10 of the Nicest and Nastiest Superman Analogues

Superman is the oldest superhero, and he’s been featured in thousands of stories since 1938. He's also inspired a slew of analogues—Superman-like characters that other companies (and sometimes even Superman's home, DC Comics) created to comment on Superman or superheroes in general. These characters also allow stories that could never be done with the real thing, like Superman going berserk and wiping out whole cities. Here’s a look at 10 Superspawn.

1. Samaritan

This blue-haired boy scout appears in Astro City, a creator-owned comic by Kurt Busiek, Brent Anderson, and Alex Ross that’s been published for 20 years and excels at capturing life’s small moments for superheroes and non-superheroes alike. In the story “In Dreams,” Busiek shows the sheer exhaustion a Superman type must feel with so much responsibility—from morning to night he’s foiling bank robberies, averting natural disasters, defeating rampaging robots, and maintaining a secret identity. Only when asleep and dreaming is poor Samaritan able to fly for the sake of flying.

2. Apollo

Superman’s friendship with Batman is a key feature of the DC universe, and that friendship got a new spin in Stormwatch in 1998. Writer Warren Ellis and artist Bryan Hitch created Apollo and the Midnighter, brutal vigilantes based on the two oldest superheroes. There's another twist: The pair are in love and eventually get married. Just like that, decades of superhero subtext became text.

3. The High

Another Superman type popped up during Ellis’ run on Stormwatch. The High is even more directly modeled on Superman. Like Superman, he first appeared in 1938, came from another world, was raised by farmers, and spent his early years fighting for the little guy against tycoons, landlords, and Nazis. Unlike Superman, The High disappeared, sat motionless on a mountaintop for 10 years, then reemerged with a plan to eliminate all governments on Earth by providing every person with endless food, medicine, and freedom. Needless to say, this anti-authority mission did not go over well with the authorities.

4. Omni-Man

This Superman type is the father of another Superman type: Invincible, the star of Robert Kirkman’s long-running Image series of the same name. Like Superman, Omni-Man came from another planet. Unlike Superman, Omni-Man was sent here to ready the planet for conquest. As you might expect, that arrangement led to an awkward conversation/brawl with his son. Imagine if you thought your dad was Superman, but it turned out he was more like Space Napoleon.

5. The Homelander

This extremely creepy character played a major role in The Boys , Grant Ennis and Darick Robertson’s Dynamite series about a CIA team tasked with keeping superheroes in check. Like most superheroes in this series, the Homelander is an abusive monster. In this world, you’d be safer in a CIA prison than anywhere near the equivalent of the Justice League.

6. The Saint

Garth Ennis took another swipe at superheroes in The Pro, an extremely funny one-shot about a prostitute (who not-coincidentally has a revealing costume a la Power Girl) given superpowers to settle a bet by meddling aliens. Along the way, we meet the Saint—a ludicrously naïve simpleton and scathing satire of Superman. I don’t want to spoil anything, but this series reveals something I’ve always suspected: super-sperm and airplane safety do not mix.

7. Hyperion

Marvel and DC Comics have been riffing on and ripping off each other's characters for decades: Quicksilver is a version of the Flash, Swamp Thing is basically Man-Thing, and Namor the Sub-Mariner is a much-improved Aquaman. Hyperion is Marvel’s rarely used version of Superman, and he’s part of the Squadron Supreme, a team of Justice League analogues who are usually treated as a winking joke.

8. The Plutonian

Mark Waid and Peter Krause’s Irredeemable shows the horrific consequences of a bad Superman. In the very first scene, we see the Plutonian incinerate a hero’s wife and child with his heat vision. As the series goes on, Waid and Krause show how and why the world’s most trusted and beloved superhero went berserk and became the greatest mass murderer in history. Waid has explained his inspiration, saying, “In superhero comics, pretty much everyone who’s called upon to put on a cape is, at heart, emotionally equipped for the job. I reject that premise.”

9. Supershock

Along the same lines, this character in Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming’s Powers also has ungodly abilities he uses for mass murder after losing his marbles. Supershock—the original superhero in this world—incinerates the Vatican and annihilates the Gaza Strip, among other atrocities. The cause of his turn is mysterious. The best guess is his brain wasn’t as ageless and invulnerable as his body, and Supershock went senile.

10. Supreme

Created by Rob Liefeld for Image Comics, this creator-owned character had its best run under comics legend Alan Moore, whose stories critiqued '90s comics while paying tribute to the more innocent titles of the '30s through '50s. Moore celebrated every aspect of Superman lore, including Lois Lane, Lex Luthor, and Krypto the Superdog, who became Diana Dane, Darius Dax, and Radar the Hound Supreme. Best of all, Moore created the Supremacy: a place outside space-time where previous versions of Supreme go after being written out of the comics. I’d like to think there’s a Super Supremacy out there where all the Supremes, Supershocks, Samaritans, Plutonians—and, of course, Kal-Els—go when they’ve been “revised,” as Moore puts it.

Giulia van Pelt, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
An Original Peanuts Comic Strip Can Be Yours—for $30,000
Giulia van Pelt, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Giulia van Pelt, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

An original Peanuts comic strip by famed cartoonist Charles Schulz could sell for as much as $30,000 at auction, according to estimates from Swann Auction Galleries. The New York City-based auction house will be selling this rare, signed comic strip at its Illustration Art sale on June 5.

A Peanuts comic strip
Swann Auction Galleries

The comic strip, which features characters Schroeder, Lucy, and Frieda, was originally published in 1970. Prior to the auction house acquiring the illustration, Schulz gave it to conductor Maurice Peress, who used it in a visual exhibition that accompanied the Kansas City Philharmonic's 1978 Beethoven Festival.

Diehard Peanuts fans will want to pay close attention to the ninth panel, which contains Schulz's signature. It's also inscribed with a message at the top reading, "Bill—Please save this one for me—Sparky." It's unclear who Bill might be, but Sparky was Schulz's nickname.

Two other Peanuts comic strips will also be up for grabs. A three-panel strip featuring Snoopy is expected to sell for as much as $12,000, while a longer strip showing Charlie Brown playing baseball as Snoopy begs for food could go for $25,000.

A Peanuts comic strip
Swann Auction Galleries

A Peanuts comic strip
Swann Auction Galleries

Other highlights of the auction include works by illustrator Edward Gorey, an original Russell H. Tandy cover illustration for a Nancy Drew novel, and various cover designs for New Yorker magazine.

Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Deadpool Fans Have a Wild Theory About Who Cable Really Is
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Deadpool 2 is officially in theaters and ruling the box office just like its predecessor did back in 2015. But this installment is about more than just crude jokes and over-the-top action scenes; it also includes the debut of a longtime Marvel character that fans have been clamoring to see on the big screen since 2000’s X-Men hit theaters: Cable.

But the Cable in Deadpool 2 isn’t quite the one fans have gotten used to in the books—for starters, his powers and backstory are reined in considerably. While it’s easy to assume that’s by design, so that audiences can better relate to the character (which is played by Josh Brolin), some fans have speculated that the changes are because, well, this character isn’t really Cable at all; instead, Screen Rant has a theory that this version of the character is actually none other than an older Wolverine from the future.

So how can Wolverine be Cable? Well, it’s actually quite easy, considering that Wolverine was Cable in Marvel’s Ultimate Universe comics, which was a series of books in the 2000s that completely reimagined the regular Marvel Universe. In this reality, a grizzled, aged Wolverine takes on the Cable nickname and travels back in time to prevent a takeover of Earth from the villain Apocalypse.

We were already introduced to Apocalypse in 2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse, and while he was defeated in the end, Screen Rant theorizes that he could return like he does in the Ultimate X-Men comics: by inhabiting the body of Nathaniel Essex, a.k.a. Mister Sinister. Essex was already name-dropped in Apocalypse and Deadpool 2, so it stands to reason that there might be some larger story on the horizon for him.

This would, of course, lead to more X-Men movies down the road, with Cable revealing his true nature and teaming with a crew of mutants that includes the classic X-Men cast as well as their younger selves to battle a newly formed Apocalypse. It’d also allow the character of Wolverine to live on in Brolin, leaving Hugh Jackman to enjoy a retired life without claws.

Obviously this is just one fan theory based on a comic storyline from over a decade ago. It would also have to ignore a whole host of continuity problems—including the events of Logan. But having a twist with Cable actually being Wolverine from the future (and likely from a different reality) is the type of headache-inducing madness the comics are known for.

[h/t: Screen Rant]


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