Truth, Justice, and the Soviet Way
June 9, 2003 2:25 PM   Subscribe

Truth, Justice, and the Soviet Way What if baby Kal-El's spaceship had crashed on Earth 12 hours earlier, in the Ukraine instead of middle America? The new 3-issue comic book series Superman: Red Son envisions the Man of Steel as a good-hearted citizen of the USSR, helping to spread communism across the world. Wonder Woman is his girlfriend; Batman is an anti-Soviet terrorist; Lex Luthor becomes U.S. president. This alternate-universe jaunt is not just for fun: writer Mark Millar says it's a timely exploration of what happens when one all-powerful country anoints itself leader of the world.
posted by Artifice_Eternity (25 comments total)
Red Son #1 was very, very cool, and I'm quite excited for #2 to come out on Wednesday. And I imagine DC will be putting out a trade paperback version pretty quickly for anybody who can't score a copy of #1.
posted by COBRA! at 2:30 PM on June 9, 2003

What's with all the "subintsoc" stuff? Is it supposed to do something? If so, not a whole lot happened...
posted by kaemaril at 2:40 PM on June 9, 2003

The original cast of Saturday Night Live did a sketch about what would have happened if Kal-El had landed in Germany instead of Kansas, and ended up fighting for the Nazis. Überman was one of their funniest bits.

Lois-equivalent: Can you see through my clothes, Überman?

Überman: Yes! And through his clothes too. He's a Jew!

Other guy: No, no! My parents were very interested in hygiene...
posted by George_Spiggott at 2:40 PM on June 9, 2003

No big deal about Luthor -- he's US President in regular DC continuity already.
posted by Guy Smiley at 3:01 PM on June 9, 2003

Anyone know of a link to info on this title at DC's own site? I couldn't find one; there was nothing on the front page, and no search feature.

Also, any suggestions for a non-aficionado of comics as to where one might find Red Son on sale in NYC?
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 3:03 PM on June 9, 2003

Interesting to note that comic book writers seem to be a lot more creative than, say . . . hollywood screen writers?

I guess that goes without saying.

hey, wait - that's why they're making so many comc book movies!
posted by cinderful at 3:04 PM on June 9, 2003

cinderful -- there are many extremely talented and creative screenwriters in Hollywood. And be sure to tip them well when you're dining out there.
posted by George_Spiggott at 3:11 PM on June 9, 2003

Self-link. From a page on Artifice_Eternity's website:

"His recent projects include, an online journal of non-fiction writing and photography about Miami, and, a webzine of politics, technology, culture and satire. He has also begun posting samples of his photographic work on this site."

(I wouldn'ta looked if it didn't smell like a self link. :P )
posted by ptermit at 3:12 PM on June 9, 2003

ptermit: I would have linked to DC's site as the authoritative source on Red Son if I'd found anything there. Instead, the first link is to an earlier attempt at a comprehensive roundup of info on the series, and the second to an interview w/ the writer. I thought MeFites would be interested.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 3:19 PM on June 9, 2003

Artifice_Eternity: your second link is broken. I think you meant to type this.
posted by George_Spiggott at 3:26 PM on June 9, 2003

George_Spiggott: correct. Thanks.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 3:28 PM on June 9, 2003

Kim Newman's short story "Ubermensch!" posited a Superman landing in Nazi Germany who spent the post-war period in Spandau prison. It was published in New Worlds 1 in 1991 and reprinted in Dozois's Year's Best Science Fiction. Quite a story.
posted by mcwetboy at 4:59 PM on June 9, 2003


You can use this link to find a local comic store.

I think you will find that today's comics are quite engaging for adult. I suggest you try a Frank Miller Sin City title when you go.
posted by Argyle at 5:01 PM on June 9, 2003

I suppose it's a bit like if Babe Ruth had played for the Pittsburgh Pirates instead of the New York Yankees - he'd still have been a great ballplayer, but he would have been a hometown hero somewhere else.

The difference is that I tend to believe that environment plays a larger part in personal development. Babe Ruth would have lacked the coaching staff, the larger, flashier life in New York and the resources of a major ballclub. He wouldn't be the Babe that we know today.

I hope that this (really cool sounding) series takes something like that into account.
posted by stevis at 5:34 PM on June 9, 2003

Interesting to note that comic book writers seem to be a lot more creative than, say . . . hollywood screen writers?

Arguably this is because comics are several orders of magnitude cheaper to produce, and thus represent significantly less risk than your average movie.

(it's also why I spend an order of magnitude more money on comics, than movies)
posted by inpHilltr8r at 5:40 PM on June 9, 2003

...and I very rarely spend any of that on the 'men in tights' subgenre...
posted by inpHilltr8r at 5:41 PM on June 9, 2003

Millar did excellent work with the Authority after Warren Ellis killed off Jenny Sparks. My bet is he'll do excellent work here, as well.
posted by swerdloff at 6:02 PM on June 9, 2003

Mmmm... interestingly enough, this is the same Mark Millar that had problems following Warren Ellis on The Authority, where he explored a similar 'who watches the watchmen' theme. Albeit with more raw bloody ultraviolence than many could stomach...

on preview, jinx, with links...
posted by inpHilltr8r at 6:03 PM on June 9, 2003

Interesting to note that comic book writers seem to be a lot more creative than, say . . . hollywood screen writers?

I'm not sure that's true. 7 of the top 20 last month were x-men titles, and 19 were super hero comics. Even this particular work, while it does sound cool, isn't really a daring risk if you already have 4 other Superman titles (not counting JLA) coming out that month. So just like in Hollywood, all the creative, cutting edge work is marching on unappreciated (of course, 95% of the time the small-time stuff is garbage too).

Of course, all that being said, I'll probably go hunt it down if I can. I'm a fan of comics in mini-series form simply because it usually means the writer planned stuff out ahead of time and isn't making stuff up month to month. Not to mention that any story-telling medium tends to fall apart when you have to support years and years of continuity.
posted by Gary at 10:10 PM on June 9, 2003

So just like in Hollywood, all the creative, cutting edge work is marching on unappreciated...

Evidently so, if X-Force and Wolverine/Doop didn't make the top-20, even though they are peripheral X-Titles. I recommend both.

Obviously the largest comic book audience is still adolescents, and the adolescents follow the trends. I still remember how absolutely HUGE the X-Titles became AFTER a fantastic run of talent like Claremont/Byrne/Austin and Paul Smith and Bill Sienkiewicz (New Mutants) and Arthur Adams. The kids just kept following the hype even after the product had gone sour...

Want a good adult comic you'll read several times? Buy Mack and Mays Kabuki collaboration, Kabuki Agents: Scarab. No kidding, you can't go wrong. It blows me away every time I read it. Border's carries it, too. Ditto for Macan and Biukovic's Devils and Deaths. Absolutely. Brilliant.
posted by Shane at 5:11 AM on June 10, 2003 [1 favorite]

Anyone know if Mark Miller is any relation to Frank Miller?
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:33 AM on June 10, 2003

Nope. It's Mark MillAr.
posted by COBRA! at 11:38 AM on June 10, 2003

In NYC there's 'Forbidden Planet' at 13th and Broadway (across the street from the UA theater). There's some comics store on St. Mark's, and there's Midtown Comics on 40th and 7th (could be 8th, in the Times Square area).

I need to get these books, I've recently decided to turn my front room into a communist nostalgia room - this would be a great addition to the coffee table.
posted by QrysDonnell at 11:34 PM on June 10, 2003

Have been looking for a copy of Ubermensch! online and couldn't find it. Going to have to keep an eye out for New Worlds 1 at the bookstores now.

My research did turn this up:
There was an alternate Earth mentioned in Animal Man with hippified heroes, including Sunshine Superman, Speed Freak, and Magic Lantern.
Zany stuff. Never have liked comic books much, but I love pop culture. Probably know way too much about comic books as a consequence, but did not know anything this thread led me to.
posted by son_of_minya at 12:54 AM on June 12, 2003

QrysDonnell: As it turns out, I work a block away from Midtown Comics in NYC, so I was able to buy Red Son #2 (still on the stands) yesterday.

For #1, it looks like eBay is the only way to get a copy at this point...
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 12:41 PM on June 12, 2003

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