Posts Tagged ‘Action Comics’

Superman/Wonder Woman #20 Preview OR Five Pages And No Wonder Woman To Be Seen

August 18, 2015

They really ought to just call this book Adventures of Superman or Superman: The Man of Steel or something because Superman/Wonder Woman is a complete misnomer. Since its inception it’s been a Superman-centric book, run by the Superman editorial offices, and it’s spent a significant portion of its tenure tied up in Superman events. Just like Action Comics is the book Lana Lang shows up in and Superman is the book with Lois Lane, Superman/Wonder Woman should be renamed and just be the Super-book that Wonder Woman is a frequent guest star in, because that’s about all she does.

This opening rant is brought to you by the fact that we have a five page preview of Superman/Wonder Woman #20 in which Wonder Woman does not appear nor is she even mentioned. I’m sure she’ll be somewhere in the full issue, but her complete lack of presence here underscores the second fiddle position she’s had in this series since day one. It irks me.

Anyway, here’s some Superman stuff in Superman/Wonder Woman #20, courtesy of The AV Club:

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I feel like a crotchety old man saying this, but this isn’t my Superman. He hasn’t been my Superman since the New 52 relaunch four years ago. DC has somehow lost all of the qualities that make Superman super, and that’s very disappointing. I think the only storyline that has captured the essence of Superman for me since the relaunch was the first arc of Greg Pak and Aaron Kuder’s Action Comics. That arc was amazing. Everything else just doesn’t feel like him, and this angry, t-shirt wearing, buzz cutted Superman is the incarnation furthest away from how I see the character.

Anyway, he’s arguing with Steve Trevor in the Oval Office or whatever. All of his friends have been captured. I liked the Lois Lane panel, at least. That was fun. The rest was just tough dude posturing. It all could have used a little bit of Wonder Woman, really.

Superman/Wonder Woman #20 is available in stores and online this Wednesday! Here’s my suggestion: Action Comics Volume 5: What Lies Beneath is the first volume of Greg Pak and Aaron Kuder’s run, and the paperback is only $14.99. It’s KILLER. Take a few months off of Superman/Wonder Woman while this dumb “Truth” storyline plods along and use the money you’re saving to pick up that trade and just have yourself a fantastic time.

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Wonder Woman Unbound Preview #3: Damsels In Distress

January 27, 2014

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Every Monday until Wonder Woman Unbound: The Curious History of the World’s Most Famous Heroine comes out this April, we’re taking a look at a comic panel that captures a key moment in Wonder Woman’s history and highlights an important point from each chapter.

Last week, we saw how Wonder Woman’s utopian origin led to a new type of superhero.  This week, we’ll see how Wonder Woman flipped the conventions of the new superhero genre with a special two panel preview.  Our first panel comes from Action Comics #5 from October 1938, and features Lois Lane and Superman:

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The classic damsel in distress is madly in love with the superhero, but the superhero politely rebuffs this affection because they are entirely dedicated to their superheroic mission.  Wonder Woman continued this trope, but with a twist, as evidenced by this panel from Wonder Woman #1 from Summer 1942:

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Wonder Woman’s damsel in distress was Steve Trevor, an Air Force pilot and war hero who nonetheless echoed the longings of Lois Lane uncannily.  Wonder Woman comics maintained a lot of the conventions of the superhero genre; they just swapped the genders to show that a woman could be as powerful and brave a hero as Superman and that a man could be as awestruck and enamored of this strength as Lois Lane.

To read more, you’ll have to wait until Wonder Woman Unbound comes out this April!  Be sure to come back next Monday, when we’ll look at a very bound and determined Wonder Woman, and also check out the second installment of my new interview series this Wednesday; we’ll be talking with Kelly Thompson!

Wonder Woman Unbound Preview #1: The Status Quo

January 13, 2014

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Wonder Woman Unbound: The Curious History of the World’s Most Famous Heroine is set to hit bookstores this April, so I thought it would be fun to take a peek at what’s in the book.  Every Monday until the book comes out, I’ll put up a comic panel that captures a key moment in Wonder Woman’s history and highlights an important point from each chapter.

When the book was announced in December we saw a panel that is discussed in the very first sentence of the introduction, Diana trying on dresses in Wonder Woman #182, but for Chapter One we go back to a time before Wonder Woman was created with this panel from Action Comics #2 in July 1938:

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This is not the Superman we all know and love.  Threatening to kill a bad guy and circumventing the law by meting out his own punishment is not what we’re used to seeing from the Big Blue Boy Scout, but Superman had a darker edge in his early years.  And he wasn’t the only one; Batman carried a gun and “accidentally” killed several villains, Captain America had a high body count as well, and threats, violence, and death were the norm for most superhero comics at the dawn of the Golden Age.  All of these heroes would soon develop a kinder code of conduct, but it took a few years.

It was in this environment of violence and aggression that Wonder Woman first appeared.  William Moulton Marston wanted to counter the “blood-curdling masculinity” of the superhero genre and so he created a female hero who was motivated by love and a belief that everyone could be a better person, not by anger and violence.

To read more, you’ll have to wait until Wonder Woman Unbound comes out in April!  Next Monday, we’ll take a look at a panel from Wonder Woman’s very first appearance in All-Star Comics #8.

When President Kennedy Helped Superman OR A Rather Ill-Timed Tale

September 9, 2013

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I’ve been reading some old Superman comics lately, and that always leads to some bizarre discoveries.  The Silver Age was a bonkers time for comics generally, but every now and then there’s a story that’s so weird that it needs to be shared.

In Action Comics #309, Superman was the guest on a TV show honouring him for all of his great achievements.  The show was a complete surprise to him, but all of his friends were there to celebrate him.  This was nice and all, but everyone was expecting Clark Kent to be there too and, obviously, he wasn’t (protecting his secret identity was the main plot of 94% of Silver Age Superman comics).  Usually Batman would disguise himself as Clark Kent when Superman got into a secret identity pickle, but Batman was already at the studio.  Sometimes Superman would use a Clark Kent robot, but the fiendish Lois and Lana, always suspecting that Clark was Superman, had teamed up and brought an electronics sensor in order to expose any potential robot shenanigans.  Superman was in a tight spot.

But then who should appear but Clark Kent!  Lois and Lana were proven wrong yet again, and Superman’s secret identity was preserved.  So who did Superman get to impersonate Clark Kent?  President Kennedy, of course:

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Superman had helped out the government earlier in the issue and President Kennedy promised him a favour in return, so Superman cashed it in later that day to save his secret identity.

President Kennedy showing up in Action Comics is random enough on its own, but here’s the kicker: Action Comics #309 was published in late December 1963, a month after Kennedy was assassinated.  I can’t even imagine being a kid in 1963, the entire nation still in mourning, but now a month has passed and life is carrying on so you go down to the corner store to buy the new Action Comics and there’s Kennedy, hanging out with Superman like nothing had ever happened.  I imagine there were a lot of people freaking out a bit.

The letter column a few issues later certainly included some irate readers.  A sheepish Mort Weisinger, the editor of the Superman line, explained that their comics go to print and are shipped to distributors months in advance of when they hit the newsstand, and it was impossible to recall the issue.  In fact, it quickly became a collector’s item and retailers asked DC to print more, but they refused.  They also postponed another Kennedy story that was due to appear in Superman.

The Silver Age was a whacky, goofy time, but DC dipped into some unintentionally dark territory with Action Comics #309 when what should have been a fun adventure took a somber turn.  It’s amusing in retrospect, though, and it was nice to see a classy response from DC.  They printed not just one but several letters that were upset about the issue, and Weisinger clearly explained what happened behind the scenes.  It’d be good to see some more of that transparency from DC these days, with the many controversies they’ve always got on the go.

Wonder Woman Sales: #7 Falls 10 Spots, Down 5.3%

April 12, 2012

The sales numbers for March 2012 have been posted over at The Comics Chronicles, and it wasn’t a very good month for Wonder Woman.  Marvel finally came back strong in March, spearheaded by the launch of Avengers vs. X-Men, and they took the top two spots by a wide margin, marking the first time they’ve even made the top ten in a few months.  All of this Marvel success wasn’t great for DC, and it seems that it hit Wonder Woman particularly hard.  In March 2012, Wonder Woman #7 sold 51,314 copies for 25th place on the charts.  Here are the numbers for the issue, and the five issues previous:

NOTE: The average sales total is based on all of the available sales data, which currently comprises every issue of the series since September 1996, for 179 issues in total.  The average rank is not given because rank is dependent on what other books came out that month, and that’s such a variable that an average really wouldn’t mean anything.

When Wonder Woman dropped 6% last month, I wasn’t terribly concerned because it had been heavily discounted for a while and, as far as I could tell, the discount ended.  You’d expect a drop when that happens, and 6% wasn’t too bad at all.  But this month is different… another 5.3% is a big drop.  Maybe retailers are still adjusting their orders to the new pricing, or maybe not having the regular artist on the book the past two issues hasn’t gone over well.  It’s hard to know what exactly is happening, but the book’s sales are falling.

It’s falling on the charts too.  After a remarkably stable run since the relaunch, Wonder Woman fell TEN spots in March, which seems bad but actually isn’t entirely awful.  Marvel premiered three new series to some pretty big numbers, and several of their top selling titles double-shipped or had Point One issues in March.  All those extra books push everything below them down the charts some, accounting for some of this drop.  Nonetheless, Wonder Woman was leapfrogged by several titles that it outsold in February, which isn’t a good sign.

Wonder Woman is down among DC titles as well.  One of those books that leapfrogged Wonder Woman was Teen Titans #7, and that pushed Wonder Woman down to 12th spot among DC titles after months at 11th.  Even worse, Wonder Woman had the biggest decline in sales out of all of DC’s Top 20 books.  EVERY book was down in March, with several in the four percent range, but the closest to Wonder Woman was Action Comics #7 at a loss of 4.9%.  Of the top books, only Wonder Woman was down over 5%.

So that’s not a great month at all, and I’m semi-concerned about next month after the hubbub this issue caused in terms of story.  I saw a lot of people saying that they weren’t going to buy the book anymore on account of the murdering, raping Amazons, and with the book already shedding a fair amount of readers generally, it could be bad.  Historically, Wonder Woman is still well about average, but the gap is slowing closing.  Hopefully things will level out next month, but I’m a little bit worried.

Prediction For Next Month: I was too optimistic last month and was off by about a thousand copies again, so I’m going to go pessimistic for April.  With AvX tie-ins sucking up people’s cash and Amazon outrage, I predict a drop of 6% for April, with sales of about 48,235.  Check back next month to see how I did!!


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