THE AMAZING NEW ADVENTURES OF THE FORTRESS – 07/01/2010


THE AMAZING NEW ADVENTURES OF THE FORTRESS OF BAILEYTUDE

And I’m back.

Well, I never really went anywhere. Sure it’s been quiet here at the Fortress and basically it has served as a second home for From Crisis to Crisis: A Superman Podcast but I’ve been around mainly in the podcasting arena. Four shows a week takes a toll on the old free time so posting on a daily basis has been the biggest casualty of all of the editing and recording I’ve been doing. Sure it’s been fun but I kind of feel bad that I have this blog that I do, in a roundabout way, pay for that is just kind of sitting there.

The biggest problem I’ve had outside of the whole non-existent free time thing is finding content for the blog. Just about any scratch I have comic book wise can be itched on Views From The Longbox or From Crisis to Crisis or Back to the Bins or Tales of the Justice Society of America. Every time I thought, “Hey, that would make a great post!” the next thought is, “It would be easier to just talk about that on (insert podcast name here.)” So basically it comes down to laziness and that bugged me. So I started thinking about it and just couldn’t find a focus for the blog. I wanted to start kicking out content but the muse just wasn’t there. Then something happened that I was 100% sure would never happen.

I dropped the Superman titles.

Seriously. I have dropped the Superman books. I still have some to buy because they were being pulled for me, so I will be fulfilling my obligations there but after Superman #700 I am done and as I previous stated I NEVER thought such a thing would happen. From about 1994 until just a few months ago I was a devoted Superman reader, fan and collector. Sure I bought the books before that. As I have said a thousand times in the past I started reading and collecting the Superman titles circa May/June 1987 it was after I graduated from high school and was really making decisions on my own that I became the addict fan that I was for nearly two decades. It really got bad in late 1996 when I started buying EVERYTHING Superman related and buying back issues and making a more concerted effort to learn as much as I can about the character. I joked for years that I signed a contract to be an Official Superman Fan, which grew from a simple joke to the point where I nearly sat down and wrote a legal sounding document. Basically I used it as an excuse to explain why I would watch what is commonly considered to be the worst parts of Superman in the media and to collecting titles like Superboy and the Ravers. I also used it as an excuse to continue buying the titles long after it was apparent that I should just drop the books and walk away.

Well, what was once an inconceivable act has now come to pass and frankly I think I am better for it.

It’s kind of funny to think about what led me to drop the books. I mean I have continued reading through some pretty dark times on the book and you would have thought that the cluster fuck that was the year or so after Infinite Crisis would have been the breaking point, but no. Then you would have thought Superman getting taken out of his two titles would have been the straw that broke the camel’s back, but no though it very nearly did. Finally you would have thought that it was Superman: Secret Origin that took everything I liked about Superman in the comics was taken out back and shot execution style but still I was keepin’ on keepin’ on because through all of that I kept thinking the same thought.

“It’s going to get better. I just need to be patient.”

So what finally led to me to dropping the ax?

The fact that Clark Kent isn’t coming back to the books after the whole New Krypton thing.

I am going to get into that on Monday because my thoughts and feelings on Clark Kent’s place in the Superman mythos are long winded enough to deserve their own post but suffice to say that to me Clark Kent is an integral part of my enjoyment of the Superman books and I went through a little over a year of Superman books where Clark wasn’t in the books at all and several years where he was, at best, marginalized as a character. Clark needs to be as important as Superman when it comes to the ongoing story. Sure you can have stories and issues where he is not a big part of the overall plot but at some point he has to be there and when it was announced that Lex Luthor was going to be the main character of Action Comics and that Superman was going to wander the Earth like Caine from Kung-Fu1 that was the moment I went, “That’s it. I’m done. Stick a fork in me.” I just couldn’t do it anymore. To play into the whole contract thing from earlier there was an escape clause that stated if Clark wasn’t in the books for over a year all of the terms of the contract became null and void and I would go strictly freelance as Superman fan.

Now most of the time when a person like me drops something that he or she has been doing for nearly a quarter of a century they tend to also divest themselves of everything associated with that former obsession. The thing is while I have quit reading the books I am still very much a Superman fan. In fact my Superman fandom has gotten more intense because I have quit the month in, month out, hustle and bustle of collecting. There is a void in my fandom and nature abhors a void so I have been filling that with not only my back issues of Superman and From Crisis to Crisis but also my trades collecting the Golden Age material and comic strips as well has the audio books I have and I have even pulled out most of my action figures to pour over and stare at. I even have a rotation of some thirty odd Superman images cycling on my computer desktop.

Sure I’ve been reading a lot of All-Star Squadron for Tales and the random comic from both Marvel and DC for Back to the Bins and I am all over the place for Views From The Longbox but other than that it has been all Superman all the time and that 2 brings us back to this blog and why I am “re-launching” the blog and bringing it back to its roots in a way since the Fortress of Baileytude started out life as Superman centric blog before I decided to make it more of a general comics sort of affair. So now that I am, as dramatic as it may sound, a Superman Reader in Exile 3 I thought it might be fun to kind of chronicle all of the bits of business that I am reading or watching or putting back up on the bookshelf or comic box.

So in the weeks and months4 to come I will be making week daily posts all about the Man of Steel. Hopefully things will evolve so that I have specific departments but I’m pretty bad about that so for the moment while I have a few things that are going to be continuing in nature but other than that it’s going to be pretty random. Maybe it will be pictures of my action figures. Maybe it will be reviews for a trade paperback. Maybe I’ll tell stories of my misspent youth as a Superman fan. Maybe I’ll talk about how freaking awful the fourth season of Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman is now that I am finally getting to see it. The only constant I will promise is that every Thursday will have a post for the latest episode of From Crisis to Crisis: A Superman Podcast because, well, it is relevant to the blog.

Mainly I want this blog to be a place where I can just talk about Superman in all of his incarnations and express my thoughts and feelings on the character be they good, bad, amusing, snarky or indifferent. I mean yeah I’ve dropped the books but my love5 for the character has not diminished and I am really looking forward to just geeking out about the character and I hope that if you choose to stick around that you’ll like what I have in store for the blog. So come back tomorrow when I’ll have Fun Time Friday at the Fortress for you and as always…

More to follow…

Fortress Footnotes

  1. To borrow from Quentin Tarantino.
  2. FINALLY.
  3. Though I promise not to head off planet and end up on Warworld and then have Draaga come to Earth and want to kick my ass because I didn’t slay him as his honor demanded because frankly I got enough going on in my life right now than some ugly alien on an honor kick like Chozen from Karate Kid Part II.
  4. And hopefully years.
  5. For lack of a better term.

10 thoughts on “THE AMAZING NEW ADVENTURES OF THE FORTRESS – 07/01/2010”

  1. Welcome back. It’s great to read your blog again.

    As to the current Superman books, I simply could not agree with you more. That’s why I’m not bothering with them either.

    Hope you’re otherwise well.

  2. Nice to see you posting more than just podcasts again, not that there is anything wrong with the podcasts. I understand your feelings about the Superman books too. I left when New Krypton started. I still follow what is going on, but I don’t buy the books anymore, except for Secret Origin, but I’m a sucker for Superman origin stories. 🙂 And since Superman is a subject I know lots about, I should be able to keep up with your discussions.

  3. Glad to see you’re publishing the blog again. As I’ve stated in the past your shows have helped rekindle my love for Superman. As a fan from 1986 to present I can’t stand the modern books but I’m still having a hard time walking away. I have not read Superman 700 yet however and that may be my breaking point. As you said Clark Kent and his relationship with Lois Lane is intergral to the Superman story and we haven’t seen much of either for almost two years. You are now hitting a time period on From Crisis to Crisis that is my favorite on the books, for lack of a better term the courtship of Lois Lane. This is a period that really showcased Clark as the primary character and I really believe that the modern writers could learn something from these stories. As much as I loved Justice League the Animated series one of the things that always bothered me was that there was no Clark, or Bruce for that matter. We need the secret identities to tie our heroes to the humanity they’ve sworn to protect. I will look foward to your blogs and pictures of the your collections, I’ll be cleaning my garage this summer and going through boxes of old stuff myself, perhaps we’ll find some of the same gems. Its funny I also collected everything they put out in the 90’s included Superboy and the Ravers, and sadly at this point to drop the books I only need to drop Superman and Action. You can’t tell me a character hasn’t been mismanaged if he’s gone from five monthly books to two while he is theoretically your flagship character. Of course we know the sad truth is that Batman makes the WB more money and Hal is to my mind the people’s in charge binky, making our boy at best third in line. Don’t put Superman in the corner, yes I just referenced Dirty Dancing and if that doesn’t say how bad the modern books have been I don’t know what does. Looking forward to those picts and please I want to here you stories of you youth as a Superman fan, I get the sense we’ve walked a similar path on occasion. I want to hear you tales of the smithsonian and how you line up all you Superman figures and compare them to decide which one is the best, yea I do it to, Super Powers still holds the title for me. Oh and one last thing, my birthday is comming up on the 13 and I caught a glimsp of the wrapping paper my wife bought for me at Hallmark yesterday. Jerry Ordway Superman in different poses on a yellow background, how cool is that. Our guy still lives in other media even if the comics just ain’t working anymore.
    Al

  4. You got me into listening to podcasts so I thought I would drop a line.

    I’m glad you starting working on this place again I like reading stories about people and there collections. The podcasts you are apart of have been a fun ride so I am sure this place will be on par with the coolness factor.

    Keep up the good work man.

    btw had to take that Superman Red/Superman Blue pic for my desktop.

  5. While I’m finally returning to Superman from my long exile, I can say affirmatively, that I don’t miss Clark Kent that much. I look forward to your Monday post with great anticipation, and just a little trepidation that it might change my mind.

  6. The exact same thing happened to me with Captain America, only unlike you I did attempt to walk away completely. It worked for a while, but now I find myself pulled back in, but not really sure where to go or what to do about it. I seem to be drawn more towards DC these days, as some sort of attempt to “date other people” after a bad break up, but I’m not sure they’re any better. I’m really worried about what’s going to happen when the Captain America movie comes out and he, for good or bad, becomes a household name. Then I’m gong to wonder if I should have stuck with it and remained his “number one fan.”

  7. And hey, that comment was all about me! Good job, Kaiser! Anywho, I like what you’ve done with the place. Nice to see the blog active again. Definitely going on my Google Reader. I also dig the fact that you included some scans on your last FCTC update. I haven’t read any of the issues you guys are currently talking about, so it’s nice to see some images to go with the descriptions. Keep it coming!

  8. I’m a little shocked to read about your dropping of the Superman books. I can identify with the reasons why you have done what you have done, but I guess I’ve got a little more faith in the future. Admittedly, without the presence of Paul Cornell on Action Comics, my faith would be lessened, but I honestly believe that things are going to look up after the last year’s worth of New Krypton gubbins. It’s a shame that you’ve been burned so badly that you’re backing away from a big passion in your life, and I hope that you’ll find your way back into current Superman before too long. In the meantime, I’m looking forward to seeing what the renewed Fortress of Baileytude will bring forth.

  9. Glad to see the blog active again. Couldn’t agree with you more about losing Clark Kent being the breaking point. Superman has been around for over seventy years, and CK has always been a huge part of the story and character. There’s a reason for that. Without Clark Kent Superman is just another uber-powerful man in tights. The defining trait of Superman is that he does the right thing because it is the right thing to do. Likewise, Superman is not Clark Kent because he needs to hide who he is. He is Clark Kent. He is a human in character just as much as he is a Kryptonian by heritage. To lose that side of the story is to loose sight of what Superman has always been about, not just in his more recent incarnations, but all the way back to 1938. If ever there were a reason to drop the books, this would be it.

  10. Michael, I’ve said in that past that your fandom experience mirrors mine, in many ways. You’re a little older than me, but when it comes to the Byrne/Ordway/Jurgens/Stern era, we’re very much in sync. As far as I’m concerned, the quality from Exile through to “Fall of Metropolis” is a mostly consistent level of quality that we haven’t seen since. Still I’ve stuck with the books.

    Though I enjoyed parts of it, I think the previous year-long story was mishandled. The Nightwing & Flamebird thread went way off the rails early on and ultimately didn’t contribute anything worthwhile to the main story and the Mon-El/Captain Atom threads were a complete waste of time. Still I enjoyed World of New Krypton, Last Stand of New Krypton and thought that Sterling is doing some interesting world-building on Supergirl. Still, not all experiments work and I’ll commend the teams for trying something different that – at least – on paper, had a lot of potential.

    So far, nothing recent has been as utterly bad as Electro-Superman, the Dominus storyline, the sheer mess that was Our Worlds at War, and the virutally unreadable Seagle, Kelly and Casey runs on the book. (It’s pretty bad that when rating the 2000-2005 era, “For Tomorrow” ends up being near the top of the heap.) Had I known how long the post-wedding slump was going to last, maybe I’d have walked away from the books in 1997, but at this point I actually feel like the books are on an upswing of sorts.

    That said, I really wish that JMS wasn’t leading off with a story that takes Clark Kent out of the picture. I accept that as the final straw for you, and I hope that JMS is able to turn out a story that’s more promising than it appears at first blush. A year from now if this turns into another Azzarello (who also never used Clark if I recall right,) be ready with an “I told you so.”

    Any interest at all in the new Superboy title?

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