January 29, 2014

There's Nothing Fucking Funny About Peace, Love, and Understanding

I saw this picture of Henry Rollins the other day. I’ve been a fan of Uncle Hank’s for a long time, but I don’t think I’d ever seen his hair with this much length since his Black Flag days. To me, he looks a little like an aged Superman and a Clark Kent that put himself through community college working a crap manual labor job.

The more I looked at the picture, the more I liked that idea. Grant Morrison’s run on Action Comics followed these lines somewhat—Superman as more of a socialist, working class hero—and then went down weird New 52 multiverse lines with aliens and future Supermen and some other stuff that I suspect most people found confusing.

I’ve never made any secret of the fact that my favorite superhero is and will always be Superman, despite Warner’s attempt to kill my deep affection with that depressing and hopeless movie they called Man of Steel. He’s probably the comic book I would most love to write. Looking at Rollins' picture, I thought, if I ever got that chance, even if it were only for a limited miniseries, this would be my Supes:

The Last Son of Krypton raised by two farmers, themselves the last of the Southern Democrats. Pa Kent fending off corporate buyers while struggling to keep the farm afloat as it constantly hemorrhages money until he finally drops dead of stress, not carried off by a stupid tornado. Clark and Ma living in public assisted housing after foreclosure. The future Man of Steel and his widowed mother barely surviving off a meagre insurance policy and death benefits. Clark seeing poverty first hand so he later understands fully what that does to you and he can give that silver-spoon Bruce Wayne that look because that boy will never get it. But still his mother makes sure he always knows and never forgets that he is loved, even as he acts out and runs along the knife’s edge with the bad crowd, propelled faster than a speeding bullet by a strange torrent of feelings that are part teenager and part alien with a triple dose of grief. Until he has that moment of awakening where it all hits him. I’m not going to describe it but that moment is very clear in my head now, I can see it penciled out. It’s that moment where real hope is born. You see, when you’ve been pushed farther than you’ve ever been pushed, suffered loss after loss, and seen the feeble and hollow things wrought by anger and wrath you either crumble or your rise. And when you rise that way, there is nothing dark about it.

 And that is what would take us to this image.


Punk rock blasts through a Fortress of Solitude filled with books and music. Our aged Superman wears Doc Martens, Dickies, and a fair trade t-shirt. His arms are covered in tattoos from Kyle Rayner and that specially made Kryptonite-tipped tattoo gun. There are a lot of them, probably one for every time he feels he failed, but there’s definitely one for his home planet, one for Pa, one for Ma, one for Barry, and one for Bruce’s parents since their loss hurts him too because, like he keeps telling the entire Justice League, there’s nothing fucking funny about peace, love, and understanding.
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