Superman’s weaknesses are well documented: Kryptonite. Magic. The evil genius of Lex Luthor and Brainiac. The imperilment of those closest to him. Bryan Singer. The risotto at Le Cirque (The calories! Soooo worth it, though). And all of these, except for the risotto, have been explored at great length—which, you might think, is why DC is sending him into space. But no, the truth is that the Big Blue Boy Scout is facing a more serious threat than any he’s seen in the 70 years since his debut. A threat that none of his yellow-star-derived powers can help him against. A threat that will seem painfully obvious once it has been pointed out.I am speaking, of course, of the decline of print media. Yes, newspapers are dying, and even if flying backwards around the earth to reverse time really worked, it would only delay the inevitable: The Internet would just get invented again, revenue from classified ads would drop sharply, Franklin Stern would be forced to conclude that pay-to-view was a flawed model and abandon the PlanetSelect program, and where would that leave Metropolis’s favorite couple?
As a two-reporter family, almost certainly screwed, that’s where. You think tenure counts for something? Alas, it does not. Lois might get to keep her job, for a time at least, but Clark? Clark Kent? The guy who disappears as soon as anything interesting starts to happen? Sure, he types fast, and his copy is clean, but editors will have to make choices, hard choices, and Perry White will be looking for any excuse he can find. He’ll be counting on Clark, the affable dope, to make this easy on everyone. Maybe he’ll offer him a spot on the copy desk. But that won’t work—copy editors have to be at their desks all the time, and besides, they’re weirdos. Real weirdos, worse than the Toyman. No, Clark will take the buyout. That’s better than the other famous superhero-cum-journalist will do, since freelancers just get dropped on their asses. But at least Peter Parker is young and has science to fall back on. Clark is an old superdog, and as Krypto will verify, that makes it hard to learn new tricks. Anyway, he’s got ink his blood (permanent ink that gives transfusion recipients superpowers). Once that severance runs out, he’ll be left with one option. Yep, he’ll have to become a blogger. Which is, frankly, a gross injustice. I mean, there is a certain dignity to newspaper work, or at least, there used to be, and still is in the anachronism that is Superman’s corner of the multiverse: You file your story, you see your byline on the front page, you smile, repeat. There’s no real fallout—at worst, maybe a couple of letters to the editor, presumably written by weirdos who couldn’t cut it as copy editors. But blogging. Great Caesar’s ghost! You file your post, you see your byline on the front page, you smile...and then the comments start coming in, and you think, I know I addressed that point in plain English. Hey, I didn’t say that, why are you attacking me for saying that? Seriously, do you not get that it was a joke? Hey, I didn’t say that either. I do not even know what that means. No, that’s not socialism. Hitl—really? You went there? Did you even read what I wrote? That’s what passes for logic in your world? THIS WASN’T EVEN ABOUT THE WATCHMEN MOVIE!
And that’s just if he's lucky enough to write for io9. We commenters over here are, by and large, Pulitzer nominees compared with what they get at, say, newsweek.com. And Clark would probably end up somewhere like that; he’s not hip enough for Slate or New York. There’s something terribly wrong about the Last Son of Krypton being publicly critiqued by centralcity_dad42. Plus, invulnerability doesn’t protect you from getting your feelings hurt. The blogosphere is no place for a nice guy from Kansas. Nor does it bode well for folks with secret identities. Put all the career troubles aside, and Kal-El still has a serious problem: Superheroes, like politicians, have been banking on the goodwill and ineptitude of the so-called “mainstream media” for decades. The bloggers who are taking over the mantle of the fourth estate know little to nothing of goodwill, and there are so many of them, with, collectively, so much time on their hands, that it renders their individual ineptitude moot. It’s not going to take a Luthor-level genius to figure out who Supes really is. It’s gonna be some asshat at Daily Kos. Given all of the above, I’d head for the final frontier, too. I am told, anyway, that they make a mean risotto on Oa. Commenter Moff’s real name is Josh Wimmer, and he can usually be found at scribblescribblescribble.com/blog.