Replacing Kal-El

As said before, it’s not so much about hating Kal-El but rather realising that he’s very wasted and expendable. Writers really have nothing interesting to do with him that he might as well be replaced. Superman (and any Super character) losing their powers isn’t new, that’s been done before as early as an unpublished Superman story goes.

Both Supergirl and Superboy either have lost their powers or got them reduced before, perhaps several times over. At this point, somebody needs to do something new and different to the Superman franchise. I even think Superman really needs a reboot, right down to the concept.

It’s also safe to say that every attempt at renewing and expanding the Superman franchise and concept feels like a gimmick. Not just in the comics but also onscreen. So far we have a junior Superman programme four times, a female Superman programme, Superman in a slice of life setting, cartoon Superman and a darker, edgier Superman.

It would be very radical to not only get rid of all the other Supers and Kryptonians, even making Krypton entirely gone for good but also bring in a replacement or heir. If the Gods and Monsters film is any indication, a new take on Superman would involve replacing Kal-El with someone else.

Perhaps it’s about time to retire Kal-El just to renew the Superman franchise.

The Problem with Supergirl (and Superboy)

There’s nothing wrong with giving Superman youthful and/or female counterparts except that they’re made redundant by his very own existence. One might say that both Supergirl and Superboy are flawed from the get-go.

 

Mike Smith pointed out that the problem with Supergirl is that she’s practically redundant. Perhaps even moreso than Batgirl, Spider-Woman and She-Hulk though they’re gimmicks.

 

She continually gets written out and is made stranger by the minute. Her depiction in the New 52 shouldn’t be that surprising where she became a Red Lantern. On television, she’s Superman in drag.

 

Funny enough the same can be said of Superboy. He’s a younger Superman, regardless if he’s Kal or Kon. Like Supergirl, he often gets written out which is why all the other Superboys have been getting stranger as it’s already occupied by other characters, including Supergirl herself!

 

The original Superboy turned out to be a fake or duplicate. Superboy Prime went nuts. Kon’s backstory and personality has been rewritten so often that writers have no idea what to do with him other than get killed and replaced by someone else and then be brought back.

 

We might have our patience tested with Kon turning out to be James’s brother on Supergirl and realise there’s something wrong with them after all.

No more Krypton

As the Siegels and Shusters continue to fight over Superman, there’s a possibility that Kal-El has to retire or go away for good. Not because I hate him but because of the way the Superman franchise is heading would mean purging or excising essential problems.

 

The Superman case will be revisited again, which prompts DC to retire Kal-El and Krypton. In fact, by the time this happens the original Superman is dead for good and all of Krypton is gone.

 

That doesn’t mean there won’t be any Supergirls, Superboys and Supermen out there. All that it takes is a replacement or heir that would change the Superman franchise.

 

Not necessarily for better or worse, just something that happens in light of copyright and estates.

Crashing down

Superhero media will have its Evangelion moment in Supergirl. For those who don’t know, Evangelion’s a controversial cartoon due to its botched ending and increasingly graphic content that got it re-aired at a much later timeslot.

 

Not to mention its equally controversial 1997 film. (The same thing can be said of it predecessor and influence, Ideon.) It also received death threats when it was drawing to a close.

 

Here’s what will happen. Considering Supergirl’s declining ratings, it’s going to pull an Evangelion. Rather than introducing Kal-El, producers will have Kon-El turn out to be James Olsen’s baby brother.

 

To make matters worse, they introduce another Superboy. This leads to so many death threats on set that the programme gets moved to a later timeslot and Flash and Arrow do the same.

 

Especially with punk detective Barry Allen and masturbating Felicity Smoak. From then on, Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad bomb the box office putting an end to the superhero fad for eternity.

Premonitions

Supergirl starts featuring two Superboys. The first being Kon-El/Conner, James Olsen’s missing kid brother. The second being Jon Lane Kent, Superboy Prime. These episodes generate so much controversy that they invite death threats on set.

These get carried over to the Flash and Arrow, especially if they have a punk detective Barry Allen and masturbating Felicity Smoak. They all get moved to midnight timeslots, which becomes the norm for superhero television.

They also get repurposed into infomercials for upcoming webcomics and novels. This causes DC to do a Star Wars onto its comics continuity. The webcomics become the official versions from now on with the TV programmes being the adverts.

The print comics are now considered both drafts and apocryphal. Some readers wouldn’t like this but it’s going to be the case from now on.

Following Anime’s Lead

Superhero fatigue draws closer and could change the superhero genre’s direction forever, possibly making it parallel anime all the more. Both of them have bifurcated markets since the 70s. OVAs, Comic Market and Direct Market are for hardcore fans. TV programmes, magazines sales and book sales are for casual readers and viewers alike.

Considering Supergirl’s declining ratings, it could take a cue or two from Evangelion. First it introduces two Superboys, the first is Kon-El being James Olsen’s little brother. It generates so much controversy that Supergirl’s continually greeted with death threats which gets carried over to the Flash and Arrow.

Then all three of them move to late night timeslots and become infomercials for more successful webcomics. This has happened to anime before and if these happen, expect that to be carried over to superhero television.

The New Superman

Kal-El is the classic version of Superman but he’s definitely not the first to be called such. His own original authors had a version of Superman who was bald and evil to boot. Not to mention that he himself was preceded by Doctor Occult and Doc Savage, whose own posse is said to have inspired the Fantastic Four.

Given that he and related characters have been treated like crap by DC so badly they might as well be reinvented into or replaced by something else altogether. As Bruce Timm’s ‘Gods and Monsters’ are any indication, Kal-El needs to be replaced by someone else.

Rather than being taken as a statement against Superman, it’s addressing the problems plaguing the Superman franchise and what will happen if such changes did take place. At any rate when Supergirl introduces Kon-El as James Olsen’s brother, DC introduces a Superboy webcomic and potentially turn him into the new Superman.

This has happened before but this time it’s going to stick and it’ll be canon. It’ll be as canon as depowered punk detective Barry Allen is. With the New 52 being the draft and the Berlanti productions becoming infomercials for a successful webcomic, this is going to be DC’s final and most drastic reboot from now on.

Goodbye to Berlanti and New 52

If DC starts publishing webcomics since Zuda, it could pull a Star Wars on The New 52. This has happened before to an extent. No doubt that the New 52 is a failure but when it comes to publishing webcomics, both the New 52 and the Berlanti productions will not only be considered apocryphal.

They could even get repurposed as infomercials for that webcomic. Bits and pieces of each story will get passed down to the webcomic, which refines them in the interim. If Supergirl features a Kon-El who’s related to James Olsen, expect the forthcoming webcomic to reflect on that but by using the comics versions instead.

This sounds very cynical to treat Supergirl as an infomercial for the upcoming Superboy webcomic but considering the former’s declining ratings, the Woman of Steel would end up providing (for) the Boy of Steel instead.

Superboy will take priority over Supergirl, considering its potential to pull in younger readers due to its accessibility. One might even have a feeling that the webcomics Kon-El could become the new, official Superman as all the other Supermen are failures.

The Kal-El Superman has become so wasted and expendable that it’s unsurprising DC needs a newer, better one to replace him. As shown in the latest Bruce Timm cartoon, DC might as well replace him with someone else.

Then we have new, permanent ideas like Barry Allen permanently losing his powers before turning himself into a punk detective. It could start right at the Flash programme itself, following Supergirl’s disastrous lead.

It’s going to be a repeat of the Star Wars EU fiasco, only with DC this time and could even surpass it in controversy.

The Webcomics Canon

Another side-effect of DC and Marvel adopting and publishing webcomics for good is that they’re going to pull a Star Wars. Star Wars is a franchise centered on the adventures of Luke Skywalker and his posse in outer space. There was and still is an expanded universe to capitalise on the movies’ popularity though this has been changed and the problem with the expanded universe is that it appeals to obsessive fans.

Maybe not entirely but it feels like it. Similar things could be said of DC and Marvel’s ridiculous use of storytelling involving changes done to storytelling continuity. In other words, retcons and if you will, reboots.

There’s nothing wrong with changes done to characters.What’s wrong is whether or not it’s in canon. At any rate when DC starts rebooting and retooling characters, even reverting back to their classic versions it makes you wonder what directions could’ve been taken had these happened less frequently.

Supergirl could still be an angel with no real genetic relation to Superman and Barbara Gordon has happily relinquished her Batgirl identity to other women. But this was eventually undone and for Barbara, it’s telling that outside of comics she’s always Batgirl. The female Batman even when other women can make that claim too.

Everything feels like an afterthought and draft of a far bigger, better idea. A lot of superhero stories almost always feel like drafts for something else. Not just for movies, television and licencing but for something grander.

Given DC’s habit of rebooting, if it publishes webcomics at all since Zuda there’s a chance that it’ll reboot itself without trying. This would make the New 52 imprint a huge draft for a potentially more successful webcomic.

This means that some of the concepts in New 52 will be carried over to the webcomic, eventually refining them for mass consumption. The webcomic will eventually be considered canon, the one to go for.

The New 52 isn’t just a draft for future programmes but also a far more successful, accessible and cheaper webcomic. If that happens, expect more than half of the New 52 continuity to be thrown out Star Wars style.

Declining Sales and Viewership

Superhero comics’ sales have been declining, despite sporadic spikes. I think it’s got to do with several factors. One is shock value, then there’s excessive fan pandering and inaccessibility.

It could also be attributed to people who would want to buy comics but don’t have the time to do so and even if they could download one when they can’t get it from a store, it’ll still be the case.

Similar things can be said of viewership, though healthier it’s going the direction superhero comics have been heading for ages. A notable one would be the Supergirl programme which suffers from declining rates per episode.

If ratings decline any further, the Woman of Steel could resort to shock value and influence others to do the same. Just like what happens in superhero comics. Whenever sales decline, use shock value to temporarily spike them.

Not to mention that they pander heavily to a narrow audience. I even have a feeling that once superhero fatigue reaches its zenith, the viewership for superhero programmes will decline so badly they’ll shock people to the point of making them hate superheroes.

With an overabundance of superhero media, it’s going to crash just like what happened to their comics counterpart before. History repeats itself to disastrous effect.