WHICH SUPERMAN IS IT? or BEING PICKY ABOUT LABELS IS A BLOGGER’S JOB

The past six months have been good for as a Superman fan.

Seriously.  It’s been awesome.  Tyler Hoechlin’s version of both Superman and Clark was amazing.  Comixology has been adding more and more Post Crisis issues to their site.  There have been a number of fantastic trade paperbacks and hardcovers and omnibuses coming out with more to follow.  On top of all of that the new comics DC has been publishing have been amazing and I look forward to each new issue.

I haven’t been this happy with just about everything involving the Man of Steel in years.

However…

There has been one thing that’s been nagging at the back of my mind since Jurgens started writing this version of Superman back in Convergence.  It’s seriously nit picky but it’s there just the same.

Which Superman are we seeing the current books?

Part of me wants to answer that which with, “It doesn’t matter.  The books are good.  Shut up and enjoy yourself,” but that’s not how my brain works.  I’m the guy that argues that the Earth-2 Superman from the Pre-Crisis days was not the Superman we saw in the Golden Age comics.  His backstory was largely taken from the books but in reality he was a character created in the late sixties and further developed in the seventies to be a version of Superman that started his career in the thirties and aged to the then present.  It doesn’t take away for the love and affection I have for that version of Superman.  Not in the least.  The Earth-2 Superman is one of my favorite iterations of the Man of Steel but calling him the Golden Age Superman implies that he is the Superman you saw in the early issues of Action Comics and he isn’t.

He’s “a” Golden Age Superman but he’s not “the” Golden Age Superman because he still worked for the Daily Star until the fifties and other minor inconsistencies.

What about the current Superman flying around in the pages of Superman and Action Comics and other books?  Some people call him the Pre-Flashpoint Superman.  Others are happy that the Post Crisis Superman has returned.  Still others probably don’t care but I’ve been curious about this since they announced that Superman: Lois and Clark was going to be a mini-series.  The Post Crisis Superman and the one that existed after Infinite Crisis are similar in character history but there are significant differences between the two, especially when it comes to Krypton and Lex Luthor.  The Krypton of the Post Crisis Superman was a sterile world full of bio-suits, funky headdresses and death and Superman met that version of Lex when he was an adult.  After Infinite Crisis  Krypton was more like the one seen in Superman: The Movie and Lex and Clark met in Smallville when they were teenagers.

The element that muddles the question the most is the fact that the current Superman is married to Lois.  While the Earth-2 Superman married the Lois from his reality he was never the main version of the character DC went with.  It wasn’t until 1996 that Lois and Clark tied the knot for reals.  This was something that the powers that be carried over after Infinite Crisis, which surprised me at the time because it seemed like the best time to make that change if they were going to do so.  I guess married Superman still had some pull until the New 52.  Superman marrying Lois is more associated with the Post Crisis version so the fact that the current Man of Steel is married it’s easy to assume that he’s Post Crisis all the way.

Thankfully the sleepless nights this question caused me (or would have caused me if I actually had any sleepless nights) are over.  On the second page of Action Comics #970 the question is resolved.

So there you have it.  This is definitely the Post Infinite Crisis/Pre-Flashpoint Superman.  The one that existed between 2006 and 2011.  Patrick Zircher even drew young Lex like Gary Frank did in Superman: Secret Origin.

In the end it doesn’t really matter.  That part of my brain that just wants me to shut up and enjoy the comics is ultimately correct.  My era of Superman has been over for nearly a decade.  As long as the Superman in the comics I read feels close to what I want to see in the character and as long as the stories are good I should be satisfied and for the moment I am.  The writing and art on both Superman and Action Comics have been top notch and most of the side books have been fantastic as well.

But for the record it’s not the Post Crisis Superman.

I mean technically it is because every story after Crisis on Infinite Earths is Post Crisis.  It’s just not that Post Crisis Superman.

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7 Responses to WHICH SUPERMAN IS IT? or BEING PICKY ABOUT LABELS IS A BLOGGER’S JOB

  1. eddiephlash says:

    But even this doesn’t make sense. If this is the post IC/Pre Flashpoint Superman, then it is the Superman that dealt with the New Krypton Saga. Which means that this is the Clark (and Lois) who had an adopted son for a while. I like young Jon a lot, but why has there been no mention of Chris Kent / Nightwing? You’d think there would be at least a mention of him. Lois saying something like “Oh this was so much easier with Chris”. It just seems like that was a big plot element of that particular version of the characters.

    What I think is that this is yet another new version, who has a lot in common with the post IC / pre FP version, but also is different.

  2. That’s a fair point and one I didn’t consider. Maybe the loss of Chris was too painful for them or maybe it is a completely new Superman that shares the Post Crisis/Pre-Flashpoints histories.

  3. Jon says:

    When it comes to old bits of continuity, writers have to dance a bit. Does a particular point of continuity matter for the story at hand? Will bringing it up do more to help the story or hinder new readers? If it doesn’t directly relate, then simply bring careful not to contradict history is often sufficient. We can assume the characters have conversations all the time off-panel about their pasts, but these don’t need to be on-panel unless they matter to the events at hand. And frankly, I bet most of the Chris conversations are behind them.

  4. Doug Meacham says:

    Maybe what Dr. Oz said to Superman relates to this somehow. He has the trappings of a past Superman but really isn’t him but something else?

  5. Steven Marshall says:

    You should do a podcast on Tyler Hoechlin’s Superman and the two episodes of Supergirl he was in.

    Man he was as close to that perfect version of Superman/Clark I have in my mind and I can’t see anything else getting close to that. I actually feel like this is what Bryan Singer should have done in 2006, pay homage to Superman the Zmovie but don’t directly rip it off. Also for Singers love of the Richard Donner film I still find it odd that he didnt try to match the tone of the Donner film. Anyway I digress Supergirl got Supetman spot on!

  6. If you are interested in my thoughts on Tyler’ turn as Superman check out Episode 252 of Views From The Longbox. I spend about twenty or so minutes discussing it with my good friend Andrew Leyland before we talk about the President Lex trade.

    http://viewsfromthelongbox.blogspot.com/2016/11/episode-252-superman-president-lex.html

  7. Steven Marshall says:

    Legend cheers Mike will check that out.

    Would live for you to do a show in all the live action Supermen

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