I suppose everyone knows how wretched the latest Superman movie is. Several of my friends and family members thought it was alright, but I think that’s in keeping with the lowered expectations by which all Superman movies are judged. Or all superhero movies, for that matter. For some, getting the guy to fly without the strings is good enough. Like King Kong, there is a built in fascination with seeing the Superman concept replicated in some sort of life-like setting.
King Kong is a limited concept. There is only one thing that King Kong is going to do. Set the big monkey down and roll tape. King Kong is going to crush stuff. For added spice, you can set down another King Kong-like creature in the same setting. They’re going to crush stuff and then they’re going to crush each other. In a cold read way, Superman is the same thing.
If that’s all one expects from Superman, then the only going forward plan is to update setting details and keep the special effects cutting edge. That seems to be the current plan. I think this plan has become horribly sidetracked. The concept has picked up some bad habits, and the movies have amplified them. As a character, however, Superman has proven to be a relevant, time tested success. To get back to that success it is necessary to jettison the junk and focus on what makes the character appealing. Give us a Superman who does what Superman does best.
We’re out to take the best of Superman and make a Superman out of him. Our focus is on what actually defines the character and what makes a good Superman story. Since movies are the medium Superman is currently bound for, our intention is to define the recipe for what makes a good Superman movie.
Part of the problem with Superman is baked into the character. And it has nothing to do with the character being too powerful, a frequent picking point. Most of Superman’s issues are entwined with the character’s longevity, fame, and a peculiar tendency to impose an analogy on what is an action and adventure character. Plotlines for superheroes are fairly interchangeable. Anything Spider-Man does Superman can do. Ditto Wonder Woman and Green Lantern and Thor and The Hulk. Plug Superman into any of the stories involving those characters and he would do fine. So good Superman stories are not actually the issue. But they have been few and far between. Even more so with the movies.
Superman is an evolved character, a fictional creation which has grown over the course of time. He started as sort of an anthropomorphic cockroach, a human built to the standards of an insect. The tacked on explanation for Superman’s physical powers went along the lines of “just as an ant can lift several times its own weight…” In short order, Superman began displaying an array of heightened senses, culminating in the character being endowed with an entire medical lab full of devices packed into his cranium. X-Ray vision, heat vision and super cold breath have no real precedent in biology. So Superman went from being a thriving invasive species to being a high energy physics experiment in human form. Here we can blame the creators. Early on, the creative team behind Superman answered all plot problems by having the character sprout new abilities—some of them quite silly. The concept has also been messed with, especially when translated into other mediums. The animation team behind Popeye decided that Superman flew as opposed to jumped. (It doesn’t make any sense for a character who can leap tall buildings in a single bound to also fly.) Lazy radio script writers gave us Kryptonite. Far too many Superman scripts in all forms went overboard in exploring how super Superman can be. (Time travel, splitting himself in two, super hypnotism, dwarf star level impregnability.) As a concept, Superman is kind of bloated.
We could go on for thousands of words addressing the bloat. Since I don’t think that’s where the problem lies, I won’t. If we have to use a standard model for Superman, I will settle on the character displayed in the Fleischer Brothers cartoon shorts of the 1940s. That’s how Superman should look. That’s how Superman should move. It’s just enough Superman, Superman just right. That’s the nuts and bolts, though. The problem is in characterization and setting.
A major characterization problem is that there has been scant little of it. At some point Superman crossed the Rubicon between adventure character and walking idol, or icon in the modern parlance. Icons need analogies, I guess. And analogies make poor characters. First, drop the Superman is Jesus Christ analogy. It doesn’t fit and it was never part of the original concept. The two Jewish teenagers from Cleveland who came up Superman had no intention of making him Action Jesus. If anything, Superman has a bit of the Moses myth grafted onto what might be an analogy about the experience of immigrants to the United States. You were nothing where you came from, but here, in the United States, you can thrive. And both you and the United States are better for it.
The recent pair of Superman movies trashes that analogy to a pornographic degree. Superman is portrayed as a conflicted DP who can’t fit it. Worse yet, he’s brought problems from the old country with him. (Did Donald Trump write these scripts?) In my view the movie version of Superman needs to abandon playing to the analogies. Get back to the character. (*1) Beyond the powers, there is an actual character of Superman with certain personality traits. Since that seems to be what has gotten lost most in the latest spate of tent-pole movies, we will detail the character of Superman in some depth:
· * Truth, Justice and the American Way. What Superman stands for, as Superman, is fairly straight forward. He is an opponent of deception, a proponent of fairness and has a broad affinity for his country. He tries to be a good citizen, a good American. Wonderful powers aside, he would have had a much different experience on Earth had his ship crash landed in Ethiopia, Peru, England, China or Germany. In the 1940s radio program, Superman landed on Earth as an adult. He was a refugee who picked his spot where to land. The more standard cannon has him raised on a farm. Originally his parents were an elderly, childless couple and he didn’t leave until after they died. In all cases, Superman is well-steeped in American culture. He’s thankful to be here. (*2)
* Superman has taken the concept of democracy to heart. He is the most democratic superhero out there. Superman goes after anything that hits his action point horizon: wife beaters, pick pockets, fly dumpers, tidal waves, buckled pavement, car wrecks, fires, bank robbers, you name it. Saving a kitten from a tree and diverting an asteroid might all be part of the same day’s work. It’s a very unique aspect of the character—one that the movies have decided to dispose of for unknown reasons.
· * Spider-Man and Superman are both similarly situated characters. Both characters are led into situations (plot events) via the guidance of their senses. Or at least that’s the cheap way in. Spider-Man’s spider senses both detect things and disclose good and evil, right and wrong actions. By contrast, Superman has fabulous senses, but no real guidance other than experience. Spider-Man has idiot lights and follows their signals instinctively. Superman has gauges and takes the doctor’s approach—first, do no harm—to assessing the conflict or event. Both characters are triage experts. Both characters are science nerds. Spider-Man is more likely to act in a continuous flow, confident that his idiot lights are going to keep him from doing anything immediately stupid. Superman can get stumped, at which point he goes and gets an expert opinion. And Superman has a rolodex of experts to call on. Plug in either character and you can expect somewhat similar outcomes. Spider-Man is going to wisecrack his way through the situation. When the mood strikes him, Superman might let loose with a little establishment agitprop. Both characters are deliberately friendly. Neither character deals in threats. Neither character is all that big on spouting opinions. These are establishment guys. Making Superman anything other than an establishment guy, as the two previous movies have done, trashes the preexisting notion of the character. (*3) Superman and Spider-Man were raised in loving families by good citizens, not by the Irish Travelers, drug using off the grid types or biker gangs.
· * Spider-Man and Superman have essentially the same ethos and largely the same style. They both underplay their abilities. (*4) They pull their punches. They use only the amount of force they feel is necessary—and for the same reason. The world they live in is fragile and everything important in it is fragile. Their objective is to protect, preserve and restore that world. These are not punishers. These are not vengeance guys. (Unlike Batman or the Shadow or Wolverine.) They’re here to restore normalcy and then they exit. Superman might clean up after his own mess, but he and Spider-Man trust society to assess punishment to the bad guy.
· * Superman is social and professional. Superman is very approachable and actively networks. He has a preference for hanging with science guys. (Clark Kent nuzzles the cops and politicians.) He trades favors with technical professionals, playing off his utility as a scientific instrument. Like the people in his network, Superman works at his craft. Being Superman is Superman’s calling. Getting along well with others and having access to the right people is part of the gig, as is a certain standard of comportment. Civil niceties aside, it also seems that…
* * Superman is a dick. There’s an entire website on this subject. Much of this is the result of too many stories written to match trick covers. (Why has Superman dumped Lois Lane and married a mermaid?) Although he’s polite to strangers, he’s not at all considerate to the people closest to him. He has pranked and generally abused Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, Batman and even Perry White dozens of times. There have been convoluted explanations for this, but a willingness to waltz over the emotions of his closest associates is a distinct character flaw.
Superman’s personality has changed a bit over the years. The above is sort of the consensus Superman, Superman once he got his act together. In the early issues of Action Comics, Superman was rather feisty and somewhat rude. He cut fascists and other authoritarian totalitarian types little quarter. Even through the early post war years, Superman routinely used torture tactics on criminals, racing them up the sides of buildings while holding them by the ankles and leaving crooks precariously perched on the tops of flagpoles. (*5) And there were instances of the police treating Superman like a menace, firing machinegun blasts to shoo him away. Problems with the police came to an end within a few issues’ span, suspiciously concurrent with Superman’s successful sucking up to the military industrial complex. (*6) The Superman people like is from his post brat phase. But throwing in a little of the old Superman might be good for spicing things up.
Superman was a big hit in comic books, but his general fame with the public came from other mediums, specifically a daily radio program. It is the radio program that the movie serial and subsequent television show are based on. Arguably a kids show (sponsored by a breakfast cereal), the radio program often took on real world topics such as race hatred and the impact of monopolists. It was done installment style, like a soap opera, while the comic book stuck with contained short stories.
The characterization on the radio set the tone for the television show. Or at least the first season. For the most part, Superman stuck to what we have defined above, however he was a little less relentlessly polite. Evidence of deliberate deception caused him to get a bit snippy. Ditto folks not getting to the point fast enough for Superman’s liking. Radio Superman spent as little time as he could being Superman. The majority of his communications were either to his associates, the authorities, or his network of experts. He had no official standing, no official duties, no standing appointments and no set contact point. A lot of the story’s action was carried out by Clark Kent. Superman only shows when something is happening. (*7)
Clark Kent has always been miss-billed. It’s not a consistent characterization and the problems are with the source material. “Mild mannered reporter” is a misnomer. To backtrack a bit, Superman got stuck with the alter ego issued to all early superheroes (save the Lone Ranger), which originated with the Scarlet Pimpernel. The stock secret identity is a dandy, a shy person, a hedonist, a trust fund baby who seems to have no concerns other than his own self-involvement. Batman got stuck with this, too. It’s a wish fulfilment set-up, a play on the idea that deep inside every introvert (or whatever) is a type A personality man of action waiting to spring forth. As with other tropes as characters, I think it has had its day. It certainly hasn’t played well with Clark Kent.
Clark Kent is a reporter, not a field for the shy and retiring. He isn’t going to break into the semi-big leagues on typing speed alone. He may not be the ace that Lois Lane is, but he is good enough to hold down a byline. So having him come off as anything but a go-getter sort of shoots the reporter gig in the heels. Kirk Alyn and Christopher Reeve pulled off bumbling characterizations to somewhat humorous effect, but it does impact the overall credibility of this guy being a reporter in the first place. George Reeves dispensed with the “mild mannered” bit altogether, playing Kent as a fairly typical reporter. (*8)
George Reeves took his cues from Radio Superman. Radio Superman’s Clark Kent was a cynical, fast talking, big city, veteran reporter. Having Clark Kent be averse to risking injury, as George Reeves did, is as far as the mild mannered thing need go. In my construction, Superman’s other identity is also an action and adventure type, albeit one who isn’t interested in getting himself killed on every assignment. Taking weird risks to get a story is really Lois Lane’s job.
Could the set up use some modernization? There’s no reason to keep it utterly static. The Superman ball has been advanced in the public mind by shows such as Lois & Clark and Smallville and the current Supergirl. Newspapers have downsized and Clark Kent’s situation should reflect that. There are few “famous reporters” and Clark Kent doesn’t need to be one of them. Lois Lane is the “face reporter” of the Daily Planet. Kent is just another reporter. And newspapers are no longer that big of a deal. In the end, that sort of suits the character.
Lois is in on the Clark Kent is Superman thing. Whether they’re co habituating or man and wife is going to have some impact on their employment situation. Lois can take over the Superman’s gatekeeper role from Clark Kent. There is most distinctly a role for Superman’s wife. Other than his parents, Lois Lane is the only person Superman knows closely. She’s the point of public contact and has considerable influence in deciding what is or is not “A job for Superman.” In a way that makes Superman rather normal. That Lois Lane is ill-tempered, competitive, fearless and opinionated makes for nice interplay possibilities.
Now that we the character more or less settled, I will touch lightly on the setting. Superman needs to remain contemporary. He’s not a nostalgia piece—or at least that’s not the character’s attraction. There’s little additive to creating a fantastic setting, as in the first series of Batman movies. That said, the Metropolis setting is in need of a little definition. “Where is it?”. “What is it?” and “Why is Superman there?” are all questions which need some addressing.
The short answer, per the current movies, is that it is Manhattan and Long Island, whereas Gotham is the not as nice sections of New York City. That’s disposing of seventy plus years of context for no reason and to no effect. Metropolis was also defined fairly fully in role playing game materials and various fold out sections from comic book specials. None of it has in any way reflected what goes on in Superman’s stories. It’s better if we construct it simply from context.
Metropolis was borrowed from the 1926 science fiction novel of the same name. (*9) As such it is meant to represent the type of place where unleashed science could run amok. We know from context that Metropolis in Superman’s time has a lot of laboratories. It is an R&D center, a hub of innovation for the power generation, pharmaceutical and specialty materials industries. There are a smattering of capital equipment plants, but other than that there is little manufacturing. It’s also a stronghold for military defense contractors. Brokering materials (especially gems and refined ores) and finance are the other economic drivers. Other than that, it’s just a city full of white collar and skilled workers. It has five square blocks of art deco sky scrapers surrounded by a belt of bungalows and low slung shop avenues. Metropolis is not a major media hub. Even at the height of the 1940s, it had two newspapers. By contrast, Chicago had four and New York had eight. This makes Metropolis a big city, but probably not in the top ten.
There’s a lot of contradictory information as to the location of Metropolis. The new movies do not have it all that wrong. Initially Superman was in New York—or a place so much like New York that it might as well have been named Gotham or Knickerbocker. But it started to diverge, as early as 1940.
Superman’s initial justification for coming to Metropolis is that it was the nearest big city to where he grew up. With Smallville moved to Kansas, this would make Metropolis Topeka, Wichita, Kansas City or Saint Louis. But it’s not. It’s an east coast city with a port on the Atlantic Ocean. There’s a warf, but it isn’t a major shipping center. Supposedly the nearest big city to Metropolis is Washington. Or at least it’s closer to Washington than it is to New York or Gotham City. There’s only spotty mention of colleges or suburbs.
As with most visual things Superman, I prefer the portrayal from the Fleischer Brothers cartoon shorts. Mix that with the exteriors from the original Superman TV show and the city is defined well enough. Per the cartoons, Metropolis was in a valley. It had foothills on three sides and a narrow ocean front, taken up by ship builders and a passenger cruiser port. There was a goofy hill in the middle of the city, which seemed to demark the more inland facing central business and lab district from the ocean oriented residential area. The hill also merited mention in the movie serials. If you look at the set up with a cynical eye, it’s the type of place designed to contain explosions. Beyond the hills are scrubland and, beyond that, farms. It is somehow connected to the rest of the eastern establishment, but not directly.
The only other reference made about Metropolis continually is that it’s a “very clean city”. This befits a citizenry largely made of lab workers. It has a rundown area. (One imagines that the ship building district isn’t doing well.) It has garden variety criminality. It has social problems. (To draw on the Metropolis novel, it is heading in the direction of being a two class society.) But it is largely an upper middle class majority type of town. Most striking, Metropolis is Superman themed. There are numerous businesses with Super this or Man of Steel that or Metropolis Marvel prefixes in their names. Like a purple martin, Superman has been encouraged to set up shop there. Without Superman, Metropolis would be Providence or Hartford. He’s good for business. (*10)
With some variance, this is the character and setting which has been successful for Superman for 75 years. I think it’s still workable. Superman seems to have worked best on the short installment basis. There are enough things that can go wrong in this setting with this character to keep people interested in it for short periods of time. Good for comic books and TV shows. Where it seems to fall down is in long form, in the movies.
There have only been one or two good Superman movies, the first two installments of the Christopher Reeve series. The movies previous to those, a pair of serials featuring Kirk Alyn and a feature starring George Reeves were of various quality. I have few bones to pick with those movies or even the last of the Christopher Reeve films. Rather, my bitch is with the last three, “Superman Returns”, “Man of Steel” and “Supermans Versus Batman”, which were so terrible that they could have been renamed “Superman Does Not Speak”, “Superman Runs Out of Script and Blows Things Up” and “Batman Fails to Save Superman with Extraneous Unexplained Partially Identified Cameos.”(*11) The last movie made Transformers III seem like it was put together by plot geniuses. My overall prescription is to drop the darkness, up the pace and tell a Superman story.
My example is a general outline of what would make a good Superman movie. The objective is 110 minutes of escapist, FUN entertainment. Moreover, a Superman movie should be a celebration of Superman. A Superman movie should be Superman themed. All of the trappings that Superman is known for should be in the movie. Superman should sound like a falling bomb when he’s flying. We want the Superman theme. We want incidental music. Every song ever written about Superman should be in the movie. Finally, there is no reason to reintroduce the character again. Just do an updated version of the opening from the original TV show and we’re good.
My model for the movie is the Green Hornet Strikes Back, probably the best superhero movie ever done. (*12) It’s a movie serial and we are going to use movie serial pacing, the way Raiders of the Lost Arc and Star Wars do. Something interesting happens every five minutes, with plot elements contained to fifteen minute blocks. Each block are variations of Bad Guy Does Something, Superman Reacts, Bad Guy Recalibrates His Plans or Superman Does Something, Bad Guy Reacts, Superman Tries to Tie the Overall Scheme Together. 110 minute gives us time for seven plot actions. The rest of the time is filled with comedic relief and exposition.
To give the movie some sense of distinction, we’re going to follow Superman exclusively. He’s the only point of reference. No cut aways. No montages. No flashbacks. We see only what Superman sees. We follow Superman around as he tries to figure out what is happening.
Since it is a movie, it has to have some marquee value. Superman must fight someone. Sadly, Superman does not have a lot of marquee value bad guys. Worse, some of them are actually derivative of each other. Given what has gone previously, General Zod and Luthor are retired. That leaves Bizarro, Parasite, Terra Man, Brainiac, Toyman, Prankster and Mister Mxyzptlk. (Superman really needs more repeat offenders.) Bizarro is General Zod without a clue. Brainiac is really Super Luthor. Mister Mxyzptlk is a joke character, derivative of Rumpelstiltskin. Parasite and Terra Man require too much backstory at this point and lack marquee value. That leaves us with Toyman and Prankster, who are good enough in their own rights and who might work well together. Throw in the Spider Lady as their boss.
Each character has a fairly well defined and movie friendly shtick. Toyman uses giant toys. Prankster is an expert at committing one crime while he is seeming to commit another. And Spider Lady has screen presence, in a Darth Vader sort of way.
Our General Outline Plot: The bad guys have to have a reason for being in Metropolis. It’s either the R&D centers, something intrinsic to Metropolis, or Superman himself. The classic method of challenging Superman is to run him ragged, distract him, take advantage of the fact that he can only be in one place at a time. Our crooks overall plan is to zip into Metropolis, get what they need, and beat feet out of town before Superman figures out what they are really up to. Not that this plan has much historical efficacy, but our bad guys have no choice as to the venue. And bad guys are risk takers.
Our Specific Example, which we will call “A Job For Superman.” Spider Lady has discovered an asteroid encrusted with special minerals which she intends to reposition with a giant magnetic device and then mine with a robot space ship. She has been funding her operations with a crime wave executed by the Toyman. Simultaneously Prankster is back dooring parts and materials to build the space ship and magnetic device out of various R&D labs. The trick here is that the materials are not stolen at all. They have been previously purchased and relocated clandestinely. Prankster is only acting when the shortages are noticed, committing acts of sabotage or attacks on nearby facilities to cover things up. (The capacitors must have been destroyed when the tire warehouse next door burnt down.) Superman figuring that out and then getting an inventory of what else may be missing is his key to determining what the Spider Lady is up to. During the course of the story Spider Lady switches plans. Superman has destroyed the space ship. So she decides to up the capacity of her magnetic device to actually bring the asteroid to Earth. Her plan is to lower it into the ocean and then mine it conventionally. Once Superman is onto that, it’s blow off the plan and beat feet time. Spider Lady flips the magnetic device into overdrive, sending the asteroid hurtling at Earth. Superman heads off into space while Spider Lady makes her escape.
This is a general movie serial plotline. My intention is to steal visual elements from the Fleischer Brothers short cartoons and weave them into a narrative. Specifically, I am stealing the rocket car, the magnetic telescope and the giant stealing robots. If you own the material, use the material.
Something along these lines would make a good Superman movie. It would be a movie people would ENJOY watching. And maybe they might want to see another one. The conflicted, dark naval gazing glop has now failed three times. If the most interesting thing you can do with the character is kill him off, then you don’t need to be making Superman movies. Superman works best when you give people the Superman they want.
(*1) I am hard pressed to describe what the current characterization of Superman is. The actor seems to have two expressions: pretty boy smug and straining stool. I’m not sure if he’s miscast or thinks he’s above the role or simply has been given nothing coherent to do. It should also be said that the characterization in the cartoons—the other medium Superman has spent most of his time in—has been rather shallow and all over the board.
(*2) 1940s Superman was an adult when he put on the outfit. His actual childhood and growing up is only alluded to. In the 1950s the Superboy concept was introduced as part of the overall expansion of the Superman line. Supergirl, Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen were all soon fronting their own comic books. As the Superboy material started to get thin, they transported the character to the 30th century where he spent a lot of his teenage years. In any case, Superman worked out all of the kinks in his act well before he hits Metropolis. This is clearly not reflected in the current Superman movies.
(*3) The current movies have been mixing elements of recent comic books, including the Death of Superman stunt series. This was the lead shot in an overall reboot of the DC Comics universe. DC reboots have had such a lukewarm reception that the company has promised to reboot again soon.
(*4) Being a psychic, possessing about two seconds worth of precognition, is the one ability Spider-Man never reveals openly. Thus far, none of his enemies have guessed at it. Superman underplays super speed, using it only as a method of getting between places.
(*5) Superman wasn’t afraid to juggle crooks out the window, as he did in the first Kirk Alyn movie serial. His favorite method of disarming criminals was beating them senseless. Pull a firearm on Superman and he will break your bones. Even the George Reeves version of Superman was prone to this.
(*6) There’s an entire posting I could do on Superman’s WWII exploits. Superman fought on the allied side in the cartoons, in the comics strips, on the radio and, to a lesser extent, in the comic books. Many of the comic book covers are suggestive of a lethal military role. Superman has been a willing helpmate of the military from way back.
(*7) This is not true of the later episodes of the radio program. As time went on, Superman became more of an official part of the establishment. And the character of Superman came to carry more of the plot.
(*8) One might conclude that Clark Kent acts the way Superman thinks all humans should act. Superman views humans as being fragile. He doesn’t believe that it is rational for them to plunge into potentially physically dangerous situations. Oddly, this perception of frailty has been the basis for the disputes Superman has had with Batman.
(*9) It’s probably more influenced by the movie Metropolis than it is the novel. But the borrowing doesn’t stop there. As a character, Superman was largely lifted from a science fiction novel called The Gladiator. And the name Superman was first attributed as a nick name for the pulp magazine hero Doc Savage.
(*10) Again we need to graft on a conclusion to somewhat spotty source material. There are two plausible justifications for Superman choosing Metropolis as his home. From the start Superman has always construed himself as a creature of science. For good or bad, Metropolis is a major science center. Alternatively, reporter gigs are hard to come by. The typical career orbit starts with one getting your start in the sticks and then moving up market. There are numerous references to Clark Kent working at smaller papers before landing at the Planet. Metropolis is where Kent landed at the point that he wanted to start his adventures as Superman in earnest.
(*11) DC Comics has an incredible stable of characters to promote. Right now second stringers such as The Flash, Green Arrow and Supergirl are holding down spots on television. Their seeming front rank includes the obvious Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. I found it curious that the latest movie was seemingly also out to promote Aquaman, The Flash and… Cyborg? Putting The Flash in makes little sense since that character is already on TV. Aquaman I somewhat understand since he’s had a lot of exposure on television from the 1960s onward. But Cyborg? In favor of Plasticman, Green Lantern, Blue Beetle, Captain Marvel or Hawkman? I’m lost as to what the thinking is. You can’t even trademark Cyborg’s name. If it’s just adding a bit of color to the team, Green Lantern has been black and it does not really matter what ethnic background Blue Beetle or Hawkman are. You could even sub in Hawkgirl as they did on the cartoon show. I’m convinced whomever is in charge of the direction of these properties is lacking something in product knowledge.
(*12) There are a number of good superhero movie serials, most of them written by George Plympton. The formula I suggest does have its drawbacks. If you doubt this, check out The Kingsmen. Movie serial pacing is fine as long as (a) the audience has had time to form some sort of attachment to the hero; (b) the exposition matches the action and (c) the segments actually build to something.
Holy crap, I did a comic book geek piece.
Next: How to Save the Republican Party, followed by How to Save Star Trek. Because the Hil-Gle Wonderblog has its priorities in order. (Or we may update the Flying Car.)