Clark Kent Leaving The Daily Planet? Here We Go Again.

In case you haven’t heard, Clark Kent is leaving the Daily Planet. In other words, this is yet another publicity stunt at DC Comics to get people to read Superman comics. I doubt it will work.

First, they rebooted the entire DC Universe with “The New 52.” In the process, Superman’s marriage to Lois Lane was dissolved, his costume redesigned, and his age dialed back several years. Then they shoehorned in a relationship with Wonder Woman, which anybody who’s read Superman for five minutes can tell you is an idea that always looks fun on paper but sucks in practically every execution.

That hasn’t really done much to boost sales, so now they’ve got Clark Kent leaving the Daily Planet.

This is part of a pattern of behavior that DC has been engaged in for about 20 years now. Make a “shocking” turn in the comic books, get some mainstream media attention, then hope it translates into something more than a temporary boost for sales.

The worst example of this was, of course, the much ballyhooed “Death of Superman” storyline, which probably garnered more mainstream coverage than anything directly related to comic books than anything else ever has.

I thought it was a dumb idea then, and history has borne me out. DC should simply make good stories with exciting art. It’s not going to get you a write-up in Entertainment Weekly or USA Today but it’s what comic books should be about. Steady storytelling works in multiple mediums, while stunt work is no way to sustain dedicated readership.

Even worse, this is a retread of previous ideas. For a time, Lex Luthor owned the Daily Planet and forced reporters to modernize and file on the web. For a bit, a billionaire bought out Daily Planet contracts and forced Clark Kent and Lois Lane to write for Newstime (he turned out to be a demon, if I remember correctly). For a long time in the ‘70s and early ‘80s, Clark Kent didn’t even work at the Daily Planet at all. He was a TV reporter for WGBS.

If anybody should be a regular Superman reader it’s me, and the rebooted storylines simply leave me cold. DC desperately wants to catch up to Marvel in the comic book to movie business (the only winner they’ve had is Batman, and that’s finished now). But a strong movie franchise has to stand on a relatively strong comic book. It’s saying something that many of the major contours of Batman didn’t change in the move to the new 52, because it was working and true to the original creation.

In the case of Superman – the pioneer superhero comic book and still one of the most recognized brands in the entire world – DC is fumbling around in the dark, groping for headlines and losing heart.

 

  • db

    Oliver,

    There have been 6 or 7 different Superman movies. Some better than others. But no argument Disney/Marvel has done a much better job in bringing their 2nd tier characters to the screen.

    DC had the forgetable Green Lantern movie & a Flash TV show about 20 years ago. It flopped but wasn’t helped by having the lead actress get pregnant early on. There was the successful Wonder Woman TV series & I think there was a Jonah Hex movie, but what else?

    Disney/Marvel has Spider Man with 5 or is it 6 movies now, Iron Man going on 3, X-Men 3 & a Wolverine spin-off, Thor going on 2, Capt. America 1, Avengers going on 2, Hulk 1. Then you can add in the forgetable Ghost Rider(s) and Daredevil(s). Oh and don’t leave out a successful Hulk TV series.

    Disney/Marvel has done a much better job of getting beyond the print medium.