Saving Superman

Can DC save a legend who’s apparently outgrown his audience?

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  • Fans want comic heroes to stand perfectly still and stay static forever, but down that way lies obsolescence and ultimately failure, which DC’s writers knew was a possibility but were not certain how to avoid it. Their fan-service did appeal to the die-hard comic guys who bought everything and as such would want the characters to change as little as possible, when possible.
  • Ultimately, they were telling stories no one wanted to read and fixing characters who weren’t broken. DC had perceived Superman as a broken character and was one of the reasons the New 52 needed to happen. However, Superman was not broken. He didn’t need fixing, he needed writers who understood what the character was about. Is he hard to write for? Absolutely. Should they work on tweaking his abilities? Maybe, but maybe they should expand the DC Universe a bit to give him a little more challenge.
  • In my personal opinion, they were trying to return DC to its era of Whiteness (meaning the characters were mostly White, anything on the fringes such as Cassandra Cain, for example, was subtly erased) from the seventies assuming this would bolster their flagging sales. Most of the Justice League has been White, stayed White and I think DC has lost sight of the real world and what people hope to see.
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60 years separates the top image of the JSA and the JLA of early DC with the Justice League of 2000, but racial representation hasn’t changed much.
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A Lack of Vision

DC’s New 52 reboot did nothing to endear them to fans. An example of the epic failure to be sensitive to their audience lies in the erasure of Barbara Gordon as Oracle. Crippled by the Joker and a bullet to her spine, the former Batgirl was relegated to a wheelchair and taken off the field roster in the Bat-family. Rather than just sitting there watching other heroes, Barbara rises to the challenge and becomes the enigmatic information broker, Oracle.

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  • With a classic act of insensitivity, DC reboots the character right out of existence with some lame excuse why Barbara Gordon had to return. Yes, in a universe laden with super-science, it was hard to explain why she had to stay in a chair in the first place but I liken it to the idea if comic technology were commonplace, there would be no one in chairs anywhere.
  • Why put Oracle back in a Bat suit, when there were already at least two competent and capable Batgirls ready for the role, Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown were oh so suitable for the role?
  • Both women had super-villains for fathers which should have been rich territory for storytelling. Both had their own issues with sufficient pathos to tell amazing stories for years to come if someone creative were at the helm.
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Welcome to Rebirth

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Other superhero-related writing:

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Author | Editor | Futurist | Activist | http://bit.ly/thowzebio | http://bit.ly/thpatreon

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