Before I begin my post, allow me to quote verbatim DC Comics’ blog about Superman and the GD Controversy:

You might have read online today about a particularly strong reaction that a comic book retailer has had to ACTION COMICS issue 1 by Grant Morrison and Rags Morales. If not, here’s the scoop: a retailer in North Carolina was concerned that Superman is cursing when he utters “gd” in the series’ first issue. Before I could even reach out to Grant Morrison for comment, I received an e-mail from Grant, which read in part: “It should go without saying that the offending panel and caption, a mere ‘GD’, is a sound effect grunt – to suggest Superman’s breath being forced through gritted teeth – much like ‘DHH’, ‘GNUHH’ or the many others used throughout this book and in general in the comics business. It’s not in any way representative of God or a curse.”

Cover to Action Comics #1
I’m glad that Grant Morrison pointed this out, because it did seem like the retailer was overreacting.  I have to wonder how he felt about All-Star Batman and Robin.  Personally, I hated that title, and not just because of the “GD” Batman, but because it went against everything I admired about the character.  The bond between Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson is my favorite thing about Batman, and Frank Miller destroyed that ideal by writing a book that felt, to me at least, edgy for the sake of being edgy.
That said, I’m worried that the same thing is happening to Superman.
I started reading Superman comics during One Year Later.  I loved Johns’ initial run with the character, chronicling the adventures of a de-powered Clark Kent.  I loved Busiek’s run, the return of General Zod, the relationship with Lois and pretty much everything else until Supes started walking across the country and quoting Thoreau.  I watched Smallville (on DVD) and while the soap opera aspect of the series didn’t appeal to me, I truly enjoyed the show, especially the first 4 seasons.
The reason why: Jonathan Kent.
Jonathan Kent is my favorite character in the Superman mythos.  Seriously.  He was played brilliantly by John Schneider, and for the past several years, most artists have drawn the character to look like him Smallville counterpart.  When you boil Superman down to what really makes him special, it’s not his powers or the Kryptonian side of his persona, it’s his small town upbringing.  A decade of Elseworlds stories have taught us that without the influence of the Kents, Superman would have become a monster.  But because of Jonathan and Martha, he became the world’s greatest superhero.
Scene from Nightwing #141
This is the reason that I’m worried about Superman.  I don’t care about the red briefs or the renumbering, but if I’m going to read about Superman, I want to actually like the character.  I wasn’t thrilled with the last year for the character, but frankly, no one was telling straight Superman stories during that year.  Lex Luthor starred in Action (which was great, BTW) and Superman was being played by Forrest Gump in his own title.  I’m not happy that the marriage between Lois and Clark has vanished, but I’m willing to give the new titles a shot.  But what I don’t want to see is a Superman divorced from the very thing that makes him great.
Grant Morrison is a brilliant writer.  His run on Batman was amazing, simply amazing.  I loved All-Star Superman, and I’m hoping that he can knock Action Comics out the park.  But I need a reason to keep buying a book, any book, and if the influence of Jonathan Kent vanishes from this series, then so will I. Superman is the hero that all of the other characters are supposed to look up to, and it’s not because he can move planets.  It’s because no one is too small or unimportant for him to care about.  The person who taught him that, the person who taught him to be Superman, is Jonathan Kent.  I just hope his influence continues to be felt for this new “social justice” Superman.
[fbshare type=”button” float=”left”]