Written by Tom King
Artwork by Amanda Conner
Colors by Paul Mounts
Chef’s Note: First of all – I love this scene of Lois and Selina getting absolutely wrecked at Superman’s Fortress of Solitude. While comics can certainly address and tell stories about serious issues, they can also just be good fun, and this story is definitely that.
And too – this scene is a scholar’s dream! Everything being imbibed is so precisely named! All thanks to the Superman-bots following standard wine service protocol:
Assuming that appropriate, polished glassware is already at the table, approach the host with the bottle of wine he or she ordered. Treat the bottle gently, as though it were special and delicate. Tip the bottle’s top back, toward your body, with the body of the bottle cradled in your arm, label side facing the host. “Present” the bottle to him or her by standing at his or her right side and restate the name of the wine including the varietal, brand, and vintage. (All beverage service occurs from the right of the guest, with your right hand, unlike food service, which is from the left with the left hand). The host will nod or gesture that the wine is what was expected. This is your cue to begin opening.
All that said, I must confess here that while pursuing my initial PhD in Comic Book Food Archaeology at ESU I may have… um…. skipped a lot of Superman studies? I am regretting this mightily now because I can only imagine the stories each one of these wines has to tell. But I will do my best to tease out whatever meanings I can.
- New Genesis: This homeworld of the New Gods is “a veritable paradise covered in lush forests and grasslands” so a vintage claiming to be “sparkling bliss” seems quite appropriate.
- Mogo: A “living” Riesling – what could this mean? One thing about Riesling’s, they are “highly ‘terroir-expressive’, meaning that the character of Riesling wines is greatly influenced by the wine’s place of origin.” So, given that Mogo is a living planet, I am going to assume that the Riesling produced there apparently contains &/or evokes some of this living energy.
- Saturn: Smoked wine, while not so popular today, has been a thing since the Romans. What “Red Spot smoked” means, though, is a puzzler. I suppose if we follow the example of the fumarium, then perhaps it’s as simple as the pinot noir was placed above or near the Spot and left there to mature. Hope you like ammonium hydrosulfide!
- Oa: This is the homeworld of the Green Lantern Corps and… oh, look: There’s a whole Green Lantern story called No Fear! Which Superman does not appear in at all… hmph.
- Durla: The “Unstable” here is likely in reference to the fact that Durlans are shapeshifters – “their physical appearance is in constant flux, meaning no need to take a single form.“
- Bismoll: Ok, Bismoll is where Matter-Eater Lad is from so that’s why it’s just a bunch of diamonds. Because those dudes just like eating rocks.
- Dominion: This is the homeworld of some folks called The Dominators, so you can probably guess what the general socio-cultural climate is like. Also, Sange de vaincus means “blood of the defeated, the vanquished” – which pretty much tells you all you need to know.
- Khundia: Easily the best named wine here (and the coolest bottle!) but, sadly, other than the fact that Khundians are “notable for extreme violence“, I can’t find much else as to its back story.
- The Reach: Another bunch of violent jerks bent on conquering and domination and the like. And then there’s a puzzling reference to “beetle juice”? Is there a meaning for this other than, y’know, something involving the actual Beetlejuice?
- Mars: This I would like to believe has something to do with Superman’s friendship with J’onn Jones. Earth & Mars deciding to assert coexistence – that would be an amazing moment. But maybe it has more to do with White & Green Martians?
- Tamaran: Ah, the planet of the golden skinned sex gods. Of course they have a beverage called “The Rapturous Tears of God” – probably a sex reference, about sexy sex.
- Chateau Cheval Blanc is a real wine on planet Earth. The 1945 vintage apparently “suffered a certain heterogeneity“. No idea why someone gave Superman a bottle. Some kind of veiled diss?
Are you a Superman scholar that can provide more information here? If so, please do!
Update: Is it just me or do Lois and Selina look a lot like Maggie and Hopey in that last panel?