Instability

The thing about doing a project this massive is you eventually start to see connections everywhere — and this can be a real danger. You can start to see things that aren’t there.

So you have to be careful. Until something like this happens.

This is from “Spy” in 1937′s Detective Comics #22 :

What th-? Lorenzo Rica? Granted, he’s one “c” short, but this stereotypical Italian bad guy (with weird paisley pajamas) has a common version of the last name my grandfather brought to Cleveland from Sicily. What does this mean? Is this coincidence? Destiny? VOICES FROM BEYOND? Or, more likely, have I finally lost it? Maybe. But good research and good work is also sometimes just focused paranoia. That goes for anything, whether it’s a book or a bathroom remodel or making a giant quilt.

Still, if you’ve read the book you know that Jerry and Joe named many of their early characters after people they knew. So what does that mean?

Whoever Lorenzo is, he’s no match for Sally and Bart:

I really don’t know what to make of this other than maybe it’s past time to move onto the next project. But you know what — forget that. I’m totally counting this as being in a Siegel/Shuster comic by way of a weird spacetime continuum shaped by metafictional bizarre forces that neither of us can fully or truly understand.

Maybe. Or not. It’s still pretty cool.

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The Lawyers Weigh Inn

Last night I got to speak at a really unique event: the Cleveland chapter of the William K. Thomas Inn of Courts (a bunch of lawyers club?) invited me to talk about Superman. So that, but then — but then — a bunch of high-powered attorneys acted out the Superman litigation history. To elevate the drama, Time-Warner was played by Lex Luthor and Superman himself represented the families. Brainiac, Daredevil, and Batman (he was the bailliff) were there, too. The judge was played by a prominent Cleveland standing judge (no names, please). I really wished Jeff Trexler was there — seeing it this way was actually very enlightening, even as (especially as?) farce. The Chief Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court was there, too (talking about Groupons). Thanks to legendary civil rights attorney (and fantastic host) Avery Friedman for inviting me.

As we mingled in the cocktail hour, I spoke with real-life lawyers who had all reviewed the case. They all said: what a ____________ mess. After years of being convinced I was just dumb, this felt really good to hear. I also felt relieved that the two things I was most mad about in the case — the termination/trap letter to Jean Peavy Shuster and the 6-page dismissal from the 9th Circuit — were also looked at by the lawyers as really bizarre, shady events.

Afterwards, I met Adam (above), who was working there and got Rosa from Mac’s Backs some much-needed coffee. He grabbed some of our empty book boxes for “his comic collection.” I asked what he read and he showed me this:

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1 in 4 People Believe Superman in the Bible*

I probably shouldn’t admit this, but I was disappointed when venerable London periodical The Sun went to an online subscription model. At least I admit it. This was the *shocker* in The Sun yesterday:

The study, done by “The Bible Society,” also concluded that “Half the parents surveyed thought the story for hit movie The Hunger Games was from the Bible.”

So is this the usual Sun “Man U Captain Caught in Snog with Gail Porter’s Flatmate — and Noel KNOWS?”  Not really: I looked up the report and it seems to have a good sample size (though the questions are a bit conditional).

The Society’s aim is a campaign called “Pass It On,” to “encourage parents to read, watch or listen to a Bible story with their child.” Read the entire report here.

So is Western civ screwed or is this just really cool? If anything it’s that “could be” in the question that might be the most telling: Superman is a very Biblical character — some Moses, some Jesus, even some Samson. That we get. And while I don’t think it defines the narrative, it might have bolstered it, as this survey seems to suggest. The parallels give it legs.

I’ve been pretty vocal that it is difficult to completely claim Superman for one religious group or testament. Jerry and Joe grew up in Orthodox Jewish households, but then became much more reformed in their own religious practices. Joe even joined a Christian mystery cult for a time. I don’t say that as anything other than my interpretation of things I have determined to be facts. These were complicated human beings whose spiritual lives are difficult (and almost impossible) to wholly define, just like it is for many of us. They were guys, not gods. That being said, I was just told a great story about Jerry from someone who knew him in Cleveland:

Ps – I forgot to add that – as Joe may have told you – he used to see Jerry Siegel and talk to him when Siegel came to their shul – a tiny synagogue in a house on 105th st. – a 3 minute walk from Glenville – on the anniversary of his father’s death to say Kaddish.

This survey may not reflect well on our combined Biblical knowledge. But it might reflect on what we believe while in the absence of something, whether it is facts, people, or events.

Isn’t that the point?

 

But I have no idea why The Hunger Games. And, of course, Comment Guy:

 

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Ten Creators

Over at Newsarama, George Marston ranks the “10 Creators Who Made Superman Truly Super.”  Number 1?

Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster’s contributions not only to comic books, but to our culture go far beyond Superman, but it all started with the Man of Steel. Though many of the conventions of Superman’s mythos that we now take for granted were later contributed by others, it all sprang forth from that core ideal crafted by Siegel and Shuster…

Read the full rankings here.

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