365 T-shirts - the reasoning

This blog should be sub-titled: a journal of my life in geek.

I get my geek on with things about which I am geeky: comic books, Baseball, Ultimate, science fiction, my favorite bands, books I have read and loved, and Jungian psychology to name some of the most frequently traversed subjects.

I began this project simply as a way to count my T-shirts. I own a lot of T-shirts. But how many do I have? Do I have 365? We shall find out.

When I started this blog, I thought about how each T-shirt means something to me. I bought it for a reason, after all. I set myself the task to post an entry about a new T-shirt every day as a way to simply write something every day, a warm up for writing fiction, which is my passion. Writing is like exercise. Warm ups are good for exercise. But after completing a month of blogging about T-shirts, I have learned that this blog serves as a journal; it documents my life in geek, sort of a tour of my interests in pop culture. The blog serves as a tool for self-inventory, for assessment and analysis of self and the origins of self, for stepping through the process of individuation in catalogues, lists, and ranks.

The blog also made me aware that I have some serious gaps in my T-shirt ownership, and I am in the process of collecting some new T-shirts for several of the great popular culture icons that I truly love. Stay tuned.

I was also a bit surprised that people checked out my blog and continue to check it, read it, and even comment on it. I am very appreciative of this readership. Please feel free to share your thoughts in my comments section. I will respond.

Also, please note that I have moved the original introductory text to the side bar. And now, I present to you the most recent entry of 365 T-shirts: a journal of my life in geek. Thank you for reading.
(Second Update - 1310.24. First Update - 1306.05 Originally Posted - 1304.25.)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

T-shirt #34: Death of Superman - the pajama shirt

T-shirt #34: Death of Superman - the pajama shirt

As I had shared before in these posts, different T-shirts have different roles in my life. Though this T-shirt, also from the Death of Superman stories back in 1992, has not always been worn at bed time, this is its role now. It's part of my pajamas.

I am not sure that I ever wore this shirt out of the house. It is a bit garish. Also, in the failing memory department, I am not sure that I remember where I was when Superman died since the Man of Steel's death was a story and not an event playing out in all-day, regularly scheduled TV programming pre-empted news broadcasts. It was a big event in comics, but it was hardly akin to the Challenger space shuttle accident or the attacks on the World Trade Center, events that I watched closely via my television.

I did have a black arm band, though. I would display the arm band for you here  if I knew where it was. I still have it somewhere. I am sure it is considered a collector's item. Kind of a clever idea actually. DC Comics mass produced a free giveaway (at least, I think they were free) for comic book stores to promote the Death of Superman comics in the form of black arm bands with the Superman logo in glossy red. We could wear the arm bands in mourning for

Superman. I know I wore mine at least once.

As for this shirt, I like events in which many heroes gather together, especially ones who would not normally encounter one another (unless the comic company produced a team up book). It's kind of like a school reunion of graduates.

Though a bit gaudy, I do like the congress of heroes that has formed in the shirt's image to say goodbye to Superman and lay his body to rest. Silly, really because Superman is an alien. How could we be sure he's dead? Does he have a heart beat? A pulse? I do not recall how his death was determined in those comics, and my collected edition is packed in a box somewhere so it is not easily accessible. The final image just shows Lois Lane sobbing by the side of his broken and bleeding body.

But his "death" should have sent up red flags to the more science-oriented heroes and their helpers. How should a Kryptonian's death be verified? Furthermore, what's the life span of a Kryptonian? Can Superman die in the way we understand death as humans?

Alternate funeral procession image.
This is the image from the T-shirt.
Also, check out this image (on the right). The details are not easy to make out in my shirt pictures so I provided a better image of the funeral shot. Darkseid is in this funeral procession? Really?? And the other heroes are all right walking beside freakin' DARKSEID? Are you kidding me? Gee, why not line up Lex Luthor, Braniac, and the Parasite? And what's the thinking with the pall bearers? Changeling? Batman, Supergirl, and Power Girl would be more logical choices. Though I guess there are other images (see left), in which Batman and, then, Robin/Tim Drake flank the coffin with Flash, Green Lantern, and Wonder Woman.

REDIAL: In my last Superman post here (T-shirt #31), I claimed that Superman's death was the first major superhero death. OBVIOUSLY, I quite forgot about the death of the

second boy to fill the Robin costume, Jason Todd, who was killed off ostensibly by a vote of comic fans  in 1989. This was a big deal in comics at the time, and I cannot believe I forgot about it when writing about superhero deaths the other day. Details of the vote and whether the numbers reflect an actual number of fans who wanted Jason Todd dead or a skewed result based on one guy with an auto-redialer can be found here at A Death in the Family.

Back to Superman: Okay, so his death was not the first big death of a major superhero character in comics, but it may still be the first such event that played out on such a grand scale and without fan support. Many fans wanted Jason Todd dead, which is why DC decided to go through with story but base it on a fan vote to determine if Jason was truly as hated as gossip indicated that he was. Superman was a different case entirely. But both deaths share a commonality: both heroes returned. In this way, comics are like soap operas: long, ongoing, episodic, open-ended melodramas in which no characters are truly dead. Comics have an advantage over soap operas in that comic characters are drawings and not played by real actors (though this is not necessarily an issue for many soap opera characters either, many of whom have been played by multiple performers).

It is unlikely that DC will do anything so dramatic as kill Superman as it gears up for the release of the new Superman movie (June) and the much anticipated Justice League movie (2015, maybe?). But the New 52 will need another shot in the arm for a sales spike after the hoopla over the death of Robin  (Damian Wayne) runs its course. Superman? Probably not, but DC has not killed Wonder Woman yet...

-chris tower, 1304.24 8:28