Superman Comics Laughs at Worst (Strangest) Movie Idea
Superman just took one of the worst ideas on offer for Superman movies and made it canon, placing a polar bear in the Fortress of Solitude.
Warning: The following contains SPOILERS for Superman: Son of Kal-El 2021 Annual # 1.
A new comic has taken up one of the strangest ideas proposed for a Superman film and made it canon, with the Jonathan Kent Superman adopting a polar bear. It was part of a joke referring to the feud between writers Tom Taylor and Gail Simone. However, this also appears to be a reference to film producer Jon Peters’ request that his Superman lives The film features polar bears in a scene set at the Fortress of Solitude.
Freely inspired by the classic Superman’s death scenario, Superman lives would have been Superman’s first new film in a decade, when it was first offered following the successful Tim Burton hit Batman movie theater. Writer and comic book fan Kevin Smith was approached to write the script for the film and paired with veteran producer Jon Peters, who produced the first Batman classic movies and dramas such as Rain man and The color purple. The production of Superman lives was notoriously troubled, in part because of Peters’ requests that Smith’s script include random elements like a fight with a giant spider. However, Peters’ most infamous request was for the Fortress of Solitude to have polar bear guards, possibly because teddy bears would make marketable toys.
the Superman, son of Kal-El 2021 Annual seemed to refer to that, with a subplot showing Jonathan Kent rescuing a pregnant polar bear who had found herself trapped in an ice flow. Young Superman also went out of his way to feed the waiting sea urchin, collecting fresh berries for her to eat. When the bear seemed less than satisfied with this, Superman said he had stopped killing a baby seal or other animal for the bear.
Later in the issue, Jonathan encountered a hologram of his father at the Fortress of Solitude and discussed the bear, which he had decided to name Gail. The Clark Kent hologram allowed that Gail was indeed a “a beautiful name for a bear. “This indicated, although Gail was not seen in the Fortress of Solitude, that Jonathan had decided to adopt the animal and take it to his home away from home.
Time will tell if Gail will be a constant presence in the Fortress of Solitude in future Superman comics. It seems unlikely, however, that Tom Taylor would bother to introduce Gail the Bear if he wasn’t intending to keep the gag going. It also doesn’t seem like a coincidence that the fan-favorite writer would simply take an idea for Superman lives, which most comic book readers thought was a joke, and trying to make it work seriously in the context of its own stories. After all, Taylor made a name for himself on similar deep cuts and obscure references in the Injustice comic books. Superman fans can only hope that Gail the Bear is more than just a one-off gag.
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