Even fictional journalism is hurting

Superman, err, Clark Kent, quit his job at The Daily Planet today, to start his own blog. Not over decreasing ad rates because of pressure from the increased supply of free alternatives on the internet, however. According to the writer Scott Lobdell:

This is really what happens when a 27-year-old guy is behind a desk and he has to take instruction from a larger conglomerate with concerns that aren't really his own. Superman is arguably the most powerful person on the planet, but how long can he sit at his desk with someone breathing down his neck and treating him like the least important person in the world?


Rather than Clark be this clownish suit that Superman puts on, we're going to really see Clark come into his own in the next few years as far as being a guy who takes to the Internet and to the airwaves and starts speaking an unvarnished truth.

Clark Kent as Andrew Sullivan? It sounds ridiculous, but stories that humanize Superman have always been far more interesting than those that deify him. This new plot doesn't sound like a bold enough move to take the character into territory, but they should continue to push in those directions.

Why does Superman even pose as a reporter in the first place? Is it for cultural assimilation, or as a way to better empathize with the people he needs to protect? Didn't he get enough of that in high school? If he really wanted to maximize the good he does the world with his superpowers shouldn't he just fly around 24 hours a day dealing with crime and despots and natural disasters? Is the mental strain too much to handle full time? Does he need to sleep? Does posing as a commoner reveal some deep-seated need to be anonymous? Maybe he's a social misfit at heart? Does he get too lonely and need to kick back with coworkers for the occasional beer? Superman has always been one of the weakest written of superheroes, and the mythology hasn't aged well. But a brave writer could really use Superman as a platform to explore some interesting themes.

Does anyone even read physical comic books anymore? Is the readership enough to justify the real profit business which is licensing the characters for movies? I suppose if the business even breaks even or turns a slight loss the movie licensing revenue is still worth it, but it seems odd to even print any comic books on paper anymore. Maybe Apple's 30% commission on digital comics makes that channel no more profitable than physical book sales, though it's hard to imagine given paper printing costs and returns.

Too bad Alan Moore seems done taking the occasional swing at rewriting famous superheroes. He wrote some of the more intriguing Superman stories, like this and this.