Well, maybe not quite. But changes are afoot for our superhero in red and blue. This week, in a new issue of the DC comic, written by Scott Lobdell, we see the onslaught of technology take its toll on Clark Kent’s career.
Kent has worked at The Daily Planet newspaper since the 1940’s and has become synonymous – with Lois Lane – with the investigative reporting that covers some of Superman’s most impressive exploits. But the newest adventure for our favorite Kryptonite has him expressing dissatisfaction with the changing ways of media in the modern world. Criticized by Perry White for not filing enough stories about Superman, Clark Kent decides to take a stand for journalism as he sees it.
“I was taught to believe you could use words to change the course of rivers — that even the darkest secrets would fall under the harsh light of the sun,” he explains in the comic “But facts have been replaced by opinions. Information has been replaced by entertainment. Reporters have become stenographers. I can’t be the only one who’s sick of what passes for the news today.”
It’s not only an indictment of where journalism has ended up today, but it also serves as commentary on Kent’s need to adapt and change in light of what people want to read. As White points out to Kent, “Times are changing and print is a dying medium.”
The Daily Planet is owned by a conglomerate – Galaxy Broadcasting – who are placing pressure on the Planet to provide more digital media access to news. Clark’s anger at being an “ink-stained wretch” speaks to a wider audience who are only too aware of the ways in which the medium of providing news (and the content of those news stories themselves) has changed dramatically over the last few decades.
“This is really what happens when a 27-year-old guy is behind a desk and he has to take instruction from a larger conglomerate with concerns that aren’t really his own,” Superman writer Scott Lobdell explains.
“Superman is arguably the most powerful person on the planet, but how long can he sit at his desk with someone breathing down his neck and treating him like the least important person in the world?”
Described as a “mild-mannered reporter”, it’s clear that the changing nature of media isn’t the only difference we can see in the new DC comic, out this week in both hardcopy and digital forms. And it seems that Clark Kent will be forced to become an online blogger in order to garner the same sort of attention and interest that his newspaper articles once did. And even his writing partner, Lois Lane, has entered into the murky world of television recently.
“Rather than Clark be this clownish suit that Superman puts on, we’re going to really see Clark come into his own in the next few years as far as being a guy who takes to the internet and to the airwaves and starts speaking an unvarnished truth,” says Lobdell.
Clark Kent…online blogger? For the Man of Steel, this might prove something of a challenge for even his abilities. And standing up for truth, justice and the American way might leave our eponymous superhero as a lone voice in the wilderness, fighting not fantastical villains, but rather the virtual slings and arrows that come his way as he ventures into the vast world of the internet.
Is this the end of an era, or simply a necessity of adapting to the changing world of news? Tell us what you think of Clark Kent’s change in career.