Superman Is a No-Show ... For Now

Sep 16, 2010 at 2:11 pm

Superman might be faster than a speeding bullet, but his all-too-human writer isn't.

The issue of DC Comics' Superman title that features the Man of Steel visiting Cincinnati was supposed to arrive at comics shops today, but has been delayed due to an illness by one of the creators. That put a crimp in the plans of a local comics shop, who planned to publicize the event in style.—-

Kendall Swafford, who works at Up, Up and Away in Cheviot, expressed his displeasure in a weekly column he writes for the ICV2 Web site.

Not only was the process for getting DC Comics' cooperation in sending promotional materials too bureaucratic, but now the issue, Superman #703, has been pushed back a month, to Oct. 13.

“Superman is coming to Cincinnati. I realize to every other store located, oh I dunno, anywhere else but here, this is not news,” Swafford wrote. “But in the big little town of Cincinnati, it’s becoming a very big deal. As it should, and I hope it has for the cities he’s already visited. Why isn’t DC on top of this? Why isn’t someone from DC Entertainment playing the point man and helping to coordinate efforts to increase sales of the book? This book, if nothing else, plays on our feelings of civic pride, the same way we collectively share in the winning ways of local sports teams. And there is truly only one hero capable of making Joe Average feel this way, and that’s Superman.

“Now, we’ve got some (hopefully) epic things planned for Sept. 15, and we’ve requested some help from DC. Bob Wayne was very quick to respond, and passed us along to DC’s department of homeland publicity. Where was the ball dropped, you ask? The ball was never picked up to begin with,” Swafford added. “It takes one guy, calling stores in a particular market, at least 60 days out. 'Can we send you some posters of the cover?' 'Can we help coordinate a press release to local media?' 'Can we help arrange for an actor to portray Superman at your store?' I’m not looking for someone to do my job for me, I’m looking for someone on their end to help realize this book’s potential.

“I’ve already taken pre-orders for what amount to quadruple my typical Superman orders, thanks to local media breaking the story far too early. And the name of my store is Up Up & Away!, so it’s important this this be the center of the universe for at least one day”, he wrote.

So intense was the reaction that Superman writer J. Michael Straczynski, a science fiction author best known for creating the TV series Babylon 5, felt compelled to respond on his Facebook page.

“I lost almost two months to a recurring problem with bronchitis which we seem to have finally gotten in hand, and slipped a bit behind,” Straczynski wrote. “It was for this reason that I canceled going to Fan Expo in Canada in order to catch up. I’m now caught back up again, and actually a bit ahead. The writing tends to slow down when I’m too sick to drag my carcass to the keyboard.”

He added, “They/we/I hoped we would still be able to make that ship date, and were racing to try and get it done ... It wasn’t until pretty much the last minute that the math went against us and we had to surrender that date.”

DC Comics currently has its Superman character walking across the United States in a story arc entitled, “Grounded.” He's is trying to reconnect with Americans and earn their trust after a recent invasion by Kryptonians, according to editors.