James Gunn Superman Can Never Be As Awful As This ‘90s Embarrassment

By Zack Zagranis | Published


Fans are worried about James Gunn’s new Superman movie. With all the Henry Cavill fans sour about their Superman being ousted, as well as those questioning whether the guy who made wrote that infamous Jackson Pollock joke is the right voice for the Man of Steel, it’s clear James has a lot to prove with his next movie. Luckily, Gunn can rest easy knowing that no matter how he screws up the character, it will never be as bad as the time Superman was split into two different Supermen—one red and one blue.

The 1990s


The ’90s was a time when comic book companies tried to shake up the status quo. Batman had his back broken and was replaced by a more violent Dark Knight. Spider-Man and Daredevil—two of the most agile, high-flying superheroes at Marvel—were given heavy suits of clunky armor. Wolverine lost his adamantium and found out his claws were actually made of bone. And then there’s poor Clark Kent…

DC really put Superman through the wringer during comics’ most gimmicky decade. First, he was killed in what was essentially a publicity stunt meant to garner attention for a character some saw as stale and “old timey,” for the edgy ’90s. Next, he was replaced by four new heroes, all claiming to be the “real” Superman—a young clone grown from a mixture of his and Lex Luthor’s DNA, A violent, emotionless vigilante, a cyborg, and an Iron Man ripoff with a sledgehammer.

And when DC did bring Superman back, what final indignity did they make him suffer? They give him a mullet like Billy Ray Cyrus. All of that was nothing, however, compared to Superman Red and Superman Blue.

Superman Took A Walk Down To Electric Avenue


The journey to rock bottom began with the decision to give Superman new powers. In 1997, DC decided to toss the Boy Scout’s classic powerset of invulnerability, super strength, speed, heat vision, etc., in favor of a series of electricity-based powers. This new Superman was a being of pure energy who needed a blue and white containment suit to control his new powers. This was yet another new look for the hero, but at least the mullet was gone.

Superman Blue, Superman Red

Then someone got the bright idea that if one electric Superman was good (it wasn’t), two would be even better. In Superman Red/Superman Blue #1 (February 1998), Cyborg Superman and the most unthreateningly named villain in Superman’s Rogues Gallery, Toyman, create a trap with the intention of killing their heroic archnemesis. Instead, the trap splits Superman into two beings—one red and one blue.

Red Vs. Blue

As you probably already guessed, the blue Superman has a cooler demeanor and prefers to solve things with his mind, while the red is a hothead and prefers to use force. Oh, and of course, they each think they’re the “real” superhero. It’s not often that a comic book fan thinks, “I could write a better story than that,” and is actually right, but yes, we are confident in saying that anyone reading this could write a better Superman story than the one where Supes turns into a Snow Miser/Heat Miser ripoff.

Both heroes are still in love with Lois Lane and start to fight over her, causing Lois to kick them both out of the house until they can learn to work together—something the two Supermen are reluctant to do. See, the longer Red and Blue stay apart, the more they hate the idea of merging back into one person. Wasn’t there an episode like this in every ’80s/’90s cartoon sandwiched between the shrinking episode and the one where everyone gets turned into babies?

Thankfully, It Ended

Eventually, the two did come back together into the Superman we all know and love, and DC learned their lesson and never pulled another gimmicky stunt involving the Man of Steel ever again.

Just kidding.

Do yourself a favor, and whatever you do, don’t Google pink Kryptonite. Trust us.