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On today’s Comic Book Club News for August 8, we’re breaking down some big changes to Lobo in DC Comics’ Superman Annual for 2023. Plus, writer Louise Simonson explains how Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman caused the Death of Superman. And in our third Superman story, was playwright George Bernard Shaw part of a potential lawsuit against the Man of Steel?
Lobo’s origin changed!
Superman died so that Lois and Clark could live.
And George Bernard Shaw versus the Man of Steel?
This is Comic Book Club News for Tuesday, August 8, 2023.
DC’s Superman Annual 2023 Makes a Major Change To Lobo’s Origin:
I’m Alex Zalben, and here’s today’s top story. Spoiler warnings on, but in the 2023 Superman Annual released today by DC Comics, the publisher is making some big changes to the origin of Lobo. The character, popularly known to children far and wide as “Space Wolverine,” was positioned as a more violent, ’90s flip of Superman. Instead of escaping his dying home planet of Czarnia, a la Superman’s Krypton, Lobo killed everyone, making him the last Czarnian.
That all changes in the new storyline by writer Joshua Williamson, which includes a last page reveal that Superman villain Braniac has a bottle containing Czarnia. Similar to Superman’s bottle city of Kandor, this seems to be a shrunken version of Czarnia that presumably continues hundreds, if not thousands of Czarnians taken before Lobo’s genocidal purge… Making Lobo decidedly not the last Czarnian.
Though it remains to be seen how this story will pan out in the pages of Superman — a tease promises you’ll see more on this in Superman #6 in November — it is potentially reminiscent of a now out-of-continuity 2008 through 2009 storyline which found Kandor growing to normal size and Superman dealing with 100,000 other superpowered Kryptonians. If something similar happens here, though we don’t usually editorialize on this show, we will say: that’s a lot of Lobos.
Superman Died To Spite Lois & Clark:
From a new Superman story to an old one – with a new twist. Fans of the character may already know that plans to kill Superman in 1993 came about because a previously planned story – to wed Clark Kent and Lois Lane – was taken off the table, thanks to a similar storyline coming up on the TV show Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. However, a new report from IGN detailing the ’90s comic book boom and bust paints circumstances differently.
While previous reports seemed to depict DC Comics as deftly stepping aside to make way for the TV show, according to writer Louise Simonson, via IGN, the move to off the Man of Steel was anything but deferential. Quote: “We were pissed off! So Jerry Ordway said, ‘Let’s kill him.’ And we said, ‘Yeah, let’s kill him.'” Simonson told IGN.
Simonson details how even though the writers knew the event would be successful as, quote, “death sells,” it wasn’t until CNN picked up the story of Superman dying that the series blew up internationally. The Death of Superman went on to become the best-selling comic book of 1992 with six million copies sold, and Superman remains dead to this day. Just kidding.
Did George Bernard Shaw Lawyer Up Against Superman?
Our final Superman-centric story of the day concerns a surprising document that mentions famed playwright George Bernard Shaw in regard to potential legal action against the creation of the Man of Steel.
Unearthed as part of an upcoming auction by the site Bleeding Cool, the Pygmalion playwright was noted as one of the clients of a lawyer also representing Philip Wylie. Wylie was the author of Gladiator, a novel published in 1930 that DC Comics fans have long noted bears some similarity to the stories told in Action Comics #1, the first introduction of Superman.
Based on the document, a letter between National Comics executive Jack Leibowitz and Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel, it seems that Wylie was the main thrust of the potential lawsuit. Shaw is of note because he wrote a play titled Man and Superman, which was published in 1903. However, only Wylie is mentioned in the letter as taking potential legal action.
Clearly, no legal action was taken on either the part of Wylie or Shaw. But if you would like to own the letter, bids on Comic Connect currently stand at $110. Or in 1939 dollars, about $5.66.
Simon & Schuster To Be Sold To Equity Firm KKR
Before we wrap up, a follow-up on yesterday’s story about Image Comics preparing to release their trade collections through Simon & Schuster. The New York Times reports that the book company is likely to be sold to KKR, a private equity firm, by Simon & Schuster’s parent company, Paramount. KKR also owns Overdrive, an app used by libraries all over the country to lend books digitally.
The deal hasn’t closed by the time of this recording, and at the moment it is unknown how this will impact Image Comics’ distribution plans, as well as BOOM! Studios and Viz, both of whom currently distribute trade collections and graphic novels through Simon & Schuster. The short answer is: probably not at all, for the time being, though we’ll be following this story as it develops.
For Comic Book Club News, I’m Alex Zalben, and normally, we won’t report on three stories about Superman.
Got tips or stories you’d like us to cover? Email us at email@example.com.
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