Peter J Tomasi Explains Why 'Brawler' Superman is Better

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Superman has been under some heavy criticism since he's been depowered. Most of the criticism is due to a mythical ideology of the character being a 'boyscout' . Superman/Wonder Woman writer, Peter J. Tomasi says those views are why the 'boyscout' is 'boring'...

In an interview with, Tomasi touched on why the 'brawler' version of Superman is the better version:

"What it is for me is that I've always loved that brawler, impetuous Superman. When he gets to be too much of a boyscout, when he gets to be too "Everything is black and white," there are certain things where I like that brawler Superman from the early Action Comics and Superman comics from the '30s and '40s."

Over the years Superman has developed into the moral high-ground, boyscout that can do no wrong. The perception among many readers, from an era gone by, is that Superman always does the right thing and sees the best in people. However, what Tomasi is referring to, are stories that pre-dates the mythological 'perfect' Superman. ALL-STAR SUPERMAN, highly regarded as one of the best Superman stories told, was close to delivering a hero that's modeled very much the way he is today. But, because of scheduling conflicts, Tomasi was unable to be the editor as originally planned.

Instead, the legend of a perfect Superman continued to grow over the years. His chest always held out in confidence while other heroes looked to him as a moral compass. His iconic status in comic books, while supplying readers with morality laden stories of doing what's right all the time, changed how he was viewed. While his fans would defend his 'do-no-wrong' behavior, interest in his comic books waned. Meanwhile Batman's popularity continued to sky-rocket by being the hero who teetered on the edge of morality. Brooding over the loss of his parents and engaging in dark storylines that had him punching and kicking his way to a solution.

What was it about Superman that was causing people to lose interest? The truth may be found in Tomasi's next quote about the recent change:

"It's more interesting to me; he's more human, in a way, when he's more impetuous because there's nothing more boring than writing a character who's always thinking perfectly and doing things perfectly."

And he's absolutely right. As a fan of Superman, I love using the mythological side of the character as a way to model myself as a human being. Always see the good in people. Treat people with respect. Those are great lessons to be taught by the world's greatest superhero. To read about him those things are wonderful and uplifting; if your in grade school. In order for DC to reignite interest in Superman, they needed to go back to his roots. Rediscover a character that today's generation has never been introduced to.

"A lot of have to take a step back sometimes and say, 'you know what? There are kids who are 12, 20, 25, 30, and they haven't read these stories.' So this is new to them."

Tomasi has a strong understanding of the comic book landscape. The goal of today's stories are to bring in new readers, while entertaining the readers who've stuck around. In the interview he reflected on a quote by Yankees (and baseball) legend Joe DiMaggio. When 'Joltin' Joe was asked why he plays so hard every night he replied: "There is always some kid who may be seeing me for the first or last time, I owe him my best". Having a similar approach to writing the character is a testament to his dedication to bringing his 'A' game with every issue.

Not everyone has read every story. So in taking Superman back to his 'brawler' roots and making him more human (aka flawed), Tomasi is delivering exciting stories that are both entertaining and true to the character's origin. Not the myth created by fans.

Do you agree with Tomasi's views? Let us know if you prefer BRAWLER or BOYSCOUT Superman in the comments below!