JMS – The Road To Superman

JMS – The Road To Superman

One of the pitfalls of writing online is that you leave a trail. Going back decades. My great-grandchildren will be able to read my various spats with Mark Waid long after I'm gone (if they haven't been eaten by the Giant Space Weevil Of Aluminus Three).

And so it is with one Joseph Michael Straczynski. Who seems to have had a bit of a thing for Superman for quite some time… and left a trail to follow.

1994:

I have the last two issues of the original Supes books written by Alan Moore, and those for me are the last issues of the real Superman. Who this new guy is, I dunno….
 

1996:

 
I *collected* Superman stuff. And I have one of the best collections on the Western Seaboard: bronze rings from the 1940s, pinbacks, patches, mugs, pins, figurines, Supermen of America membership badges, a cape made from the original bolt, to the original patterns, as that made for George Reeves…you name it, I got it.

Because when I was a kid, Superman was It. Because of that singular character — invulnerable, unstoppable, whose single goal was to find the right thing and do it — I decided that I could do anything I set my mind to doing. Truth, justice, and the American way. Yeah, it's corny as hell, and maybe it doesn't parse too well in a "stick it to 'em" society, but as a kid, it *meant* something to me. Okay, I grudgingly accepted that I couldn't fly…but otherwise, if I decided I wanted to do it, then by god I *could* do it. If that meant teaching myself to read at an early age, or dealing with the great personal angst of a family life that was dysfunctional on the best of days, for which invulnerability was a quality much to be desired…or deciding that someday I was gonna be a Writer, then that was what was going to happen.

And to this day, my only agenda is to try and find the right thing, as best as I am able to perceive the right, and do it. Because when you're a kid you're young and foolish enough to believe there IS a Right Thing; you just have to dig long enough and think hard enough and survive the kryptonite long enough to figure it out. And you don't lie, you don't sell out your friends, you put yourself on the line, and anybody who wants to hurt your friends has to go through you first.
 

1997:

Ah, well…for me, Superman died with the Alan Moore two-parter (now on sale as a graphic novel, "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?") That, for my money, was the best thing DC did with the character in decades. I don't know who the new guy is….
 

2000:

What would I do *after* I fainted…?

I'd drop pretty much anything to do Supes, because the character has been an icon to me since I could read. What I'd try to do is hew close to the kind of characterization you saw in Alan Moore's "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?" which concluded the pre-Byrne Superman.

They mucked with the character because they said they couldn't do anything interesting with him. Moore proved them wrong.

My Superman went out the door after Alan Moore did "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?" which is probably the best book ever written with that character, and which puts to the lie the assertion that there was nothing more interesting that could be done with him.)

It's fun playing in this field….

 
2003:

 
Re: Attn JMS: Showbiz Auction Eyes $150,000 for Superman Suit

If I were just a *little* more insane I'd be highly tempted.

2004:

Audience: If you could do so without interference, what would be the next project that you would want to work on?

JMS: Superman movie. (favorable sounds) Give me that character. I'll fix him. (laughter, applause)

2005:

"As a creator, a comics writer, and as a Superman fan, what's your take
on the case?"

There's the law and there's what's right, and sometimes they're on the same side of the table, and sometimes they ain't. When S&S signed with DC, the terms were what they were…and they got bupkis. But since then Superman has become so massive a commodity that sharing some of that with the folks who created it is the fair and right thing to do.

In terms of the present suit, I don't know all the details, so take my opinion with a grain of salt…but as I understand it, the suit isn't over Superman but rather over Superboy, that when he was created (to keep a lock on all things Super) a different rights deal was made that has now, in their view, expired, and they want a different piece of the pie. At least, that's my understanding of it, but I haven't read the briefs.

But in general, I always stand foursquare for those who created something getting a fair share of it…as one might well expect.

It's been a long time coming. And by repeatedly citing Alan Moore, JMS has been giving us expectations that are rather high.

But then again, aren't they always?

About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.

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