Superman vs. Orson Scott Card

Posted: February 22nd, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , | 3 Comments »

Superman is boring.

Ask any comic book fan – or any average person, for that matter – and chances are they’ll tell you they don’t think much of the Man of Steel. There might be some nostalgiac fondness for the character, but most people gravitate toward the dark and brooding Batman, who has come to personify bad-assery at DC Comics in the same indomitable way Wolverine has at Marvel.

Superman is dull. He’s a Boy Scout. He’s too powerful. He’s married. Clark is a marshmallow. He is (as so many girls told me in high school and college) too nice. And because of that, when people think about Superman (if they think about him at all), it’s often with something approaching disdain.

Which makes it all the more interesting that while people may not give much thought to Superman, EVERYONE still has an opinion about him. And while his “coolness” or his relevance or his appeal might be called into question, most people have very clear ideas about what Superman is and what he isn’t, as well as what ideals the character represents. As I’ve mentioned before, Superman is a personification of humanity’s best qualities, a character who’s greatest ability is the power to inspire.

So it really shouldn’t have been a surprise that when DC announced it hired Orson Scott Card to write the first story for the publisher’s new, digital-first issue of Adventures of Superman, people lost their shit. Card, the acclaimed writer of the sci-fi classic Ender’s Game, has spent the last few years building a well-deserved reputation for being a virulently homophobic ass. Beyond the usual, disgusting rhetoric one might expect, Card also sits on the board for the National Organization for Marriage – essentially a hate-group that wants to promote marriage for everyone but gay folks. Most notoriously, Card was quoted as saying that, if the United States government passed any legislation allowing marriage for gay couples, he ” … will act to destroy that government and bring it down, so it can be replaced with a government that will respect and support marriage …”

Card’s hate speech, his active participation in an effort to restrict and deny the rights of fellow citizens – of fellow human beings – is well-documented. And he’s got every right to it. We cannot rattle our sabers in the fight for free speech and then try to squash it when someone says something horrible and poisonous. Card is a homophobic ass, and he’s got the freedom to be a homophobic ass. And by the same token, DC can hire anyone they want, even if he or she is a homophobic ass. That is their right, as well.

Luckily, it is my right (and the right of anyone who disagrees with what is, let’s face it, a terrible hiring decision by DC) to refuse to buy anything written by Card. We can spend – or not spend – our money and time however we choose. Personally, I choose not to support something written by someone whose views are so destructive and hateful, and which I find repugnant. I won’t be buying the first couple of issues of Adventures of Superman when it launches in April. I’d encourage other comic book fans to do the same. It’s a small statement, and one DC will no doubt ignore the way they’ve ignored a growing petition and public outcry, but it’s one I feel good about.

And for the record, it’s not censorship, no matter what reactionary Card apologists say. No one is saying DC can’t publish the comic, or that anyone can’t buy it. Refusing to buy it – or sell it, as some comic book stores have said they’ll do – doesn’t equal censorship. It’s a consumer choice, and I’ll be choosing to spend my money elsewhere. Will I start picking up issues once Card is off the book? Maybe. Will I buy a print collection that includes Card’s story? No. Again, it’s about choice, and I choose not to support the work of a bigoted hate-monger.

Because, as others have noted, Superman isn’t about hate. Truth. Justice. An “American Way” that reflects fairness, opportunity and the pursuit of happiness for all. That’s what Superman is about.

And that’s something everyone knows.

Some friends of mine have also spoken out on this, and I’d encourage you to take the time to read what they’ve got to say. Go check out:

Hero Sandwich

The Signal Watch

A spectacular strip at The Rack

And Wired also had a good, all-emcompassing piece on the Card controversy.)

Small Sundays: Superman

Posted: January 6th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , | 5 Comments »



Superman action figure (with arm-raising action)
Acquired: Unknown (possibly a gift)

Note: How else would I start the new year?! Bonus points to anyone who can name where the background image comes from.

Superman vs. the Sugarhill Gang

Posted: May 16th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , | 3 Comments »

As we all know, a proud tradition of hip-hop is calling out, as they say, those sucka MCs who front like they can spit mad rhymes but are just bustas trying to bite a line. But crackin’ on Superman? Now you’ve gone too far, gentlemen!

Actually, this is a crime so old it should be considered a cold case. My wife Sandy rediscovered it recently while listening to Pandora and 1979’s “Rapper’s Delight” started playing. For those of you not ancient enough to remember ancient history, the Sugarhill Gang put the first hip-hop single in the Top 40 when this fairly tame, exceptionally lengthy rap swept discos and pop stations across the country. The song was silly, fun and undeniably catchy. It also completely disses Superman about two-thirds of the way in when Big Bank Hank starts dropping bombs on the Man of Steel. (Wonder Mike and Master Gee seemed to wisely distance themselves from this madness.)

It starts off semi-innocently enough:

Because they say that miracles never cease
I’ve created a devastating masterpiece
I’m gonna rock the mic ’til you can’t resist
Everybody, I say it goes like this

Well I was comin’ home late one dark afternoon
A reporter stopped me for a interview
She said she’s heard stories and she’s heard fables
That I’m vicious on the mic and the turntables

This young reporter I did adore
So I rocked a vicious rhyme like I never did before
She said, Damn fly guy I’m in love with you
The Casanova legend must have been true


OK, OK, so far, so good. I’d like to hear more about this young reporter, though.

I said, By the way baby what’s your name
Said, I go by the name of Lois Lane
and you could be my boyfiend, you surely can
just let me quit my boyfriend called Superman

Whoa, whoa, whoa!! We all know Lois can be fickle, but c’mon! Well, at least we can be sure Hank backed off once he realized who he was messing with right?


I said, He’s a fairy I do suppose,
flyin’ through the air in pantyhose.
He may be very sexy or even cute,
But he looks like a sucker in a blue and red suit.

That’s just a cheap shot, right there. Man, his momma made that for him!

I said, You need a man who’s got finesse
and his whole name across his chest.
He may be able to fly all through the night
but can he rock a party ’til the early light?
He can’t satisfy you with his little worm,
But I can bust you out with my super-sperm.

What. The.  Fu …

I go do it, I go do it, I go do it, do it , do it
and I’m here and I’m there, I’m Big Bang Hank, I’m everywhere.
Just throw your hands up in the air
and party hardy like you just don’t care.

Thank you, Mr. Big Bang Hank, because we don’t care for your slander, not one bit. I’m just glad there weren’t other groups from that era that tried to make Superman look a fool.

Oh, for Christ’s sake. Apparently Superman’s real weakness is cardboard and parachute pants.

R.I.P.: Jackie Cooper (1922-2011)

Posted: May 5th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , | 4 Comments »

Back in the early days of cable TV, there was suddenly a lot more bandwidth but not a whole lot to put on it. There wasn’t any original content yet – for that matter, there weren’t any dedicated cable channels. Basically what you got was a gigantic brown box with doorbell buttons on it, your usual local channels and one or two channels from another city.

Since no one was really programming for people who’d happily flip through channels all day, watching TV at any time that wasn’t prime time meant watching a lot of old stuff stations could rerun cheap. That’s how I wound up absorbing, like a little polyester-clad sponge, black-and-white Popeye cartoons, Abbott and Costello movies and Our Gang shorts.

And that was how I first came across Jackie Cooper.

I watched a hell of  a lot of Little Rascals when I was a kid, and I’ll still watch it if I get the chance. Cooper was part of one of the earlier groups of kids featured in the Our Gang series, and co-stars in one of my favorite episodes, “Love Business.” Ooh, Chubbsy-Ubbsy, there’s gonna be something heavy on your nose! Needless to say, his squinty-eyed, no-nonsense kid showings made an impression.

You can imagine my surprise, sitting in the dark theater and excited OUT OF MY MIND as Superman spooled out onto the screen, when who should show up but some guy playing Perry White. Just some guy. But he’s like, perfect, and man, he looks familiar, where do I know him from ohmygodit’sthekidfromTheLittleRascals!

I was a kid myself and had a slippery grasp on the way aging works, so I was genuinely shocked at the thought that a kid from Our Gang was not only still alive, but shouting out “Kent!” and giving Jimmy Olsen a hard time. The shock didn’t last long, though, because Cooper’s acting was so spot-on that as far as I was concerned, that guy up there in the rumpled remains of a suit and the gleam of a newspaper-man in his eye WAS Perry White. Even today he’s my Perry White, and I will straight-up fight you if you say there has been a better Perry before or since.

For all these reasons, I was very sad to hear the news Jackie Cooper died Tuesday (May 3) at the age of 88. With him goes a career that spanned the earliest days of American cinema and which managed to endear him to generations of fans, including a kid who, years later, would still hear his voice every time he reads the name of his blog.

In spite of looking, I couldn’t find any decent Perry White clips from Superman — which is just criminal, man — but I did find that favorite Little Rascals episode I mentioned.  Enjoy it, and maybe let out a “Great Caesar’s ghost” while you’re at it.

“Love Business,” part 1:

“Love Business,” part 2:

News from the front

Posted: June 24th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , | 2 Comments »

As you might have noticed (since I’ve been mentioningit at every opportunity), I’m in the middle of moving. Specifically I’m moving from Austin, Texas to just outside Wilmington, Delaware in just under a week.

If you’re picturing rooms filled with boxes, stacks of furniture and piles of random stuff, you’re not far off.  And if you think this has kept me from posting lately – actually, from doing anything much beyond cramming things into cardboard boxes – you’d be right on the money. In the meantime, I hope you’ll hang in there.

See you in Delaware!

Speaking of comics, I picked up Superman #700 this week and was left … underwhelmed. I don’t have it on hand for reference (things in boxes, remember?), but the impression I was left with was feeling a little lost in the story. I wasn’t keeping up with the War of the Supermen-slash-Fall of Krypton stories, and the chapters definitely felt like continuations of plots that were a mystery to me. The J. Michael Straczynski storyline begins here, and having Superman walk across America is fun in a Hard Travelin’ Heroes kind of way, but the clunky heavy-handedness of the introduction in this issue makes me a little leery. Also, can Superman get a strong, distinctive artist? Please.


Don’t forget, the Great Caesar’s Movie Club due date is July 19! Superman III! Do it!