Of all the strange transformations Superman has undergone in his 78-year history, none has been quite so derided as the year where his familiar costume and powers were replaced with a blue and white "containment suit" and a tenuous relationship with electricity. But that raises the question, was it really all that bad? Two decades later, we want to find out, so ComicsAlliance is taking a look back at the Electric Blue Era of Superman to find out not just what worked, but if anything worked. This is... Electric Bluegaloo.
This week, we take a moment to look at what Electric Blue Superman was up to in the larger DC Universe... and wonder why the actual Superman books couldn't be this good.
This week saw us say goodbye to a hero who fought for truth, justice and the American way. Who fought for the downtrodden and the common man. Who fought against injustice while wearing a t-shirt and jeans. This week saw us say goodbye to The New 52 Superman. Spoilers for the current Superman status quo follow.
Here's something I want you to do right now: Take a moment and just try to imagine explaining this week's high-profile new releases to someone who was reading comics ten, maybe even five years ago. It would take hours, and by the time you'd dealt with all the incredulous reactions and clarified all the ways that we got to this point, you'd still have to launch into your third act with "and there was also Scooby Apocalypse, where the cast of Scooby Doo meets at Burning Man right before the world is destroyed by nanotechnology."
What I'm getting at here is that it's a weird book --- and more than that, it's exactly the weird book that we all knew it was going to be ever since it was announced. The question, then, is whether it's weird enough.
We now have a better look at DC's upcoming Scooby Apocalypse, the sci-fi Scooby Doo update, written by J.M. DeMatteis and Keith Giffen, with breakdowns by Giffen and pencils and inks by Howard Porter, thanks to a preview at TVGuide. The book is part of a larger relaunch of Hanna-Barbera properties by DC, which also includes Flintstones, Future Quest (a Jonny Quest/Space Ghost team-up book), and Wacky Raceland. Scooby Apocalypse #1 is available in stores and online on May 25.
With Batman v Superman finally in theaters this weekend after months of somber trailers, lists of the best team-ups and fights, and other assorted hype, there's a good chance that you might be burnt out on seeing those two characters in action. If, however, you're still hungry for more, there's some good news: If you head over to Comixology today, it's pretty much wall-to-wall Batman and Superman, with Wonder Woman and the rest of the Justice League thrown in for good measure.
But the one title in the entire sale that I'd recommend above all others is less about Batman and Superman fighting and more about the formation of the Justice League.
DC Comics’ upcoming Hanna-Barbera line of comics is one of the boldest decisions Warner Bros has made with those properties in a long time, and DC seem committed to treating the individual series as just as important as its main line of superhero books. With veteran creators like Keith Giffen on the books, DC is throwing its full weight behind the new line, and has unveiled new variant covers for Scooby Apocalypse and Future Quest by superstar artists like Steve Rude, Neal Adams and Bill Sienkiewicz.
I've mentioned it before on the site and elsewhere, but I'm of the mind that the core Superman titles --- Action Comics by Greg Pak and Aaron Kuder, and Superman by Gene Luen Yang, John Romita Jr. and Howard Porter --- are better now than they have been in a very long time. They're engaging, they're fun and innovative, and they have a sense of cohesion that Superman as a character often lacks. But every time I say that, I'm always a little surprised that there are so many people who disagree.
Don't get me wrong --- no story is going to appeal to everyone, but for me, these are some of the most fun stories out there. Then again, that might just be because there's a story where Superman joined a pro wrestling federation for forgotten gods, and that's kind of everything I want out of comic books happening at once.
Listen, I gotta tell you about this dream I had last night. It was so weird 00- DC comics had launched a line of comics based on Hanna-Barbera cartoons, but they were doing these completely bonkers takes on all of them. Like, Scooby-Doo was set in the apocalypse and Scooby had a techno-monocle that allowed him to communicate through emojis, and Wacky Races was mashed up with Mad Max: Fury Road, and they even got one of the designers from the movie for it, and there was a big crossover with Space Ghost and Jonny Quest. And the weirdest thing of all was that the Flintstones were just the Flintstones, but drawn by Amanda Conner. Bizarre, right?
Wait a second... I'm just catching up on the news, and --- holy cats. It wasn't a dream. DC Comics is actually doing a Hanna-Barbera line with post-apocalyptic Wacky Races and emoji-monocle Scooby-Doo. This is actually happening.
I've said it before, but I honestly don't remember a time when the core Superman books were all as good as they are right now. The long-running story of Superman losing his powers and running around punching out crime in jeans and a t-shirt has been a fantastic breath of fresh air for the character, and it's resulting in some pretty amazing stories.
And now, as if the pro wrestling storyline wasn't enough, Gene Luen Yang (recently named the National Ambassador for Young People's Literature) and Howard Porter are taking Superman to the presidential debates in Superman #48. Check out a preview!
Q: What are the best Die Hard tributes or knockoffs in comics? -- @chudleycannons
A: Considering how common it is for action movies to try to re-create the feeling of Die Hard, you'd probably be surprised at how little that actually happens in comics. I mean, it makes sense that it would be that way --- despite starting out life as a novel with the amazing title of Nothing Lasts Forever, Die Hard is pretty inextricably tied to being an action movie, and it's difficult to recreate what makes it work so well in another medium. The closest thing we'd have to that in comics is the massive number of characters that were created as homages or knockoffs of Superman.
But if you're looking for a story that operates on those same principles --- a single hero trapped in a confined space, dealing with limited resources and overwhelming odds --- then there are definitely a few stories that fit the bill.
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