For those of your sleep-surfing, here are some items you can raid from the internet fridge.
Kurt Busiek reworks some leftover dessert to lay the truth out once again, only with food metaphors this time:
The stories are the cake, and the shared-universe stuff is frosting. Things tend to go horribly wrong when people start to think the frosting is more important than the cake, and then get better when they remember that it's about the cake after all.
The real answer to questions like, "Why doesn't the Flash clean up Gotham City, too?" is "It would make Batman's cake lousy. People read Batman because they like crimefighter stuff where Batman's cool, and don't really want to see Superman or the Flash or Green Lantern mess with that particular cake." On the other hand, people who like stories where Batman and Superman and Green Lantern work together have the JLA cake, and some people like both kinds of cake.
Batman cake, when well done, is good. JLA cake, when well done, is good. But if you pay too much attention to the frosting, the cakes all start to taste the same, and that might be logical, but it's boring.
But-- if every comics creator and lowly, trod-upon blogger worth his or her salt keeps saying things like the above-- why does my cake taste so funny?
Meanwhile, Andrew Hickey explores the pop cultural resonance and current lack of relevance of the Superman character, and comes up with a beautiful story that DC will never, ever publish. Yes, it's the exact type of blog post Michael Xavier apparently dislikes, but which I always enjoy reading (avert your eyes, Michael!). But that's not what I want to bring to your attention. I want to quote his ideas for a Jimmy Olsen series:
Over the twelve issues, he would be kidnapped by aliens who want to learn more about Earth’s rock and roll music, discover he was the precise double of an obscure European dictator and thus be targeted by assassins, get infected with a mutated virus, spread by sneezing, which causes everyone who catches the disease to turn into another Jimmy Olsen, get caught in a time distortion field which makes him experience events in the opposite order to everyone else (this issue would be told in such a way that you could read it page one top left panel to page 24 bottom right panel, and read it as Jimmy experiences it, or read it backwards and read it as everyone around him experiences events, and have both stories make sense), pass through into our universe (this one would be a photocomic), accidentally enter into a pact with the devil by not reading the small print on a car rental agreement, get made ‘editor for the day’ by Perry White to show him that Perry’s job is harder than he thinks, meet J’mi Ulzen, time travelling cub reporter from the 35th century, go undercover in a criminal gang that turns out to be made up entirely of undercover reporters, obtain an enchanted camera that takes photos of how things will be half an hour in the future, nearly become the cause of an intergalactic war, as Space Queens Bheti and V’ron’ka, of two different galaxies, both want him as their consort, and in the last issue…
That son of a bitch. His Jimmy Olsen ideas are way, way better than mine, and Jimmy Olsen is the one comic book series I would most want to write, were I given a choice. Yes. More than Aquaman, which I would write for free (Dear DC: Offer still valid). I would, in fact, pay DC Comics to write Jimmy Olsen (we'd probably haggle first).
So there's one way to settle this. Me, Hickey, and Chris Sims in a locked room. Three men enter. One man leaves. And then he writes Jimmy Olsen. ... Hypothetically.