Issues Have Issues #2- Superman Covers
Superman is one of the Granddaddies to the Superhero comic. It’s one of the longest running comics in the United States. With that kind of history, you have to be impressed. But let’s take a look at the covers that are best left forgotten. It’s time to make fun of the Man of Steel!
Superman really loves a man in uniform. What is exactly happening in this image? Is Supes being escorted by two service members because they are locked arm-in-arm as a show of support for the good ‘ol U.S. of A. ? OR is Superman being helped home because he’s had a little too much to drink during Fleet week?
Is Superman involved in a gay threesome? Are these men his lovers? What about Lois? If Superman does play for both teams at least he is out and proud. Good for you Superman! Good for you!
DC has a history of depicting Asian characters in the most offensive way. (See the cover to Detective Comics #1 from my last blog for evidence) But let’s put that blatant racism aside for the moment and think about how demoralizing it must have been for readers to see Superman single-handedly ending WWII while in reality, millions were dying around the globe. Way to be insensitive DC!
Was this DC’s way of denying the holocaust? Good Lord!
All kidding aside, it had to be difficult to write a superhero comic in wartime. Especially Superman; a character that is so Godlike he could end a World War in an afternoon. While the character of Superman was a great marketing tool for showing patriotism and selling war bonds, it had to frustrate creators and fans alike when news from the front reached home and atrocities of the war continued to mount.
I know that when I’m hit by a bolt of lightning traveling 270,000 mph with an average temperature of 54,000 degrees (or about five times hotter than the surface of the Sun) I too remark on how much it tickles. At least that’s what my past lives told me in a seance once.
OK, there is only one reason and one reason only that this cover made the grade and that is the stunning lip caterpillar that Supes is sporting in this picture. That is Tom Selleck levels of awesome! That is one dapper looking S.O.B.
Ummm… remember what I said earlier about DC’s blatant racism against Asians? I rest my case.
Isn’t Superman all about Truth and Justice? Does that only apply to others, but when he’s been incarcerated the rule of law doesn’t apply?
And what is that dummy’s head made of? Wood? Clay? Why does it look so blocky? If Superman had the materials at hand to create a semi-lifelike replica why not spend a few more minutes making it look a little less like shit? The jailer that spots this monstrosity is going to know instantly that “thing” is not a human unless this is a jail set in the Minecraft universe.
Also, did Supes remember to bend the bars back to normal after he flew off or did he leave them wide open; giving himself away? Dammit, Clark! How are children suppose to learn how to escape from confinement if you don’t show them how to properly execute an escape plan?
The Rainbow Doom. David Bowie’s forgotten 60’s cover band.
The Rainbow Doom. What every Evangelical parent believes their child catches when they come out as homosexual.
The Rainbow Doom. WWE’s next tag-team champions of the World.
The Rainbow Doom. What you contract after drinking out of a puddle at Coachella.
Day seven of living with the Rainbow Doom.
Two things to glean from this cover.
1. Parachutes are for pussies.
2. Why is Superman carrying a gun? He’s fucking SUPERMAN!
In an alternate universe in DC’s vast history this version of Superman never returns to the surface. Instead, he forsakes the world above in order to rule the world below the waves. After leading a bloody battle against Aquaman for the right to lead Atlantis Clark lives out the remainder of his days sitting on the throne and raising a gaggle of daughters. One daughter, in particular, gives Clark trouble and only the council of his trusted crab advisor can Clark hope to talk sense to the girl. An image of an old man sea-Clark is provided below.
Don’t you hate it when a homeless guy steals your outfit and then you have to get into a bum fight with him? God! Thursdays are the worst!
Superman begins “No Fap” November.
Day two of “No Fap” November. Clark begins to lose control and starts beating his child instead of his man-meat.
Day ten of “No Fap” November. Clark loses intelligence and starts to hallucinate. Worried, Lois keeps the feeble Clark in a playpen for safety.
Day twelve of “No Fap” November. Clark is unrecognizable to friends and family. It’s almost like he is someone else.
Superman finally caves on day fourteen of “No Fap” November. The Man of Steel only has two words for how good it feels to get that sweet release.
In a long forgotten storyline, creators revealed Clark’s second “secret Canadian family”. It wouldn’t be long before DC corrected this mistake and murdered the little Hoser and his mother. Readership wouldn’t care or notice because, well… they were Canadian, and we all know that Canadians don’t matter. (It’s just a joke Canada, settle down and know I love you)
And in closing, I’d like to add two dishonorable mentions in this article from Superman’s other comic, Action Comics. Here is perhaps one of the most infamous covers in the history of comics, the “Slap a Jap” issue. This has long been a black eye on the company who has disregarded public outcry by stating that the issue was produced during the climate of WWII and is a historical reflection of public sentiment of the times. What do you think? Should DC remove this image from its archives?
and finally here is another image of racial stereotypes working overtime in comics. Superman this time is mocking Native-American culture with the wearing of a ceremonial headdress. As an adult reader in 2019 I look at this and cringe, but to be honest, as a kid I would have looked at this and thought, “Cool! Superman is going to join the Indians! I wonder if they’re going to fight some cowboys?”
While it’s fun to mock and make light of these comics in the lens of modern culture, it’s easy to forget that these stories were cutting edge for their day, at least some editor thought that these ideas and images would help the comics sell. While I don’t excuse the racism or misogyny I do understand that these were created in a different time, when different social norms were widely accepted. It doesn’t make them right, but maybe with time, we can learn to laugh at these growing pains instead of taking serious offense.
Thanks for joining me in another installment and come back soon as next up we take a look at the ridiculous covers of The Justice League of America!