Superman in Smalville: Season 11 #1
"Smallville" managed to be the longest running sci-fi/fantasy series on network television, running 10 seasons before going off the air last spring. Well, it's back for more, except in comic book form.
Smallville: Season 11 #1 just launched today, and in an interesting approach, it's going to be a weekly digital comic available for about a dollar a week. I downloaded and read the first issue, and it reads like... well, like an issue of "Superman." The way the characters are drawn are in line with what they look like on the TV show, but other than a little more Green Arrow (who isn't regularly part of standard Superman comics) and Chloe Sullivan (who isn't a regular character in other Superman comics), it's a pretty standard introductory story.
In this first story, the world seems to be adjusting to having a superhero in their lives. Superman is initially spoken of by all the characters before he's actually seen, ultimately saving a Russian space satellite.
DC Comics relaunched the vast majority of their line this week with the first of 52 new number 1 issues. It was heralded with midnight release parties at comic shops around the country for the first book in the new line, Justice League #1. Here in Los Angeles, fans came out for a big party at Meltdown Comics, as well as other shops in the area.
Still, despite the fan enthusiasm for this kind of event, the numbers for the comics industry don't look pretty. Comics writer Grant Morrison (who recently appeared on KPCC's "AirTalk") did an interview with Rolling Stone that the magazine decided to headline "Grant Morrison on the Death of Comics." As Morrison said, "comics sales are so low, people are willing to try anything these days. It's just plummeting. It's really bad from month to month. May was the first time in a long time that no comic sold over 100,000 copies, so there's a decline." When asked if he thought comics were in a death spiral, Morrison gave a frank yes.
The folks behind the last Batman film, "The Dark Knight," conducted an extensive viral marketing campaign to promote the movie. They're back at it in the hype leading to the final part of the trilogy being released next year, "The Dark Knight Rises."
The latest in the puzzle could be this grainy video footage of a breakout from Gotham City's home for the criminally insane, Arkham Asylum. Rumor is that they're fan-made videos and not official, but DC Comics' official Twitter account sent out the link, helping to fuel the possibility that they're legitimate.
In the most famous DC Comics storyline involving the villain Bane, Bane broke out all of the other supervillains from Arkham Asylum to wear Batman down before breaking his back and putting him in a wheelchair. (Since it's comics, this was, of course, temporary.) Whether that remains to be how things play out in the movie is yet to be seen, but you can get a peak at a potential future in these videos.