Here I am. 2:15 on a Wednesday morning typing on a keyboard. My sleep interrupted by a subconscious eagerness for the arrival of Action Comics issue #1000. I realize that today #999 will be on the shelf and few people will actually pause to realize just how rare of a moment quickly approaches. Soon we will see a comic related periodical magazine publish its 1000th issue for the first time. Granted this is not a millennial date change or a cosmic event that astronomers have pined for, it is simply a comic book. So why the loss of sleep?
I find myself curious. Will the story be the conclusion of a current event wrapping up something from issue #999? A stand alone event to tug at our heartstrings with some deep emotional content? Will a character die? Could it be just another marketing issue with several stories by writers who just want to be in issue #1000? This has been on my mind since we bagged up the #999s earlier today. It made me start to think about what the issue should be rather than what it might be.
Since my exposure to Superman stories is not as deep as it is in other areas, my story would likely not have the potentially dramatic conclusion to the story continued from issue #999. These past few weeks have been filled with news stories and events which have made me, and likely others, feel a little more vulnerable than in past years. Superman has always seemed to me more the strength and hope for the people of Metropolis rather than its defense. It is with this in mind that I think the focus of an iconic issue should be about those traits. My version would likely begin with Lois Kent covering a student protest at Metropolis High School, much like those around today. There, beneath the flagpole, the students would look up to see Superman slowly descend. After a few moments of silence and awe, he would speak.
Here is where I get caught. I can not find the words to comfort a group of young men and women thrown into a world of uncertainty. I can not find the words to express the failure I feel on behalf of those who think they should have been able to stop the event which now brings them all together. No matter how impossible it may have been to stop, I understand their burden. The visual is easy: sadness, compassion, hope and eventually unity. The words to bring innocence back, to remove fear, these escape me much like the moments of sleep I currently find myself chasing with each keystroke.
Issue #1000 cannot possibly hope to meet the iconic Superman moment that I (we) need it to given recent events. I know it will be a celebration, it should be. No one can anticipate the events of the world in relation to the timing of a single periodical. The story I would write, I simply cannot put forward in words.
I read the Daily Planet, I look up in the sky and I hope that maybe someone else will. Opportunity is knocking, no pressure DC.