NEW YORK—Frustrated fans of the Superman comic book said Monday the continued financial stability and cultural relevance of the series' Daily Planet newspaper is now the most unrealistic part of its universe and an annoying distraction that has ruined their reading experience.
While they acknowledged that enjoying the adventures of a superhero who can fly, lift a bus over his head, and shoot beams of intense heat from his eyes requires some suspension of disbelief, longtime fans told reporters they simply could not accept a daily metropolitan newspaper still thriving in the media landscape of 2012.
"I can play along with Superman using a steel girder to swat someone into outer space, but I just can't get past the idea that The Daily Planet still occupies one of the largest skyscrapers in all of Metropolis and is totally impervious to newsroom layoffs or dwindling home subscriptions," said comics blogger Marc Daigle, adding that it was impossible for him to even look at Superman's alter ego, Clark Kent, without immediately thinking he would have been replaced long ago by a freelancer who gets paid nine cents a word and receives no health benefits. "Every time The Daily Planet shows up, I just get taken out of the story completely. I usually flip ahead to Superman freezing a volcano with his breath or something."
"I'm not saying The Daily Planet has to be an entirely accurate depiction of a media anachronism that no longer has a single reliable revenue stream," Daigle added. "But, come on, don't insult us."
Other fans said The Daily Planet—which for some strange reason has not been acquired by multimillionaire Lex Luthor with a promise to give readers shorter articles with more sizzle—is so deeply woven into the Superman universe that they had no choice but to avoid the comic altogether. They said even the most exciting stories are routinely marred by absurd depictions of a publication that somehow flourishes in print and whose millions of loyal readers seem oblivious to the idea of getting news online faster and for free.
"I can totally buy into an epic battle in which Superman claps his hands and creates a sonic boom that sends Darkseid flying through 50 buildings," lifelong reader Richard Taft said. "But as soon as people start lining up at newsstands to read about it in The Daily Planet, I think, 'Doesn't anyone have a computer at work? Are there no smartphones?' Before I know it, I'm suddenly aware I'm reading a fictional comic book, and the spell's totally broken."
"The least they could do is have [Daily Planet editor-in-chief] Perry White be forced into retirement by an MBA 25 years his junior," Taft continued. "It'd be a start."
Lou Wadlow, owner of a Boston-area comic-book store, said the outright ridiculousness of The Daily Planet not putting up a pay wall in a futile attempt to remain profitable is causing the popular comic to lose readers, especially younger ones.
"The kids will flip through a copy of Superman, roll their eyes, and put it right back on the rack," Wadlow said. "They're only 9, 10 years old, but they're already drawing the line at a flourishing daily newspaper that is considered an essential news source for absolutely everyone, seems to have no morale issues among its staff, and hasn't lost a dime of ad money to aggregator sites."
"I mean, even Superman could be killed by kryptonite," Wadlow added. "The Daily Planet's indestructible."