The reliability of free technologies.

§ May 23rd, 2008 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on The reliability of free technologies.

Okay, I said I was going to discuss something more about Lex Luthor ever since I posted this bit of business about his Swamp Thing appearances. I don’t know…I had a bug up my butt about something, but Lord knows what it was now. Mostly, it’s just my bemusement at the character’s history from the post-’80s reboot of the Superman titles. You know, the reboot that was supposed to make Superman’s history a fresh start, so that things could be rebuilt from the ground up and kept consistent?

I realize I’m a bit unusual in regards to the Superman books, in that I’ve been buying the Super-books in an uninterrupted run longer than some of you reading this have been alive, which 1) depresses me immensely, and 2) means that I’ve been following the post-reboot continuity of the character since it started, and have thus followed all the twists, turns, and, particularly over the last few years, the increasing abandonment of maintaining a coherence to the character’s history. I’m pretty sure, for example, that the version of Krypton is current continuity is not the same Krypton presented to us in the Man of Steel mini-series.

Okay, it doesn’t really bother me, honest. If anything, I’m amazed that the Super-books maintained their internal consistency as long as they did. But after 20-something years and dozens of creative teams, things’ll get altered in deference to the story or, more likely, in deference to media adaptations. You can thank the Lois & Clark show for Married Superman, and you can thank Smallville for the return of young Luthor to Clark’s formative years. (Nothing new: you can thank the ’40s radio show for Jimmy Olsen and Kryptonite.*)

Again, none of this is any big deal. It’s obvious to me and anyone else who’ve been reading the Super-books since the ’80s reboot that inconsistencies have creeped in, but after all, it’s not as if we’re reading a novel with a planned-out plotline and an intended ending. It’s the ongoing story of a corporately-owned character that, ideally, will be published so long as there are readers, and if changes need to be made to keep things moving along, well, there you go.

But having read the current incarnation of Superman since its inception, the one element that sticks out the most is the progression of the Luthor character. The character we have now can not be the same character, with the same backstory, that was introduced in the reboot. I’ve already discussed it at length in this post from a couple of years ago, and, in light of the Mephisto “make it never was” hoohar from Spider-Man last year, my Neron explanation there sounds even more plausible.

Well, that’s a long row to hoe to basically say “did you know continuity glitches can creep into superhero books over two decades?” Reemphasizing: I’m amused, not annoyed. This sort of thing doesn’t get in the way of enjoying my funnybooks. It’s just that the reboot was such a big deal at the time that seeing elements of it shorn away over the years is…well. notable at the very least.

And that’s all I’ve got to say about Lex Luthor at the moment. Oh, and we were talking about the Silver Age Luthor’s sister, Lena Thorul, at the shop the other day…yes, we were, really, don’t look lke that. And in my Googling, there’s apparently some internet theorizing regarding Smallville‘s Chloe Sullivan and her connection to Lena. Who knew?

In other news:

  • A pal of mine is stunned, stunned, that people in his age group haven’t heard of a particular superhero. It doesn’t surprise me a lot, in that the ephemera of childhood can easily be forgotten, and unless you’re mired in it like, say, me, I can see how someone might not remember the name of a character they hadn’t seen or thought about in 30 years. This doesn’t make it any less sad, of course.

    There was a time when someone saying “Who’s Jack Benny?” would have been as unthinkable and unlikely as saying “Who’s Mickey Mouse?” or “Who’s Oprah?” Alas, I’ve come across a number of people over the years who’ve never heard of Mr. Benny. Everything has its time, I guess, even this character.

  • Regarding my new members of the Avengers post: I realize that any team with Herbie on it would effectively make that team unstoppable. Indeed, he’d make the rest of the team redundant. But if the Justice League could have Superman and the Flash on the team while still giving Aquaman the occasional thing to do, then Herbie could be a team player, too.

    And you all realize I just included Scrappy Doo in the choices to be irritating, right?

  • A reminder: don’t end your stories with “The Beginning….” Honestly, stop that.
  • There have been some Haloscan glitches lately, affecting comment counts and, more importantly, affecting display of the comments themselves. The comment count is no big whoop…it’s just an ego blow for me, when I look at my post and see no one’s posted any comments, and I weep my blogger tears. But if the comments don’t display…just reload the comment window a time or three and they should show up. I haven’t noticed any problems in the last couple of hours, but it’s been happening for about two days, so I thought I should note it here.

    As pal Dorian likes to say, “ah…the reliability of free technologies.” Haloscan’s been pretty good, overall, so I’m not complaining too much.

* Yes, I know there were minor comic references (one unnamed, one unpublished) to these particular elements of the Superman mythos prior to the radio show.

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