In the latest blow to journalism in the 21st century, Clark Kent is quitting the Daily Planet, USA Today reports, in this Wednesday’s issue of Superman. While not being fired despite mysterious absences during Superman appearances, he decided to call it a day himself.
DC Comics is trying to shake things up for Superman. Last year, they introduced a new costume and dissolved Clark’s marriage to fellow Daily Planet reporter Lois Lane. This year, they’re setting up a new romance — Superman recently kissed Justice League teammate Wonder Woman.
“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,” new Superman writer Scott Lobdell told USA Today.
“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,” Lobell said. Lobdell said Clark wouldn’t be filling out applications, though. “He is more likely to start the next Huffington Post or the next Drudge Report than he is to go find someone else to get assignments or draw a paycheck from.”
Superman speaks up for decency in journalism. Kent expresses frustration after being asked to write a story about Superman not being seen recently, then moves on to attack new TV producer, coworker and former love interest Lois Lane.
“The lead story was a transcript of the White House daily briefing — no questions asked. Then a 4 minute and 37 second feature on Lookie’s love child. Followed by an interview for the latest weekend blockbuster,” Kent tells Lane. He then tells editor Perry White, “I’ve been a journalist for barefly five years now. Why am I the one who sounding like a grizzled ink-stained wretch who believes news should be about — I don’t know, news?” Kent later goes on to have what’s being called a “Jerry Maguire” moment and quits in the middle of the newsroom.
What’s this all mean for the Man of Tomorrow? Will becoming a greater Internet and possibly on-air personality make it even more of a stretch that he can maintain a secret identity? Without corporate backing behind him, what can one man do? Here are some suggestions for future Clark Kent career options:
- 1. Tumblr blogger: Everyone’s doing it, and you have to start somewhere. Kent can get a start by covering the news he thinks should be covered independently, and posting it on the blog site with a powerful community behind it. And if he gets bored, he can reblog cat GIFs.
- 2. BuzzFeed reporter: Kent complains of the attention being paid to entertainment stories, but maybe he can sell himself to BuzzFeed as the guy who can cover serious stories in an entertaining way. Clark Kent has historically been portrayed as a great reporter in addition to his superhero duties — here’s his chance to show he can write stories people actually want to read.
- 3. The next Drudge Report: Superman writer Scott Lobdell said that Kent might start the next Drudge Report, but what does that really mean? Well, Matt Drudge made a reputation by being the first to break big stories online, as well as having a certain editorial slant, so maybe we’ll see Kent continue to get a few things off his rather broad chest. Drudge can also be a bit reclusive, which can help with someone trying to preserve a secret identity.
- 4. Social media expert: Forget starting a blog — maybe Kent can take it to the places where his readers already are and start Facebook, tweeting and posting his thoughts to Pinterest. I’m already excited to see Clark Kent’s favorite recipes.
- 5. Reddit redditor: The president of the United States just did an Ask Me Anything on Reddit, so maybe there’s room there for Superman too. He can post the articles he thinks deserve attention and see how many upvotes he can mange to pull down.
- 6. Glasses model: Well, those glasses do look quite striking, don’t they?
It’s not Superman’s first recent dive into media matters, either; the first issue of the relaunched Superman comic last year dealt with media consolidation. It’s also reminiscent of a 1971 storyline where the Daily Planet was purchased — as it has been recently in the current storylines — and Kent was removed from the paper and send to be a TV star. What’s old, as always, is new again.
Oh, and the Daily Planet looks to have a position to fill.
See a preview of Superman #13, the issue where Superman explains why he’s mad as hell and isn’t going to take it anymore: