NEW COSTUME…SAME DRAMA…DEEPER SHOVEL

So I don’t stay anything close to current with this blog.  I have tried to do so from time to time and it just never took.  The reason for this is that I started this blog in 2008 and right around that time I started my slow descent into being an angry, bitter comic book fan before finally coming out on the other side in 2011 with a better attitude but still having serious problems with what DC and Marvel were doing.  I found it was possible to dislike a decision one of the companies, DC especially, made but not take it so freaking personally.  Some may have taken this as me back tracking or trying to be a kinder, gentler Mike but the truth is I just lost my taste for unnecessary bitching on the Internet and aside from a few moments of backsliding I have managed to stay that course for the past four years.

That zen approach to comics was challenged recently and while I won’t compare it to an alcoholic walking past a bar and not going in (because that’s a very real struggle and what I went through doesn’t even come close to that) I very nearly went off about some images that were released concerning DC’s soft relaunch in June.

Specifically this one.

AC_Cv411

When I first saw this cover and the others that popped up over the course of the day I got really annoyed.  I didn’t want to.  It just happened.  Again, I have been trying to control the “raging fury” that dwells within me.  I even started to write what would have turned into a rant over on Facebook but decided against it because I was at work and didn’t want to deal with the comments that would follow.  I figured I would let it simmer and maybe I would calm down, which I eventually did but the Facebook postings continued and the desire to say something about it did not go away.  Then I figured, “Hey, I gots me a blog,” and thus I started typing what you are now reading.

For those coming in late after the whole Convergence thing DC is cancelling a bunch of titles, starting up a bunch of titles and re-tooling 24 of their current books in an effort to rebrand themselves.  They are dropping the New 52 label and focusing more on story and character rather than building a large, shared universe.  Some of the books will be their own things.  Some will tie together.  In a recent interview co-publishers Dan DiDio and Jim Lee stated that they will be focusing on canon and not continuity, whatever the hell that means.  To be honest I was a little sour on the new direction DC is going in because one of the interviews (which you can find here) made it seem like they were really trying to engage a new audience while giving short shrift to the readers already buying their books.  This is nothing new for either Marvel or DC but this time it bugged the crap out of me.

In reading the various discussions happening on social media (which admittedly is only a fraction of the comic buying audience) I slowly started to realize what my problems were with this costume in specific and the relaunch in general were as they pertain to Superman.  Here are those problems in no particular order.

1. The new costume comes on the heels of a previous costume change. Continue reading

MORE THAN ZERO: ZERO MONTH 20 YEARS LATER

In 1994 DC Comics published Zero Hour, a five issue mini-series designed to not only serve as a major summer crossover but also fix some of the continuity problems that had plagued their universe after the end of Crisis on Infinite Earths. Some have suggested that Zero Hour caused more problems than it fixed but at the time it was the dawn of an exciting new era for DC. To kick off this new age DC followed Zero Hour with Zero Month. As the name suggests all of the main DC books were rolled back to zero though each one had a different approach to the idea. Some books featured a new origin. Some contained tweaks to the existing origin. Some contained brand new versions of old characters. All of them served as a jumping on point for new and old readers alike.

To celebrate this new era (or perhaps to bury it) some of us in the comic book blogging community have banded together from remote galaxies to discuss how the characters we cover were rebooted/revamped by looking at the solicitations of our character’s zero issues as well as delving into the Wizard Magazine Beyond Zero Hour Special, which was a magazine published around the time of Zero Hour to promote the series, what was coming next and the history of DC in general.

As this is a blog crossover be sure to check out the links below to find out how other characters were treated during Zero Month.

So…Superman and Zero Month.

Superman STMOS #000
The Superman titles were doing extremely well leading into both Zero Hour and Zero Month.  The books had exploded in popularity thanks to the Death and Return of Superman saga and the creators did not disappoint with how they followed up on that story.  While Spilled Blood was not the best of ideas (though it did bring some of the early ’90s to the Super-titles) the Superman offices spun two characters from Reign of the Supermen, Superboy and Steel, into their own titles while giving Supergirl her own mini-series, which wasn’t quite fair but that’s how things played out.  Superman/Doomsday Hunter/Prey was a satisfying follow up to Death and Return story and included the return of the Cyborg and the origin of Doomsday.  In the Superman titles proper the creators briefly had Superman’s powers overloading before launching into the Battle For and Fall of Metropolis, which featured the utter destruction of Metropolis and the fall of Lex Luthor.

It was an exciting time to be a Superman fan.

Continue reading

FCTC EPISODE 185: ZERO HOUR PART 6

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Episode 185: Zero Hour Part 6

Welcome to the one hundred and eighty-fifth episode of From Crisis to Crisis: A Superman Podcast! This podcast has a simple premise; examine just about every Superman comic published between Man of Steel #1 in 1986 to Adventures of Superman #649 in 2006 in an informative and hopefully entertaining format.

Part index. Part commentary. Part history lesson. All podcast.

THIS IS IT!

THE FINAL CHAPTER OF ZERO HOUR!

It’s been a fun six weeks but Mike and Jeff are ready to knock Zero Hour on the head and send it back to their collections. They begin with Zero Hour #0, where Parallax lays out his plans and the heroes do their best to stop him. Will they succeed? Well, yeah. I mean the DCU continued after Zero Hour and Parallax was not in charge so it’s a safe bet that the heroes win but there is a huge emotional cost. After that the boys look at Green Lantern #0, which features the sort of final fate of Parallax. Then Mike and Jeff jump ahead to 2008 with Booster Gold #0, which is an honest to goodness tie in issue with ZERO HOUR. Finally they look at Steel #8, which should have been a Zero Hour crossover but was not bannered as such. The fact that it wasn’t is a crime.

Heck, Outsiders got a bannered cover and it had jack all to do with Zero Hour.

Continue reading

WHO’S WHO WEDNESDAYS – PSI

Welcome to another of the re-tooled Who’s Who Wednesdays, a regular feature here at the Fortress where every Wednesday (hence the name) I will present an entry from the original series of Who’s Who comics that DC published between 1984 and 1988.  Superman was well represented in those series and I wanted to share the entries with you just in case you have never seen them.  Today’s entry is Psi!

Psi

(originally published in Who’s Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe #18 August 1986)

Be sure to check out Episode Eighteen of the amazing Who’s Who: The Definitive Podcast of the DC Universe hosted by Rob Kelly and the Irredeemable Shag.  They covered this entry in that episode.  It is an awesome podcast that I cannot recommend highly enough.

Remember that you can click on the images to make them larger.

WHY I WILL (PROBABLY) NEVER OWN ACTION COMICS #1

The easy joke to make at the top of this post is that I already own Action Comics #1.

Action Comics (Vol. 2) #001

In fact, I own two different covers to the book.

Action Comics (Vol. 2) #001 Variant

If I wanted to I could own even more covers to this comic.  According to the Action Comics Cover Gallery page over at Mike’s Amazing World of DC Comics there are like four or five more variants that are out there and some of them are even reasonably priced as far as eBay goes.  I just haven’t plunked down the money for them.  I mean I like variants but there’s a line.  It’s completely arbitrary and based solely on my mood at the time, but there is indeed a line.

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ACQUISITIONS 03/06/2015

It’s been awhile since I have done one of these Acquisitions posts.  This is not due to me not buying any Superman books or comics in the past couple of weeks…months…years…whenever it is the last time I did one of these.  Far from it.  I have been getting stuff here and there, just not blogging about it.  Recent purchases have made me want to get back into that game.  First up are some variant covers I picked up for a reasonable price at my local comic shop.

Batman Superman #015 Variant Batman Superman #013 Variant

There was a time when variant covers were the whipping boys of the comics crash of the ’90s.  This is something of a fallacy but comics fandom has never met an oversimplification of a complicated problem that it didn’t like.  The thing is they never really went away and in the past ten to fifteen years they’ve made a big comeback.  It’s easy to dismiss them as a money grab and to be fair in some cases that is their design but that doesn’t change the fact that we as consumers have a choice in buying them.  It also doesn’t mean that some of them aren’t pretty damn cool.  DC has done pretty well with theme months in the last year or so and while I don’t normally buy them these practically begged to come home with me.

Why?

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FCTC EPISODE 184: ZERO HOUR PART 5

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Episode 184: Zero Hour Part 5

Welcome to the one hundred and eighty-fourth episode of From Crisis to Crisis: A Superman Podcast! This podcast has a simple premise; examine just about every Superman comic published between Man of Steel #1 in 1986 to Adventures of Superman #649 in 2006 in an informative and hopefully entertaining format.

Part index. Part commentary. Part history lesson. All podcast.

THE COUNTDOWN TO ZERO CONTINUES!

Mike and Jeff kick things off a little differently this week by looking at all of the ZERO HOUR crossover issues before getting into the main event. They realize that strictly speaking the Superman title should be the main event but that’s not how things worked out. They blame Extant. In Action Comics #703 Superman travels to another timeline where he was never found by the Kents and a man named Vale has used Kryptonian technology for his own ends. After that the boys get into nine (count them, nine) more crossovers, starting with Legion of Super-Heroes #61 where the Legion makes the ultimate sacrifice for their timeline. Then in Guy Gardner: Warrior #24 a strike team consisting of Guy, Supergirl, Steel and Batgirl fights Extant in various time periods. Catwoman #14 contains more time anomalies while ROBIN #10 has Tim Drake meeting a younger version of Dick Grayson. Justice League International #68 has Triumph finally getting his act together, Darkstars #24 features a time lost member of the Green Lantern Corps, Anima #7 has nothing to do with Zero Hour except for the white out pages at the end, Damage #6 guest stars the Titans and sees Damage getting transported to the past with Iron Munro and finally Green Arrow #90 features two scenarios where Ollie chases a gang member.

And now the extras!

Continue reading

WHO’S WHO WEDNESDAYS – SYRENE

Welcome to another of the re-tooled Who’s Who Wednesdays, a regular feature here at the Fortress where every Wednesday (hence the name) I will present an entry from the original series of Who’s Who comics that DC published between 1984 and 1988.  Superman was well represented in those series and I wanted to share the entries with you just in case you have never seen them.  Today’s entry is Syrene!

Syrene

(originally published in Who’s Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe #23 January 1987)

Be sure to check out Episode Twenty-Three of the amazing Who’s Who: The Definitive Podcast of the DC Universe hosted by Rob Kelly and the Irredeemable Shag.  They covered this entry in that episode.  It is an awesome podcast that I cannot recommend highly enough.

Remember that you can click on the images to make them larger.