Don't tug on Superman's web page

Superman Homepage vs. Washington Times. IT'S ON, BITCH.


What's on, you say?

I'll tell you. The Washington Times' David Eldridge wrote a quasi-editorial thingy in the entertainment section, headlined "Superman returns to defend communism?" The article bemoans Mark Millar's interesting Red Son miniseries, which depicts a Superman whose spaceship originally landed in the Soviet Union rather than Kansas. Like many comics, it makes a political statement, and what apparently bothers Eldridge is that it deigns to criticize the U.S.A., and a certain President G. W. Bush.

Eldridge's argument, essentially that deigning to make a political statement contrary to the Superman's historically "American way" characterization is an attempt to weaken or destroy him, rings false when you consider Frank Miller's Dark Knight Returns. It was the first to show us a completely different Batman, dark and untrusting of anyone, a sharp contrast to the bright and happy '60s TV series version of the character we had grown accustomed to. The 1986 mini-series also provided a sharp criticism of Reaganism and various aspects of American culture. The story was wildly influential, shaping all characterization of Batman that was to follow and showing us, along with Alan Moore's Watchmen, not only that comics could speak effectively about the universal truths in our lives, just like in Serious Literature, but that our heroes should be able to evolve with the times.

When Superman Homepage editor Steve Younis took Eldridge to task over some... slight factual inaccuracies in his story (e.g. he got the ending completely wrong), Eldrige, of course, responded in a calm and proper manner, and showed the utmost respect for his readers.

Mr. Younis,

"WASHINGTON TIMES DISSES SUPERMAN!" Are you completely nuts? Did you even bother to read the damn article? I am a lifelong comics fan and I happen to love Superman. I wrote the article because I was disgusted by some wise-acre European comics writer using Superman - MY SUPERMAN - to take a political swipe at George W. Bush. So I don't like "Smallville." So WHAT. I got about 50 e-mails from your web-page fans today and about half of those AGREED with me. The other half acted as though I had criticized Mother Mary. Look, fellow Superman fan: Read the last two paragraphs in the column. I CLEARLY extol the virtues Superman represents and lament the fact that, like America around the world today, he doesn't get enough credit for doing the right thing.

-- DE
Yeesh. So, never let it be said that the Times hides its political bias. Even in the entertainment section.

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