WBD Wish List

Good Miracle Monday, Superman fans!

Shortly before four in the afternoon on the third Monday in the month of May, the people of the city of Metropolis learned the meaning of joy - the first thing many of them saw was the red-and-blue figure of Superman drawing a line across their sky, and he became the symbol of their joy.

It felt like a miracle.

Miracle Monday - Elliot S! Maggin

As we approach the 2024 Superman Celebration I’ve been rewatching various Superman adaptations in preparation. This inevitably starts me down the path of thinking about Warner Home Video. But I wanted to keep today positive! So here are the top video releases I hope we’ll get next year to coincide with the year of Superman and the new movie.

Lois & Clark on Blu-Ray

Let’s start with the low hanging fruit. HD masters exist; they’ve got the old special features from the DVDs. Just give this to us.

The Adventures of Superman on 4K

Maybe a bigger ask, but definitely possible. This might be the most historically significant television series ever. They were making mini movies with legit special effects all the way back in 1951. This show debuted the same year Canada got television stations, that’s how early it was. Would we have Star Trek without Adventures of Superman? I doubt it. This was shot on film and deserves the best treatment and restoration possible.

The New Adventures of Superman (Filmation cartoons) on Blu-Ray

We got the Batman cartoons on Blu-Ray so this doesn’t seem like a big ask. But this time can we please get the Superboy shorts as well?

Supergirl on 4K

After the disappointing German release earlier this year lets show this movie some love. Theatrical, International, and Directors Cuts please. I’d settle for the Directors and Theatrical cuts in HD.

Superman Returns on 4K

Unlikely due to some of the people involved here and the fact that it was shot in HD and finished in 2K. Home video has come a long way since 2006 though and I think we could get a better version of this. People expected it in the 4K set we got last year considering the DVD and blu-ray sets included this with the Reeve films.

Fixed Superman the Movie on 4K

This doesn’t seem like it’s on the plate at all. Since it was rumored and then at the 11th hour didn’t happen last year it seems that Warners is uninterested. Like the Reeves show though this movie has historical significance. Big budget superhero adaptations owe everything to this movie.

Fleischer Shorts on 4K

After the divisive release last year they would earn a lot of goodwill doing this one right. Even if they feel like this presentation is the most accurate at least give us the intros and outros without errors. Again the historical significance can’t be overstated. Important for it’s animation and it’s pre-noir style.

May 20, 2024

David Corenswet is Superman

In the foreground Superman is sitting putting on his boots. While outside the window behind him something is firing a pink beam towards the city.

Director James Gunn shared the first picture of our new Superman on social media today. I’ve talked costume reveals before but this one holds a special significance. This is the start of a whole new cinematic universe. A lot is riding on these tights.

Inspirations: The New 52 and The CW?

Starting from the top the first detail is the high collar. This was one of the defining features of the New 52 costume. Corenswet’s suit features a much higher collar than live action suits of the past. This new costume may not be quite as high as the comics but it’s definitely inspired. The design of the collar also influences the cape attachment. The cape connects on his shoulders on either side of the collar just like in the New 52. Not sure how Clark is going to hide this under his Daily Planet clothes though.

Maybe the most controversial bit of the New 52 costume is the lack of trunks. Like with the first Man of Steel costume reveal, Corenswet is positioned in a way where we can’t see if he has trunks. You can zoom in and see some red, but until I see him standing up straight, hands on hips, I’m not ready to declare victory in the trunks or no trunks battle. I do personally hope this ends our no trunks streak for good.

Corenswet’s suit also has the detail lines from the new 52 costume. In the comics they are part of the armor, but here they are visual details breaking up the blue. This is where The CW comes in. These detail lines are very much a part of the Supergirl and Superman costumes from those shows. They are entirely different from the belt and cuff designs seen on Cavill’s suit.

Finally, the boots. They remind me of the boots Tyler Hoechlin wore when he first appeared on Supergirl. They have the rectangular blocks on them in a very similar way. Hoechlin’s later boots were a more standard leather affair just like Henry Cavill’s. I wish these had more of the V shape to them, but it’s close.

The Material

From our first shot at the shield and in fitting with current super hero costume trends we knew this suit was going to be a thicker material and not tights. We also knew there would be a texture to the costume like we’ve seen in both Man of Steel and The CW costumes. There are no surprises here, but I do like the folds in the fabric. The fabric does remind me of this Guardians photo which I guess is unsurprising considering the source.

The cape

The color looks dynamite. I personally prefer a shorter cape, but I know the long cape is probably more cinematic. I highly doubt we’ll get the shield on the cape. That ship sailed with the animated series and the amount of extra work it would take to animate.

The pose

I’m puzzled by their decision to go with this pose. I do think part of it is to obscure the trunks, but it’s such a passive pose. Sitting down and putting your boots on. In comparison to Cavill’s first photo in front of the bank vault which is the most dynamic debut we’ve seen. Hoechlin, Routh, and Reeve all got Superman standing poses; even though Hoechlin doesn’t do the Superman and put his hands on his hips.

The hair

Holy crap I love his hair. It’s perfect. He’s got the curl. No notes. Cain, Hoechlin, and Cavill not having the curl definitely detracts from their costumes. For Cain it’s terrible because his Clark hair is so much better than his Superman hair (yes I know the show is Lois & Clark). It breaks my heart with Cavill because it looks like his hair does that naturally!



entirely in-camera”

Todd Vaziri does a great job of pointing out when filmmakers try to hype their films as having used no-CGI”. Gunn’s comment that this photo was entirely in-camera” feels like another version of that. There has never been Superman on screen without some form of visual effects. From rotoscoping in the serials to rear projection and optical effects on television to CGI in Superman III. Superman on film has always pushed forward what was possible with visual effects and set the standard for what is possible. Saying something is entirely in-camera while there is a sky beam in the background is disingenuous at best. Don’t get me started on every old generation saying the new Superman isn’t any good because it’s too focused on special effects. When I read Kirk Alyn saying that about the Donner film I laughed out loud.

Now I want to see this guy in motion!

May 6, 2024

Revisiting the Superman Wordmark

Readers of this blog will know I have a bit of an obsession with the iconography around Superman. As a character that’s been around for 85+ years the logos and wordmarks have approached an almost religious/idolatrous level of complexity and evolution. With fervent believers on each side of course.

For the second Superman Day of the year I thought I would revisit the wordmark that was updated last year. A few months after it debuted last year I wrote about the wordmark and it’s history over the preceding decades. At the time I wrote that I did not like this new iteration and that I preferred the version debuted back in 1983.

Over a year later, I’d argue this new wordmark has failed. I’ll give two specific examples why I think so.

This morning DC sent out a marketing email for Superman Day telling people to shop our new merch drop!” The wordmark they used for the email? Of course it’s the post-83 version:

The Superman wordmark above Superman with his back facing us looking out at a clear blue sky.

In fact there is no current piece of Superman merchandise that features this new wordmark. If the powers that be were fully onboard with the change they’d have rolled out all kinds of products with it. Especially when the main toy complaint with Superman is that he doesn’t have any other costumes or accessories like Batman. New designs give them new things to sell!

My second and most damning piece of evidence: the new house ad for the House of Brainiac” crossover. One could easily argue that the merchandising arm of Warner Discovery isn’t tied in to the day to day aesthetics of the comic books so the above miss is excusable—although I’d argue that they should be very concerned with how their flagship character and property are being presented. But there is no argument that DC’s inhouse ad design team shouldn’t be aligned with current character logos. In last week’s Green Lantern #10 which features a tie-in story to House of Brainiac” we get a two-page spread advertisement for the story that has the correct modern Action Comics logo—which I also don’t love—but has the classic post-83 wordmark—specifically the version from the DC Connect preview from last year with the extra gloss. How could they miss that in the ad for what they are promoting in a part of that storyline?


I went back through the last year of Action Comics and found the post-83 version used seven separate times. That’s overlooking the two early house ads for the Superman relaunch since they were likely put together before the issues were finalized. This new wordmark isn’t used in the pages of Action Comics until this month’s issue with the new recap page that was introduced as part of relaunch/rebrand.

For additional context some of the other Superman books published in the last twelve months include: Superman Space Age which used a pre-83 wordmark matching it’s Pre-Crisis era story. The Return of Superman special used the period appropriate post-83 wordmark. Superman 78 used the movie-styled wordmark, again appropriate for the subject matter. Finally, the Superman vs Meshi manga used a redrawn version of the post-83 wordmark.

Close up on the wordmark Superman vs. Meshi along with the Japanese Kanji translation

It seems the only books that have had this new wordmark on or in them are ones written by Joshua Williamson and I wonder if it was him that was the driving force behind it. There doesn’t seem to be any traction around the company to make this new version stick.

I’d love to ask designer Darran Robinson about it, but it appears all his social media and web presence have been removed.

April 18, 2024

Formerly Known as Legacy

Looks like I posted too soon yesterday; we got some big Superman news for his birthday later in the day. When I was on my way to see Dune Part Two my wonderful partner mentioned they are going with the Kingdom Come shield.” I know that they used the Kingdom Come shield for the name cards during the table read, but beyond that it was still speculation. She pulled up director James Gunn’s Instagram and I resisted the urge to pull over to take a closer look.

A close up of the new Superman shield covered in snow

The live-action theatrical shield has been on a parallel evolution path with the comics. In the late 1940s the comics were just starting to solidify the shield to the standard” we’d recognize today. Specifically look at the round bulbous serif on the bottom. An early example we can see in 1948’s Superman #53 released as the ten year anniversary issue. A close up of the cover of Superman 53 showing the round serif in 1948 When Kirk Alyn hit the big screen in 1948 his S skips this round serif going with the shield that had been more common throughout the 40s. George Reeves and his Mole Men stuck with a very similar style S—although the color TV show years did flatten the top line. A close up of the cover of Kirk Alyn’s Superman shield Fast forward to Christopher Reeve in 1978 and his shield also eschews that rounded serif. While the movie marketing material has it, Chris’ costume does not. The size and shape are also adjusted with thicker red lines along with a new angle on the top serif. I find it interesting that I often see fans describe this costume as the classic despite this S being unique. Being a Salkind production the Supergirl shield stays close in line to this one.

We don’t get another Superman theatrical release until Brandon Routh dons the cape in 2006. Again this shield evolves off the previous one. Missing that serif, but also getting much darker and smaller. The spandex era was over at this point so this S is no longer just sewn into the costume. The darker maroon almost brown color instead of red was this movie’s attempt at being modern. Hindsight is not kind to these colors.

That iteration only got one theatrical flight before Henry Cavill took the mantle. For the final time (so far) we skip the round serif, but gain a large serif at the top. I find this to be reminiscent of the early 1940s logos that these spun off of in the first place. Subsequent Cavill shields add a strip of Kryptonese text in the middle.

Close up on the cover to Superman 9, with Superman bursting through the page. Close up of the first image of Henry Cavill’s S

Corenswet’s new S breaks with this evolutionary path and gets its inspiration elsewhere.

With 1978’s Superman: The Movie, Jor-El wears the shield for the first time. Rather than standing for Superman, the S is now a family crest. The Superman name comes after the S in the movie. This is now an alien family crest that just so happens to be in the shape of the Latin letter S; the first letter of the character’s name. 2003’s Superman Birthright miniseries takes this to the next level. Explicitly calling the shield the Kryptonian symbol for hope. When Man of Steel was made ten years later they took this idea and ran with it. It informed their redesign of the shield making it a bit more alien” while still being recognizable as an S. I think this story element and influence was taken to the next level in the recent animated series My Adventures with Superman. The shield for this show sticks with classic comic colors but simplifies the shapes into straight lines. It can easily be read as an S, but is also believable as an alien symbol unrelated to human letters. This has been taken in the completely wrong direction with General Zod’s Kryptonian symbol of a Z in the comics. It makes no sense.

Black and white photo of Marlon Brando as Jor-El from Superman the movie Close up of the shield from My Adventures with Superman

Now the Kingdom Come of it all. The late 90s was the height of the Dark Age of comics. Gritty, violent superheroes were all the rage. The question the book asks is how does a character from the Golden Age like Superman fit in this world? Is he relevant” for today’s climate and sophisticated reader. Superman returns to a world that has largely forgotten about him with a new shield. Black replaces the yellow and the design is far simpler, more alien, and less obviously an S. This Superman previously wore the standard comic book S of the time, but his return in this changed world is decidedly darker. In trying to show the way to a new brand of heroes he veers into authoritarianism before ultimately failing.

Close up of the shield from Kingdom Come

I love this book, but the question does Superman fit into modern times” is almost as old as the character! People were saying that in 1978 when the first movie was made and people are still saying that today. How many times do we have to ask this question and get the same answer? I hope this movie isn’t trying to ask this same question.

When The CW wanted to bring back Brandon Routh to the cape as an older Superman for Crisis on Infinite Earths it was decided it should an adaptation of the version we saw in Kingdom Come. He was given the backstory from Kingdom Come minus some important bits like Magog and his exile. Fitting with this tragic backstory is the red and black S. While this costume is a very close adaptation of the comic version it is still influenced by the Routh’s Superman Returns costume. There is a raised plastic element to the shield and the suit is textured rather than a flat blue fabric. In the comic we never see Superman in costume during the denouement. The shield is always red and black. In fact, the epilogue from Justice Society #22 and the pseudo sequel The Kingdom also never feature a red and yellow version of the Kingdom Come S. On television though we got a farewell/homage to the Reeves/Routh version of the character with him flying over Earth and smiling at the camera. The black in his suit is replaced with yellow, but the shield maintains the abstract design. Brandon Routh’s Superman flying around the Earth smiling at the camera This new S is closest to that final Brandon Routh S; with the textures and materials most like Man of Steel. Rather than being made of a separate material like Crisis and Superman Returns the new shield is made from the same material as the costume like Man of Steel. This new shield also adds a yellow border further differentiating it. This S is not the Kingdom Come S. It’s Kingdom Come inspired, but it would be inaccurate to say it’s the Kingdom Come shield.

I personally don’t think this is a good choice for the S for this movie. I have never loved the idea that the S is a Kryptonian symbol and I think the biggest reason to use a design like this is to lean into that. I just want it to be an S. Maybe it becomes a symbol of hope in the universe after Superman’s appearance. I like that better thematically than him being born with a symbol of hope. I understand we’ve had 45+ years of it being Kryptonian, but the more alien we make it the less Superman it feels to me. This specific shield design was originally earned as part of a story that ties to years of continuity. It’s an old Clark. This is new movie is early days for this Superman. I think John Byrne explained the S really well in the Man of Steel miniseries. Clark saves the spaceplane without a costume, gets named Superman by Lois in the Daily Planet, and that name inspires the symbol. His mom makes the costume, him and Pa Kent make the S. But the biggest reason I think this symbol is a mistake is it comes with too much baggage. Every theatrical adaptation has had it’s own unique take on the shield signifying it is something new. Especially, Superman Returns and Man of Steel. Using an alteration of an existing comic design doesn’t make it instantly associated with the new movie. You post a black and white version of this and it could be Kingdom Come it could be Crisis on Infinite Earths or it could be this movie. You post a black and white version of the Man of Steel shield and you know what it is.

I haven’t touched on my feelings on everything else we know about this movie so while we are diving deep lets look at the rest of what we know. A group photo of the case from Superman after their first table read. Eve, Mr. Terrific, Superman/Clark, Otis, Lex, producer Peter Safran, Jimmy, Metamorpho, Lois, Hawkgirl, me, Guy, and The Engineer I like James Gunn. I think he is a good filmmaker and storyteller. I think he’s coming from the right place in making this movie based on everything he has said about it. He’s mentioned how important it is to his relationship with his father and he is concerned with the legacy of the character. There are things about Gunn that make me nervous though.

The first is his penchant for taking a lesser known character and just completely changing them to fit the story he wants to tell. It’s fine if you don’t have any love for a particular character (like Vigilante in Peacemaker), but can really hurt (like Adam Warlock in Guardians of the Galaxy).

He’s also taking a usual suspects approach to some of the cast and crew. The Guardians films are great, I’m not denying that. But do they have the best cinematography and best music in the film world right now? I don’t think anyone would say they do. I want this movie to be transcendant. I want it to be next level. It can’t just be another superhero movie. It needs to start a whole new universe and at the same time continuing a character legacy going back almost 90 years. This isn’t Star Lord and Rocket Raccoon. Using the same cinematographer and composer might be comfortable, but are they going to bring this to the next level it needs to be? We know he’s pals with Nathan Fillion, but do we need Fillion as Guy Gardner in the first new Superman movie? How about his brother as Max Lord?

Final point on Gunn, is the Brightburn of it all. Yes Gunn didn’t write or direct this movie, but he had a hand in producing it. Not only was this a movie I didn’t like, the evil Superman trope is one of my least favorite ideas in fiction. It shows a fundamental misunderstanding of what makes Superman special. Now I like The Boys and Invincible, because those stories aren’t simply about what if Superman went bad”. They are about what would the rest of the world do if there was someone with Superman’s powers without his moral compass. It works as metaphor to actually powerful people and how we handle abuse of power. Versus an Injustice which has a focus on how cool it would be for Supes to rip someone in half. It is a videogame.

Our main cast for the movie? The big three of Lois, Clark, and Lex? They are great. The minute Rachel Brosnahan was announced I started watching Mrs. Maisel and she’s fantastic. She is like Lois Lane jumping off the page into real life. David Corenswet has a great look and was great in Pearl. The dude is giant, which really sells it for me. I’ve liked Nicholas Hoult in everything I’ve seen him in and he’s already shaved his head. Win, win, win.

The rest of the cast? No complaints besides why are all these characters in a Superman movie? Seems like a random bunch and seems like maybe too many characters for this movie that we want to focus on Big Blue! Miss Teschmacher and Otis tie it very closely to the Donnerverse so it’s strange he went with them rather than Mercy Graves or someone new. I know lots of the choices are dead ringers for their comic counterparts (looking at you Skyler Gisondo as Jimmy Olsen) which is cool, but I like when they throw curveballs too. Lawrence Fishburn was inspired casting as Perry White.

Just after I published I saw the report that Wendell Pierce has been cast as Perry White. Looks great!

Last bit I have to say on this movie right now is the about the title. I’ve never loved Superman Legacy as the title, but I do like the sentiment. When Superman Returns came out it felt like the perfect title. It was a continuation of a long dormant franchise, it was about Superman coming back after a long absence, and it echoed Tim Burton’s Batman Returns. Man of Steel was also perfect. A reboot with a title echoing The Dark Knight (which was also part of a reboot of Batman). Superman: The Movie made sense for the first one and even echoed Batman: The Movie (1966). Yes, I always call it The Movie” because I like the 1970s vibe it gives and it’s on some advertising despite not being officially the title. Changing the title of this movie to simply Superman is undoubtably going to cause confusion. But it’s putting the flag in the sand saying this is going to do for Superman what Batman (1989) did for Batman. I hope they are right.

PS Maybe we shouldn’t have been surprised by this shield at all since Gunn basically told us almost a full year ago on BlueSky.

March 1, 2024

Superman’s Birthday

I couldn’t let the once every four years Superman’s Birthday go by without a little celebration.

Last May on a Superman collector’s Facebook group, someone posted for sale a Superman (or Batman) cake pan with original accessories and instructions. Originally made by the Wilton company in the late 1970s. I have vivid memories of having this cake as a child and loving it. The price was right, so I picked it up.

Superman or Batman cake pan with accessories and instructions

I’ve been waiting for the right moment to use it and what better time than Superman’s birthday?

  • It’s the 22nd leap day since 1938 so the Man of Tomorrow has plenty of good years ahead of him
  • We are rapidly approaching the 86th April 18 since 1938
  • This year will be the 11th Superman Day June 12th (originally Man of Steel day) since DC announced it in 2013 to coincide with the release of the Man of Steel movie
  • Finally, the best Superman holiday of them all, Miracle Monday, was first celebrated with the release of the book May 18th, 1981; 43 years ago this year

A cake in the shape of Superman’s torso

February 29, 2024


Photo with my girlfriend and I posing with Supermen Tom Welling, Brandon Routh, Gerard Christopher, Dean Cain, and Tyler Hoechlin.

Over the weekend I went to the Rhode Island Comic Con. The main draw was, of course, the above picture with Tom Welling, Brandon Routh, Gerard Christopher, Dean Cain, and Tyler Hoechlin; but there were lots of other Superman-related actors in attendance as well. If we consider Doom Patrol and Titans Superman related, there were 23 actors from Superman projects and one director (plus Brent Spiner who was cast but then dropped as the President on Supergirl and Tim Daly who cancelled). I tried to prioritize who I was meeting since there was no way I would be able to meet 22 people in one day!

Our first stop was the Smallville Fathers and Sons panel with Tom Welling, Michael Rosenbaum, John Schneider, and John Glover. The panel was short and there wasn’t much insight shared beyond what we get on the weekly Talkville podcast. Schneider did talk a bit about his return for the final episode which was cool to hear. Overall the panel they did at the Superman Celebration last year was better and more fun. Last year I went to Smallville Nights twice so I didn’t do that again this year. With time being as it is, I didn’t get photos or signatures from the two dads, but did walk by them on the convention floor.

Back in 2021 Stacy Haiduk and Ilan Michael Smith from Superboy were at the aforementioned Superman Celebration. I met them both and got a photo signed with a spot for Superboy Gerard Christopher right in the middle. I’ve been waiting patiently for a chance to meet Mr. Christopher and get his signature and this was finally my chance. He was super gracious to us. We talked briefly about his recent interview on the All-Star Superfan Podcast which I loved. We bumped into him later in the day and he was still so friendly and I loved that New York accent. Real stand-up guy.

After meeting Gerard we went around the corner to meet the Super Sons Alex Garfin and Jordan Elsass. We ended up waiting for them at their table for more than 30 minutes but then had to give up. I assume they were late because of the poorly organized photo ops. We looped back around at the end of our day and finally caught them. They both felt like their characters to me which is super interesting. Jordan mentioned how tough it was to live in Vancouver just like Jon Kent would complain about living in Smallville over Metropolis.

While we were waiting for the boys we did see John Ratzenberger across the aisle. He’s been in so many movies that I love him in, but of course his Superman the movie claim to fame is close to my heart: Absolutely impossible, sir. They have the new B20 low level avoidance systems.”

The very last stop of the day was the Brandon Routh panel. Since I had met him at the 2018 Celebration I didn’t do any additional meet and greet with him separately. This panel also paled in comparison to Celebration. This is pretty disappointing considering since 2018 he’s had the opportunity to revisit the role which is something he expressed great interest in. His answers were more limited due to the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike than it seemed the Smallville guys were. It didn’t help that he was running late and the panel felt very rushed.

The overall convention experience was one of the worst I’ve seen. I’ve been to many cons over the years both large and small (from New York Comic Con to LadiesCon in Somerville) and I’ve never seen a more poorly organized set up. First thing when we walked in at the security check was a no outside food rule. It’s absurd that I couldn’t bring in a pack of Twizzlers and would be forced to buy food there. I have several dietary restrictions which makes eating out a complicated endeavor. The next issue we ran into was with the panels. The two I went to were in a separate building requiring a second security check every time. The audio at the panels was absolute garbage. It was hard for us to hear what the panelists were saying and it was hard for them to hear questions from the audience. The camera set up dead in the middle of the room was terrible placement. They told everyone to hold photos until the end of the panel but then each time rushed the panelists off stage. Crappy experience. The photo op experience was also poorly managed. The photo ops were up on the 5th floor of the convention center. Everyone looking for their photo op congregated in a foyer as a big sea of people. The sea of people needed to be funneled through a double door choke point into the ballroom with designated lines for each photo op. When you heard them call out the name of the photo op you had to raise your hand and push through the crowd to find the line to stand in. It was also extra confusing because there were two Supermen groups (one without Gerard Christopher). They were about 20 minutes late to call out the Supermen group photo and there was another 20 or so minute wait before we got in front of them.

Once the photos started it was fast. You got about 15 seconds there to take the photo and go. There was a problem with our first photo so they called us back for a second one which gave me an additional few seconds with them. It was so cool to see them all together. Scrolling through social media I always see bad photoshop jobs putting these guys in the same place and here I was seeing it for real. This was also a great way to see Dean Cain without paying for his autograph. Dude really bums me out. Plus it was a way to see Welling, Routh, and Hoechlin all again and not feel bad for wasting money! When I sent the photo to my father he told me I looked like I had just won a million dollars. Can’t describe it better than that.

The people I missed? Anna Diop and Ryan Potter from Titans; April Bowlby, Diane Guerrero, and Stephanie Czajkowski from Doom Patrol; Anson Mount and Evangeline Lilly who were on Smallville; Harry Lennix from Man of Steel; Nolan North from Young Justice; Phil Lamarr from Young Justice and Supergirl; Denise Crosby who was on Lois & Clark; Chad Coleman from Superman & Lois; and Amy Jo Johnson who directed an episode of Superman & Lois.

November 6, 2023