Who Should Write Superman? Pt. 1

January 19, 2007

We’re inaugurating a new feature here at the Salad. Every friday (for the foreseeable future), Yesterday’s Salad feuilletonists will blog about who should be writing Superman. These are really dream suggestions, rather than practical, legitimate proposals to DC comics, so don’t expect to see anyone write about the virtues of Joe Kelly, Joe Casey, or Joe Mantegna (ok, maybe Joe Mantegna). We’re also picking people to write self-contained arcs, outside of continuity, though not quite elseworlds (i can feel half of the readership tuning out…), that take place within the regular DC universe. Now that the ground-rules are set, it’s time to begin.

mr. mandrake actually stole my dream superman writer, whom he plans on writing about next week, but since he’s been thinking about it for a while, i’m not going to raise a ruckus. my next idea was a barry bonds-mark mcgwire writing tandem; i was going to have them write an arc where superman’s super strength is revealed to be a consequence of steroids. after a media hullabaloo, superman is called to testify at a congressional subcommittee, chaired by “Rallen H. ‘Dud’ Seligson,” concerning his steroid use. superman is exonerated, and the government provides the use of steroids for the benefit of america, and major league baseball. but, in the end, i just don’t think mcgwire and bonds have the nuanced writing style necessary to tell such a fable.

so, i’m going to start with the obvious: Thomas Pynchon should be writing Superman.

here are just a few of the many reasons:

1) ability to craft a story worthy of superman. anyone who has ever read a pynchon novel can tell you that the protagonists are always caught in a whirlwind of intrigue, conspiracies, reckless love, ninjas, and sea shanties. pynchon juggles countless characters and storylines, building his plots on the purest of american myths. pynchon novels feel truly monumental, the biggest key to a successful superman story. readers need to feel that superman is challenged, that the villain could actually defeat him, and that superman is really caught up in something beyond him. my only worry is that pynchon will craft a scheme superman can’t possibly get out of.

2) writing style. unlike ishiguro, pynchon has the great ability to adapt his style to fit the narrative (although it would be great to read ishiguro’s superman, which would undoubtedly put superman up against a nazi sympathizing british lord, wonderfully abetted by his sexually repressed butler, in a clone filled bleak third-rate european city). pynchon’s prose can be remarkably clear, or technical and obfuscating; he can perfectly capture 17th century prose if the plot calls for it, and hippie-speak. he’s also hilarious. just thought i’d throw that out there.

3 ) general wackiness quotient. a perfect 10. phynchon’s mind is capable of absolutely anything. giant gorillas (a standard superman trope)? of course. ancient inca narcotics dealers? probably, but that’s more Lynch’s superman. the real point is you don’t know what you’re going to get when you open a pynchon book.

i could go on, but there’s no reason. a pynchon superman would be one of the greatest superman story’s ever, and probably required reading at Vassar some day. i don’t know what that’s supposed to mean either.

2 Responses to “Who Should Write Superman? Pt. 1”

  1. lpmandrake Says:

    Pynchon was number 2 on my list.

  2. […] and profile a woman I feel could have a terrific run with the Man of Tomorrow: Jhumpa Lahiri. In my first post, extolling the virtues of Thomas Pynchon’s madcap, conspiracy afflicted Superman, I explained […]

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