The Prankster is one of Superman’s longest-appearing regular supervillains. I don’t think he gets a lot of respect from fans, but he’s also “made it” into the pantheon of Superman characters. He’s not one who I feel I need to fight for his inclusion. He’ll continue to show up because he’s tradition.
One of the more recent takes on this character, one I like, is that he’s the guy that other criminals will hire to annoy Superman as a distraction while they do other crimes. That’s a good way to go, because it gives him a lot of freedom to do wacky things. He’s also good for just doing his own crimes, in nice standalone stories with a little twist at the end. And he also gets to team up with the Toyman a lot, which is also fun.
But if I were writing a Superman story right now and wanted the Prankster in there, I’d probably have him go up against the “Truth” aspect of what makes Superman tick. The Prankster could have a vendetta against the Daily Planet and try to harm their credibility with some elaborately staged Fake News pranks and they’d have to step up and prove the worth of journalism. I think that, in this age of the erosion of truth, the Prankster has a relevant role he could play.
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.
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.
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.
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.)