A joke thrown into the art in the latest issue of Superman has become a hot topic of discussion on social media, and artist Kevin Maguire is here for it. In this week's Superman #23, the Man of Steel takes time out to pose for a photograph with a kid outside of the Hall of Justice -- and the internet had called the kids' parents' photo-taking skills into question. On a cellphone at the edge of the panel, Maguire shows that the photo being taken is a close-up of the boy's beaming, joyful face -- but with no evidence of Superman actually in the frame.
When a Twitter user pointed it out, suggesting that the kid's parents were the worst photographers in the DC Universe, fans loved it. Hour later, Maguire chimed in to compare the response to another funny panel he drew that was even more epic.
"This is up to 62,000+ likes so far," Maguire noted in a tweet of his own. "This is probably the biggest reaction to a panel I've done since 'One punch.'"
The "one punch" panel was from Justice League #5, from writers Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis, in which a loudmouthed Guy Gardner goads Batman into a fistfight, only to be knocked out with one punch. It was an early example of the workplace comedy style that would come to define Giffen, DeMatteis, and Maguire's Justice League/Justice League International run for many fans.
When asked whether it was a mistake, scripted, or a gag Maguire had added himself, Maguire admitted it was a joke he threw in, presumably to see if anyone would notice. Given the everyday nature of cell phone cameras, more and more people are used to seeing important moments captured by a photographer who also catches dozens of other amateur photographers taking their versions of the shot on a cell phone. This riff on that idea is fun and perfectly in Maguire's wheel house.
This is the same issue where Superman went to the Justice League Dark members to ask whether it was possible he had been manipulated into revealing his secret identity. There was no evidence that he had, but at the same time, Zatanna delivered the bad news that he is stuck with the decision, since she can't reverse what he did. (Get it? "Reverse?" Zatanna!)
Superman #23 is available now at your local comic shop, or you can pick a digital copy up at ComiXology, Barnes & Noble, or other digital comics storefronts.