Tag Archives: Superman

Batman v. Superman

So, for those of you living under a rock or in a cave and who might not be aware, Batman v. Superman opened in theaters today.

My Facebook feed, however, has been full of pre-screening reviews and yes, pre-viewing reviews. Many of those have come from people who haven’t even seen the movie yet!

You ask how someone can “review” the movie without having seen it? Yeah, I ask that same question. Yet, it doesn’t stop the hordes of people/fans from claiming that it is better than either of the Avengers movies or worse than any version of Batman that exists to date. Extremes on both sides.

Quite frankly, comic fans are passionate about their heroes. And it isn’t just the comic fans. I’ve seen a smattering of comic pros weighing in without having seen the film.

My take?

Well gee, thanks for asking.

First let me tell you that I’m not anticipating liking the movie that much. I tend to like my heroes to be heroic and the DC based films—in general—have taken a darker tone that just isn’t to my liking. I’m good with darker tones for Batman because…well…he’s Batman! But I don’t like those darker tones for Superman. These guys should be—in my mind—almost complete opposites.

So, I’m just not anticipating this to be in my top 10 superhero movies.

But I’m going to go see the movie with my family on Sunday.

Why, you ask, would I go see the movie if I’m not anticipating to like it that much?

Because…it’s a superhero movie. It’s “my” industry. I’ve heard some grumblings about “superhero fatigue” as regards to the films, but I’m one who is glad that we’re seeing mostly good treatments of characters I like. I like that we’re going to have three big budget superhero movies this summer that are rated PG-13 and I can go to with my family. So while I’m not a fan of the darker DC, I know that SOME are. And so I want to see it do well so that we’ll continue to get superhero movies—some dark, some not.

Plus, it’s Batman VERSUS Superman. What superhero fan wouldn’t pay JUST to see those two duke it and to see what possible explanation they could come up with that allows Batman to SURVIVE being hit by Superman?

How about you? Will you see it?

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Secret IDs are so passé

One of the things I try to teach my students when creating characters is how important it is that the hero carry around some sort of secret, and not just a boring little secret like he wet the bed until he was 12 (he’s 25 now, who cares?) or that he doesn’t like cats (YAWN), or that he likes watching Nazi documentaries (really?), but something that could cause serious repercussions if discovered, like he killed someone or he a secret double agent spy, or he was the one who pulled the switch on the gas chambers in WW2 Germany, or that he’s secretly a superhero!

Superheroes have—for the most part—used the secret identity as that secret the character carries around, and to good effect, too. I mean, when Doc Ock discovered Peter Parker was Spider-Man, he kidnapped Aunt May! Green Goblin, of course, was responsible for the death of Gwen Stacy >sniff<. If the world knew Batman was Bruce Wayne…well, Alfred would be in a whole lotta trouble. There are exceptions, of course: the Fantastic Four’s identities have always been known.

So what is the deal with all the film superheroes revealing their secret ids? It seems like the “in” thing to do as a superhero on film is to tell everyone your secret…therefore making it not really secret anymore. Part of the whole intrigue and draw of masked heroes is that they have this cool thing that they can’t (or don’t) share with anyone…and the reason they do it is to protect the ones they love. It’s called EMPATHY…we sympathize with their plight and feel for them and thus cheer for them.

But I guarantee you that everyone has some secret. Think about your own. No, I’m not asking to turn this blog into a confessional in the comments below, but you know you have one. And no, I’m not telling you mine, either—cause then it wouldn’t be SECRET anymore! So, you’ve got your secret in your head…now look around you. Everyone else has one, too. SOMETHING. I dunno what it is, but everyone has them.

But I guarantee you that when the new Superman: Man of Steel movie comes out next year, there will be a small handful of people that find out. I don’t know who, but that’s the trend of superhero movies, so you can write the date down and say you heard it here first.

And Superman will be a little less sympathetic because of it…

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The Gospel According To The World’s Greatest Superhero

I’ve been on a “superhero” book kick lately. I posted recently about the book Who Needs a Superhero?, and the book I just finished was of like sort: The Gospel According To The World’s Greatest Superhero, by Stephen Skelton. To Skelton, the “world’s greatest,” is obviously Superman.

 

I always had problems really “liking” Superman. Not that I thought he was bad or anything, but I found it hard to be interested in a guy who do anything and couldn’t be hurt. Where was the suspense or drama in that?

 

I eventually learned that Superman wasn’t always like he is today, and in fact, Superman couldn’t always fly. Right now, you’re probably having one of those “duh” moments like I did when I realized it. Remember: “Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound”?

 

My son Brett loves Superman. I’ve said it before (yeah—I’ll likely say it again), comics of today are much different than when I was a kid. I won’t let my kids look at most of what is produced today. I can’t even let them read much of what I wrote a few years back…but that’s another story for another day.

 

Skelton’s book, though, makes me reconsider some of the Superman thoughts I’ve had.

 

Skelton reminds us that scripture says God reveals Himself to man in nature itself. Truth doesn’t have to come purely from the prophets. It can also come from worldly wisdom: wise men, scholars, and philosophers. If this is true, then when can’t God reveal Himself to us through fictional characters? Skelton’s argument, of course, is that He can.

 

I remember when I “got” it about God revealing Himself to us through nature. As a kid I did a lot of camping out with my friends—even sleeping on top of a 75 foot high water tower (another story for another day). At 2 a.m. in Mississippi during the “camping” months, the stars are usually visible for all to see. I can remember many nights just looking at the multitude of stars and talking about the vastness with my friends, particularly Wynndel and Mike. I remember being blown away by how big the universe is. I didn’t realize it at the time, but that was just God revealing Himself to me through His creation.

 

Skelton goes on to say that “If Superman fights for truth and Christ is truth, then Superman fights for Christ.” (Emphasis mine)

 

Skelton falsely credits Superman for a few firsts, but we can’t blame him for that—many do the same. The Superman concept was actually originally presented for the first time in The Gladiator, a novel written by Philip Wylie and published in 1929, about ten years before Superman. Again, most folks don’t know this and Wylie’s novel is out of print and very difficult to find.

 

Skelton also says it is the Christian duty to bring spiritual revelation out of entertainment, something I find very cool. Generally, he means that Christians should take entertainment and cull spiritual truth out of it so that we can discuss those truths with non-Christians. I belong to an internet “group” of Christian comic creators and this topic is frequently debated, albeit from the creator side. What I find particularly enticing is that Skelton points out Jesus told the crowds parables…but explained it later to the disciples when they were away from the crowds and alone.

 

Cool.

 

I’d recommend this book to any Christian “artist” (spoken, written, sung, whatever) to help give encouragement for what you do. Also, any true fans of Superman would be interested in this. The parallels Skelton finds of Superman to Christ are both fascinating and interesting.

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