Tuesday, September 25, 2012


(This post was begun August 17, 2010!  I am so glad to have finally finished it. I haven't really said all I could about Superman, but at some point - I've just got to stop, take a breath, and press that annoying button "Publish Post")!
Thanks to the folk who bring us Comic-Con for the much needed impetus!

Is there any hero more fantastic than a comic book hero? Superman was  my favourite hero. I also liked The Flash for a brief period, but always Superman was the one for me. (I guess I like fast men?) :)
Let's see, what was it about Superman that intrigued me so much?  Well, he started out in a small town with older than normal parents -- I guess we had that in common! But that wasn't it.  He was an refugee alien from a dying planet who came to earth as a helpless infant and was lucky enough to find loving foster parents. (That's quite a story, isn't it? Very intriguing!)  In order to appear like a normal Earthling, he has to hide his super powers under an alter-ego. Now that's where things get complicated! Although his real name from his parents on the planet Krypton was Kal El, on Earth he goes by the name Clark Kent, the name given to him by his adoptive parents. Because he is such a good person, he can't help but use his powers of flight, super speed, super strength, xray vision, imperviousness to bullets or any other known human threat --  to help save those who are threatened by any danger. I actually used to wonder sometimes when I heard about disasters on the news about how Superman would have been great to have around. He seemed very real to me somehow. Thinking about it as an adult I can see what an awful obligation it must have been to be always on duty. Unless...oh yeah, there was that Legion of Superheroes group. I guess they could have given him a break now and again?

The history of Superman is told in "Look, Up in the Sky!: The Amazing story of Superman".

(The previous clip keeps disappearing as the uploaders' accounts get challenged by those who hold the copyright.  I wish therefore to let it be known that I actually now own a copy of this DVD, which I would not have even known about had I not first seen this clip on Youtube.  So that means, that by repressing this video clip, the company is actually limiting possible future sales!)

Siegel and Schuster were the team who created the comic book hero. Canadians love to lay some claim to Superman as Joe Shuster was originally from Toronto, Ontario and a cousin to another famous Canadian of the comedy duo Wayne and Shuster. Here is a commercial from the CBC network in a series called Heritage Minutes which celebrates Joe Schuster's creation.

This next video is from the CBC Digital Archives (which I hope you will be able to view) with lots of great background information including Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster's long struggle to win compensation from DC comics and their parent company.

There were many actors who portrayed the caped superhero over the years on screens both large and small.

 Kirk Alyn (1948)

George Reeves (1951)

Unfortunately, George Reeves believed himself to be typecast as Superman and was never able to move beyond that role.  He had a string of bad luck which eventually ended with his own mysterious murder.

George Reeves was portrayed by Ben Affleck
in the biopic Hollywoodland

The most famous Superman of them all -- Christopher Reeve became a superman in real life by showing what great strength and fortitude really is, even at the worst time in his life.  After a horse back riding accident caused him to become a quadriplegic, Chris never gave up fighting to walk again.  He began a crusade for new treatments to help regenerate nerve tissue which has helped countless people so far and will help even more in the future.  Unfortunately, his struggle finally ended nine years later with his death on October 10, 2004.

Here is a tribute to Christopher Reeve, a true superman on screen and in spirit. The video is set to the song Superman (It's Not Easy) by Five for Fighting.

What was I saying again...?
Oh yes, what intrigues me about Superman the most, was how he was able to handle his real persona, and his alter ego (who seemed to be such a wimpy guy). Well, I actually liked Clark Kent (of course I was in on his secret). But he was still the same hunky guy, just hiding(?) behind a pair of glasses. I never could understand how Lois Lane couldn't see the resemblance between the love of her life -- Superman, and her best friend and colleague -- Clark Kent!  Sheesh! "Go for Clark!", was what I was always thinking. Of course, he made himself seem unattractive by acting as cowardly as possible. I remember reading a certain issue of the Superman comic which was all about various scenarios where Lois marries Superman and / or Clark. I read and reread that issue more than any other. I think I must have finally decided I had read it enough and traded it for a newer issue (yes, I used to trade comics with my friends). I usually could trade a comic and get it back later, which is probably what I thought would happen. Well, I never saw that issue again...  (The things I go on about!)
Lois and Clark (sans glasses) in Superman II.
Lois chooses Clark over Superman

After Christopher Reeve retired his cape, the best representations of Superman 
were to be found on television.

Lois & Clark (1993-1997)

Starring Dean Cain and Teri Hatcher

 Smallville (2001-2011)
Starring Tom Welling

I guess besides my fascination for the main character, my main interest is the love story between Lois and Clark.  This next fan video does a great job showing highlights from their relationship in various recent movie and television portrayals.  The song is Vindicated by Dashboard Confessional.

Lois and Clark over the Decades - Vindicated / by KEakaCK

Don't we all wish we could fly like Superman?

Well, apparently he wasn't always capable of this feat. Originally in the comic books, he was described as being able to "leap tall buildings in a single bound".  But when Fleischer Studios began to make the first animated series of Superman movies in the early 1940s, they realized that merely jumping around wasn't nearly as impressive for a superhero as flying!

(Fly Like) Superman / The Kinks by TrenRojoCruzandoo

If you'd like to enjoy some great fan art and retro comic book covers here's another video featuring the original version of the song later covered by R.E.M.  It's the 1969 version by The Clique of (I Am) Superman.

There has been a renewed interest in making Superman movies  in the last few years.
My son is a fan of the comedy writer/director Kevin Smith and not long ago he showed me this monologue about how he was hired to write a script for a Superman movie (which thankfully was never made!). It is a hilarious portrait of the craziness of Hollywood and a producer who is clueless about the importance of the Superman legend to pop culture tradition.
If swear words offend you, then you won't like this clip.  But if you are at all interested in this topic, it is well worth watching!
Thank G*d that movie never got made!

I was quite excited when Superman Returns came out. I can't say I didn't like it, but it did leave something to be desired, and I can't even put my finger on what exactly that was. Perhaps it just didn't live up to the hype.   

Starring Brandon Routh

I have heard a lot of buzz about the newest Superman movie, Man of Steel which is due to arrive on movie screens in June next year.  It looks good, I think I'll like it.  My biggest problem with this movie is that Amy Adams is playing Lois Lane.  Now don't get me wrong, I LOVE Amy Adams, and I would watch her in almost anything.  But wouldn't you think her lovely auburn tresses would make her more suitable to play Lana Lang (Superboy's early love interest) than the raven-haired Lois Lane?   Well, they messed around with that in Smallville too, where Lana had the dark hair and Lois was a dark blonde.  I did love it in television's version of Smallville that Mrs. Kent was played by the original red-haired Lana Lang from Christopher Reeve's Superman movie - Annette O'Toole.

On the left, here she is with Christopher Reeve in Superman 3, and on the right she plays Martha Kent, (Superboy's mom)!

Man of Steel (2013)
Starring Henry Cavill

Nothing was more disappointing to me then when they had a comic book storyline for the Death of Superman.  Although I hadn't been a reader of the genre in years, just the idea of it saddened me. The following song by the Canadian band Crash Test Dummies, was written before this storyline appeared in print.

I love this song so much.   
This video is my whole excuse for this post. 

Superman's Song / Crash Test Dummies

Here is another sad Superman song by the Stereophonics.  It is also a fanvid about the character of Lucas North in Spooks/MI-5.  He was a hero that turned out not to be one after all.

Spooks -- Richard Armitage - Superman / by utubeacct2008

But I'm holding out for a hero. Luckily John Porter from Strike Back fits the mold very nicely!

Lucas North & John Porter - I Need a Hero / by Tassuett

But this got me to thinking about Harry Kennedy who could easily pass for Clark Kent.  Could he have a hero hidden inside him?

What if our dear Harry Kennedy had an alter ego?

See that phonebooth in the back there? 

After removing the glasses and changing outfits...

Yeah, I know.  It won't happen. But a girl can dream...
 Just in case anyone thinks I am taking this Superman thingy too seriously -- have a look at this video: Superman Song That little kid is very entertaining!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Rain on

Thanks to our intrepid investigative bloggers and the Twitterers who follow Todd Garner, the producer of Richard Armitage's newest movie project Black Sky, we now know his character's first name will be Gary. We will now breathe a collective sigh of relief that he was not stuck with another John moniker.
Oh, please can we have more pictures like this?  Look at how waterlogged he is getting in all that rain! I don't know why, but it makes me very fond of all that wet stuff.   How about joining me for some of my favourite songs about Rain?

Since every time I see a new picture of Richard Armitage, it makes me ridiculously happy, I couldn't help thinking of this song:

Laughter in the Rain / Neil Sedaka

But since Black Sky is a disaster movie, I guess I should get more serious.  I have always loved this next song, ever since I first heard it.  This video has some beautiful scenery and a sort of Wuthering Heights feel about it, except for the creepy camera guy who is stalking the singer everywhere.

Here Comes the Rain Again / The Eurythmics

And this song is also pretty serious.  Sad too.  I don't want to think about why the rain might be red!! But I do love Peter Gabriel. (Sheesh I sound so shallow!)

Red Rain / Peter Gabriel

Okay. This next song really cheers me up.  I especially like the line that says, "Have you ever seen the rain... coming down on a sunny day?"  The answer folks is "YES!"  In fact, just the other day I saw that.  I do so love a sun shower!  It doesn't happen very often but when it does it just makes me stop and stare in complete wonder and joy!
Oh, and I am an unabashed fan of CCR.  I didn't realize how much I appreciated this group until I saw them perform a few years back at a summer concert.  It wasn't called Creedance Clearwater Revival but Creedance Clearwater Revisited (because John Fogerty was missing and he would sue them if they used their old name!). Well, sorry John, much as I like your sound, they sounded pretty damn fine without you!  As I stood near the stage and listened to this super group perform so many songs that I had heard throughout my childhood and teen years, it occurred to me how much I had taken them for granted.  I never truly appreciated them until that moment.  The feeling came upon me in a wave, and I bowed to the sensation, shouting out that line from Wayne's World when he meets Alice Cooper and says "We're not worthy!"

Have you Ever Seen the Rain? / Creedance Clearwater Revival

But this song is possibly my most favourite rainy night song.  I have used it in a previous post, but I can't resist listening to it again.  Brook Benton's voice is so rich and mellow I can't get enough of it!

Rainy Night in Georgia / Brook Benton

This song is quickly becoming a favourite in this theme.  I do love this indie Canadian group.  Corin Raymond is the singer and lyricist (and he certainly has a way with words).  The music and harmony is provided by Sean Cotton.

Rainbed (Live) / The Undesirables

I was very pleased to find an RA fanvideo with a rain theme.  I never tire of watching Guy of Gisborne chase after Marian and James Blunt's song works very nicely with these clips.

Guy and Marian (Robin Hood) Tears and Rain / James Blunt

Fanvid by CacaFM

I can't wait to see more pictures from Black Sky.  Please keep them coming Mr. Garner!

What are your favourite songs about rain?