American Icons: Superman [Studio 360]

Originally broadcast July 6, 2006, one month after Superman Returns and rebroadcast May 31, 2013, one month before Man of Steel.

Studio 360 is a public radio program about the arts and culture hosted by Kurt Andersen and produced by Public Radio International and WNYC. If you enjoy documentaries, insight, commentary, or Superman, this is a must listen. You don’t have to agree with everything presented, and some parts are given only a cursory analysis, but the production is slick, high quality, transitions beautifully, tackles a gamut of thought-provoking topics, and features Bryan Singer, Margot Kidder, Brandon Routh, Jules Feiffer, Art Spiegelman, Michael Chabon, Howard Jacobson, just to name a few!

For those who love food for thought and Superman this was a delight to listen to.

The substance of the show is about 50 minutes and provides endless prompts for discussion, analysis, etc. Literally entire books have been written around the topics which this show can only touch upon. Nonetheless, I’ll do my best to briefly summarize a few of the ideas touched upon recalled from my morning commute. Most of the segments transition seamlessly so it isn’t always a case of discrete topics, but comes off almost as a stream of consciousness.

In this program, they touch upon:

  • Superman’s Jewish parallels and origins
  • Superman as a product of shy, nerdy, nebbish young men afraid of girls
  • Superman as a product of Martin Siegel’s murder in an armed robbery
  • Superman’s popularity allowing Siegel and Shuster to mature and get girls
  • Siegel wanting Superman to grow up too, reveal his secret to Lois to proceed as partners, but axed by DC as upsetting the successful formula
  • The conflict between DC and Siegel and Shuster
  • Superman’s constant evolution and multimedia explosion
  • Superman the musical as satire and inner monologue
  • The romance and love triangle
  • Comics as mere research & development for the films
  • Bryan Singer who didn’t read the comics but was enamored with Superman The Movie
  • Singer pitching relationships as something unsurmountable to Superman
  • Interpreting the triangle as masochistic because of the willful acceptance of humiliation and pain
  • Kidder’s performance as informed by real-life: monosyllabic with crushes and bossy with mere buddies
  • The appeal and purpose of Clark Kent
  • Jules Feiffer’s essay and proposal, the inspiration for the Kill Bill monologue
  • Superman’s duality as the Western film archetype of the law-abider and lawless strongman, see The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
  • Why is Clark Kent a journalist?
  • The historical context, ethics, and nobility of journalism, and Siegel’s desire to be a journalist
  • Discussion of the costume in film, the logo, and the shield
  • Comparing and contrasting the shield and the swastika
  • Superman as a Fascist ideal, Fascism, and absolute power

Even if you’re a longtime fan of Superman, you’ll probably find something new, surprising, or interesting within this, despite much of it being familiar. For an overview it is still professionally produced, well-researched by going to interesting sources, and peppered with appropriate audio. Give it a listen!

Studio 360 – American Icons: Superman

Does Superman breathe in space?

spaceDoes Superman need to breathe?

No. Superman flies in space for fun when he first discovers he can fly. Superman flies through space in order to rescue Lois from her damaged escape pod. Superman takes a round trip up to the orbiting Wayne Enterprises satellite and back.  Less overt feats include walking through the burning oil rig without breathing apparatus, remaining underwater during an entire flashback sequence, traveling at extraordinary speed which would rip the air from one’s lungs, and routine feats of super-human strength as discussed in MOSAIC Episode 4.  Whether or not you accept these later examples, the first three are undeniable proof that Superman does not have to be within (and breathing) Earth atmosphere to have his strength and powers.

This is both the typical Superman tradition and a logical application of our understanding of what respiration does for us.  Simply put, we breathe oxygen in order to biochemically “burn” our food stores for energy.  Therefore, it is logical that Superman bypasses the need for oxygen because he primarily metabolizes sunlight, rather than food, and that his feats would consume more energy than food stores could ever provide.

Why do some think he needs Earth’s atmosphere to be strong?

They are likely drawing a few faulty conclusions.  First, that Jor-El’s atmosphere line pertained to Superman’s powers.  Second, that Jor-El changing the atmospherics on the ship was giving Superman back the source of his strength, rather than understanding that the main point was to take away the Kryptonian atmosphere that was suppressing Superman’s strength (he adapted it to Earth merely to kill two birds with one stone and allow Lois to breathe freely if her helmet was to be compromised).  Addressing each in turn: read more

11 – Lois Lane – Rumor Reactions

coverblackIn this episode, it’s all things Lois Lane! We answer the questions and criticisms about Lois in Man of Steel.  The romance and the relationship for this iconic character.  We address all the questions below!

  • How did Lois get access to the Ellsemere Island site?
  • “Print it or I walk”
  • Why leak the article?
  • How did Clark track Lois down to the cemetery?
  • Why was Lois at Superman’s surrender to Zod?
  • How did Faora know who Lois was?
  • Why did Zod want Lois on the ship?
  • Why was Lois allowed in the C-17, the plane delivering Superman’s ship?
  • Was the kiss forced?
  • Why would Lois be attracted to Clark?
  • Why would Superman be attracted to Lois?
  • Was the kiss in poor taste?
  • Who says, “It’s all downhill after the first kiss?”
  • Was her line and Superman’s response cringe-worthy?
  • Was that intentional?
  • How did Lois get to the train station in time?
  • Is Lois too convenient?
  • Did Lois have enough edge?
  • She’s got red hair.
  • We lost the love triangle and gained what?
  • What role will Lois play in BvS, Justice League, and beyond?

Amy Adams talks Batman v. Superman with Collider and

Finally, we react to the reported rumors based on an alleged pre-production script.

While tackling the above you might learn:

  • Where does Lois rank with combined Filmography and Game entries compared to the Trinity, Marvel’s Most Popular, and Batman’s supporting cast?
  • What is an injunction and how do they work?
  • What is a non-compete clause in an employment contract?
  • Why it wasn’t Martha who tipped Clark off about Lois.
  • Are Lois and Superman in love?
  • What was Zod’s only weakness against humanity?
  • What is the Birthday Problem or Birthday Paradox?

…and more!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

MOSAIC returns in 2015!

Twitter: @mosanswers
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Proud member of the Superman Podcast Network!
Software Generated Transcript

Was the drone scene pointless?

What was the point of the drone scene?

Some allege the scene was pointless, out of Superman’s character, and out of place. The scene is only about 1 minute long and contains only about 10 lines of dialogue, but it does an incredible amount of work and is densely packed with meaning, mechanics, and motives.

Far from being a pointless scene, it is vital for setting the ground work for the new status quo following Zod’s death.

read more

10 – Jor-El’s Plan – Suicide Squad – Flash vs. Arrow

coverblackIn this episode, we breakdown Jor-El’s plan to stop the Kryptonians; we take a look at the characters, cast, and creators for Suicide Squad; and consider what lessons we can learn from CW’s Flash vs. Arrow crossover. We address all the questions below!

  • Why does Jor-El’s plan make sense?
  • Why doesn’t How It Should Have Ended ending work?
  • Why was Dr. Hamilton on the C-17?
  • Why was it logical for Lois to be on the C-17?
  • What was the Phantom Drive doing for the World Engine?
  • Why did the strikes have to be coordinated?
  • Why couldn’t Superman tackle the Black Zero first?
  • Why couldn’t the World Engine be sucked into a singularity?
  • What is the Suicide Squad?
  • Why support Warner Brothers Animation direct to video DC projects?
  • How do press releases tell us Superman is going to get more screen time than Batman?
  • What can the characters, cast, and creators tell us about the DCCU?
  • Why not shoot entirely in IMAX?
  • What lessons can we learn from Flash vs. Arrow?

In this episode’s mail bag:

  • Does killing Clark Kent solve the secret identity issue?
  • Why didn’t Jor-El jump the Black Zero into a star or blow Zod out the airlock?
  • Will Zod return in BvS?
  • Will the DCCU movies be in chronological order?
  • Will they explain the changes to Superman’s suit?

How It Should Have Ended: Man Of SteelOfficial Suicide Squad Press Release

Twitter: @mosanswers
Subscribe: iTunes / RSS / Stitcher / YouTube
Proud member of the Superman Podcast Network!
Software Generated Transcript

Stars Commit to “Suicide Squad” [Official]

(December 2, 2014 – Burbank, CA) – An all-star roster of actors has joined Warner Bros. Pictures’ new action adventure “Suicide Squad,” bringing DC Comics’ super villain team to the big screen under the direction of David Ayer (“Fury”). The announcement was made today by Greg Silverman, President, Creative Development and Worldwide Production, Warner Bros. Pictures.

The film will star two-time Oscar nominee Will Smith (“The Pursuit of Happyness,” “Ali,” upcoming “Focus”) as Deadshot; Tom Hardy (“The Dark Knight Rises,” upcoming “Mad Max: Fury Road”) as Rick Flagg; Margot Robbie (“The Wolf of Wall Street,” upcoming “Focus,” the “Tarzan” movie) as Harley Quinn; Oscar winner Jared Leto (“Dallas Buyers Club,” “Alexander”) as the Joker; Jai Courtney (“Divergent,” upcoming “The Water Diviner”) as Boomerang; and Cara Delevingne (“Anna Karenina,” upcoming “Pan”) as Enchantress.

In making the announcement, Silverman said, “The Warner Bros. roots are deep on this one. David Ayer returns to the studio where he wrote ‘Training Day’ and brings his incredible ability to craft multidimensional villains to this iconic DC property with a cast of longtime Warner collaborators Will Smith and Tom Hardy, and other new and returning favorites: Margot, Jared, Jai and Cara. We look forward to seeing this terrific ensemble, under Ayer’s amazing guidance, give new meaning to what it means to be a villain and what it means to be a hero.”

Ayer is also writing the script for “Suicide Squad,” which is being produced by Charles Roven (“The Dark Knight” trilogy, upcoming “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”) and Richard Suckle (“American Hustle”). Zack Snyder, Deborah Snyder, Colin Wilson and Geoff Johns are serving as executive producers.

The film is slated for release on August 5, 2016.