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#1 Posted by LoudCloud (44 posts) - - Show Bio

Make sure you read the ENTIRE post before commenting.

First off, I am a Superman fan (think he has so much potential) and I only wish the best for his series. So I'm in no way insulting Superman or his fans.

Alright, even as a Superman fan I can't help but feel that Superman is a bland character. You've heard it before; "Supes is lame. How can he be the iconic superhero?" "Batman is SO much more interesting! He deserves more!". But I can't put my fingers on why he's so disliked. HOW he's such a bland character!

I definitely know WHY: Back in the late 30s Superheroes were just fictional characters, mostly meant for kids, that were part of supernatural or extreme adventures saving the World/Universe. Most were made like a loony tunes cartoons and as a result they could be quite silly, inconsistent or badly written (compared to "serious" fiction). For example, Pre-crisis Superman could sneeze galaxies out of existence but never seemed to do that with all his enemies. It stayed like that for decades until Superheroes became more mature, serious and somewhat realistic. Batman made that transition perfectly! If anything it improved his character. Ideas such as a billionaire using gadgets, an orphan setting out with sense of Justice and determination and characters with mental conditions that made them powerful, dangerous enemies could be transformed so well into the new tone! Superman on the other hand, did well but still faced problems. It was difficult turning a Cheesy, God-like man who could pull anything out of his ass into a character to take seriously, so they set boundaries to him; made him weaker, set down what powers he had, even tried to make his story more emotional etc. But he still wasn't quite there.

Most people say "Superman's biggest flaw is not being flawed enough" (I thought up of that line myself. Makes me feel like Shakespeare!) Make any sense? It basically means he's too strong as a character. He can do "anything". He faces no challenge. He will always come out on top and you know it so you don't feel any tension from his obstacles (he always wins), any sympathy from his pain (if there even is any), any connection to his character (most people don't tend to be born unstoppable).

However, I call this BULLSHIT!!!!!!! And it's not just because Superman is actually stoppable, or sometimes looses or has weaknesses (such as Kriptonite, which once again is sorta bland). It's because there are COUNTLESS other fictional character, who face the same "not enough flaws" problem but for some reason everyone loves them! Goku? He nearly always wins and has no weakness (expect magma but that's very rare) and no one complains! Hulk? Some fans claim he's unstoppable (not even true) and feels no pain and that makes him bad ass but when it comes to Supes it somehow makes him "badly written"! Mad Jim Jasper? He's a reality-warper who screws logic and people think he's awesome but Superman does something a bit out of science's reach and everyone feels offended by lack of logic!

Of course it could be something to do with emotion. Bruce Wayne has a lot of emotional bits as a child but so did Clark Kent when he grew up on an alien planet learning to hone powers that scared him. You could say "yeah but AFTER that, Superman faced no problems and Batman did". If you're talking about fights, there are plenty of enemies who gave Superman a run for his money (Doomsday, Darkseid etc). If it's to do with emotion, then I agree that Batman still faces problems to this day (loss of his parents always haunts him or questions of morality) but most are the same thing every time (I lost count of the amount of times his "emotional problem" in the Dark Knight trilogy was deciding to quit or not.). Yet I don't think it's enough to make Superman a disliked character.

Again, it has nothing to do with realism, because nearly all fictional characters are supernatural and don't get this shit.

So my question to you is, HOW is Superman a bland character? Or rather, What would you do to him (if you had the chance) to make him a better character?

#2 Posted by Wolverine08 (38891 posts) - - Show Bio

Superman isn't "bland".

Those type of sayings go with ignorant assumptions "like Superman is overpowered", "Wolverine doesn't know how to fight", "Batman always wins", etc. Just puerile assumptions people like to make about things they don't know about instead of taking the time to actually learn.

#3 Posted by LoudCloud (44 posts) - - Show Bio

I FORGOT TO MENTION...

Superman is a relate-able character at some points. As someone who always traveled as a child, occasionally to a different country, I felt alienated and had to learn new cultures to fit in. Therefore I relate to Superman more than I do to with a Billionaire ninja orphan.

#4 Edited by CheeseSticks (2391 posts) - - Show Bio

Oh look, another thread by a Superman fanboy unhappy about Superman treatment and hating on Batman, how original.

#5 Posted by LoudCloud (44 posts) - - Show Bio

@cheesesticks: I don't hate Batman. In fact I think he's a more interesting character. I'm just seeing ways Superman's character can be improved.

#6 Edited by PowerHerc (81637 posts) - - Show Bio

The fact that's he's tied to a cast of boring, dated characters (Lois, Jimmy, Perry, etc.).

#7 Edited by CheeseSticks (2391 posts) - - Show Bio

@loudcloud said:
You've heard it before; "Supes is lame. How can he be the iconic superhero?" "Batman is SO much more interesting! He deserves more!".

If it's to do with emotion, then I agree that Batman still faces problems to this day (loss of his parents always haunts him or questions of morality) but most are the same thing every time (I lost count of the amount of times his "emotional problem" in the Dark Knight trilogy was deciding to quit or not.).

Therefore I relate to Superman more than I do to with a Billionaire ninja orphan.

Yea, you clearly think that Batman is more interesting.

#8 Posted by LoudCloud (44 posts) - - Show Bio

@cheesesticks: 1. Just showing the views of some Batman fans

2. Didn't write that too well. But it was in no way saying Superman was better in that area of character.

3. Personally I do. It's the truth.

#9 Edited by DecoyElite (4019 posts) - - Show Bio

The fact that's he's tied to a cast of boring, dated characters (Lois, Jimmy, Perry, etc.).

Lois is awesome and usually pretty entertaining. Jimmy can outright be one of the best character when he's handled correctly. Perry is basically DC's answer to J Jonah Jameson and is usually underutilized. I'm not saying they're the best characters ever(except Jimmy when he's being awesome) but they're hardly dated and they rarely take anything away from Superman. If anything they add more to Superman stories when used correctly.

#10 Posted by CheeseSticks (2391 posts) - - Show Bio

@cheesesticks: 1. Just showing the views of some Batman fans

2. Didn't write that too well. But it was in no way saying Superman was better in that area of character.

3. Personally I do. It's the truth.

Yet, you could have down your research because there's like 10 threads about user complaining about Superman treatment,

#11 Edited by Bierschneeman (3864 posts) - - Show Bio

I used to think of him as bland but i don't now, so ill go over mine and other's ideas .... theres a lot of golden age ideas that stay strong in superman, and some people might view these golden age concepts as boring, or bland. the stereotypical can do no wrong gallant hero. to me, this has never been what was bland about superman, this is what had my interest. Superman suddenly becomes unique, a nostalgia trip to an era of better feelings.

Superman is overpowered. and overpowered characters are boring.. not an ignorant assumption @wolverine08 (the man has more than 30 powers some of which are of epic quality, might as well have batman regularly carrying shark repellant in his belt again) the first superman comic I ever read had superman take up two thirds of the comic, struggling to defeat a tank and a bunch of soldiers (and almost being defeated in the process) only to have him utterly decimate the tank and two others in the second to last page... quickly and easily. in addition when you see superman going toe to toe with beings like mongul and darkseid... when he faces lesser heroes (infinitely lesser) it removes the dynamic tension. and then makes me yawn... this attitude of mine was changed when i saw the "world of cardboard" speech in Justice League Unlimited... suddenly the Overpowered boring melted away, and I could give Superman a second chance. (he's still overpowered, but it still melts away a littlebit knowing.... he's holding back, he would do anything not to permenantly injure people, even criminals.)

Superman is inhumanly good....he's an alien I know, reference Zod.....Superman can do know wrong.... I can understand this concept... its really cool, but he has NEVER done anything wrong... thats hard to swallow....im not saying, he should have shopliffted, or x-ray visioned the girls locker room just to make him more believable... god no, I know lots of people who have managed to avoid petty wrongs, thats still believable... I mean he has always known the best course of action, that is completely without fault. as a vigilantge, he really works outside the law, and everyone (but lex) generally just backs him up, this changed for me, in New52s Action Comics no. 1 suddenly, he has humanity, HE MADE A MISTAKE. he was raw and rough with his style of vigilante justice, he didn't know better... and he quickly realises and corrects these mistakes, there is now an internal conflict that doesn't ever need to be brought up in the comic again... he was wrong, and he can now strive to prevent being wrong again.

so there is is, he isn't bland, but mine and others reasoning for it (when i still thought that) (he can be bland when compared to heroes with more dynamic character traits)

#12 Posted by PowerHerc (81637 posts) - - Show Bio

@powerherc said:

The fact that's he's tied to a cast of boring, dated characters (Lois, Jimmy, Perry, etc.).

Lois is awesome and usually pretty entertaining. Jimmy can outright be one of the best character when he's handled correctly. Perry is basically DC's answer to J Jonah Jameson and is usually underutilized. I'm not saying they're the best characters ever(except Jimmy when he's being awesome) but they're hardly dated and they rarely take anything away from Superman. If anything they add more to Superman stories when used correctly.

We completely disagree.

#13 Posted by DecoyElite (4019 posts) - - Show Bio

@powerherc: Yup.

Oh well great minds don't always think alike.

#14 Posted by PowerHerc (81637 posts) - - Show Bio
#15 Edited by joshmightbe (24691 posts) - - Show Bio

Minor issue, the "Original" Superman you mentioned was actually from the Silver Age. In Superman's true original version he was a much darker character who was willing to kill people and was an outlaw, the silly Superdick didn't show up until the mid 50's.

#16 Posted by LoudCloud (44 posts) - - Show Bio

@cheesesticks: It's not complaining about mistreatment. It's me asking YOU what you would do to improve Superman's character!

#17 Edited by blkson (785 posts) - - Show Bio

Or they could simply not like the character. I don't think there is even a fraction of a fraction of people who dislike superman as much those who like him. The guy is recognizable on an international scale. Comic fans get waaay to clingy to some of these fictional characters. Everybody doesn't have to like the characters you do. I'm not a fan of Supes, the appeal just isn't there for me.

#18 Edited by HeckTate (1100 posts) - - Show Bio

Most people say "Superman's biggest flaw is not being flawed enough" (I thought up of that line myself. Makes me feel like Shakespeare!) Make any sense? It basically means he's too strong as a character. He can do "anything". He faces no challenge. He will always come out on top and you know it so you don't feel any tension from his obstacles (he always wins), any sympathy from his pain (if there even is any), any connection to his character (most people don't tend to be born unstoppable).

This is the main reason Superman doesn't interest me. And also the same reason I don't read any of the other "overpowered" character examples you mentioned. I don't want to invest time reading about a character who is essentially his own Deus ex machina, who as you said, can pull solutions out of his ass. It's almost as if in every single Superman comic he is holding back or causing himself to lose until the very end where he becomes virtually invincible. The kryptonite thing doesn't even this out for me either, it's become an overused Superman "nerf" that often seems thrown in to make Supes seem like he might actually be the underdog for a few moments. And like you mentioned with the sneezing away galaxies example, they'll write things in for him like that that are supposed to show "look, he doesn't have full control over his powers" but that NEVER comes into play with regards to his supporting cast or villains. There's never a problem with Superman losing control of his powers and hugging someone to death, ripping arms off in handshakes, whistling gusts of wind as he strolls down the street, etc.

There's also a lot of minor gripes I have with the character/the explanations for his existence and powers. The whole "yellow sun" thing really gets me every time I see it. So does the concept of this entire planet lightyears away from our own yet populated by an alien race which looks identical to humans. I hate seeing stuff like that in anything that claims to be even remotely sci-fi (like every single alien race encountered by the crew of any Enterprise, adding points to ears or wrinkles on the forehead does not an alien make). I also don't like the freezing breath move he does, but that's another sci-fi gripe I have. Basically the wind speed he would need to reach to freeze things with his breath would blow be so high that anything he was trying to freeze would simply blow away long before the desired results are reached.

Besides that, my biggest Superman pet peeve is the Clark Kent disguise. He works with supposedly the best investigative journalists in the world and they can't tell that Clark is just Superman with a different outfit and a pair of glasses? Please.

#19 Posted by DecoyElite (4019 posts) - - Show Bio

@hecktate: Overpowered is an often incorrectly used term. Superman is not overpowered, he's as strong as he need to be to take on the threats he faces. He rarely ever wins because he was holding back the entire time or anything like that. At least not in the modern era.

The disguise hasn't only been "glasses and a different outfit" for years.

#20 Posted by HeckTate (1100 posts) - - Show Bio

@decoyelite: That's why I put "overpowered" in quotes. That's not really how I'd describe it but the word is a close fit for how I feel about the number of powers he has. And even if we're adding a stutter, slouch, and general insecurities to the Clark "disguise" it's still not holding up for me. They're living in a world where they've literally shown Superman clips taken with smartphones on social media. It's not like back in the 40s where they could say "well we don't have a lot of info on Superman," they could literally just do a side-by-side of Superman and Clark and the whole thing would unravel. And after all those years surprisingly few people seem to care that Clark is never around at the same time as Superman and seems to be late to work whenever there's a crisis going on. I know that last one fits a lot of superheroes, but characters like Bruce Wayne, and Oliver Queen can effectively manage the 2 identities because they have very little responsibility in their personal lives. They don't have to show up every day at 9 (or whatever) or risk being fired. And again, he works with Lois Lane, a character DC puts forth as an amazing journalist who is actively trying to uncover things about Superman. Her not being able to figure it out doesn't say anything about Superman, imo, it just detracts from the believability of her being a good journalist.

Sorry if this is coming off like an anti-Supes rant. Not meaning to blow up at you or other fans.

#21 Posted by Jayc1324 (9811 posts) - - Show Bio

He's too powerful and it's hard to believe that he's ever in any real trouble. He also doesn't go through as many emotional things as other characters do. Also there seem to be many layers to him as a character. Just a good guy that wants justice. I want to see supes just go crazy (figuratively) and be more aggressive and assertive and use all his powers more. Yes that would be going against his charcacter, but that's the point: his character isn't interesting enough to do things like that

#22 Edited by Blackdog2009 (1818 posts) - - Show Bio

He's NOT a bland character. Nuff said.

#23 Posted by teddy_the_god_killer (235 posts) - - Show Bio

He needs a decent challenge simple as that, he triumphs over all enemies so that is not really a viable avenue. He does not have any inner demons as such (perhaps the new incarnation will be different), there must be something to offer an angle.

But understand this : if you are a fan of Superman of course you will disagree, but a bigger issue would be to find ways to encourage more people to actually buy and read his comics.

For me, he has too many powers and almost infinite potential. This is not my kind of character. Ok, so I liked the pre retcon Beyonder, yes he was hard core powerful but his psychology and stories were well developed and he took his place comfortably among the elder gods and abstracts. Then what happens...it's all a dream. I was upset to put it mildly. Would this happens to Superman, an immortal, indestructible, unbeatable and broken character? No. He is too powerful for Earth, he needs a permanent promotion as he is basically a god.

#24 Posted by HeckTate (1100 posts) - - Show Bio

@jayc1324: That's why I like seeing alternate universe versions of Supes. There's some great versions of him out there, everything from anti-hero (lobotomizing villains) to villain (Ultraman) to just interesting re-imaginings of the character (Red Son) . One of my favorite versions is the Superman in Flashpoint. I think these alternate versions show that Superman can be a much more interesting character than the standard version we see most often.

#25 Edited by ganon15 (1435 posts) - - Show Bio

I FORGOT TO MENTION...

Superman is a relate-able character at some points. As someone who always traveled as a child, occasionally to a different country, I felt alienated and had to learn new cultures to fit in. Therefore I relate to Superman more than I do to with a Billionaire ninja orphan.

#26 Posted by Wolverine08 (38891 posts) - - Show Bio

I don't find Superman more relatable than Batman. Quite the opposite actually.

#27 Posted by XImpossibruX (5170 posts) - - Show Bio

Superman is bland because his whole pathos is being the strongest superhero.....

That's what he rides on, no hero can be more powerful then him for just that reason.

It's an excuse to make him more powerful, and more depth-less.

Why can Superman randomly bench press the Earth for 5 days? Because he's Superman.

#28 Posted by SOG7dc (6713 posts) - - Show Bio

he isn't bland. he isn't overpowered. he isn't boring. certain people just don't like him. I don't like ironman and there is nothing anybody can do to change that. that doesn't make ironman boring or overpowered or bland. I just don't like him. that's how it is for all characters. there are some people that just don't like them

#29 Posted by HumanRocket (7526 posts) - - Show Bio

I can see how u could say he's a relatable but even your example is a stretch. Relatable heroes like spiderman connect to audiences becuase we have all been teenagers struggling with life and trying to take on so much responsibilities. Superman is iconic but he fails to relatable to me yes he's an alien and earth isn't his home but he was raised by loving parent went to high school got his powers and he's been fighting evil since. That story is maybe what makes him bland. Batman saw his own parents murdered infront of him. Spend most of his adult life learning martial arts and forensics and all of that. That's what makes batman more interesting. The only relatable things about batman is his feelings towards being a loner rather than working with others. There are others.

Online
#30 Posted by joshmightbe (24691 posts) - - Show Bio

@hecktate: Actually in the Byrne era he stated that Superman used his Super speed to basically make his face appear somewhat blurred when he was in public.

#31 Posted by HeckTate (1100 posts) - - Show Bio

@joshmightbe: Ha! That's pretty good actually, I've never heard that one.

#32 Posted by laidblack (779 posts) - - Show Bio

What's this obsession with making Superman relatable

#33 Posted by KaijuKingGojira (1399 posts) - - Show Bio

Everyone I know that calls Superman bland either don't like him or simply have no clue what they are talking about.

#34 Posted by JetiiMitra (8204 posts) - - Show Bio

The fact that's he's tied to a cast of boring, dated characters (Lois, Jimmy, Perry, etc.).

Ouch. But.. I can't disagree.

#35 Posted by RDClip (1117 posts) - - Show Bio

Superman isn't nearly as hated as it seems sometimes, it is just that the haters tend to be remembered more because they scream the loudest. If someone that doesn't like him says he is bland it is a)because they don't and have never read good Superman stories and/or b)they hate the character and are just pulling reasons out of their ass to justify it. If you don't like Superman, just say you don't like him. Don't make statements that are contradicted by the fact that he has been around and beloved for three quarters of a century.

As for the OP question of what can be done to get deeper into Superman, well I have faith Scott Snyder is doing that now with Unchained. This current arc is basically the military questioning why Superman, with all his powers, isn't being more extreme in making the world a safer place. There have been other Superman stories that have addressed issues in the past, Kingdom Come being the first that comes to mind along with Red Son. I suppose to is easy to see him as nothing more than a dumb brute if you are just reading Scott Lobdell's mediocre book, but it is bad because of the terrible writer, not the character.

#36 Posted by The Stegman (23162 posts) - - Show Bio

I like Superman, s'all I gotta say.

#37 Posted by Jayc1324 (9811 posts) - - Show Bio

@sog7dc: I am not trying to change your opinion of superman but I think he is overpowered, or at least written to appear that way. I never feel like he's in any real danger. Also they had to depower him for superman TAS and JL and JLU because he was so powerful.

#38 Posted by Immortal777 (6949 posts) - - Show Bio

Superman has been the most popular superhero in the world for 75 years who cares about the insignificant group who doesn't like him.

#39 Posted by MartianManhunterIsBetterThanCyborg (2213 posts) - - Show Bio

The fact that's he's tied to a cast of boring, dated characters (Lois, Jimmy, Perry, etc.).

I disagree with this.

But who would you replace them with?

#40 Posted by PowerHerc (81637 posts) - - Show Bio

@powerherc said:

The fact that's he's tied to a cast of boring, dated characters (Lois, Jimmy, Perry, etc.).

I disagree with this.

But who would you replace them with?

I wouldn't necessarily replace them with anyone. I'd let the writers come up with some new ideas for a supporting cast.

To me the idea of the brassy female reporter, the young everyman reporter/photographer and the grizzled old editor is trite at best. Superman has too much potential to be held back by these characters whose presence actually detracts from that potential. They should go.

#41 Posted by SOG7dc (6713 posts) - - Show Bio

@jayc1324 said:

@sog7dc: I am not trying to change your opinion of superman but I think he is overpowered, or at least written to appear that way. I never feel like he's in any real danger. Also they had to depower him for superman TAS and JL and JLU because he was so powerful.

well everyone was toned down dramatically in the animated universe most of al the martian. but on to your main point, if you feel superman is OP because you don't feel he's ever in any real danger then I must disagree. The threats he faces are consistently a challenge and a threat to him. wraith, helspont, he'l, darksied, the intangible girl, hector Hammond, orion, etc. all opponents that pose a serious threat to superman, metropolis and the world.

#42 Edited by SOG7dc (6713 posts) - - Show Bio

@martianmanhunterisbetterthancy said:

@powerherc said:

The fact that's he's tied to a cast of boring, dated characters (Lois, Jimmy, Perry, etc.).

I disagree with this.

But who would you replace them with?

I wouldn't necessarily replace them with anyone. I'd let the writers come up with some new ideas for a supporting cast.

To me the idea of the brassy female reporter, the young everyman reporter/photographer and the grizzled old editor is trite at best. Superman has too much potential to be held back by these characters whose presence actually detracts from that potential. They should go.

have you been reading unchained? or issue s19-21 of action? Lois is awesome in the new 52.

#43 Posted by PowerHerc (81637 posts) - - Show Bio

@sog7dc:

I'm waiting to get the Superman Unchained trade. What, pray tell, makes Lois awesome?

#44 Posted by SOG7dc (6713 posts) - - Show Bio

@powerherc:

well for me its her level of competency. and her tenacity s a reporter. I don't wanna spoil anything in unchained for you but (wait a minute I just noticed you said "pray tell"......kill bill?) she does something pretty remarkable for a non super powered or highly trained individual. and she was portrayed very well by andy diggle and tony daniels in action comics

#45 Posted by Twentyfive (2843 posts) - - Show Bio

His nigh-invulnerability, and optimism.

#46 Edited by SandMan_ (4528 posts) - - Show Bio

His nigh-invulnerability, and optimism.

Then I guess, Thor, Hulk, Miracle Man, Sentry, Martian Manhunter, Wonder Woman, Goku, Hyperion and a library filled characters are also bland.

And what its wrong with optimism? God knows we could use some right now.

But seriously though...Supermanm has to be one of the polarizing Superheroes ever. He gets sh*t on no mattered what. Whether he is flawed( Which he is) or perfect( Which he has never been. SA Superman had a LOT of problems). Overpowered? Maybe next to humans because....well he is F*CKING SUPERman. But consider the people who he has to fight. Doomsday, Dakrseid, Metallo, Mongul, Mxy, Helspont, Zod, Ultraman, ect. He needs those powers to be able to stand a chance against those guys and any of them could kill Superman with their bare hands. Only reason why they don't do it is because DC wont kill their second biggest character( yup second, what a shame).

The only way he could come off as ''Bland'' is in bad stories, which is something he has suffered from...but every hero is like that when written badly.

#47 Edited by Twentyfive (2843 posts) - - Show Bio

@sandman_: No arguments from me. I agree with you that we generally need a better outlook on life, but when has that been interesting to the comic reader of late? Hulk is Bland as low-fat fudge with his "Strongest" mentality, granted he does have some interesting stories, especially when it envolves his two persona's being at odds with each other and whatever. Goku is bland. No Arguments. Wonder Woman is more dimensional than Superman. MMH is so 3-dimensional, it's silly.

Listen. I like Superman. He is probably still my favorite comic character, but the way he is, is that he's pretty much a blank slate for people to write their own take on. For crying out loud, he's Superman. Who doesn't want their own Superman story being professionally published. Those two things I said are pretty much there to keep his writers in check. Which more than not leads to the absolutely crappy storytelling most of his fans have been subjected to throughout the years.

#48 Posted by PowerHerc (81637 posts) - - Show Bio

@sog7dc said:

@powerherc:

well for me its her level of competency. and her tenacity s a reporter. I don't wanna spoil anything in unchained for you but (wait a minute I just noticed you said "pray tell"......kill bill?) she does something pretty remarkable for a non super powered or highly trained individual. and she was portrayed very well by andy diggle and tony daniels in action comics

Lol. "Pray tell" is just an old phrase usually used in place of "what could possibly." I heard this many times growing up. I didn't even realize it might have been used in "Kill Bill."

#49 Posted by SOG7dc (6713 posts) - - Show Bio

@powerherc: Oh I'm familiar with it. And it's one of my dab things to say lol I just so rarely hear anyone else say it

#50 Posted by PowerHerc (81637 posts) - - Show Bio

@sog7dc:

Okay. I guess we both like this old-fashioned phrase.