Tag: Clark Kent

Brainiac On Banjo: Dues For Artificial Intelligence

Brainiac On Banjo: Dues For Artificial Intelligence

“And now you dare to look me in the eye. Those crocodile tears are what you cry. It’s a genuine problem, you won’t try to work it out at all, you just pass it by.” Substitute, written by Pete Townshend

Image created by Jay Vollmar for The Washington Post

I’m about to ask a serious question that should, and eventually will, become central to the artificial intelligence story. It has to do with the conflation of reality and the effluvia of computer-created content.

First, I need to report the backstory that generated my concerns. It’s a tough story revolving around one of the societal taboos that most certainly should be taboo — but it’s not the actions of the perpetrator with which I take issue. This is a closed case: the criminal pleaded guilty and was sentenced.

This is a discussion topic, not an analysis of disgusting acts that the defendant says he committed. I’m discussing a point that rests at a legal and a moral juncture, at least in my mind. Here’s the news story, as reported in The Guardian last Friday.

CONTENT WARNING –  A text version of a news report concerning images of child abuse follows.

Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo: Dues For Artificial Intelligence”

Brainiac On Banjo: Coming — Super Attractions!

Brainiac On Banjo: Coming — Super Attractions!

Lady window shopper with a new one in the hopper whips up a chemical brew. Croaking to a neighbor while she polishes a sabre, knows how to flavor a stew. Never need to worry with a tin of “Hurri Curri” — poisoned especially for you! — “Cat Food” written by Robert Fripp and Peter John Sinfield.

I usually write this column the night before publication. Hey who knows, maybe something timely will happen on deadline. Well this time, something did happen near deadline.

I got hungry.

I just read the Superman vs Meshi manga that was released last week through one of DC’s many ever-changing, ever-shrinking online media operations. That’s not a slam against DC or its blind, deaf and dumb corporate ownership du jour. Almost all online media is struggling to figure out what to do these days, and that started well before the current noble and worthy WGA and SAG/AFTRA strikes. Just ask Elon Musk. No, scratch that; you don’t need to talk to still another self-important asshole. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo: Coming — Super Attractions!”

With Further Ado #236: Lying Liars and the Lies They Tell

With Further Ado #236: Lying Liars and the Lies They Tell

It seems like there are too many liars around us all the time. Politicians usually get lumped into that category, but lately George Santos has been showing other politicians how to really do it.

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. Continue reading “With Further Ado #236: Lying Liars and the Lies They Tell”

Brainiac On Banjo: Truth, Justice, and All That Jazz

“Faster than an airplane, more powerful than a locomotive, impervious to bullets. ‘Up in the sky – look!’ ‘It’s a giant bird.’ ‘It’s a plane.’ ‘It’s Superman!’ And now, Superman – a being no larger than an ordinary man but possessed of powers and abilities never before realized on Earth: Able to leap into the air an eighth of a mile at a single bound, hurtle a 20-story building with ease, race a high-powered bullet to its target, lift tremendous weights and rend solid steel in his bare hands as though it were paper. Superman – a strange visitor from a distant planet: champion of the oppressed, physical marvel extraordinary who has sworn to devote his existence on Earth to helping those in need.” – written by Allen Ducovny and Robert Joffe Maxwell for the original Superman radio pilot, 1939.

The above proclamation was not original to the Superman comic books or the newspaper comic strip. It was streamlined, and the phrase “Truth, Justice and the American Way” was dramatically appended to the opening as President Roosevelt had started making his plans to dive head-first into World War II. It was also used in the opening to the Fleisher/Paramount Superman cartoons, and later the syndicated 1950s Superman television series.

“Truth, Justice and the American Way” is not in the U.S. constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence, or as far as I can tell, the bible of any “major” religion. It is and always has been a marketing slogan, not unlike Fisk Tires’ “Time To Re-Tire.”

Why should he? Superman, long acknowledged to be a world citizen, is not a native born American and never had been. He has acknowledged that being an alien he could not lawfully become president. If he wanted to cheat, he probably could have pulled off running as “Clark Kent” (not his real name), as long as nobody demanded to see his birth certificate. With a raised seal, of course.

Superman is an illegal alien. A dreamer who landed without government permission or knowledge in Kansas U.S.A. without any parents and was seized by a then-elderly heterosexual white married couple. We assume somewhere along the line “Clark Kent” probably forged those credentials he would need to go to school, get a driver’s license and a passport, get married, and so on.

So, of course, this native Kryptonian dropping the “American Way” tagline drove the Rabid Right completely around the bend. Because, you know, he’s posed with the American flag and stuff.

The new phrase, “Truth, Justice and A Better Tomorrow,” would sound great opening a network newscast, unless that network isn’t Fox, Newsmax, OAN or their fellow reality-challenged microcephalic internet rackets. The Rabid Right lost their collective mind. Again.

As I said in this space last week, I enjoy watching the Rabid Right lose its shit. They’re almost as fantastic at that as they are lying through their teeth and causing widespread death. First Superman Son of Superman is revealed to be bisexual, and now, about a week later, he’s an optimistic citizen of the multiverse who is absolutely not working to further any American interests per se. So if the entire idea is to keep the Right reflexively flinching, then right on, DC Comics!

(Mike Gold and Bob Harrison will be representing Pop Culture Squad at this weekend’s the Baltimore Comic-Con, October 22 through 24, at — of all places — the Baltimore Convention Center, the one in Maryland. Evidently, Mister Gold will be on separate panels about First Comics and Hawkman, both hosted by Mister Harrison. We smell a fix…)

With Further Ado #136: Look! Up in the Sky!

With Further Ado #136: Look! Up in the Sky!

As a kid in the mid-sixties, it was a big deal when there was going to be a new Superman show on TV.  Batmania had taken hold, and there was a ravenous hunger for more superhero stories. I loved the Justice League comic of the day, which had one dominant message for young readers – if you like Batman, he has a bunch of friends and you should buy their adventures too!

Filmation’s The New Adventures of Superman debuted on Saturday mornings, and it was a must-see. Never mind fellow-comic book alumni Casper on the opposite channel (although Secret Squirrel looked kinda cool). That was the show for me. Even though it was, in many ways, a retread of the old Superman radio show, we just knew these NEW adventures presented to best version of Superman ever! Continue reading “With Further Ado #136: Look! Up in the Sky!”

Brainiac On Banjo #025: Marv Wolfman’s Long, Long Journey

Brainiac On Banjo #025: Marv Wolfman’s Long, Long Journey

What I should have done, were this to be a proper analysis, was reread every comic book story Marv Wolfman ever wrote. Obviously, that’s not possible. He’s written a lot of comics. Marv wrote his initial scripts on papyrus. He’s only four years older than me, but he’s been at it since Jeff met Mutt.

Not that it wouldn’t have been an entertaining way for me to blow off a deadline. He’s written… everything. Every A-list, B-list, and C-list character owned by DC and Marvel, and most of the lower-list characters as well. He’s written some of the most iconic series around: Tomb of Dracula, Crisis on Infinite Earths, Blade, The New Teen Titans. His runs on Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, Superman and Batman are the stuff dreams are made of. My personal favorite, Night Force (co-created by his Dracula comrade Gene Colan), is… well… my personal favorite and I’ve read more comic books than Supersnipe.

I strongly expect that at least 95% of the ink Marv gets for his latest mind-stunner, Man and Superman, will start with referencing the second line in his introduction: “(Man and Superman) maybe one of the five best comics I’ve ever written.” That is a ballsy move, my friend. Now every blogger must start there. Is this among Marv’s very, very best? Well, let’s keep in mind it’s also an extraordinary gambit – now everybody is going to ask themselves the same question, and in order to answer it, they’ve got to read it. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo #025: Marv Wolfman’s Long, Long Journey”