« all the news that's fit to predict | Main | dance like there's ass in your pants »

D.C. comics: like the guy with the lampshade on his head

[via Henry and several emails]

Is D.C. Comics making a statement with it's new Justice League of America title, Stream of Consciousness?

Lex Luthor, has snagged the job of president of the United States. And President Luthor plans to pre-emptively strike a country called Qurac....Superheroes, including the venerable Batman and Superman, oppose the military action.

And then Superman delivers this speech:

“We exist … because those with the power to stop injustice simply must. With clarity, compassion, and truth as their most powerful weapons. We can show them a better way, I know we can. Armed conflict may be an option, and I will support it … if the truth is clear, and the cause is just. But I will know the truth, and I will not feel ashamed or be called un-American for demanding it.”

Mind Pollution has a summary of the title. An excerpt:

As the situation escalates, dissent is labeled as treasonous, and the government creates paranoia for public sentiment to feed upon. War with Qurac seems inevitable, despite worldwide disagreement. At one point, the announcement goes out that the American public will be able to avoid the napalm-like effects of another terrorist attack through the use of household cooking ingredients. Crowds of shoppers stampede their supermarkets.

Ah, shades of duct tape. And there's oil and mid-east terrorist links and on and on.

The entertainment industry often takes the headlines of the day and turns them into, well, entertainment.

But onto my original question: Is D.C. Comics making a statement?

I believe they are, but not the political message that most people will see when they read JLA. I do believe the bigger message is this:

Hi. We are D.C. Comics. Pay attention to us, we are being controversial for the sake of being controversial. Buy our comics!

Nothing more, nothing less.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference D.C. comics: like the guy with the lampshade on his head:

» Whee from Inoperable Terran
The Justice League is now a subsidiary of the UN, which tends to put a damper on Frank J's "Arab League vs. Justice League". (Summary: Lex Luthor steals the election and decides to bomb "Quirac" because it gives him wood.... [Read More]

» For Your Blog Only from Ambient Irony
Everything becomes clear - or at least, slightly less murky - in Episode 13 of The Blogfather: For Your Blog Only. Not actually appearing in this film are Mickey Kaus, Andrew Sullivan, Eugene Volokh, Michele of A Small Victory, and Dave Barry.... [Read More]

» The War in Iraq: the comic book? from Brain Shavings
Power Line reports that true stories from the War in Iraq are soon to appear in the pages of Marvel Comics, as penned by Karl Zinsmeister (an excellent author). No shock there, since DC Comics was always the more liberal of the two companies.... [Read More]


Ya know, that's why I didn't really offer up an interpretationof the statement being made, and instead just threw out a few questions the issue made me ask. it felt like they were trying to be current and hit close to home, but they never really took a clear stance on either side of things. I liked the issue, because i think there was something interesting about the concept, but i definitely agree that no clear position was stated, and that left it a bit lacking.

Is this true? It almost sounds like a joke? In comics, are superheroes' politcal stances just as annoying as celebrities?

If they're trying to use controversy to drive up sales, they could just show me Wonder Woman naked. I'd buy at least one copy.

i don't mind when comics try and conveigh a moral message, but political messages, especially ones ripped from straight from current headlines are just nonsense. mostly because adding the unreal into the real and then saying "look, just like what's going on now!!" is just plain stupid and i refuse to allow DC or Marvel or anyone belittle me as a reader like that. joe kelly can just blow this storyline out his ass. can't we get grant morrison to come back? now THERE was a man who could write a good JLA story.

I'm really glad I stopped buying comics 6 years ago.. Although Lobo is a cool character from DC. He would have Bombed Qurac, Killed Luthor, and banged a bunch of strippers. My kind of comic.

Bush = Luthor?

I give them half a point for being more imaginative than the Bush = Hitler bunch.


They're not taking a clear stance? Lex Luthor is for the war and the superheroes are against it... yeah no stance taken there.

And yeah Lobo ruled.

Hmmm. I see what's going on. The authors are liberals who are tired of having their asses kicked by someone they sincerely believe is an idiot (GWB), so they're soothing their egos by recasting the role of President as someone who is presumably not an idiot (Lex Luthor, though anyone who ran around in purple and green outfits for twenty years should probably not be considered all there), and who will presumably be prevented from conducting the bad, bad invasion and thereby affirm the irrefutable rightness of their way of life.

Is it wrong to wish that Lex Luthor would win this one? He wouldn't have to kill the JL--just chain them to computer stations and force them to watch visitors to conservative blogs mock them mercilessly. ]:-)

You'd think that, in a world where there is a Superman - you know, an effectively immortal man who can fly, see through walls, and, well, do pretty much whatever he wants, there'd be a perfect solution to the "Qurac" problem.

Just ask Supes to go and "inspect" "Qurac" to find their nasty weapons - after all, unlike the UN, Supes really does want ot find them, won't take any shit, and can see things buried or hidden. Piece of cake.

Of course, such a story line wouldn't make for much of an attack on President Bush, would it?

By the way, I wonder if the Quracis, in the story, are being generally abused, tortured, raped, and murdered, like Iraqis were before the Horribly Unjust War? And if so, what's Supes going to do about that horrible injustice? After all, unlike the "peace protestors" in the real world, he has the power to do something about it in about an hour by simply flying over there and killing the Hussein-equivalent that's running the show.

A treatment of that sort of moral issue might avtually be interesting and develop Superman's character, but what are the odds we'll see it?

About zero.

I always thought Superman was boring. I see he still is.

JLA is one of my regular monthly reads. I'll pick up the issues in question, and if I get the overwhelming sense that it's trying to say exactly what it sounds like it's trying to say, I will probably dump the book Chris Hitchen's VS. The Nation style.

Of course, I probably have to drop it anyway because I can't afford that many comics right now, but lets pretend it's because of high minded political ideals k?

I don't see how anyone can equate Luthor with aWol. Two things come to mind.

1. Luthor is a sucessful businessman

2. He can talk coherent English at all times.

Of course, he probably has better writers than aWol does. ;)

Actually, this is just a bug that's been up Joe Kelly's ass for several months now. The previous story arc was a thinly-veiled allegory on Waco and those sorts of situations. So for Kelly and readers of JLA, this is nothing new.

While I agree with what Kelly's trying to say, I don't think this sort of thing is his strong point- he has a tendency towards heavy-handedness. His thing is characterization, and he's neglecting it, so I wish he'd get back to writing about the JLA instead of yesterday's headlines. I never thought I'd miss those "unimaginably powerful menace threateniing the world as we know it" kind of stories, but I do...

Wow. That was a whole mess of ignorance in one little comment section. Some of these folks might have been better off reading the issue before writing out their comments, as they look like flaming idiots now. For one, the Superheroes did not take a stance on either side of it, an dthat was the basic premise of the story - sometimes if you wait too long without taking a side, the decision is made for you. As far as Superman scanning the area for WMDs or killing the Qurac dictator, they addressed both these notions in the issue - Luthor tried to rush the Superheroes into assassinating this "mass-murdering dictator" before he uses his WMDs, yet after scanning the area, Supes found no evidence of the WMDs, and saw that America itself was becoming a police state in the build-up to the war.
Just clearing that up for some of the people posting comments who would rather make snap judgements without any actual research. But hell, ain't t the world full of those types these days?

If I want commentary in my comic books I'll read Mad magazine. Stick to the adventure guys.

Re-elect Lex Luthor! (Or has he been re-elected? I haven't read much comics since Sandman went away.) All the bad things you read about him is just anti-capatilistic propaganda written by leftists with the political awareness of an adolescent. Someday that Superman guy will get frustrated with it all and try to force some utopian scheme on us and you'll be glad we have someone like Luthor to keep him in check!

PS - The X-Men suck. I never understood why Stan Lee is supposed to be some kind of genius for creating superheroes than whine about being hated and feared. You don't suppose that shopping mall you just destroyed while fighting other mutants might have something to do with it?

(I suppose it's not surprising to hear I'm appreciative of folks like Alan Moore.)

I haven't read the comic so I have to qualify this opinion...

Lex Luthor is the bad guy, Superheroes are the good guys...

Not hard from there to guess what the point was. Not very creative or original either. I guess the only question I have is why they bothered to change the name of the country that gets invaded?

Were they concerned about Hussein suing them for defamation?

Luthor's been president in the DC Universe for several years now. This wasn't something that was dreamed up for this particular issue of JLA.

Just so's ya know...

Geez, rm, after reading your comments, I don't know how we could have POSSIBLY thought this thing was a dig at Bush.

"Re-elect Lex Luthor! ...All the bad things you read about him is just anti-capatilistic propaganda written by leftists with the political awareness of an adolescent."

Oops, did someone step on your religion? I guess you don't like anyone bashing your High Priest of Profit. Money is morality and greed is piety. Maybe if you foreclosed on a few late-paying mortgages you'd feel better...

BTW, liberal adolescence is still ahead of conservative infantilism (a whole mindset still stuck in the id--"mine, mine, nobody gets anything till I have all that I want first" <--which is the whole foundation of "trickle down economics").

It's about time the world's greatest superhero, Superman, started addressing the REAL problems facing humanity.

I know this is kind of late, but Qurac has existed for years in the DC Universe.