Monthly Archives: December 2022

Superman III 4.15: The Man Who Loved Mayonnaise

So let us speak of Lana Lang — once the Queen of the Prom, and now the leading lady in a movie that technically doesn’t need one.

She’s not Lois, we’ve covered that, and she’s not even really Lana, in the original sense of the word. This is a brand new Superman III original, constructed entirely out of the idea that somewhere in the world there must be a girl who likes Clark Kent.

And they’ve decided that she should be funny, which makes all the difference.

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Superman III 4.14: King of the Prom

Now, the first thing that I’d like to point out is that Superman III is extremely judgmental about the consumption of alcohol for the purposes of adult refreshment.

It’s something that only the baddies do, and they do it performatively to show how bad they are. At the beginning of the seduction-of-the-innocent sequence, Webster makes a big show of accessing his enormous in-office liquor cabinet, and giving Gus a drink. Later, Gus uses Brad’s interest in thirst-quenching beverages to gain access to the company computer. And what is the last straw for Dark Superman, when you know that he’s really gone rotten? He goes to a bar and has a drink.

So I think that’s important context to establish, before I present my analysis of the film’s anti-Brad agenda.

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Superman III 4.13: The Girl Who Waited

She catches his eye, and for a moment, all Creation holds its breath. There’s a pretty girl in the room, and against all odds, she’s actually happy to lay eyes on Clark Kent.

A divorced mother scraping by as a secretary, friendly but lonely, pretty and vivacious and just mildly out of synch with the rest of the world, she stands out from the crowd of Smallville lifers. She dreams of the day when she can break out of this burg, and go be a divorced mother scraping by as a secretary in the big city.

She’s a fun character played by an adorable actress, and I have just one question: Who is this dame supposed to be, anyway? Because they keep calling her Lana Lang, and that can’t be right, because Lana Lang was Superman’s first and most formidable supervillain.

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Superman III 4.12: Mission: Smallville

So obviously there isn’t an actual news story in Clark Kent going back to Kansas for his high school reunion. How could there be?

This is a man whose entire life is newsworthy. Just the fact that he exists is a civilization-stunner on its own, upending everything that we know about aviation and muscle mass, among other things. He’s constantly monitoring the world around him to detect the slightest hint of calamity, and then dives straight towards it for a photogenic rescue, full of human interest. He is everybody’s favorite news story, twenty-four hours a day.

So where is the news angle on a brightly-decorated high school gymnasium in a state that, for Superman, is literally flyover country? The only headline that I see in this room is Hayseeds, Appleknockers Have Pleasant Rube Reunion, and that’s not going to make much of a dent in newsstand sales in Metropolis.

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Lois & Clark 11b.1: All I Want for Christmas Is You

December is a time when wishes come true, and my dearest wish has always been to have a Christmas special of my very own. This year, Santa Claus — represented here by Signal Watch host Ryan Steans — has given me a Christmas podcast episode to talk about my very favorite thing, which is ranking Superman actors by hotness.

We’re talking about “Twas the Night Before Mxymas”, from the fourth season of the ’90s TV show Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. In this episode, Lois Lane needs to learn how to experience the wonder of Christmas, although she already has pretty much every possible reason to be happy, and should really not be obsessed with how much stuffing she needs to make.

Ryan and I discuss all kinds of festive topics, including why Lois Lane is one of the greatest characters in fiction, how to tell a Superman story with hardly any special effects, and why you should never pay attention to what happens to actors that you have a crush on. Come deck the halls with us!

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Superman III 4.11: Meanwhile, in 1983

But what, I’m sure you’re asking, is happening on the racks? As I go through these movies on the blog, I like to check in on what’s happening in the comics that year, because you never know what might happen if you don’t keep an eye on things. For example: in summer 1982, while I was occupied writing about rubber-suit swamp monsters, Action Comics went and split Superman into two half-powered twin Supermans, and they left him like that for eight months.

The gimmick is that in August 1982, Superman is suddenly sucked through the timestream into 14th century England for some reason — “Great Rao!” he observes, “I’m back in the Middle Ages!” — where he gets in between two squabbling wizard spouses who each want to use his invulnerable body to obtain the Power Ultimate, whatever that is. It seems like some kind of domestic dispute.

Lord Satanis stands on one side of Superman, and his wife, the Sorceress Syrene, stands on the other side, and they pull on the Action Ace like he’s a wishbone, and then he snaps in half, sorcerously. Now we’ve got one half-Superman who’s invulnerable and has heat-vision but doesn’t have flight, speed or super-strength, and another half-Superman who’s got flight, speed and super-strength but isn’t invulnerable and doesn’t have heat-vision, and if you ever lose track of which one has which powers, then Superman will spend the next eight months patiently explaining it to you, every five minutes.

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