Closer to home, maybe you’ve been lied to. And maybe you were lied to by someone you trusted. That’s never a pleasant experience.
And that brings me to Action Comics #1051 and the course correction for all of DC’s Superman titles. I do understand that the rest of the world is trying to decipher James Gunn’s plans for the DC Cinematic Universe (including Superman’s and Supergirl’s roles in it all). But l have always been more a comics-first kind of guy.
There was quite a bit of hoopla of author Brian Michael Bendis coming to DC and steering the good ship Superman. He really changed the game as Superman revealed his identity to the world. Bendis talked and wrote extensively about how he felt it was important that Superman be his authentic self. And how for so many young kids, introduced to superheroes by Iron Man and the Marvel heroes (many of whom don’t maintain secret identities), the pretending to be meek thing is incongruous.
As a long-time reader, I was slow to accept this new direction. But after really thinking about it (probably thinking about it too much) and listening to Bendis on John Siuntres’ (excellent) Word Balloon Podcast, I became a believer. I was looking forward to new stories as Superman, and his supporting cast, came to grips with this new reality.
And I couldn’t help but think if I found out some journalist I respect had been lying to me for years (folks like Nick Kristof or Maggie Haberman came to mind), I would be really pissed off. If I lived in Metropolis and found out that Clark Kent and Lois Lane had been concealing such a BIG secret, I would kind of write them off as well as the work they had done.
When Bendis’ Superman stepped forward to reveal his identity, it made sense. I could get behind this bold change of the status quo.
But last month, Action Comics #1051 put the toothpaste back into the tube, and Superman has a secret identity once more.
Superman’s closest friends, like Perry White and Jimmy Olsen, seem more like stooges than ever, rather than sharp professionals. How blind are they to the lies Lois and Clark must constantly tell them?
Mike Gold had some other issues with this new direction and he wrote about it last week. For me, though, it’s such a giant step backwards. Bendis and the prior DC PR team did too good a job convincing me, and I’m just not ready to be un-convinced.
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And on that note, as far as George Santos goes, he’ll always be a lying liar to me, his secret identity exposed. No one can put that toothpaste back in the tube.
NOTE: Current Action Comics writer Phillip Kennedy Johnson joined Pop Culture SquadCast Live and discussed the revelation and his take on writing Superman.