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Wednesday, October 27, 2010 

Superman: Earth One will feature urban depiction of Man of Steel

And under the helming of J. Michael Stracynski, it can only be as unimaginative as possible. The UK Daily Mail says that in Earth One's story, the Man of Steel:
...now has angrily smouldering eyes, a lanky build, straggly hair, low-slung baggy jeans and, according to his creators at DC Comics, 'realises he doesn’t belong anywhere and doesn’t fit in'.

Transforming that most clean-cut and all-American of superheroes into a moody, misunderstood urban youth is the latest example of comic book creators attempting to update classic characters for a new generation of readers.
And under JMS, guaranteed to be one of the most bankrupt.
In Superman: Earth One, the first in a series of comic books putting famous DC characters into a more modern setting, the character is now aged 21 and physically far less imposing than the lantern-jawed, muscle-bound hero created 78 years ago.

'We wanted to tell a story that’s hip, sexy and moody,' said Dan DiDio, DC Comics’ co-publisher.
And we've heard it all before too. Nothing great can be expected of this either.
Superheroes – traditionally white, male and heterosexual - have been through considerable updates over the years, often in the spirit of diversity and political correctness.
Exactly the problem! And it's been done so horribly often over the past 2 decades, it's nothing new anymore, and we can't expect any different from this JMS penned book either. I figure it'll just compete with his current walking-tour story in the main Superman series for which one is the worst written of JMS's current work.

Update: CNS News has published a report of their own about this (via Hot Air Headlines), and they tell a little extra:
The creators also portray the new Superman as politically correct -- refusing to become “an instrument of politics or policy” of the United States, saying things like: “I was raised in this country. I believe in this country. Does it have its flaws? Yes. Does it have its moments of greatness? Yes. Bottom line is, it's my home and I'll always carry those values around with me. But if I do what I can do just for the U.S., it's going to destabilize the whole world. It could even lead to war.”
Sigh. Do I detect a left-wing anti-war message about this? Try as they might, I don't think they'll be able to disguise that now.
Adam R. Holtz, senior associate editor of the youth culture magazine Plugged In, told CNSNews.com that the re-design was obviously spurred by the success of the movie “The Dark Knight,” which re-imagined Batman in a much darker way.

“We have to look at 'The Dark Knight' as sort of a template for what they’re trying to do with these superheroes,” Holtz told CNSNews.com. “Unfortunately, it seems like ‘dark’ and ‘brooding’ – and everything that goes with that – sells.”

Comic book characters both reflect and shape how we look at our time and culture, Holtz said. Disturbingly, the newly re-envisioned Superman is a good metaphor for this particular day and age in America, he said.

“Truth, Justice and the American Way are all under attack, pretty much however you would like to look at it,” Holtz said. “A lot of people don’t believe in Truth or Justice anymore, and the American Way used to be something that we would fight for, but now there are a lot of people who would say the American Way is inherently a problematic thing – and so it gets deconstructed in popular culture.”
And when it's deconstructed, so too is our culture, and the imagination. It brings to mind again how, back in 1990, when WB's television unit adapted the Flash for TV, Batman's vision infiltrated, and I do think that in retrospect, it doesn't hold up well at all.

Update: Big Hollywood has an article now mentioning this.

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