Alexander A. Schomburg was a Puerto Rican born commercial and comic-book artist, whose career lasted over 70 years. Stan Lee considered him to be the best cover artist in the Golden Age of comics. For the most part I feel that the only reason to collect comics from that era is only for the cover art. The contents are hit and miss but most of the covers are on point.
Rainbow Batman: The Brave and the Bold. This is one of the many reasons to adore Batman: The Brave and the Bold. The entire series is a love letter to Golden and Silver Age stories. Even the modern content has that whimsical Silver Age lining. It’s a wonderful program, and if you haven’t seen it yet I urge you to seek it out. At first it may seem like it’s a more benign Batman for the kiddies but look a bit deeper and you will discover entertainment gold!
Superman… but which Version? There are two pre-existing characters that can be featured in the upcoming project produced by J.J. Abrams and penned by Ta-Nehisi Coates. The search is on for a director and it seems like Michael B. Jordan is being sought out to play the title character, Superman. As I have stated before when this was more rumor than a possibility, this excites me. Something new! From the medium that normalized the concepts of interdimensional stories through the use of the Multiverse, now the Omniverse, it’s about time we break with the meat and potatoes of these tales of modern gods and get into expanding the pallet. A good story will carry a film with such concepts of “unexpected” or “out of the ordinary” that they fear a general audience wouldn’t be able to follow.
The reliance on some sort of informed audience has led to some serious lazy writing. Watered down plots that they hope everybody can keep up with makes for some less than memorable tales. Relying, instead, on visually stunning imagery to carry a project is doing nothing to lift the comic book movie as a genre… I digress.
Superman… but which Version?
The term “REBOOT” is being tossed around. It’s not going to be a reboot. This will be it’s own thing. There are established characters to pull from and lets not over look the fact that Warner Brothers would in no way possible replace Superman’s original form. So the two existing characters are Val-zod of Earth-2, the “New 52’s version of Earth-2”, and Calvin Ellis of Earth-23. Calvin Ellis, whos Kryptonian name is Kalel a.k.a. Superman, is the president of the United States. Calvin was based off of the 44th President of the United States, Barrack Obama. The Earth-2 version might be more likely, but we’ll have to wait and see.
Another option is to come up with a whole new version of the Man of Steel. While this would annoy fans of the previously mentioned versions of the titular Superman, the blank slate approach is going to give the audience an option to have something new. The thing that everybody wants, until they get it… NEW. Having grown up in the seventies, I am used to getting versions of established characters that are anywhere from Just Off to WAY OFF. Just give me a good story and it’s all good. Ta-Nehisi Coates never disappoints when it comes to good story telling, AND as long as the “suits” can keep their uninformed opinions out of the whole process, we may just get something very special out of this. Honestly, if they could get their Kryptonians in a roll, we could actually see a Multiverse team up of Supermen in the same vein as the Arrowverse cross-overs.
Years ago, the planet Krypton was annihilated in a cataclysmic explosion, leaving almost nothing left. Shortly before the catastrophe, young scientists Jorel and Lara managed to rocket their infant child, Kalel, into the depths of space, where he would eventually land on the planet Earth. Found by the poor but kind Ellis family, who christened him Calvin, he was raised to stand up for himself no matter the odds, and to fight for what’s right. When his star-spanning Kryptonian powers emerged under Earth’s yellow sun, he became Superman, champion of the oppressed and defender of peace around the world.
Superman would fight many battles against the likes of Lex Luthor, construct the citadel of Fort Superman, and inspire a generation of superheroes by his emergence who would form the Justice League. But his greatest adventure of all may be, in his identity as Calvin Ellis, becoming the President of the United States of America, where aided by his long-suffering assistant Courtney and the reprogrammed alien intelligence Brainiac, he works to protect the world with political as well as superhuman might.
Born to Jorel and Lara in the science capital on Vathlo Island on Krypton, baby Kalel was sent to Earth to escape Krypton’s destruction. Found by the poor but kind Ellis family, who christened him Calvin, he was raised to stand up for himself no matter the odds, and to fight for what’s right. When his star-spanning Kryptonian powers emerged under Earth’s yellow sun, he became Superman, champion of the oppressed and defender of peace around the world.
One day, inhabitants from an alternate Earth came through to his Earth, fleeing from their universe’s Superman, whom they had created. When the evil Superman came through, Superman fought him and won, with the help of Lex Luthor. (“The Curse of Superman”)
Superman also interferes directly in his country’s international affairs, using his powers as Superman. Shortly after the encounter with the alternate Superman, he destroyed all of Bialya’s nuclear facilities, and then invited them to join the international community. (“Executive Power”)
Becoming the last of his House after his parents’ execution by Krypton’s court, Val quickly made friends with fellow orphan Kara Zor-El. Moments before Krypton’s destruction, Val, Kara, Kal-El and another child managed to escape and survive their planet’s destruction thanks to Jor-El and Lara.
Through his trip, Val was educated by his parents’ knowledge recorded on his capsule, teaching him that violence was the least rational way to overcome issues, driving him to become a pacifist.
Falling on Earth, he was found by Terry Sloan who offered him asylum to “protect” him from the outside world, becoming a recluse.
He was found by the new Wonders who were looking for the mysterious alien to fight a brainwashed Superman and they discovered that he too was a Kryptonian. Suffering a panic attack after being freed, Val revealed that he spent most of his life on a capsule, thus he was afraid of open spaces. So Lois told him that it was okay to be afraid and that, being a Kryptonian, he could do something to help everyone.
Starting to develop his abilities, Lois tried to teach Val how to use his powers by finally going outdoors and try to fly. He was doing his best when they were attacked by a horde of Parademons lead by Superman who was behind Val. Saved by Lois, he and Hawkgirl were alone against the Parademons until they were saved by Green Lantern who took them to safety. Worried about Lois, Val told Batman that they must save her, but their plan was interrupted by Apokoliptian forces who forced them to evacuate the Batcave and escape to Amazonia. Batman blamed Val for not using his powers and letting Red Arrow die, saying it’s all on him. When Jimmy approached him, he told him that it wasn’t his fault before asking him what he was hiding beneath his hoodie, to which he revealed was the symbol of the House of El.
Epic Byrne is my excuse to share art from my favorite artist of all time. You’ll note that I did not say “comic artist”. He is probably the reason I sampled other comics from the Fantastic Four, to Lab Rats. He is more that just an artist but also a wonderful writer. He’s a fan of the subject matter and has my respect. People have some negative things to say about him but show me anybody who’s ever existed who doesn’t have their detractors. The cover seen above is one of the most influential books I have ever picked up at a comic shop and I love to thumb through it from time to time. If you want even more John Byrne, head to byrnerobotics.com which is the only place on the internet where the man posts anything.