The Death of Superman and Local Supermen
Over the last decade, Marvel in particular has been successful in creating a mainstream comic book culture which has caught the attention of even those who are not comic book fans.
These days, even someone who is completely uninterested in superheroes will hear the terms “Avengers” or “Black Panther” in one way or another.
Over the last 10 years, Marvel Studios has greatly increased awareness of its own characters, surpassing Superman and Batman as the first to come to mind when someone says “superhero.” In this regard, the unbelievable mistakes made by DC Studios have made Marvel’s job easier. But there’s one thing that’s even more relevant here, which is that DC’s animation, directed towards adults, has reached a different level.
The animation series known as DC Universe Original Movies released its first film in 2007, Superman: Doomsday. This was followed by 31 full-length feature films and 5 short animated films. With 2013’s Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, DC animations began to share the same universe in that something that happened in one film had an effect on the plots of future films.
Now, the last film of this series, The Death of Superman, has landed on the Internet. In fact, this film is just a remake of 2007’s Superman: Doomsday, changed to address the criticisms and demands that came from a certain type of fan over the years. This remake begins where Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice leaves off. Using similar animation, Superman battles the infamous Doomsday and dies in order to kill this death machine.
Word is out that another film is in the works for 2019, Reign of the Superman, which will be about the survivors after Superman’s death. A lot of people are already saying this film will be of the quality they were expecting for the Death of Superman.
Like the rest of the world, Superman was the most popular superhero in Turkey for years, but with one small difference; in Turkey, Superman’s powers were often confused with those of another DC character, Shazam. This had a huge effect on old Turkish superhero films.
The first of these films was Kilink İstanbul’da (Kilink in Istanbul), a 1967 remake of Superman. Kilink kills Orhan’s father, and an old man named Şazambo gives Orhan superpowers. To use these powers, there is one requirement: he must say “Şazam” when no one is looking. This gives him the ability to fly. Of course his costume is a mix of Batman’s and Superman’s.
Kilink’s goal is pretty much the same as any bad guy’s—to rule the world. He wants to control absolutely everything, from what people wear to what thoughts they can have. If this motivation of Klink’s seems outdated to you, check out the CW channel’s 4th season of The Flash. You’ll see that in the 2017–2018 season, the lead bad guy, Clifford DeVoe or the Thinker, has desires and motivations that are very much like Kilink’s.
Due to technical issues, the hero known as “flying man” chooses to run rather than fly. Besides that, in the end of the film, Kilink is climbing Galata Tower. Instead of flying at him, the hero climbs up behind him and, of course, vanquishes him.
Turkey saw the production of three Superman films (known as Süper Adam) from 1971 to 1972. In the 1971 production Süper Adam, our hero carries a gun, but in the 1972 production, Süper Adam Kadınlar Arasında (Superman among the Women), he doesn’t have the gun. In fact, the only things he really has in common with Superman are his super strength and the “S” on his chest.
By 1972, appearing before us was the American agent Clark Kent, a.k.a Süper Adam. He bears a big “S” on his chest, but his mask is more like Batman’s. He still can’t fly, and he even arrives to Turkey on an airplane leaves on an airplane at the end.
The Turks’ first flying Superman wasn’t until 1979, or one year after Richard Donner had convinced the whole world a man could fly. The Turkish film was called Supermen Dönüyor (Superman Returns). Director Kunt Tulgar dressed up one of his daughter’s Barbie dolls as Superman and made it fly behind a sheet of tracing paper. On the front side, he projected an image of Istanbul from the air, and because of this, Superman could fly. But however well he could fly, and even though his outfit was more similar to the real Superman’s, the Turkish Superman was still a lot more like Shazam.
In the 1979 film, newly graduated Tayfun wants to become a journalist. When his father tells him that he had found him inside a rocket in the garden many years before, Tayfun’s true enlightenment begins. He takes a piece of kryptonite his mother had given him and throws it into a cave, and a Kryptonian appears before him to explain his powers to him. Of course, these powers are pretty much the same as Shazam’s.
Meanwhile, some bad guys have been looking for the piece of kryptonite so they can use it to turn everything into gold and become rich. Profesör Çetinel is a kryptonite researcher, and his daughter Alev works with Tayfun at the same newspaper. Basically, she’s the equivalent of Lois Lane.
The flying Superman is very powerful and he can read people’s minds. But there are other powers he does not have, like being able to move objects with his mind or see into the past. The only thing that gives the movie the name Superman Returns is that in the end, he decides he wants to see the people who are still on Krypton, and he leaves Earth to return there. This is interesting because in the 2006 American production of the same name, Superman sees the people who remain on Krypton and returns to Earth.
In Turkish cinema, Superman continued with actors like Cüneyt Arkın and Yılmaz Köksal, but besides his name and his ability to fly, those movies don’t really have much to do with the original Superman. These days, the film that’s most similar to the original is SüperTürk, made in 2012.
This time, two children are sent from Krypton to Earth. One goes to America and the other goes to Turkey. Apart from the SüperTürk costume, he shares the same characteristics with Superman; however, because the film is a comedy, his powers are blended with local humor.
Although there are Turkish superheroes, the Turks still have not really created their own superhero. As such, in future movies, we may see a flying Turkish hero, either as a superhero or for comic relief. Nonetheless, it looks as though American superhero movies will continue to hold the throne.