Superman

'You're Done Banging Superheroes, Baby'

How the sickest mind in comic books became their biggest star

The premise of Nemesis was simple.“Nemesis is a reversal of the Bruce Wayne or Tony Stark archetype,” its author Mark Millar told an interviewer just before the comic came out in 2010. “What if this genius billionaire was just this total shit, and the only thing that stood between him and a city was the cops?”

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Superbad

The puritanical undertones beneath the mess of 'Man of Steel'

When the early trailers for Zach Snyder’s new Superman movie, Man of Steel, premiered last year, it appeared that Warner Brothers was looking to piggyback on the success of its recent Batman franchise, The Dark Knight Trilogy.

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A Superman for All Seasons

The Man of Steel is 75. His biography is our history.

Superman is turning 75. Over those years, he's moved from rebel to establishmentarian to fogey to oddball—tracking the history of our times.

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The Deadly Jester

In Defense of Lost Causesby Slavoj Žižek(Verso, 504 pp., $34.95)Violenceby Slavoj Žižek(Picador, 272 pp., $14)I.Last year the Slovenian philosopher SlavojŽižek published a piece in The New York Times deploring America's use of torture to extract a confession from Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the Al Qaeda leader who is thought to have masterminded the attacks of September 11. The arguments that Žižek employed could have been endorsed without hesitation by any liberal-minded reader. Yes, he acknowledged, Mohammed's crimes were "clear and horrifying"; but by torturing him the United States was turning back the clock on centuries of legal and moral progress, reverting to the barbarism of the Middle Ages. We owe it to ourselves, Žižek argued, not to throw away "our civilization's greatest achievement, the growth of our spontaneous moral sensitivity." For anyone who is familiar with Žižek's many books, what was striking about the piece was how un-Žižekian it was. Yes, there were the telltale marks—quotations from Hegel and Agamben kept company with a reference to the television show 24, creating the kind of high-low frisson for which Žižek is celebrated. But for the benefit of the Times readers, Žižek was writing, rather surprisingly, as if the United States was basically a decent country that had strayed into sin.He was being dishonest. What Žižek really believes about America and torture can be seen in his new book, Violence, when he discusses the notorious torture photos from Abu Ghraib: "Abu Ghraib was not simply a case of American arrogance towards a Third World people; in being submitted to humiliating tortures, the Iraqi prisoners were effectively initiated into American culture." Torture, far from being a betrayal of American values actually offers "a direct insight into American values, into the very core of the obscene enjoyment that sustains the U.S. way of life." This, to Žižek's many admirers, is more like it.

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