Friday, September 21, 2007

Superman is dead; long live Superman!

I reported on Superman: Doomsday shortly after I saw its “world premiere” at Comic-Con this past summer. The DC Comics direct-to-DVD animated PG-13 feature was finally released on Tuesday, and I picked up a copy. I won’t repeat all of what I said in August, but I will say that on second viewing, the movie is even better than I remembered. And if you’re at all a Superman fan, particularly if you recall DC’s long-running “Death of Superman” series from the early 1990s, you should enjoy this DVD. The full-length commentary by producer Bruce Timm, writer Duane Capizzi, and voice director Andrea Romano is a lot of fun. But what makes this DVD really special is the inclusion of the 45-minute documentary Requiem and Rebirth: Superman Lives! This is a wonderful recap of DC’s decision more than a decade or so ago to “kill” Superman, filled with great interviews with the DC editors, writers, and artists.

The documentary includes one very startling (to me) revelation, and I’m gonna spoil it for you right now. The entire death and rebirth storyline, which ran about two years, was actually created as “filler.” DC had planned a wedding for Supes and Lois, a storyline that would have lasted months, maybe a year. Then ABC announced its Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman TV series, starring Teri Hatcher and Dean Cain. The DC staff was told they couldn’t schedule a wedding until after Lois and Clark got hitched on TV, at least two or three seasons down the road. An already-plotted Superman storyline had to be pushed off. What to fill with? “Let’s kill him!” suggested one staffer. This is a terrific little documentary.

And Superman: Doomsday is a great DVD.

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