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The Official Death Of Superman Forever

Updated on July 10, 2011

It's a bird. No, it's a plane. It's SUPERMAN!!!

It's hard to believe sometimes that Superman has been a part of American pop culture for nearly a century now. In fact, like so many of you, I grew up reading the Superman comics. Next to Spider-Man, Superman was my favorite comic book to read. Although it wasn't always like that, there used to be a time I hated Superman. Seriously, outside the first two movies with Christopher Reeves, I hated the character. Why? He was merely too much of a boyscout to me, and it seems nothing was ever a problem for him. Everything in Metropolis would be fine. Bad guys would get what they deserve, and none of his super hero work would interfere with his personal life much. Unlike Spidey, where it did. Therefore, what was at stake? Plus, nobody can dare tell me the whole mass retardation in Metropolis wasn't stupid on how nobody recognized Clark Kent as Superman, when all he did was put on a pair of glasses as Clark. Not even Lois Lane figured it out until he told her. How dumb do you have to be?

Then came the classic storyline, "Death and Return of Superman." Now before I go any further, I'd like to point out this hub does not go over that saga, despite this article's title. No, this hub isn't even about that, as it's more about the recent copyright issues surrounding the character, and my current thoughts about a iconic character that I grew up with reading about.

To get back to what I was trying to say, I didn't really start to get into Superman until D.C. Comics made an announcement back in the nineties, that they were going to kill off Superman. Seeing this as an opportunity to get something valuable and worth a lot of money down the road, I tried to collect as many issues as I could. However, that didn't mean I was going to let those issues collect dust, as I did read the issues as I bought them. I was still in high school, at the time, and I was still collecting comic books. I'll be perfectly honest, the whole Doomsday and Superman part, was just a slug fest. Seriously, not a lot of story line there. "The Funeral for a friend", part was very boring for me. Sure the first few issues were good but after that, it became one big snore fest as it just showed how the minor characters whined and complained saying how much they miss Superman/Clark Kent. Blah, blah, blah, and just a whole lot of pouting over his death. I know the writer's were trying to create a heartfelt and genuine story, but it was a bit over dramatic for my taste.

Then came "The Return of Superman" or better known as the "Reign of Supermen." Needless to say, I was hooked ever since. Loving the concept of how when the world becomes so desperate accept these four impostors as the genuine article, in absence of the real hero, that would allow one of them use this to their advantage to try to conquer Earth. That's when I really got into Superman. Even though I don't read comic books anymore, I still watch a lot of cartoons. I guess a part of me inside just never grew up or something. That's why I guess one could say that the super hero genre of movies, are my favorite. As most of them tend to bring out the kid inside me.

That's one of the reasons why when I found out D.C Comics and Warner Bros. were going to possibly lose the rights to the character completely that much more devastating. Although I dont' read the comics anymore, I still love the movies. In fact, I'm always kind of sad that Hollywood has never put up a Superman movie that's faithful to the comic book, outside the first two movies with Christopher Reeves. Sadly, even that didn't get Superman right either. As Warner Bros. continues to want to portray Superman as some almighty god like figure that has no limits to his power, although in the comics there are limits. Plus, Clark Kent is always the bumbling idiot. Seriously, in the comics he's always average guy, but Warner Bros. still wants to use the "Steve Urkell" type Clark. Anyway, I digress.

The Lawsuit and What It Could Mean For Superman

Last year, there was an impending lawsuit against Warner Bros. and D.C. Comics, filed by the heirs of Jerry Siegel, one of the co-creators of Superman. Apparently, when Jerry Siegel and Joel Shuster sold the rights to the character, back in the 1930's, to D.C. for one hundred and thirty eight dollars. Their heirs claimed D.C allegedly ripped them off, as they had no idea how immensely popular this character was going to grow over time. To make matters even more worse, none of the heirs were given any royalties for the last Superman movie, "Superman Returns." That's why in July 2009, a lawsuit was ruled in favor of D.C. Comics and Warner Bros., when the Siegel heirs tried to sue them for the royalties. Luckily, D.C. Comics and Warner Bros. managed to win that case.

However, that's not to say it was a total loss for the Siegel heirs. As the judge did rule that if Warner Bros. wasn't filming a new Superman movie by 2011, then the heirs could rightfully sue for damages. In 2013, both the Shuster and Siegel families will own the entire copyright to Superman. Basically meaning neither D.C. Comics nor Warner Bros. will be able to use any iteration of the character in any medium, without making some type of new deal with the heirs of Siegel and Shuster. Therefore, if Warner Bros. and D.C. wish to retain the rights to the character, then it might be best to get started on a new movie asap. However, here's the problem.

There is no script, no director, no actors assigned to the movie, and it doesn't look like that's going to change. In fact, the only thing that is certain about Superman is that "Smallville" is petitioning for another season, and that "Superman Returns" wasn't as financially successful as Warner Bros. hoped. Therefore, Warner Bros. wants to reboot it and start production to have it released as early as 2012. Oh and Warner Bros. has asked Christopher Nolan (Director of Batman Begins and The Dark Knight) to mentor the lucky directory, whom will have a chance to reboot Superman. Sounds easy, but it's not considering the other details of this lawsuit. You see even though D.C. and Warner Bros. won the case, they lost certain rights to the character.

Confused? I'll gladly explain. Any depiction of Superman's origin with him coming from Krypton and landing on Earth is now owned by the Siegels. Basically, D.C. and Warner Bros. are not allowed to make any references to it, without the Siegel heirs consent. It gets even worse too. Depictions of Superman's real parents, his infancy depictions, and the whole concept of Superman's planet exploding. Seriously, D.C. and Warner Bros. can't even bring that up anymore. Then there's the depiction of Clark Kent, Lois Lane, his costume, love triangle with Lois/Clark/Superman, and their jobs at Daily Planet. All these facets of the Superman mythology belong to the Siegels, legally.

However, D.C. Comics and Warner Bros. still own the rights to all of Superman's powers, Lex Luthor, term Kryptonite, Jimmy Olson, Perry White, and whatever expanded origins D.C. Comics may have done in the past. Basically, translating that any new director, who has the daunting task to relaunch the movie franchise, isn't going to have full access to the whole Superman mythology. On the bright side, he'll have Christopher Nolan mentoring him though. I guess you can take that for whatever it's worth.

Some who might read this are probably still confused as to how exactly D.C. can reboot a character without having access to his full history. Well, here's how the confusion got started. In 1938, Superman first appeared in "Action Comics", which was sold to D.C. by Jerry Siegel and Joel Shuster. Everything that happened after that was "work for hire" by D.C. Comics. According to the ruling, the heirs of both families will own Superman in 2013. Which will give them the ability to shop around and set up various mediums of the character through different studios and companies.

Final thoughts: Although I don't read comics anymore, I think this is rather sad to say the least. As it would be kind of strange if Superman were to suddenly be bought by Marvel/Disney and see him fighting next to Iron Man and the Avengers. Seriously, it could happen. However, would that really work? I mean, whenever you think about D.C. Comics, one of the very first characters that come to mind is Superman. It's like how Spider-Man is often associated to Stan Lee or Marvel. You can't just ignore that. Or there's even a possibility that the heirs of both families might not even put another Superman movie out there or put him out there through any medium. Then what? They could very well decide to live off the collected royalties they get when they sue Warner Bros. in 2011, if there's no movie in production.

Plus, what does mentoring even mean? All the new director has to understand is f@*k Richard Donner's version of Superman, and come up with your own. That's the mistake Bryan Singer did, and look what happened. Don't get me wrong, I liked "Superman Returns", but it could have been a lot better. I know he was trying to pay homage to Donner's version, but my thoughts are if your going to do that....then get Donner to come out of retirement, and have him direct the next movie. I don't think he's dead yet. Seriously, it's ridiculous. I loved Donner's version just as much as the next fan, but please for the love of god, come up with something else. You think Christopher Nolan cared too much about Tim Burton's version of Batman? Hell no. He made up his own version of the character based on research of the comics. Which is exactly what the new director of Superman needs to do.

Plus, according to the articles I researched, none of Superman villains are taken away from them to use, so Warner Bros. needs to use a different villain than Lex Luthor. Superman has villains across the freaking galaxy and in parallel worlds, so you have a great deal of choices. Pick any one of them outside of Lex, and make a movie.

Anyway, I apologize for that short rant, but I would like to say this. Superman was always one of my favorite characters as a kid, and I hope he'll be around for centuries to come.


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    • Stevennix2001 profile image

      Steven Escareno 7 years ago

      Thanks Grimlock. I appreciate the compliment, and for stopping by. Yeah, that would be a great idea for a Superman movie. It definitely sounds a helluva lot better than that garbage we got from "superman returns." lol.

    • optimus grimlock profile image

      optimus grimlock 7 years ago

      lets make superman a fat unemployed slob, make the movie about him trying to regain his old form while dying in the process. Call it "This is superman???????"

      great video 2 thumbs up!

    • Stevennix2001 profile image

      Steven Escareno 8 years ago

      lol. I don't disagree. However, I think the main reason why is simple. It's money. You and I both know what that does to some people. I think it's kind of sad that the people that are going to affected the most by this are the fans.

    • profile image

      Crazdwriter 8 years ago

      aaaaa that is really sad. if they sold the rights back in 1930s then why are the heirs causing such a stink? LOSERS!!!!

    • Stevennix2001 profile image

      Steven Escareno 8 years ago

      Lol. Yeah, it's a shame "Hancock" beat out Superman to that story idea there. lol. However, it should be interesting to see what exactly D.C. and Warner Bros. plans are moving forward.

    • Faybe Bay profile image

      Faye Constantino 8 years ago from Florida

      Or you could just do what the soaps do, take his memory away give him a new face and a new name in a new town. Then he discovers his powers, but has no idea how he got them. Then some mad scientist gets ahold of him and makes him indestructable clothes. Oh wait. I think Will Smith did that movie already. Long live Superman.

    • Stevennix2001 profile image

      Steven Escareno 8 years ago

      Yeah, I agree with you. Although I'm not sure how they'll be able to do it without making a reference to Clark Kent and Lois Lane though. As they're huge part of the Superman mythology. I mean the only way I could see it working is if a) just launch smallville into a movie since they've already established Clark's back story.

      B) make great sequel to "Superman Returns."

      C) Just take the James Bond approach, and make up a storyline where Superman goes off to some uncharted planet and he's taken prisoner there, so he's having to escape. Now that I think about it. that might be the best option as they wouldn't need Clark, Lois, or his back story to explain anything. Hell, they won't even need his trademark costume, since the Siegel heirs own it now too. Therefore, I hope they go with that kind of story. Maybe just say he was kidnapped by Darkside or something, and he's trying to escape. that would be a cool superman movie. :D

    • Dao Hoa profile image

      Dao Hoa 8 years ago

      In all of the super heroes, I like Superman the most. They still can make Superman movie without referring to his origin or his parents!

    • Stevennix2001 profile image

      Steven Escareno 8 years ago

      Thanks Ann. I'm honored that I've written the first superman article you wanted to read. lol. I'm flattered. :)

    • Ann Nonymous profile image

      Ann Nonymous 8 years ago from Virginia

      I remember Dean Cain as Superman and I thought everybody in my family was through with him...but I still catch my youngest brother watching superman cartoons sometimes...what is so appealing I will never know nor am I tempted to find out. Although the little I do know about him makes me think that he is one of the only super heroes with very few if any bad qualities. Until now, that is....This is probably the first time I have read an entire article regarding Superman, Steve...and that is a compliment!

    • Stevennix2001 profile image

      Steven Escareno 8 years ago

      Lol. No, I forgot to ask Mighty Mom, for permission. Hopefully, she won't mind. lol. However, I do agree with you, I think it's just idiotic if you ask me. Hopefully, they'll re-negotiate a new deal. I don't see why both parties wouldn't. I mean he's still a marketable character, so it would only be in the heirs of the original creators, best interest to re-negotiate another contract. However, this time put it in the contract where they collect royalties from the character like 10 percent or something.

    • wsp2469 profile image

      wsp2469 8 years ago from Alta Loma, Ca

      Nice! Yes, the corporations would have to settle with the heirs of the creators or tell oddball, alternate universe, what-if,imaginary and temporary change stories about Supes because the heirs "own" the basic origin and anything their dads came up with . . . supposedly. I say--hey--your dads were foolish and desperate enough to sell out so be happy with what you can peacefully re-negotiate.

      Sure, the companies are making big bucks but there was no guarantee they would make big bucks AND the creators obviously were just glad for the work. That's just the way it was done in those days and if they didn't have the faith or foresight to protect their rights of ownership then this is what happens. Notice the creators of Image Comics characters don't have these troubles.

      Finally, did you tell Mighty Mom you have pix of her here?

    • Stevennix2001 profile image

      Steven Escareno 8 years ago

      Thanks Paradise. Well he's not gone yet, as long WB gets a movie out by 2012, then they'll have a great chance at keeping him. However, it's going to be tough to do without full access to the character's origins and alter ego though.

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 8 years ago from Upstate New York

      So sorry to see Superman go! Great hub, great pics, thank you!

    • Stevennix2001 profile image

      Steven Escareno 8 years ago

      Thanks Cossete, I really appreciate that coming from you. Yeah, I agree with you. I just hope the new director they get, bases his Superman movie more off the comics than the old Donner's version. Sure, Donner's version was great for his time, but someone needs to take a note from Nolan and come up with a new version on the big screen, that does the character justice.

    • profile image

      cosette 8 years ago

      i still read comics, haha. Superman was always my favorite, and of course Supergirl and Superboy. i would love to see a film made about Superboy, but set in a modern Metropolis with a dark edge. you're right, the film Clark, especially with Christopher Reeve, was too bumbling. almost vaudevillian. in the comics, he agonized over having to hide his superpowers, and wasn't a dork. some people thought he was, but he didn't act like one. hey, this was a fun hub! i liked it a lot. i am rating it UP.

    • Stevennix2001 profile image

      Steven Escareno 8 years ago

      lol. gee thanks i guess. lol.

    • EverShine profile image

      EverShine 8 years ago from Your Heart



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