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Saturday, November 27, 2021 

Stephen King always chose Batman over Superman

For those familiar with the writings of veteran horror-thriller novelist Stephen King, this will definitely not be a surprise. All the same, I thought this could make a good case study in research for somebody who made it clear he considers the guy who lives in the dark superior in every way to the guy who lives in the light. Case in point: the introduction King wrote for the 400th Batman issue from October 1986, at least 35 years ago, as seen in the scans below:
King said he always chose Batman. He tries to assure everybody he never disliked Superman, but then he goes on to argue the Man of Steel was too strong and capable, without even considering that in a sci-fi world, you could still conceive enough obstacles to fill a whole galaxy, including, but not limited to, Kryptonite and the magical energies Superman was vulnerable to as established by writers in the Silver Age. And this was a novelist who dealt with sci-fi/fantasy elements in some of his books, even as horror was the main name of the game. King goes on to address the 1978 Superman film ads that said, "you'll believe a man can fly", and in King's case, he didn't, and not just in the movies, but "not completely in the comic books" either. I guess that means he didn't believe Green Lantern could fly with the help of his power ring, huh? Or that Hawkman could do the same with the 9th Metal devices he built.

He even describes Perry White as a precursor to J. Jonah Jameson without clearly acknowledging the fundamental differences in their prescribed MO: the former was depicted as an honest news editor, while the latter was mostly dishonest in his coverage of, but not limited to, Spider-Man. King wasn't even impressed with Superman's cold breath-blowing, and probably not with his heat-ray vision either. I get the feeling King's failure to appreciate Superman for what he was created as, sci-fi premise or otherwise, simply stemmed from inability to appreciate optimism. After all, it's not like King's novels were all built upon brightness so much as they were upon darkness. Did any of DC's other heroes in publication at the time ever get the kind of introduction to an anniversary issue as King lavished upon Batman? Sure, Ray Bradbury wrote the introduction to the 400th issue of the Superman series originally launched in 1939 (later modified to Adventures of in 1987, as a third spinoff was launched by John Byrne), which conveniently also came out on an October in 1984, but that was only one page, not two, like King's was. I get the feeling the publishers did not put as much value on an opinion for the Man of Steel as they did for Batman, and that's what really dismays me.

And if that's what King thought then, who knows what he thinks of the Masked Manhunter now, at a time when Batman's franchise has fallen victim to political correctness as much as any other DC/Marvel book, and Bruce Wayne's another character who may be on the verge of being kicked to the curb for the sake of a social justice substitute? A similar situation's taken place in Batman Beyond/Urban Legends #7. If King's got no complaints, wouldn't that make his introduction to the anniversary issue from 35 years back moot? In which case, one could argue the UK Guardian has a point, that the only thing about King that's amazing is his ego. Let's also not forget this guy's a real far-leftist, and it sure isn't doing much to ensure his work will age well.

Also, I know Daredevil wasn't much more than 2 decades old at the time King wrote his Batman intro, but still, as I've argued a time or two before, how come these authors with an overinflated ego wouldn't offer Stan Lee's superhero who lived even more in the dark than Bruce Wayne ever did some high regard? Is it because unlike DC's famous vigilante, Matt Murdock has superpowers, even if it wasn't super-strength? One sure thing, there's no chance King would ever offer high praise to the Punisher, and definitely not today. Lest we forget, Frank Castle's own co-creator Gerry Conway's been otherwise shunning his Marvel vigilante creation for the sake of wokeism. Which reminds me, the chances King would ever write a story like The Green Mile today are much lower, and would be less accepted at the Oscars, because some have argued since that the novel/film embody a "magical negro" stereotype. Indeed, it's not like King's all that beloved among modern leftists these days as he used to be, based in part on these issues.

In the end, as noted before, it's far from surprising a novelist so obsessed with the dark in some way or other would supply the introduction for the standout representative of all that's dark at DC. That's the problem when you have a whole industry where darkness is overvalued, and then look where it leads to: an inability to genuinely appreciate brightness and optimism.

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About me

  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
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