Batman, Bendis, and Bronze Age- A Few Random Thoughts

 I haven’t posted anything on this site for a while, as you can probably see. There’s a reason for that.

It’s not that my love for Superman is waning, or that my life has gotten too much in the way, or I’m losing interest in blogging. Far from it! Far from any of those things, in fact. That said, I also don’t believe in filling a blog with ranting. There’s enough negativity in fandom nowadays and I’m a big believer in writing about stuff you like because it’s more fun to read than stuff you hate!

I haven’t hated anything I’ve been reading lately, per se, but nor have I been crazy about stuff I’ve read lately, either. However, there have been enough cool things in the smattering of stuff I’ve enjoyed of late that I think I can cobble together a post about random facts a Superman fan may enjoy.

Here we go!


Detective Comics #1000

I’m sure I speak for all of us when I say that I like Batman and Superman both quite a bit- Superman just more so at this stage of my life. But I’m no snob when it comes to reading good books- if it’s good, it’s good- and I certainly wasn’t going to pass on another opportunity to pick up pop culture history with Detective 1000.

To be fair, yes, I adored Action 1000 after reading it last year, as well as its companion books. The lineup of creators was great and the stories offered were very strong, I thought. I loved it. I would read the issue/book once a week if I had the time. Detective 1000, not so much.

Am I being unfair here? I mean, the lineup of creators was rock solid for this book and it should have been a slam dunk, just like Action. Instead, everything was just kind of… I dunno, meh, I guess. The opening story by the team of Snyder and Capullo- by far the best thing about New 52- was very nice, as was Jim Lee’s art on the following story and Geoff Johns’ writing later on. The rest was pretty vanilla-  not good, not great, not bad, just there.

I think part of the reason for that is that 5-10 pages is a genuine challenge to write a whole story. There’s also a pervading trend to use the Tom King or Grant Morrison interpretations of Batman (or “bat god” in Morrison’s case), neither of which I’ve ever cared for despite the talents of the two creators. Whatever the reason, I wasn’t impressed. I think I finally admitted it to myself a few weeks ago when I picked up the deluxe edition of Detective 1000 and will probably now sell it.

I like Batman. I really do. I love him in fact. I think Batman: Year One is the greatest comic ever made. I wish Superman had that kind of track record on his books. Its just this issue and the last few years of publication history I’m talking about here.

You should still definitely check it out if you haven’t, just so you can say you did and not have to explain to your friends that you didn’t. Outside of that though, not too much for me.


Bendisization(?)

I’m not going to go into my thoughts on Bendis on the Superman books (like I already did here and here). Much like the creators I mentioned above, who are talented, he’s just not my cup of tea.

I’m not completely current on his Superman and have been tradewaiting for his stuff to be published for me to read it, but there have been a few good things he’s done with Superman which I have read.

There, I said it.


I actually think the street level point of view of his stories, clearly Bendis’ strength as a writer, really fits with Superman. One site put it as writing about “journalism in a post-journalism world.” The Man of Steel’s world has always been stronger when a) his supporting cast is used early and often and b) Clark is the central character. All of my favorites have always had sort of a life-in-the-big-city feel to them that I think is perfect for the Daily Planet. Reporters, cops, beat writers, and today, bloggers, really work nicely when they interact with Clark while he’s at work.

I’m not even going to talk about how disappointing certain things have been under Bendis (like Superman’s marriage…), but even so, there is some good stuff being put out there, including Melody Moore, who I hope stays around in Superman’s universe for a long time!


Superman and the Bronze Age

While on vacation a few weeks ago, I picked a copy of Superman 400 in a dollar bin and read it the same day. Like Action 1000, Superman 400 had a phenomenal lineup of creators, the biggest names in their day, which I had heard about before and wanted to check out.

And at $1, it’s a steal!

I didn’t enjoy the book that much, surprisingly, in that the stories included were often highly political and sometimes nonsensical. The Bronze Age also had some of the most bland writers of Superman in the character’s history, which doesn’t help (even though that could have been because of strict editorial, who knows). Regardless, outside of the pinups by John Byrne, Walt Simonson and others, I didn’t find it to be very good.

 What is good, generally speaking, about Superman in the Bronze Age is that he had taken a step out of the Silver Age toward a much more grounded place, even if he hadn’t quite gotten there yet. The late 70s/early 80s seemed to be a pretty big exodus of creators from Marvel Comics to DC- Marv Wolfman, George Perez, Len Wein, Gerry Conway, and Roy Thomas (?), among others- and who all needed to work on a Superman book at some point as fans themselves. That meant more Clark, more city stories, and day to day stuff for our hero, which I enjoy.

It’s also where we got characters at the Planet (er, Galaxy?) like Steve Lombard show up for the first time and to just begin filling out the cast. I’m no expert on Superman during the period but I do like starting to recognize the world I grew up loving to read, even if, in my mind, it was perfected later.

PS. I would pick up a DC Comics Presents Omnibus in a heartbeat.

Other Stuff

Below is a list of everything Superman related I’ve done/seen/watched in the last month since my last post. I’ll get to the ones I liked soon.

Krypton Season 2 (DEFINITELY going to write about this one as I’ve been loving it!)

Superman: Year One #1

Action Comics Rebirth: Deluxe Vol.1-3 (upgraded to hardcover from trades on this recently and am glad I did! Loved this run!)

Lois Lane #1

Superman #400

“Brainiac” Action Comics 866-870 (reread this, great stuff)

Death of Superman Vol.5 TPB (Doomsday Annual #1, Superman: The Doomsday Wars #1-3, had never read “Doomsday Wars” before)

Superman: Unchained TPB (reread this one, glad I didn’t keep mine)

Talk to you soon! Keep flying!

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