erik lundegaard


Saturday February 18, 2012

Max Landis and ‘the Death and Return of Superman’

A few weeks back, during music breaks on the “Karl Show (Starring Jason),” Karl and Jason talked up “Chronicle,” and screenwriter Max Winter, son of Jon, who apparently, recently, had a few scripts on “The Black List,” which are the great unmade (soon-to-be-made) scripts making the rounds in Hollywood. Karl said the dude had also done a video on “The Death and Return of Superman.” I asked for a link.

Turns out I'd watched a bit of it before but turned it off, or the web equivalent, because Landis' persona, his general pronouncements, and the scotch sloshing around his glass, all annoyed me too much. This time I watched the whole thing. Here it is:

Landis, who was born in 1985, is railing against “The Death and Return of Superman,” a comic-book storyline that began in 1992 with, yes, the death of the world's first superhero, continued into a storyline in which four super men vie for the now-open position of “Superman,” and ended with Superman's return, not from death, but from a Kryptonian-type “healing coma,” which is similar to our “human death.”

Right. Lame. And Landis rightly rails against it. But he begins so poorly. First words:

Nobody gives a fuck about Superman. You don't give a fuck about Superman even if you think you do. What's special about him? That he was the first superhero? That's it.

How untrue is this? It's not even true for Landis. Here he is in a more recent video:

Lastly, a quick note to people who have been saying 'I hate Superman.' If I hate Superman, would I have spent two months of my life and 16 minutes of yours talking about him? I LOVE Superman.

Landis' conclusion is that, rather than being about the death of Superman, the storyline was ultimately about the death of death, since, afterward, no character died, truly died, in comic books. I'd say that's the perspective of the young. When the “death of Superman” story broke into the mainstream media in 1992, I was 29 years old, 15 years removed from my comic-buying days, but even I knew they weren't talking about the real death of Superman. Did the Green Goblin die? Did Gwen Stacy? Everyone comes back. If there's money to be made, you come back. And there's nothing but money to be made from Superman.

In fact, rather than being about the death of death, you could argue that “The Death of Superman” began the birth of “the death of” storyline: Superman, Captain America, whomever. But they all come back. It's the industry that's dying.

Superman at the 1940 World's Fair: two years after his birth; 52 years before his “death.”

Posted at 08:18 AM on Saturday February 18, 2012 in category Superman