Monday, July 24, 2006

Superman: Time and Time Again

There is nothing more disappointing than seeing a character as timeless as Superman saying or doing something utterly trendy. I don't want to see Superman wearing Crocs, I don't want him to do the Macarena, and I certainly don't want to see what's in this panel.

Oh, Superman. No you didn't. That song was never cool enough to make this ok.

I don't even want Superman acknowledging that Crocs or the Macarena exist. I like my Superman to be completely oblivious to pop culture. That's the way he should be. He shouldn't have a favourite song or a favourite movie. You start messing with that shit and you get Smallville's Lifehouse-loving tool of a hero.

This panel is taken from 1994's Superman: Time and Time Again. It took three writers (Dan Jurgens, Roger Stern and Jerry Ordway) to bring us this time-traveling adventure (originally published as Action Comics 663-665, Adventures of Superman 476-478, and Superman 54, 55, 61 and 73). Despite the jarring embarrassment of Superman walking the dinosaur, this trade is actually a pretty good read. It's certainly very 90s, which only makes it into my top ten favourite decades for comics out of necessity, but it's entertaining. You get Booster Gold, who is having a little come-back now in 52. You get Superman being trapped in the old west/WWII/prehistoric times/the future. He joins the circus (in which he is an obvious smash hit).

And, you get Superman shaving himself and sitting, depressed, on a toilet.

In prehistoric times, Supes just gives up on shaving all together. Thus the mighty beard you see in the unfortunate dinosaur panel.

Lois has red hair in this book, which is certainly not ok. At least she's not blonde.

I give this book a thumbs up overall. You really do feel Superman's angst when he realizes how difficult, or potentially impossible, it will be to get back to red-headed Lois. Although the fact that all it takes to move from one time period to the next is a large or medium explosion makes the plot a little weak. It certainly eliminates a lot of the suspense. (How will he get out of World War II? Oh.).

Another problem is that one of the time periods he finds himself in is...Camelot. I'll buy traveling through time, but I will not buy traveling through fiction. That's just crazy.

Superman always keeps his cool, no matter how ridiculous the situation (see above where he turns being trapped in the Jurassic period into a playful musical romp). That's something I always admire about him. It may not technically be one of his superpowers, but no one can prove that it isn't.


steffi said...

it's not like he'd ever really have a reason to lose his cool. that's probably why.

plus, so what if lois was blonde? you'd deal with it. but you know why she doesn't have blonde hair? because dark hair means smart.

already i'm offended.

rachelle said...

I also like that the only time that Superman is reminded of his past life is when he's shaving. Everything else is perfectly normal, but when he shaves it all comes flooding back.

Super-memory is not one of his powers, I guess.

steffi said...

what a moron.

Jeffrey Hardy Quah said...

Another problem is that one of the time periods he finds himself in is...Camelot. I'll buy traveling through time, but I will not buy traveling through fiction.

Camelot's apparently a real place, at least according to Grant Morrison in Seven Soldiers.

Viagra said...

That song... that song... Sometimes the writers believe they are doing fun stuff to light up the characters and end up all the way around

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