Saturday, June 18, 2011

Superman Family circa 1971

Here's how DC handled reboots/relaunches back when I was a toddler. Everything a reader needed to know about Superman and his allies could be found in this old DC house ad that ran in their comics in 1970 or 1971. For that matter, this is almost everything an imaginative writer really needs to know to craft exciting stories about Superman. A reference drawing of Lois Lane, one of the Daily Planet, that old bit about his being "rocketed to earth from the doomed planet Krypton" and adopted by a farm couple and you're off and running. Give Superman a new personality, invent crazy situations and relationships we haven't seen before. Give flight to your wildest imaginings about what this near-god with a human soul might experience and do.

You don't need a 12-issue crossover series with some prologue and epilogue miniseries bookeending it or a lot of press conferences. You just run a house ad: "Superman was like this; now he's like this. Have fun!"


Richard Bensam said...

You are so right. This is absolutely the way to do it. Just set up the basics as quickly as possible and then get to work telling a story.

The other thing here that goes against current practice is admitting the character has a history and noting the way he's evolved over time. The message above isn't "Nothing will ever be the same! It's totally unprecedented!" but rather "Over the past 33 years, Superman has developed and changed, and now he's continuing to grow and change with the times." Which is a far more radical statement of purpose than "we're making these changes just for shock value" could ever be.

I've always assumed the hand of Nelson Bridwell was behind this ad -- now he was a guy who wouldn't miss an opportunity to mention there was a George Taylor before there was a Perry White!

Joel Bryan said...

Yep! Oh wow, I haven't thought of Nelson Bridwell in years!