Good lord ... I have never come across a comic authority more knowledgeable and well spoken than this man. All these years, I thought he was just "that Groo guy."
One of my favorite parts of his testimony:
Quote:Heirs' Attorney: Any other reasons for the sharp decline in Superman's popularity in the 1970s?
Mark Evanier: I think that there was a consensus that the comic book was not very good. They were demeaning the character a lot, for gimmicks. They were trying very hard to find something that would sell, and I think they went in the wrong direction. They kept doing covers to show him weak and frail and humiliated; and people don't want to see a weak, frail, humiliated Superman.
A weak, frail, humiliated, and low-selling Superman ... sounds awfully familiar to me, and ...
OH, GOOD LORD!
Quote:Heirs' Attorney: Historically, what was the lowest point in Superman's popularity?
Mark Evanier: The early '70s, '73 through '75, in there.
The Court: What is that based on?
Mark Evanier: Sales. Books weren't selling very well. The character was kind of -- comic fans get very possessive about the characters they love. Readers were starting to protest the way Superman was being depicted. They were not getting a Superman that they felt good about. There was one issue that had a cover of Superman bowing down and kissing the foot of an Amazon alien invader; and everybody protested it. They said, 'You guys don't understand Superman; you're ruining this character.' Superman is not subservient. Superman is -- hey, I can do that. I don't need Superman to be humiliated. And sales were down. I was working on and off for DC Comics at the time. We had meetings. We had to reinvent Superman. They didn't know what to do with it.
Quote:Mark Evanier: Excuse me. May I amend something I just said a minute ago? Is that all right? Am I allowed to go back? I said that I felt that the comic books were not very good. I also said that I think -- I emphasize I felt that the comic books were missing the point of the character for a time there. They were -- they were not being true to the soul and core of the character. And they were demeaning the character in many ways.
I'd love to hear what he has to say about today's Superman.
He'd probably remark: "I didn't think it could get worse than what it was, but Grounded . . . it's kissing an Amazon's foot for a year, and cleaning the toe-jam."