Superman Comic Books

A Way To Fix Superman Comics

By Anthony Leone

I recently read Matt Idelson's latest "Ask Matt" answers (February 2008). It seems that when desperate Superman fans are actually begging to find out what is happening to the Man of Steel in terms of continuity (which seems to be a dreaded curse word for Superman's "creative" team over at DC Comics), Matt basically says "My bad" and "DC will clear it up in a few issues."

Well, I have read that same line for the past few years now and it's been nothing but more confusion since, many fans are still asking the same questions and DC seems to refuse to put a tight restrain on their writers from stepping out of continuity and addressing valid questions.

Now I've been a comic fan for many years but I had to stop because the cost was getting too high. But I try to feed my Superman fetish but coming on to this wonderful website and reading the recent reviews. And all it leaves me is a bad case of indigestion. Going back to Silver Age Superman standards of story telling to satisfy a few fans is not a 1/8th mile leap forward for the Man of Steel. And as one excellent reviewer has told us fans who are unhappy with where DC is taking Superman: Vote with your wallets! And that's one of many reasons why I haven't picked up a Superman comic.

The best thing that ever happened to Superman was John Byrne's "Man of Steel" series. He firmly grounded Superman to the real, believable world that we are on and gave us great stories.

Sure, many fans were confused after the events of "Crisis of Infinite Earths" because of continuity issues with not only Superman but with other DC heroes. And I allowed DC to slide by that because it was the risk of giving Superman and others a much needed revamp.

But one would think that DC would have learned its lesson but it didn't. They tried to make a new origin for Superman with "Birthright," and while alone it was a good story, it conflicted too much with already established Superman lore. And having Superboy-Prime punching a dimensional wall to explain away changes to Superman and even the re-existence of formerly dead Robin 3/Jason Todd was just plane lazy. Adding "Infinite Crisis," and reestablishing multi-Earths didn't help matters. And trust me, I have more examples but I think I already made my point.

So, if a few Silver Age Superman fans get to have their Superman back, then fans of Byrne's Man of Steel should get ours. And this is what I propose: Since there are 52 Earths (or whatever ones are left that is) have one Earth as a fresh slate.

Call it Earth 38 and this can be home of not only a Byrne-type Superman in a believable world but also a world where all the heroes start off at the same time in their careers. This is a much needed fresh start for all heroes and fans, a jumping board where readers don't have to worry about continuity issues from writers who refuse to go along with established history.

Now, I can see why DC didn't do this after "Infinite Crisis" because it would mean that Superman wasn't married to Lois Lane anymore, or Wally West isn't the Flash or we wouldn't see Jason Todd or Tim Drake as the Boy Wonders for a few years to come. Many of us are not thrilled with the direction that DC is currently going with New Earth but it is their bread and butter and they're not going to screw with it too much. And who can blame them?

And since Earth 38 is starting anew, incoming writers aren't forced to know 20-years worth of stories. Because of this, one of the most solid, unbreakable rules of Earth 38 is this: No editor or writer is allowed to intentionally change the continuity. As a professional journalist, I can honestly say if a writer has to ignore established continuity and lore to make a story than he isn't a writer.

I realize I'm probably not the first person to come up with this but after years of reading either reviews or looking at Superman comics in bookstores, I have become so disenchanted that I've actually started creating a new, believable origin to Superman in my head. Mature origins where no one is strong enough to move Thanagar and if there is any planet moving by a single, super-powered person results in the destruction of the planet. You know, like in real life.

Again, I'm sure I'm not the first one to do this but it's sad that a fan has to resort to that because DC refuses to address continuity issues and ignores desperate fans' constant requests to help them understand what is going on with their favorite comics.

Thank you for lending me your ears, as this was something I had to get off my chest. Maybe, someone in DC will read this and your follow-up comments and start to realize that comics should be written for the fans in mind and not for writers who want to express their creativity by destroying well-known continuity in the process.

Anthony Leone