Bibbo Is The Boss

Today’s topic is Bibbo Bibbowski. Bibbo is usually depicted as one of Superman’s biggest fans. When Bibbo first became a fan of Superman, he did so because Superman was the strongest. That was what Bibbo valued: strength. Thus, things weren’t always great for Bibbo when stronger villains came along to beat up Superman.

But, like Jimmy Olsen, Bibbo’s arc is one of being improved by learning from Superman. Over time Bibbo came to realize that it isn’t Superman’s strength that makes him great. It’s what he does with it. We live in a society where, unfortunately, people with power don’t often enough use that power for the benefit of others. Superman needs to show why that’s the wrong way to use one’s powers, whatever they happen to be. And Bibbo can be a great example of that in the stories.

In the original comics where he appeared, Bibbo was very poor until he won the lottery and went on to buy a bar down by the docks. This gave some of the characters a place to hang out apart from the Daily Planet, which is great. In other media he has occasionally be depicted as owning the bar without starting off poor, but I like the idea that he has suffered and come through. I also like that he is nearly always depicted as a “low-class” sort. He’s been a punch-drunk alcoholic boxer, a dumb dock-worker, and an lowlife informant for Lois Lane. I like that he can be all these things and still be, ultimately, a good guy. It’s a good message to send that you don’t have to be a hoity-toity type to be a friend of Superman.

Superman Needs A Good Videogame

I think, even more so than a good movie, a good game would really bring some people into the Superman franchise. With my constant jealousness of the Batman franchise, I saw the semi-recent success of his Arkham games and wanted that for Superman.

It’s worth knowing that Superman has famously never had much in the way of good games and, in fact, has some of the very worst games out there. Thus, if we finally gave him a good game, we’d not only be introducing new people to the franchise, but we’d be remedying that unfortunate state.

I will point out, to begin, that I don’t think we currently have the technology to make the Superman game I’d consider ideal. If you can’t give me a non-scaled-down, fully destructible version of Metropolis with millions of distinct npc civilians, well then what’s the point? But if we can’t meet that unrealistic expectation, what do I propose?

Why, we make a game starring Jimmy Olsen, of course!

Jimmy can be a fighter. Not on the level of Batman, obviously, but if you give him a fighting style that focuses heavily on disarming opponents and Judo-style moves and all that, you’ve got as much to work with for a game. Throw in temporary super-power-ups like Elastic Lad and Werewolf forms, and photograph-taking missions, and you’ve got a way to introduce all the elements of the franchise to that massive gaming audience. And you don’t even have to piss anyone off by making Superman “weaker” than he’s supposed to be.

A very similar argument could be made for making a game starring Lois Lane. In fact, it’d probably be better. But I’m still nervous about how they’d mess it up. If you mess up a Jimmy Olsen game, who cares? If you mess up a Lois Lane game, that’d hurt.

What I’d Write For Superman

Obviously, I have a lot of daydreams about writing Superman. But what kind of Superman book would I want to write? The way I figure, there are two options:

One would be a book that begins with Clark in University, early in his career as Superman, and which follows his life for 200 issues or so and we end thirty years later or whatever. The main benefit here would be that that amount of continuity under a single writer would make things matter. If Superman brings a criminal to justice, that criminal would be in prison. They wouldn’t inexplicably turn up again and negate the accomplishment of catching them. If a supporting cast member is killed off, they’d be gone for good, and not alive again with the next reboot. For this time, in this standalone book, the stories would have lasting consequences in a way which I don’t believe has ever happened for Superman before.

The other book I’d like to write would be almost the exact opposite. An “all-ages” book where every issue is a standalone thing. Not that there wouldn’t be ongoing details, but I’d want to make sure that every issue has a full story that someone could pick up and read and get a complete experience. The Old Timey Superman idea I brought up before would be fine for this, but it could literally work with any version (and it could work for a Superboy series starring Jon Kent as well). Once you’ve got a status quo that works, stop breaking it and just tell stories there. Furthermore, I’d make sure that every issue included at least one educational element, be it some sort of lesson about science or how clocks work (because Clark Collect Clocks) or whatever. I’d try to make the lessons subtle, but I’d want kids to get something of value out of their time, hopefully without even realizing it.

Those would be my ideals. I’d also enjoy doing a daily comic strip. If Spider-Man can still have an ongoing comic strip, surely Superman should.

But, of course, I’d obviously be willing to write anything in the Superman franchise. I’m not holding out for only these things. I’m nobody DC has ever heard of. I have no clout. But those are what I dream of when I fantasize about this stuff.

Let Superman Have A Corpulent Crimeboss

Obese Mobster In A Suit makes for a good comicbook villain. The reigning Obese Mobster In A Suit in comics these days is obviously the Kingpin of Crime in the Marvel Universe. I admit, he does the job well. But Superman had two such characters in the 40s making the Kingpin a latecomer. Today I am proposing that one of those two characters (but combining elements of both) should be brought back to the Superman franchise.

I’m not looking to fat-shame anybody or anything, being overweight can be a result of many things after all, but if a villain is openly greedy and self-serving, obesity can work as a signifier of that. It’s a fine line to run, but I’m saying that the villain(s) I am offering up today is not a bad person because he’s fat, but is fat because he’s a bad person. It isn’t true of all fat people, but it is true in this case. I think that, if we make that message clear in the stories, we could do this right.

Firstly, there is the Tycoon of Crime (also known as Mr. Blob). With only two appearances in mediocre stories about four decades apart, I can’t claim that he’s ever been important. I admit, if he was the only Obese Mobster In A Suit to work with, I’d not consider this worth the effort. But the other Obese Mobster In A Suit I want to bring back is from the radio, so I don’t have any actual images of him, and thus the existence of Mr. Blob is useful for my purposes. The villain I want to bring back is the Laugher.

The Laugher appeared in multiple stories in the 40s, including being one of the villains to try to buy kryptonite from the Scarlet Widow. In those episodes he was described as being even fatter than the Tycoon of Crime is shown (the Laugher has “three chins and a belly large enough for six men”) and wears fancy suits and covers himself in jewelry. He is called “the Laugher” not because he cackles maniacally like the Joker, but because of his habit of chuckling whenever he finds something amusing. Think Dr. Hibbert, except he’s amused by crime. Given the chance, I’d cast the Laugher in the role of a capo working for the Widow and I’d say he financed the early criminal careers of criminals who amused him, such as the Toyman and the Prankster. Thus he’d be tied to the other parts of the franchise and I could have Lois and Clark bring down the Laugher as a bit of a victory step on their way to bringing down the Widow. And I’d definitely keep the Tycoon’s whole deal as a corrupt businessman. It just fits.