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Sunday, January 21, 2018 

Why does Bendis get to be the one to write the restoration of Superman's red tights?

At long last, after about 7 years, DC decides to give the Man of Steel back his red tights, and without them he looked more like a plastic action figure than a superhero. But wouldn't you know it, the scribe least deserving to script Superman is Brian Michael Bendis, who begins his run with Action Comics #1000, and to make matters worse, there's at least 2 more writers involved who're just as unwelcome:
To celebrate Action Comics No. 1000 — a landmark number for an American comic book series — DC Entertainment’s premier superhero regains his red trunks for the first time since his makeover in 2011 as part of the company-wide New 52 reboot. The cover for the issue, by DC Entertainment co-publisher Jim Lee, unveils the Man of Steel’s new costume.

The supersized issue will feature stories from a number of creators, including the first new DC work of writer Brian Michael Bendis, who joined the company last November after almost two decades at Marvel. Other creators who’ll be contributing to the issue include DC CCO Geoff Johns, Superman director Richard Donner, novelist Brad Meltzer, current Batman writer Tom King and many more.
Bendis and Meltzer were both responsible for two of the worst stories written during 2004 - Avengers: Disassembled and Identity Crisis. And I may have once spotted the former retweeting a post by the latter on his Twitter page, which should give an idea just where he really stands on decency. It'll be regrettable if anybody buys this, yet one segment of consumers you can be sure will buy this no matter what are the speculators who believe a thousand-issue milestone alone is reason enough to buy what could always be one of the most overrated books of the year. Though it'll be hilarious if, in contrast to his work at Marvel, Bendis actually respects the DCU's cast of characters, which is far more than can be said of how he handled characters like Tigra and Iceman, among others, when he was writing Avengers and X-Men. Let's not forget his gleeful mocking of the fanbase when he bragged about breaking kids' toys.
The issue will also feature previously unpublished artwork from iconic Superman artist Curt Swan, who drew the character from 1948 until his death in 1996 and is regarded by many as the definitive Superman artist.
I'm not sure he drew the Man of Steel all the way to the time when he passed on, but it's a definite shame a fine past artist's work has to be shoehorned into a book featuring a number of writers who haven't proven themselves respectable of past creations, and haven't even apologized for their past conduct yet.
In a statement from the company, DC co-publisher Dan DiDio said, “The one-thousandth issue of ACTION COMICS is an incredible milestone in pop culture and a testament to the vision of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. Without this book, along with Siegel and Shuster’s fertile imaginations and boundless creativity, the superhero’s place in literature may have been wildly different, if not altogether nonexistent.”
Oh, and interesting how it's DiDio serving as a spokesperson, not Bob Harras, even though he's long proven he's no longer competent for the job of editor, recalling how his role as Marvel's EIC was pretty much a disaster when he took the job in 1995-2000, at which time they came up with the dreadful Heroes Reborn quartet for nearly a year. All this proves is DiDio's obviously still in command, and still part and parcel of the problem.

Even Entertainment Weekly's pretty sugary about this:
To certain comic fans, collectors, and retailers, issue numbering is really important. It can help keep track of superhero stories over time or signal a change in direction. This is why, whenever DC or Marvel announce a new publishing initiative, numbering is usually an important factor that explains the company’s priorities at the time. DC reboots like the New 52 and Rebirth reset all their series with new number-one issues to appeal to new readers, while Marvel Legacy recently returned its books to their original numbering to please longtime fans. But there’s really only one series for which original numbering truly matters, and that’s Action Comics — the first superhero comic. Keeping track of this series’ numbering means keeping track of the history of superhero comics. Action Comics #1, released in 1938, first introduced the world to Superman. And now, 80 years later, the book is celebrating issue #1000 with a jam-packed, star-studded comic.
Once, numbering might've been the case, but not after so many bad stories produced by phonies. What they miss is that numbering alone, new or old, does not a good story make, and collectors have proven for many years to be the ones who really care about numbering, if it's the numero uno premiere. Without good writing (and artwork), the numbering means nothing, except possibly to know which issues to avoid, and there's plenty of that today at the Big Two.

But if they're saying numbering only matters for the Man of Steel's original series, that's certainly laughable. What about those series from Marvel which did begin with their very own books and kept the numbering sustained at least until the mid-90s, like Fantastic Four, Avengers, and Daredevil? Even superheroes like Spider-Man and Iron Man, the former who began with the last issue of Amazing Fantasy and the latter who began his adventures in Tales of Suspense, usually had steady numbering up to the mid-90s for their flagship series. It was the same with X-Men, even as Marvel was doing reprints during the early 70s, and began using the Uncanny adjective as the 80s came in.
...One thing that will immediately jump out to fans is the return of the red trunks to Superman’s costume. Originally derived from the look of circus strongmen, the red underwear-over-tights look had become an object of derision over the years and was erased from Superman’s outfit as part of DC’s 2011 New 52 reboot. The no-trunks look stayed throughout the more recent reboot of DC Rebirth, only to now make its triumphant return for the big Action Comics anniversary.
Oh, making excuses for the trunks' omission now, are we? Just who exactly didn't like them, and why won't they clearly say so? This is even more pathetic than the claim Robin's circus-inspired shorts were an object of derision, and for all we know, that could've been DC editors' own cowardice, as the modern ones sadly became ashamed of the creations they were entrusted with, and after the 80s ended and Tim Drake became the 3rd Robin, they phased them out for spandex-style pants.

Vox also had some comments about the costumes:
The removal of Superman’s undies seemed like an extension of the comics trend toward making superheroes more serious, more monochromatic, and thereby “cooler.” It brings to mind the 2000 X-Men film’s jab at the bright costumes of the comic books, or Man of Steel’s pronounced gloominess (both aesthetically and thematically). In that context, sure, the red trunks could be seen as a little cheesy.
Recalling that the director of the X-Men movie and 2006's Superman Returns, Bryan Singer, has fallen from grace just like Kevin Spacey, who co-starred in one of his early films, the Usual Suspects, I don't think those films are going to age well (reportedly, he wouldn't even allow comics on the set of the former), but aside from that, what was really annoying was when Joe Quesada editorially mandated the X-Men comics feature the same costumes as the movies for nearly 3 years. Which does not a good story make, and around that time, sales on X-Men comics certainly went down, and moviegoers clearly had no boosting effect on sales.

And one of the dumbest things about changing Superman's costume is that DC started making it look like it was patched together like leather in some illustrations, with visible linings. Such "attention to detail" was unnecessary, and again, did not equal good storytelling. There comes a time when it's just too much in terms of garments. In hindsight, it's quite possible the canning of the red trunks was a Time Warner mandate to coincide with the Man of Steel movie, but that only made them look worse and restricting creativity, all for the sake of a movie whose biggest flaw, if any, was the lack of a sense of humor, if at all. That's the problem with the recent DC adaptations; with the possible exception of the Wonder Woman movie, they've been largely hostage to studio mandates, and similarly, to editorial mandates back at the publishing arm. Both are equally damaging, yet it's no improvement when they give a dreadful scribe like Bendis the reins to restore a notable garment to Supes' costume. Mainly because it doesn't guarantee the stories to follow will be any good. If Bendis' runs on Avengers and X-Men could be so grimy, and reliant on casting obvious choices like Spider-Man and Wolverine for membership in the former series, why should we expect his run on Superman to be any better?

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Detective Comics and Adventure Comics would be at over #900 (and Adventure would probably be over 1000) if not for the 2011 reboots.

Similarly, Marvel's Tales of Suspense/Captain America, Tales to Astonish/Incredible Hulk, and Journey Into Mystery/Thor would all be at #600-700.

Dell's anthology title, Four Color Comics (1942-1962), ran for over 1300 issues.

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