“The Day They Walked Away..” A 6 part Limited Series Presented by The Super-Blog Team Up
Welcome back Satellite Subscribers and welcome aboard to our new visitors. This is a very special post today as I have invited a few friends to join me from across the internet to help weave a tale in many parts. In the title you may have noticed the term Super-Blog Team Up. Over the past few years I have had the honor of speaking with a few folks who run their own blogs all of which I visit quite frequently. The Super-Blog Team are yours truly, Charlton Hero, representing the Super-Hero Satellite , and other blockbuster blogs like LongBox Graveyard, Chasing Amazing, Silver Age Sensations, Flodo’s Page, and The Fantastiverse. So before we begin, this post is part 4 in a 6 blog post series so I encourage you to check out the first 3 posts in this series (All links at the end of this post!)..If you already have done so, then enjoy this next installment!
Hey Satellite Subscribers welcome to a very special edition of The Super-Hero Satellite. This technological masterpiece known as The Super-Hero Satellite, tracks all Super Powered Heroes from all parts of the galaxy. Heroes protect us, stop the occasional inter-dimensional threat, thwart an approaching alien invasion, save a kid from a burning fire or simply stop that pick pocket on the corner street. They are a role model, they are our icons, they are what we strive to be in our daily lives. Their duty is a weight so heavy only those blessed with that something extra can bear..They are Super Heroes.
What happens when our Heroes simply can no longer bear that responsibility. What happens when the Super Powered that walk among us finally cannot sacrifice any more…This is the story of Kal- El, The Son Of Krypton. Sent from a doomed planet to fulfill his destiny as earths number one Super Hero. The son of Jor-El went on to become the face of Americana. The face of Earths real Mightiest Heroes..The Justice League. This is the story of the price of being a Super Hero , about the day he walked away..when he returned..when he made the Ultimate sacrifice..and the day he became one of us….This is Superman. He may have been the most human out of us all..
From the early days of the character, Superman was the ultimate Super Hero. He had the Cadillac of super powers. He was virtually invincible, he could run as fast as the Flash, He was stronger than any Green Skinned Hulk, He had X-Ray vision, he had Heat vision, super breath, and by god he could fly! Superman’s powers of course varied as the times changed and throughout his many incarnations. Superman from his inception in the pages of Action Comics number one, to his numerous incarnations on the small screen, and to the screens of Hollywood and beyond, the one thing all incarnations have in common are his need for acceptance or to just be “normal”. Common through all genres of the character is the love story we all know between Clark Kent and Lois Lane. It’s an essential story thread that almost all Superman writers have used as a nucleus to The Superman character. It is also the contributing factor to Clark’s constant search for humanity and was the only thing that ever made Superman quit being a hero.
From his debut Superman’s interest in Lois Lane has always be central to his character and is a basis for his social life as his alter ego Clark Kent. Superman constantly put his own life aside to save the lives of those on earth..but mostly the apple of his eye..Lois. From the start Kal-El was smitten with Ms. Lane.
The comics medium played with Clark’s yearning to be normal on several occasions and most times it was all due to his relationship with Lois. Tiring of the Super-life and wanting to settle down Superman called it quits many times!! One of the most memorable covers dealing with the subject was Superman Vol. 1 Issue 298 . Superman unknowingly under the influence of his neighbor Mr. Xaiver is mentally torn between being Superman or staying as his alter ego Clark Kent. Even though this story which ran three issues was a throw away with little consequence, the theme of Kal-El battling with this very decision is a common theme in all forms of Superman media.
Sometimes, especially in the Golden or Silver age, Superman simply quit being either himself or his Alter Ego…many of these stories were short-lived and their impact on continuity was very minimal if anything back in the day. The struggle to be the Super-Hero or just a normal mortal was always one Clark struggled with!
Clark always some how was pulled into a particular direction by Lois. His choices usually hinged on whether Lois was around or the trouble she found herself in on a particular day. To be honest Superman spent most of the Golden Age and The Silver Age rescuing Lois no matter if it was in the pages of the comics he was featured in such as Action Comics or his own Superman title. Heck his chivalry was always in the spotlight on the small screen as well. Fleischer studios Superman cartoon had Clark always there at her call!
While early DC writers tinkered with the idea of Superman or Clark Kent calling it quits they never ever really pulled the trigger..that is until the 1980s where Superman went through a renaissance of sorts. The 1980s began with the a clear template of what the Man of Steel would look like for the majority of the 80s. Christopher Reeve and his 70s movie titled simply “Superman” was a runaway hit at the box office prompting the 1980 sequel Superman 2! This movie dealt with the idea of what would happen if Superman gave up being Superman and became a normal human assuming his alter ego of Clark Kent permanently!
In Superman 2 the basic plot is that Lois Lane learns Clark’s secret that his is indeed the Man Of Steel. Superman surrenders and is so strong in his feelings for Lois decides to give up the cape and become just Clark! Kent agrees to marry Lois which is a consistent theme in all eras of Superman lineage, but this marriage has big one problem. Superman agrees to sacrifice his powers to marry Lois, but is unaware that three Kryptonian criminals he mistakenly released are now about to conquering Earth.
Clark is determined to finally show Lois he is serious about his love for her and decides that he will give up his powers completely so he can live a normal life at her side for the rest of their lives. A noble gesture as seen in the movie!
Clark sees the error of his decision and decides that he will not allow his adopted home be overtaken by his fellow Kryptonian’s. A powerless Clark has a wake up call in a diner when he attempts to defend the honor of his love Lois only to come to the grim realization that he sacrificed his power and gets his ass handed to him..this scene serves as his sign that the world needs Superman! Guess what..Superman returns and General Zod and his cronies are sent back to the phantom zone with a one way ticket from The Man Of Steel!
The events in the movie are a message to everyone including Kal-El that the world NEED’s Superman and he needs them as well. Everything wraps up neatly with the criminals vanquished and Lois retaining any recollection of Clark’s identity is erased from her conscious. In a funny loose end at the end of the movie Clark decides to pay a visit to the man who handed him a beating as a human in the diner and well..lets just say it does not pay to be a bully!
The comics themselves used a number of themes after that from the movie but perhaps the best example of this comes at the very end of DC’s Silver age. DC had the need to somehow organize the history of its Superheroes and give the DC universe a defined sense of origin. The 50s, 60s, and 70s, produced many continuity bending throw away stories that confused many readers and writers trying to tie years of history together in a sensible fashion. The characters did not age, and thus were burdened with years of continuity baggage to where it was impossible to present the audience with a clean universe where everything made chronological sense. From these seeds grew Crisis On Infinity Earth. It revamped the entire history of the DC Universe and gave all heroes a fresh start..at least for several years.
Alan Moore penned an epic FINAL Superman tale called “What Ever Happened to The Man Of Tomorrow” which many hold in high regard for its impact. The end of the Silver Age Superman was a final tribute to the Man of Steel in which he gives up and actually disappears forever ..literally. It begins 10 years after the last silver age issue of Superman where the last days of Superman are recapped from the words of a now remarried Lois Lane Elliot. Lois recaps the events leading to Superman’s last days on earth as he simply walked away forever after what he felt was the last straw for him as a hero. She tells the tale of Superman’s long guarded secret has finally been exposed to the public, and the earth shattering consequences of that revelation. Those close to Superman are killed by Super Villains extracting revenge upon the Man of Steel forcing Superman to do the one thing he always stood against..killing..
The end of the Silver Age brought the dawning of a new era. DC revamped many of its titles and Superman was one of the first on that list. The Mini Series penciled by John Byrne, simply called the Man Of Steel, hit the reset button on the character we all know as Superman.
I picked up The Man Of Steel trade on a summer vacation in Toronto Ontario Canada after searching aimlessly for a comic book store. I ended up setting for a book store in a mall in Renfrew Ontario and I saw it on the shelf. Despite it being well outside of my price range I did walk away with that book! I still own it and appreciate it to this day. I loved John Byrne’s Superman, in fact, outside of Curt Swans version of the Silver Age Superman, Byrne’s is the best! Byrne created a Superman that did not pretend to be anything but what he was. In Byrne,s version, Clark Kent was not the school nerd and social outcast as Clark was portrayed as on film and in early comic books, instead he used his power to be the head of the Football team and was actually popular in school! Byrne attempted to ground Superman in reality. Gone where the Superboy years, Superman family, Super Pets and Giant keys to the fortress of solitude. A lot of what made Superman great was washed away for a more realistic version of The Man Of Steel. Clark,s parents were no longer dead but rather important cast members, a nice touch! Hell Ma Kent even sewed Superman his first suit!
Superman’s home world of Krypton was no longer the thriving futuristic civilization of the Silver age it now represented the sterile version seen in the Superman movies! Two themes that remained though were Superman’s fondness of Lois Lane and his conflict with wanting to be normal.
The character of Superman in the 80s was bound editorially by DC side projects and after a resurgence in popularity Superman returned with a vengeance to the small screen with Lois and Clark: The Adventures of Superman. The impact of this series cannot be overlooked. The show was very much grounded in the Byrne era mythos and lead Superman to his final fate. DC protected the characters and their onscreen characters and made sure that the stories in the comics did nothing to go too far out of sync with the show.In a funny side note DC had planned to pull the trigger on a modern-day Lois and Clark wedding to boost struggling sales however the TV show Lois and Clark negotiated with DC as to have the comic book wedding and the TV event wedding coincide and DC gave in and agreed. Plans however had already been in motion so there were a number of starts and stops and unplanned storyline fixes to keep the interest in the wedding in the pages of the comic. Superman and Lois had been married many times in the comic books.
The Clark and Lois union was one that had been around for ages but uniting them was the wrong answer. Writers stumbled to find interesting stories now that The Man of Steel was off The Market. It literally killed The Lois and Clark show as viewership plummeted and the show was finally cancelled in its 4th season after being moved to two different nights attempting to capture a new audience. In the comics the same was happening. It seemed fans who clamored for Lois and Clark to get hitched got cold feet and sales figures for the book and for DC in general were lower than anticipated.
In The 90s, DC would launch its final arrow in its sales quiver in the form of a Superman event known as DOOMSDAY. The Death Of Superman would showcase yet another example of a hero stepping away per say. Seeing the carnage caused by a mysterious alien monster known to the world as Doomsday Superman goes on a mission to hunt and stop the beasts reign of destruction all over the U.S. Many heroes fall at the might of Doomsday including the entire Justice league. In a final touching moment Superman ..Clark no longer wants to keep his loved ones in danger (A theme shared by Moores Silver Age Send Off mentioned above) and makes the final sacrifice he could make..he gives his life. As Superman prepares for what is fated to be his last stand he says goodbye to those he loves..including finally Lois.. and as he always did..goes to save the day..Super heroism at its best.
The day Superman died in the pages of comic books was one I will never forget as I literally ran to the store where I normally bought comics only to grab the new stand copy. I only managed to get a damaged copy crushed in the back of the rack, so I went to my last resort, a shady card kiosk in our main mall that sold event comics at hideous prices and he had a pre-bagged Superman #75 for $25 bucks on its launch. I coughed up the dough…which was considerable at the time as my job was a grocery clerk at a local grocery store Sobeys, but I brought it home so I could peruse my news stand copy and watch Superman and Doomsday go toe to toe one last time..
The final panel of Superman #75 always stuck with me and always sort of bothered me. It felt final this time. Superman had gone away before. He had quit several times as well…but this time…MY Superman was gone. Yes he did return eventually but he was different after this event and now with the official New 52 Reboot my Superman may never return. Maybe one day with the help of this Satellite we can look back in time and find our Man Of Steel and bring him back home.
Shutting down historical archives…Heroes return to your posts and strap in tight. We are going to continue our course to the 90s, We have scanned the historical time streams and have located our next transmission..bringing it up on-screen now..prepare for Time Travel sequence countdown..Next stop New York City…The Daily Bugle. We need to find a reporter who will help us complete our series. Lets find Peter Parker…we need to warn him of the clone!
To read all chapters in the 6 Part Limited Series click on the links below and enjoy!..
#1 Silver Age Sensation’s: The Thing http://silveragesensations.blogspot.ca/
#5 Chasing Amazing: Spider-Man http://wp.me/p1wQNx-16N
#6 Fantastiverse: Hank Pym “Coming Soon”
If You have enjoyed this blog contact me on Twitter @Charlton_Hero and join the conversation using #SuperHeroSatellite Thanks for reading! Big thanks to those who contributed to this epic tale. The Super-Blog Team Uppers, Paul, Mark, Jeff, Flodo, and La Monte who helped bring this vision to life. Thanks guys..till next time the team re-unites!
Super-Hero Satellite Extra: Superman Extra “Quit gallery”