Sunday, April 17, 2016

The Key to Superman's Inner Sanctum

The third installment of DK3 felt like set-up for a Carrie-Lara smackdown. There's not much to talk about there, so let's talk about the giant phallic shape on the cover instead.

Of course, anyone in their mid-to-late seventies will recognize the shape for what it is... the giant key to Superman's Fortress of Solitude. The key was featured on a few covers back in the golden age of comics, back when the Fortress was first introduced and Superman still felt goofy and new.

In DK3, Supes appears to have left the door unlocked, setting up Bats for a zinger.

Might the key have a second meaning? In those golden age comics, the key is typically shown lying down, but here it appears erect. Let's recall that impotence - at least the figurative kind - is almost a recurring theme for Miller's Superman.

What's more ridiculous - having a giant key, or not using it

Thursday, January 28, 2016

The (Good) Death of Superman

I remember it like it was yesterday. For months we'd been seeing the signs. Doomsday was coming, and the emblem -

                             ( like that emblem on Frank Miller's new title, the Master Race )

                                                             - Superman was going to die.

The lead-up to Doomsday was expertly handled over the course of many issues. It was a side plot - a mysterious figure in an exposure-suited and goggles, tearing through the United States countryside.
        No explanation given.
                   And the juggernaut was headed straight for Metropolis.
In the weeks that followed, as he dispatched teams of superheroes, Doomday's costume was gradually stripped away. Finally, we saw the face of the creature we all knew was going to kill Clark Kent.

When Superman #75 came out, my twin brother and I were in high school. We didn't ditch. Instead, my mother was nice enough to run all over town to find us a couple of bagged copies of The Death of Superman.

It was a lovely comic. A climactic fist-fight. Two evenly matched warriors, pounding away to the end. The art - all splash pages - was beautifully rendered by Dan Jergens and Brett Breeding in the Aparo-esque 'realistic' style. It felt big. It felt right. Superman died a hero.

The aftermath was painful. They did a series called Funeral for a Friend, which dealt with various heroes coping. It was among the most boring stories I ever read. There was a really weird white-bagged issue. After a little while, new Supermans started popping up. It wasn't long until the big blue boyscout was back in action.

I guess we should have figured. I knew after that that nothing in comics would ever really change.

Fast forward. It's 2016. It's been 23 years since The Death of Superman. 30 years since The Dark Knight Returns.

****Rampant speculation follows. Lovers of fan theories, read on. Others may wish to depart. I cannot call them spoilers.***

Frank Miller is writing a new comic. It's called DK3: The Master Race. Its cover page is essentially an overlay of the iconic covers for The Dark Knight Returns and The Death of Superman.

Ostensibly, it's a Batman story. Heck, Batman's got Superman's blood on his glove. Or does he?

What if Dark Knight 3 isn't about Batman's redemption... what if it's about Superman's? He's out of things... easily the most striking image of the series so far has been Superman trapped in a crystalline coffin of his own depression.
What happens when Superman hears the rumble - when the beast snarles and thrashes in his rib cage, struggling to be free? He faces an enemy as powerful as he is - evil Kryptonians, the eponymous Master Race. The battle could easily cost him his life.
What if DK3 is a Superman story disguised as a Batman story? What if Frank Miller - the man who gave Batman a good death in 1986 - wants to try his hand at giving Superman his good death? If so, it could be one of the greatest head fakes in the history of comics. With all the parallels, it could probably have been called Superman Returns.

On second thought, that's probably a bad idea.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Bat-Art Roundup #1

There's some fantastic art going around the interwebs. Here are a few of my faves from this morning.

Batman and Carrie Kelley, by Miguel Mercado

Batman v. Superman by Jim Lee:

Batman/Heisenberg fan art:

Batman/Catwoman commission art by Mike Mayhew:

And a couple of Ninja turtles from Emil Cabaltierra, just because.