Clark Kent Collects Clocks

It’s good for a person to have a hobby. Even Superman. I have found that there are at least three references to Clark Kent having collected clocks. I grant that, over a period of eighty years, three references are not a lot. Some might say that they’re very very little. But I like the idea of Clark collecting clocks and I’m saying we should bring it back.

The advantages of bringing back Clark’s hobby:

  • Collecting clocks is a decidedly “unhip” hobby. There are constant attempts to make Clark “cool” but I don’t like it. Superman is the straight-lacedest of Superheroes. In spite of the attempts to change this, this is actually a thing that most of his fans like about him. They ought to embrace the idea that Clark is a “square” and this is a way to remind people of it.
  • It ties in with Jimmy’s signal watch. For those who don’t know, Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen is so danger-prone that Superman gave him a watch that, when activated, emits a sound that Superman can hear, so that the hero will come save him. Why a watch? Well, if Clark is a fan of timepieces, the answer to that question becomes obvious.
  • Stories could be based around clocks and stuff. It’s a good way to teach kids how to tell time and stuff.
  • Clocks could liven up the Fortress of Solitude. Ever since the Donner films, the Fortress has been depicted as this depressingly barren warehouse full of nothing but snow and crystals. It looks patently un-cozy. I’d love to see some rugs and some paintings to liven up the place, but we just need to throw in a couple fancy clocks (even alien clocks) and we’re headed in the right direction.

The disadvantages of bringing back Clark’s hobby:

  • There are none! Get outta here, chumps!

Bring back the clocks! Or at least someone start a band called Clark Kent Collects Clocks.

Superman Smashes The Klan???!!!

There’s some news regarding Superman that PDRs will find extremely interesting. This is news important enough that I have knocked today’s scheduled Superman Thoughts post down the line and have to address this now, the day I found out about it. Superman Smashes The Klan is coming.

A story about the Clan of the Fiery Cross radio show! I have wanted this forever.

And apparently it’s news from February, so I am clearly bad at Superman Thinkin’. Here is a news story from the fifth of February announcing this book will come to exist in 2019. Here is a Superman Thoughts posts I scheduled in April in which I lamented that the Clan of the Fiery Cross had not been remade. Clearly, I am not good at keeping up on these things.

I don’t think this is a remake of the Clan story from. From what few scraps I have gathered in the hours since I first learned about this, I think it’s going to be a meta-textual piece about a child who hears the radio serial and how it relates to her life as a Chinese immigrant. That’s great. I’m on board. After all, that means I get this story AND I still get to clamor for a proper remake of the story.

What I am saying is: I am happy this is happening.

Anyway, In another post I have scheduled for next month or so, I talk about how I’d love a standalone book based on the radio show and using the character designs from the Fleischer cartoons. Look at that image up there and tell me it isn’t awesome. Anyway, when that posts finally comes up, keep in mind that I didn’t know about this.

Superman in “War of the Brain Worlds”

Look, I don’t have a lot to say about this one. This one time, a story was just casually mentioning adventures that Superman had that we didn’t get to read about. One of those adventures, detailed only in this single panel, was the War of the Brain Worlds. That is a better name than 90% of movies released in the last decade. Someone needs to tell this story, please.

Superman’s Lawyer, An Idea I Like

Hey everybody, meet Douglas Giddings, Superman’s lawyer.

I’m not going to pretend that Douglas Giddings is an important part of the Superman Mythos and that his not being in the supporting cast is hurting things and he must be brought back, but I think he’s a neat idea and I could probably get a quick Superman Thoughts thing out of him.

Giddings made only one appearance, in the pre-Crisis era when it felt like the books were trying to use up their spare ideas before the 80s reboot of Superman. A backup story in Action Comics #581 gives us a day in the life of Superman’s lawyer. Like Jimmy Olsen, Giddings has been given a special watch by Superman. While Jimmy’s watch allows the kid to get in touch with Superman, Giddings’s watch tells him when Superman is coming to meet about legal matters. They talk about things like television stations using the rights to Superman’s image, to advertisers trying to mooch off his reputation. Then crimes happen and Superman races away to save the day, with Giddings riding his motorcycle there to capture footage of the events. The story implies that Giddings has been working behind the scenes with Superman for a long time, even if we never heard about it and never will again.

I like the idea that, when Clark made the move from vigilante to respectable superhero, he lawyered up to keep everything above board. Maybe there’s some story in which Superman saved Giddings, who then volunteered to help the hero out. We’ll never know, but I think there’s some ground that could be covered there, if someone ever wanted to.

(Fact: Nobody but me wants to.)

Lois Lane and Perry White are Alright

If there are any two members of Superman’s supporting cast who I don’t think need a lot of thinking to make them work, it’s Lois Lane and Perry White. I think that, though they are underused by the comics, at least the place they occupy is the place where they ought to be. Lois Lane is an intrepid reporter who cares more about truth and justice than her own safety. Perry White, editor of the Daily Planet newspaper is a stubborn crusader for justice who seethes with anger towards injustice. These two are the reason that Clark Kent, who could easily have a job basically anywhere he wants, wants to work for the Daily Planet.

A common take these days is that Perry is more of a father figure to Lois than her own father. I consider this the correct take. I’ll get more into General Sam Lane and the rest of the Lane family in some future post, but Perry definitely sees a lot of himself in Lois Lane and nurtures her career for that reason. I have not read a lot of YA fiction just yet, so I can’t be sure how they stack up to the usual fare, but I will unequivocally recommend the Lois Lane novels by Gwenda Bond as a great look into the dynamics of Lois’s relationship with her father versus that with Perry. I think they should be required reading for people writing those characters.

Now, Perry definitely wants his paper to be doing the right thing, to go after the bad guys and make the world better, but he also has to worry about sales and advertisers and whatnot (I think it’s best for his character if this pressure is forced upon him by higher-ups like Franklin Stern or Morgan Edge, characters I will cover in the future). He’s an idealist, but is upset by the realities of his job.

Then Superman and Clark Kent come along. Clark gives Perry a second Lois, basically. Yet another reporter doing the kind of work that Perry wants to do. Superman gives Perry something even better: sales. When Superman gives exclusive interviews to the Planet staff, I read that as his way of helping out the paper that puts so much focus on investigative reporting in Metropolis. If an audience wants to read about Superman, Superman is going to direct that audience to the paper that most deserves it.

And Lois Lane is absolutely the only acceptable romantic interest for Clark. Anyone who prefers Wonder Woman or some other even dumber choice just needs to give up.