Alan Moore doing Silver Age Superman
fanfiction, and just as you’d expect from that description, it’s an absolute
Tom Strong’s a little more obscure,
which is a shame, since it was clearly built as an evolution on the same
formula Moore applied to Supreme. A sort of Doc Savage meets Tarzan born on the
island paradise of Attabar Teru to a pair of scientists at the turn of the 20th
century, Strong was reared in a gravity chamber to become a physical and mental
superman, and raised by the island natives after his parents untimely death (he
ends up bringing electricity to the island as an adult – while Moore clearly
tries to dance around the ‘white savior’ problems of the 20s and 30s pulp
stories he’s homaging, he doesn’t fully succeed). Journeying out into the world
at large to fight crime with brains, brawn and an extended lifespan courtesy of
Attabar Teru’s mysterious Goloka Root (he’s nearing his 100th birthday
by the series’ opening without looking a day over 50), Tom ends up building a
family with his wife Dhalua, including daughter Tesla, robot butler Pnuman, and
talking gorilla Solomon. With Supreme collaborator Chris Sprouse handling the
pencils (with additional artists like Dave Gibbons, Gary Frank, Kyle Baker and
Jerry Ordway backing him up), it essentially ends up being Moore’s final word
on superhero comics before giving up on the subgenre altogether, and it’s
They’re both justifiably considered
some of the best superhero comics of all time, and both are huge personal
favorites. That I say Tom Strong is better is in no way a put-down; Supreme was
one the first comics I ever read, and along with one of Moore’s other Superman stories, The Jungle
Line, was a huge formative influence on my taste in superheroes. But I think in
the end Strong comes out ahead, and while I could argue that it’s because of
the more consistently gorgeous artwork, or that since it’s a few years later
Moore had refined his craft a bit further, it really comes down to something
far more fundamental.
Supreme is the best celebration of
superhero comics’ past that I’ve ever read. But while Tom Strong’s roots reach
even further into history, it’s also one of the best basic models I’ve ever
seen for how to take superhero comics into the future.
I have this fic idea that could either be really cracky or freaking glorious that’s a crossover between Danny Phantom and Superman.
So it turns out that Maddie has another sister- Lois Lane (because OUAT family tree logic fucked me up for all eternity), and the Fentons are going to visit her. It turns out that Lois and her husband Clark (or Richard or both if you’re an SR fan) have adopted a girl. She spends the first night at a friend’s house, so the Fentons won’t get to meet her until the next day.
That night, the citizens of Kandor attack Earth in a mass invasion, and Zod declares that if anyone from Earth can beat him in one-on-one combat, the Kryptonian forces will back off. Lois, Clark, and Richard go into a frenzy trying to contact their daughter, but she apparently left her friend’s house after the announcement. Danny, meanwhile, is discussing strategy with Jazz because they both understand that in the Bad Future, Dan had to have killed Superman somehow, but Danny promised himself he’d never figure out how he did it.
Things are tense the next day, and the girl is still missing. Lois, Richard, and Clark go into Reporter Mode and learn that their daughter visited Lex Luthor in his prison cell. The three go to interrogate Lex, but he won’t tell them anything except that he knows the girl’s birth father (Vlad, but Lex won’t say it’s him).
While they’re talking with Lex, it turns out that someone has taken up Zod’s challenge: a girl in black and white. The fight moves too fast and is too far away for anyone to get a good shot of them, but finally, Zod’s body crashes to the ground.
Lois, Clark, and Richard have made it back to the Daily Planet by this point, and as the Kandorian ships leave Earth’s atmosphere, a girl in black and white stumbles in. There’s blood all over her and yep, that is definitely a heart in her hand.
Danny recognizes her first. “Danielle?” he asks, confused and astonished as to why she would be there, not to mention why she would choose a room full of reporters to go to after fighting an alien.
Danielle looks at Danny for a moment, confused as to why he’s there, before she passes out and transforms back to her human self. Lois, Richard, and Clark all run up to her, fussing over their daughter and how the hell did she get superpowers is this a new thing?
As it turns out, she went to Lex knowing he knew Vlad and asked for advice because she doesn’t exactly come up with ways to kill people in her spare time. Good ending: he told her to reach into Zod’s chest and rip his heart out. Angst ending: he told her she would need kryptonite to do this, and Danielle, not knowing one of her dads is Kryptonian, intangibly put a piece of kryptonite in her body and can’t get it out, so she can never be around Clark again.
Also, I imagine interactions between Dani and Lex being very tense, because he knows she’s a clone (maybe Vlad and Lex even collaborated to perfect the cloning process) and mocks her about it.
This sounds like a headcanon, but it isn't. I just want people to know that Nightwing got his name from a story Clark told him about a Kryptonian superhero. I think that's awesome.
Yeah I know! Superman told him about Van-Zee. Van-Zee took up the mantle Nightwing to safeguard the bottle city of Kandor. He fought alongside Ak-Var, a fellow Kandorian, who was known as Flamebird. On several occasions Superman and Jimmy Olsen took up the titles Nightwing and Flamebird, respectively.
But do you know who Van-Zee got his name from? He named himself after the Kryptonian god Nightwing. Let’s see if I remember the legend… The god Vohc-the-builder was tasked with decorating Krypton with magnificent works of art every day by his father Rao. Rao instructed his daughter Flamebird to destroy Vohc’s creations every day to further push his creativity. Rao tasked Nightwing with hunting down and destroying all the evils on Krypton, which hid in the shadows. This prohibited Nightwing from entering the daytime, his entire world was night. For a time, Vohc-the-builder and Flamebird were in love. Vohc-the-builder was thankful that Flamebird constantly spurred him to reimagine his works. Nightwing was isolated from most of the other gods since he was trapped in darkness and the other gods stayed in the light. Vohc-the-builder pitied him. So he created twilight for Nightwing and introduced him to Flamebird. Nightwing and Flamebird fell in love. The next day Vohc-the-builder made a colossal momument of his love for Flamebird. While she appreciated and admired his work she must do her duty and destroy. And so she did. This enraged him and he transformed into Vohc-the-breaker. He became the immortal enemy of Nightwing and Flamebird as well as the rest of the Kryptonian pantheon.
I’ve just written up the debut of Nightwing and Flamebird – Superman and Jimmy Olsen’s Batman-and-Robin-style identities when they have to fight crime in the Bottle City of Kandor – for The Chronological Superman. I didn’t really like N&F when I was a kid (although that was a different pair, as depicted in Superman Family), but the idea has since really grown on me.
Were I in charge of the Superman titles, I’d definitely bring this back. It seems to me that it could serve a really interesting purpose. I figure, every now and again, Superman visits Kandor specifically to play the Nightwing role, in part to keep his fighting skills sharp, inasmuch as he doesn’t have powers in Kandor.
But, more to the point, I expect he’d do it in order to be wounded, beaten and in pain. From Superman’s perspective, it would be disrespectful to the ordinary humans who frequently put themselves in danger to help others – firefighters, search-and-rescue, police, many of his allies in the Justice League – to not take the same kinds of risks as they do and have similar experiences, even if it’s only once-in-a-while. Superman’s invulnerable, so to really understand the bravery of everyday humans, he’d need to push himself to his mortal limits, and occasionally get a split lip or a bruised rib…
Superman and his pal Jimmy find themselves trapped in Kandor, and so adopt the disguises of Nightwing and Flamebird in order to stop some Kryptonian crooks, depite the Man of Steel bring robbed of his wonderful powers in Kandor’s artificial environment. This is not only part of 1963′s general theme of Superman fending for himself without his superhuman abilities, but the introduction of a persistent component of the franchise. If nothing else, the second stage of Dick Grayson’s superheroic career was – before retconning abolished these old Silver Age stories – directly informed by these alternate identities…
Superman and Jimmy playing Batman and Robin means, of course, that they must also have their own Ace the Bathound, thus the somewhat goony-looking “Nighthound.” Seems to me there’s a potential series in Nighthound and Swifty teaming up …
(Superman vol.1 No.158 and Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen vol.1 No.69)