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Wednesday, Aug 21, 2013
The final in the "To Be Continued..." six-part look at Superman’s evolution is upon us now. From fanzine villain to the world’s first superhero, back and forth from stage to screen, to godlike powers, to reboot to death, to resurrection to complete power revision… what do we get in the Man of Tomorrow today?

Once Superman got over his weird shift into his Electric Blue and Red forms, he was more or less back to normal in his classic red, blue and yellow costume and short hair with spit curl and he was again surrounded by many of his classic friends and opponents (Supergirl and General Zod were both back in more or less their recognizable forms, with the “new” Superboy still bounding around the planet) and with the longest-accepted version of his power scheme. (Big Blue did switch to a black background as opposed to the traditional yellow on his S-Shield after the bleak events of the Imperiex war.)

The dawn of a new Millennium also marked the dawn of a new television show featuring characters from the Superman mythos in the form of Smallville, which ran for ten seasons starting in 2001. Instead of focusing on Superman himself, the show focused on the young Clark Kent as he grew up with an increasingly more public use of his powers each season and an expanding number of post cape-and-tights supporting cast members appearing in Smallville before adolescent Clark even took his first real flight. Everyone from Lex Luthor (Clark’s erstwhile best friend in the series) to Brainiac to Lois Lane to Green Arrow to Morgan Edge to even General Zod and Doomsday for heaven’s sake have been witness to Clark and the strange things that surround him, so once he hits Metropolis in his fedora and glasses, he may look like a new man, but when he flies around in the cape and tights with no mask, pretty much every surviving one of them will say “Yep… that’s Clark!”

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Monday, Aug 19, 2013
There's a strange echo of Bruce Springsteen in where writer Justin Jordan seems to be leading the New Guardians…


“Put on your stockings baby, cos’ the night’s getting cold,” Bruce Springsteen’s lyrics from “Atlantic City,” a track from his inhumanly dark Nebraska album, haunt me still. But it’s Justin Jordan’s upcoming issue of Green Lantern: New Guardians that puts this lyric into strange and possibly far darker context.

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Tuesday, Aug 13, 2013
For the past month “To Be Continued...” told you the story 'bout Superman. How he evolved, how he “died”. Gave you a kick, huh? You're kickin' for more. So folks, here's the story of Superman Red.

The prototypical Superman was a bald villain whose second Fanzine appearance was more heroic, but not as colorful as the Man of Steel we know. After his National debut in Action Comics #1 the costumed Superman learned to fly, use heat vision and ultimately became so powerful he had no rival (not even kryptonite was a problem). That is until DC Comics revised the history of Clark Kent and reigned in his powers to a more manageable, if still superhuman level… which, of course, led to his death, replacement and resurrection. Unfortunately the Man of Tomorrow woke up with SUCH a hangover the next day that he actually had no powers at all and actually used a pair of handguns for an issue or two.

So what separated this resurrected Superman from the other four that took his place? Powered or not, there was only one real Kal-El and he did gain his powers back through a strange conflict with two of the imposters to the throne, the deadly program “The Eradicator” and the “Cyborg Superman”. When the Cyborg’s lethal Kryptonite gas passed through the Eradicator it reenergized the de-powered Superman and put an end to both the Eradicator and the Cyborg (albeit temporarily… if Superman could live again, why not these guys, in some form?).

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Thursday, Aug 8, 2013
Last time “To Be Continued...” delved into the near-ridiculous escalation of Superman's powers and the retcon that finally reigned them in. But if the Man of Steel's powers aren't limitless, is he really invincible or could he be killed?

By the time the 1990s reared its grunge-covered head, the newly more realistic Superman was set firmly in the DC Comics Universe. No longer could he snuff out stars with his super breath or munch on Kryptonite and call it a “nice little snack”. Instead he was stuck the post-Crisis on Infinite Earths reigned in super-life that included Lois Lane falling for Clark instead of Superman and Lex Luthor as less of a “Mad Scientist” and more of the richest businessman in the world.

As that spike in sales began to plateau, the Super team of writers and artists looked for a new way to boost sales. The answer was obvious… let’s have Lois marry Clark in the gridded pages of Superman’s then four titles and reel in every naysayer out there. The problem was that the TV show Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman had the exact same idea, so the comics gang had to wait and align their event with the TV show’s (which was a while away). So in yet another big meeting under Editor Supreme Mike Carlin where everybody had to throw out ideas for what big story arc to do next, a lone voice (reportedly writer/ artist Jerry Ordway, who would later revitalize Captain Marvel in The Power of Shazam) spoke up and said “Let’s kill him.”

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Tuesday, Jul 30, 2013
Previously “To Be Continued...” discussed the early versions of Superman and how he evolved from one-off villain to science fiction hero to costumed strongman to the actual flying, heat visioning, powerhouse he became by the 1970s. But with so much power, how could the first superhero possibly remain challenging?

By the 1970s, Superman had evolved from a high-jumping, fast running superhero into a bullet-proof, supersonic flying powerhouse who could blow out stars and eat kryptonite as a snack. This empowered the Man of Tomorrow to handle the bigger class of villain he had begun to face, but at this point, it’s hard to imagine he could have much of a rival on this or any other planet. Upon Superman’s triumphant return to the big screen in 1978’s Superman: The Movie many of the current comicbook updates to Superman’s powers were completely ignored by director Richard Donner. However, he and his successor Richard Lester packed in a few new strange power revisions into the Man of Steel’s quiver.

Tagged as: superheroes, superman
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