Oct 9, 2008

R.I.P. 1,2,3...

Following the new controversial trend of revealing major plot points to major media before a book hits the shelves, DC once again gave the NY Daily News the exclusive. Superman's dad, Jonathan Kent is dead. Again.

The action happens, appropriately enough, in Action Comics #870. While Superman is busy fighting Brainiac and restoring the recently bottled Metropolis and the Bottled City of Kandor, his father has a fatal heart attack. Sound familiar? It should. Versions of Jonathan "Pa" Kent have succumbed to the same affliction before. Newsarama has compiled a nice list of those and other hardships that have fallen on Superman's Pa in the past.

The real shock to fans was not Jonathan Kent's death, most read the signs and knew it was coming, but that DC used the Daily News as an outlet to "spoil" the event. This has many fans fuming mad. Read the comments on the Comic Book Resources and Newsarama articles and see for yourself. It's clear DC is trying to gain new readers by exposing them to comics in the mainstream media but is it at the expense of die-hard fans?

I find it hard to take a side here. I'm a big avoider of spoilers and I've become awfully adept at it over the years. Unfortunately not everyone can do that nor can they live their lives wary of spoilers at every turn. That being said, if this tactic can get more people into their local comic shops and boost the industry as a whole, that's a good thing. 

You and I both know nothing that happens in comics is heralded as the "right move" by everyone who reads them. I'd imagine it would signal the coming Apocalypse if that day ever came. What makes me chuckle the most is the fact that the fans who seem to be making the biggest deal out of the spoiler are the one's who said they already knew it was coming, just not when, and/or the one's who don't think the death of Jonathan Kent is that big of a deal anyway. All I know is now that a parent has been taken from Superman and given to Wonder Woman, it seems almost a given that a resurrection is in store for one of Batman's fore-bearers. Ya think?

7 comments:

Gernot said...

I, for one, don't see what the big deal is. Pa Kent, before 1986, ALWAYS died before Clark Kent became Superman! Ma Kent would usually PRECEDE him in death, and both would happen just as young Superboy was about to graduate high school and enter college, usually.

In fact, I think the 1978 Superman movie was the FIRST to let Ma Kent live after Superman came about.

I remember how upset many fans were in 1986 when John Byrne resurrected Ma and Pa Kent. While they told several good stories WITH Superman's parents, I feel as though something has been missing for the past twenty years that they've been alive.

Great post, NerdyBird! :)

The Nerdy Bird said...

Well said. And thanks!

Randy said...

Yeah, what Gernot said. It's hard for me to mourn Pa Kent when he was died in 1938. Then again in 1978 in Superman: the Movie. Then again in 1980 in the story 'The Miraculous Return of Pa Kent.' Then again two years ago on Smallville.

GeekBoy said...

Hey, let's not forget the "Lois & Clark" TV show from the 90s, in which neither Ma nor Pa Kent ever died! :)

Which, of course, was a direct result of Byrne's "Man of Steel" reboot. Which ... I'm not sure if I agree with or not, in hindsight.

I get what Byrne was doing. You already have Batman with two dead parents, but in that case, it's kind of crucial to his origin. But with Superman, it's just mean, isn't it? He's already an orphan once, because his Kryptonian parents are dead. Why was it necessary to kill his adoptive parents off too? Did it really serve anything story-wise?

Without parents, Superman just became this indestructible godlike figure by the 80s, throwing planets around and zipping back and forth in time. By keeping his parents alive, it seemed as if Byrne was trying to keep Clark's human side alive, in order to open up story possibilities that didn't exist before. Not the least of which, give us (the readers) an opportunity to actually FEEL the death of a fully realized Pa Kent as experienced by a fully realized Superman, rather than the two-dimensional footnote death that Pa Kent got in 1938.

Eric said...

I appreciate the post regarding this tidbit.

I just hope they don't "resurrect" him.

Maybe he'll come back to life as a cyborg/mutant/zombie/centaur that speaks in riddles and limericks.

O.K., I'm being snary, but I just don't see this as drawing in many potential readers. I could be wrong, but I doubt it.

Why not do away with Lois Lane (not kill her off), and have Supes marry Wonder Woman instead?

That would get interest. I mean, how can Lois satisfy Supes anyway?

I digress.....

Randy said...

Don't get me wrong...keeping Ma and Pa Kent alive was the best part of Byrne's revamp in 1986. And for the precise reasons that Geekboy says.

I'm just saying that it's hard for me to mourn the death of a character that has died so many deaths already.

That being said though, it was a very well written story. But then, it's Geoff Johns. And I've come to expect great stuff from a Geoff Johns story.

With him and James Robinson writing the Man of Steel, it sure seems a good time to be a Super-fan.

JOHNNY ZITO said...

Well this move at least opens up a lot of new stories for Ma Kent...

No, never mind. It doesn't.