Monday, October 22, 2012

Not the Daily Planet!

New revelations from "Superman (vol. 3)" #13 suggest that Clark Kent will be quitting his job at the Daily Planet1. This is, of course, an entirely unprecedented change, since Clark has always worked for the Planet.

Well, except when it was the Star. But it's been the Planet since the radio days, and Clark has always worked there.

Oh, except for that 15-year span where he anchored the WGBS newscast. But he's worked for the Planet ever since the Crisis.

Except for that time when, under the influence of the Eradicator, he quit the Planet to work for Collin Thornton's Newstime magazine. And the time when Lex Luthor bought the Daily Planet, dismantled it, and fired Clark (and most everyone else) as he rolled it into his multimedia news service, LexCom. And the time when Clark was fired from the Planet for writing a true-but-unprovable story about President Luthor's involvement in the Imperiex War.

Look, I'm on-board with thinking that the New 52 reboot was largely unnecessary, and that a lot of the changes have been for the worse (cf. briefless Kryptonian armor). But I just can't work up a nerdrage over this one. Newspapers are struggling, and the traditional media is having a crisis of spinelessness (and these are not unrelated problems). The principled, idealistic, ascetic Clark Kent of this new DCU is the kind of person who might strike out on his own to do real, hard-hitting journalism, unhampered by corporate sponsorship or the need to turn a profit. As someone who can see and hear everything, who doesn't need to eat or sleep, who isn't necessarily reliant on a regular paycheck, who can't be physically threatened or intimidated, and who is unflaggingly honest3, Clark is actually the perfect person to take on this kind of job.

At worst, it'll be a temporary change, shaking up the status quo for a little bit. At best, it'll be something that actually works really well and sticks around for awhile, like the WGBS job in the '70s-80s. If nothing else, I hope it leads to some interesting new stories, and that it means there'll be more focus on Clark Kent doing Clark Kent things than there has been in the last several years.

1. They also suggest that Clark's only been a reporter for 5 years, when he was working for the Star at least 6 years ago in the current timeline. And that's assuming no time has actually passed since "Action Comics (vol. 2) #1"

2. That said, the troubling part of all this is the article I read that referenced Matt Drudge in the context of Clark's blogging career, which seems like the exact opposite of anything Clark should be doing. Part of it, sure, is my decidedly liberal political bent. But part of it is also the fact that Drudge has a history of ideologically-motivated and heavily slanted stories, factual errors, and the precise kind of scandal-sheet celebrity-stalking "news" that Clark decries in the preview pages. I hope the treatment ends up, ironically, being better than the reporting.

3. Except for that whole secret identity issue.