No Beer for SupermanSeptember 17, 2008
Superman has been cut off.
I really can’t say much about Big Blue’s drinking habits. I suspect he’s immune to the effects of alcohol. I know some of you would think that’s great and others wouldn’t. After careful consideration, I have to say this: he’s imaginary, so it doesn’t matter. I think. There was that scene in that movie where he split in two and evil Superman sat in a bar, flicking peanuts at the bottles or something, but I have blocked that out, and so should you.
DC Comics this week recalled and pulped thousands and thousands of copies of the latest issue of Action Comics. Why? Because of this image on the cover:
This shows a slice of classic Americana: Clark Kent hanging out with his Pa back at the farm in Kansas, cracking the beers as the space boy shares stories of his latest adventures. In the background, Ma Kent and Lois Lane look on lovingly, having no doubt just made muffins.
(Your confusion can be forgiven if you know Superman only from the movies or TV’s Smallville – in the comics, his parents are alive and also very old.)
You won’t find this cover in comic book stores. No, it was removed and destroyed, the entire issue run reprinted at great expense. Nobody at DC is saying why, but speculation holds that it’s the beer. Sure enough, the new version came out with a slight tweak to the cover:
Now we’ve got Clark and Pa doing exactly the same thing, but drinking ‘Soda Pop.’ That’s what it’s called. So, let’s recap:
At first I was a bit ticked at this, as I am not a big fan of censorship. But I’ve softened my stance a bit. I guess it would be okay to show Iron Man drunk (as has been done) and it has been all right to amp up Batman’s brutality levels. Wolverine is often shown drinking and used to be shown smoking all the time. And we won’t even get into the good stuff, like Preacher, Transmetropolitan, Sandman, The Authority, Supreme Power … It has become part of the industry to re-imagine superheroes as flawed, troubled people with bad habits and problematic sex lives.
But some icons should be left sqeaky clean. Superman’s up there. Spider-Man, too. And Richie Rich. Can’t have Richie on E and crack, brawling outside the pub now, can we? A lot of little kids still idealize Superman, so showing him with a beer sends the wrong message.
And really, it’s just a comic book. Whether it’s a beer or a pop doesn’t affect the story inside, which, based on the last few years of Superman comics, is most likely dull and pointless.
In related news, DC also had to destroy thousands of copies of a recent Batman comic because of a printing error. Graphic swearing throughout the comic had been blacked out, but the ink used to black it out was pretty transparent, so you can actually read the swears. And they’re foul, foul, foul. Who says comics aren’t fun anymore?