Posted by Zur_En_Arrh (26 posts) - - Show Bio

The following is a direct response to The Difficulties in Making Superman Cool Off My Mind Thread. Do read here at: http://www.comicvine.com/news/off-my-mind-the-difficulties-of-making-superman-cool/144995/ if you haven't already.

I had a horrible knee-jerk reaction to the first major point "Superman is Too Good."

But I did truly think the other three were spot on. I’ve shown many friends and family members the article and they are all in mutual agreement. Better

stories? Supes is in definite need (and please no more hitch hiking across the world on foot preaching month in and month out watered down politically correct

diatribe please, another Grounded event might just kill the character IMHO). Also yes, Superman is in definite need of a few bad men, (and women! Please, more women!) Helspont is more in the right direction but he's already a established character from another universe. How about some truly iconic nasties who can go toe with the Man of Steel rather then just and talk or punch him to death?

Let's explore the second issue before tackling the monumental first one (the elephant in this particular writer's mind as it were) though. Superman being too powerful is a difficult one the purist in me does not wish to dignify with a response much less agree to, but yes, if he is truly the fastest, smartest, strongest, most bonkers powerful being in space, its about time he started acting as such and if he does there is precious little use for the rest of the DC canon. Superman should be faster, more powerful than, and able to leap higher then the respective speeding bullet, powerful locomotive,or tall buildings presented to him. In short he should be tremendously powerfuland in a league of his own. This is in effect what makes him super. But Supes should not be invulnerable, powerful should never be mistaken for all powerful, and frankly, there is only so many ways kryptonite can be used in a plot beforewe all yearn for a more meaningful weakness.

Personally, I thought there was a lot of potential in Flashpoint Superman, but we didn't get to see much...

I don't want to neuter Superman, I want his powers to mean something. I don't want to muck with what makes the character great, but his powers shouldn't be the only thing that defines him, that's where we get drivel like the old Aquaman, Wonder Woman, etc.comics, stories concerned only with each superheroes "niche" and never letting them grow out of it. Aquaman is doing fine now isn't? Wonder Woman too come to think of it? What's wrong with Supes?

I believe the answer goes hand in hand with the first issue, the cringe inducing statement that Superman is too good. I disagree, I say Superman is written (especially these days) like a cheesy putz who stands for "good" in a time when ourvery concept of the word is floundering in post modern arguments, passing

trends, and political land mines. In short, Superman is not (as currentlywritten) too good, he is too preachy. More to the point, present day superman

stands not for good, but a flimsy, meaningless, unrelatable version of it. Thatmay be laying it on a little thick, but let me extrapolate.

What does Batman stand for? He stands for the people, he wishes to inspire positive action in people, by defending them from those who would harm or maim.

What does The GreenLantern(s) stand for? Peace and (comparative) order in the galaxy, a law enforcementsociety who wishes to see sentient rights respected throughout the cosmos.

What Does The Flash stand for? Family. Both his own family and the community he lives in, byextension, the entire global community is one he wishes to see protected and left in peace.

What does Wonder Woman Stand for? Justice, a somewhat crude, old fashioned sense of absolute justice

perhaps, but she will fight to see the innocent protected and the evil vanquished.

These are the somewhat simplified goals of each DC icon, guided by their outdated origins but ultimately existing in a relatable, likable, exciting incarnation in the modern comic book world. Let's take a look at Supes by contrast.

What does Superman stand for? Well in his original incarnation he was a Gee whiz Messiah, a down to earth protector with the slightly chauvinistic but well meaning morality of the30s. In WW II times he was the anti Nazi. In the seventies he was a confusedbut still relatable golden boy. What does he stand for now?

If I am to believe the Grounded storyline he is a whiny Zen-like hippie who gives bad advice, punches out Alien

visitors even though he is one himself, and in a huff defies a major governmentand runs off to “represent the world” rather then try and communicate with

anyone.

If I am to believe the current Action Comics, he is a self righteous know-it-all who hates big business and has incredibly trendy political views. He’s also kind of a dick.

And in Earth 2 he's dead. Prettty much killed off without ceremony too...

This I belive, is the nexus of the problem. Superman is no longerrelatable, or even likable, I think the last story I read were I actually liked him was All-Star

Superman and that alone should say something about how overdue we are for areally Super Superman. A man who inspires people, a hero we can depend on and relate to, an everyman who believes in something and moves worlds to pursue his ideology. To quote the (keepings my fingers crossed oh boy I hope its good, this could be incredible) Man of Steel Movie Trailer, Jor El speaks with confidence when he says:

“You will give the people an ideal tostrive towards. They will race behind you, they will stumble, they will fall. But in time, they will join you in the sun. In time you will help themaccomplish wonders.”

Does anything in Jor el’s words ring true for our modern day comic book superman? I don’t think so, if so his comics would be incredible and enjoyable, not flat and dissapointing. I think he’d have a following of truly inspired fans both old and new, I think he'd having something to actually say. Today I feel he has

none of these things. He’s good because he’s “supposed to be”, enforcing moralsI not only can’t relate to, but ones I largely am not even interested in. He comes off less heroic now as he does petty and/or just smug. As an orphan now he supposed to be lost and confused in the world, his moral compass eskew. Okay, I understyand that, but he’s done nothing truly compelling since the new 52 started, and is just as boring out of costume as he is in it.

I agree that Superman needs a lot of work if he’s going to be a modern cultural icon as opposed to the symbol for a bygone era he has become. But we are not going to have this catharsis by merely trying to make Superman “Cool.” Change his suit, his powers, and his rouge gallery all you want, we know he needs it, but unless you begin with what originally made him the man you wanted to root for, you’ve already failed.

Is Batman’s costume and intellect the only things that make him cool? No, its his fervor, his message, his one rule, and the lengths he goes to just to make the world safe for people who often just stand by and criticize his methods.

Superman needs to be the same way, not dark and despondant, brooding even, but he does needs to struggle against his limitations (limitations beyond merely the fact he can't punch this guy), define an ideal, uphold a universal ideology and pursue it even in the face of adversity. The people maybe confused (and even hateful) toward him, but he is not the one who should be confused. Superman should inspire and stand tall in a world that has forgotten

how to. This is why he has endured over the years, and why having him play second fiddle to trendy morality or un-relatable enemies just doesn’t work. He needs to stand for something more.

Say what you want to about the hair, here's a Superman who I can look up to!

In Grant Morrison’s All-Star Superman, Lex Luthor in temporary control of Superman’s powers pauses in his quest for global domination and begins looking around him in wonder. Astears well up in the misguided man’s eyes he chokes on an explanation that gives us some truly insightful justification for Superman’s “goody-two-shoes-ness.”

"It’s so obvious!" He exclaims, “I can actually see and hear, feel and taste it. The fundamental forces all yoked by thought alone. I can actually see the machinery and wire connecting and separating everything since it all began…"

His face twisted in a moment of stark revelation the tyrant blinks back tears as he continues: “This is how he sees things all the time, every day, like its all just us, in hear together. And we’re all we’ve got...”

In a nutshell, a few heartfelt words have clearly defined hero and villian, and Superman's dillema is a truly touching one as old as time itself. This is something the comics need to be doing to make Superman appeal to the masses again, don’t tellus he’s Super, show us. Don’t have Clark preach, have him speak with true conviction, don’t tell us he’s one of us, let him walk amongst us a moral but relatable immortal, and perhaps we’ll begin to appreciate him for what he is,

rather then what many writers merely try (usually quite poorly) to convince us he is.

To quote Man Of Steel’s Jor-El again,

"What if a child dreamed of becoming something other than what society had intended? What if a child aspired to something greater?"

That aspiration is the Superman we know and love and it is the superman many writers have begun to abandon in a misguided attempt to appeal to comic

book (or should I say comic book movie) trends. Superman should not befollowing a crowd, he should be leading one. Society does not inspire heroes,

heroes inspire society. Don’t spoon feed me idealistic niceties, take a stand for what you believe in Superman, do this, and maybe we will race behind you, perhaps one day we’ll even join you in the sun.

I think we're on the verge of a new era for Superman, i just hope its an exciting meaningful one, where Supes can be the role model and Icon he was always meant as rather then just a pale tombstone on the grave of idealism...

#1 Posted by SandMan_ (4528 posts) - - Show Bio

All the blame falls to DC.

#2 Posted by TERMINATORXX (3899 posts) - - Show Bio

@SandMan_ said:

All the blame falls to DC.

Very True.

#3 Posted by Zur_En_Arrh (26 posts) - - Show Bio

Can't argue with that, they've let one of their flagships, one that really didn't need any more bad press after such a bad movie flop, go. Just irresponsible.

#4 Posted by Duke_Nasty (1017 posts) - - Show Bio

He was probably cool in 1938 IMO.

But people like him and it doesn't affect me that they do.

#5 Posted by SandMan_ (4528 posts) - - Show Bio
@Zur_En_Arrh
 
Do you think we Superman fans are happy with the way DC has been treating him lately?No, not really.  Everything that has happened to Superman's popularity falls to DC unable to make good stories always giving him crappy writers. But Superman can have good stories and can be a inspirational character. Its already been proven. And look at his dobblegangers in Marvel, Images and idies. They have great stories. DC just drop the ball really bad. He is not overpowered. He just looks like that, cause he's facing a human villain. Put him against Mongul, Darkseid or Doomsday and there is a chance that he can die in the hands of these monsters. He is a great hero. He puts his life on the line to save people that aren't even from his same species. Invincible? When exactly? So far I have seen him getting his butt kicked in everything.
#6 Posted by Glitch_Spawn (17132 posts) - - Show Bio

I can't not buy Superman when it comes out every month but...it could be a lot better.

#7 Posted by AtPhantom (14521 posts) - - Show Bio

@Zur_En_Arrh said:

This I belive, is the nexus of the problem. Superman is no longerrelatable, or even likable, I think the last story I read were I actually liked him was All-Star

Groan

Get out of here with this. Your problem is assuming the new Superman is any different than the old one. He's not. There is no fundamental difference between AC, Grounded and All-Star Superman. There's nothing conceptually wrong with those stories, though they may be somewhat poorly executed. JMS made him solve the little problems instead of big ones. Morrison, now, made him more proactive and willing to hunt down the sources of injustice rather than just dealing with the symptoms. Your opinions on these stories may vary, but they don't change anything because they don't matter. Because they don't alter anything about Superman on a fundamental level. Ideologies come and go. Moralities and messages come and go. But the core of Superman, a guardian angel, a mighty protector, a hero who helps us not because of justice, or vengeance, or some high ideal, but who helps us simply because he can, that will never go out of style.

Superman is fine the way he is. If his stories don't match up to All-Star Superman or Kingdom Come, that's because stories of that caliber come once in a decade. If his stories are bad, that's because the stories are bad, not the character that plays in them. There are a lot of things you could do with Superman. There are so many things which could expanded upon, so many things which could be addded, but there's nothing wrong with him that needs to be fixed.

And for the record, I personally think AC is awesome Superman story.

#8 Posted by Deranged Midget (17856 posts) - - Show Bio

@AtPhantom said:

Groan

Get out of here with this. Your problem is assuming the new Superman is any different than the old one. He's not. There is no fundamental difference between AC, Grounded and All-Star Superman. There's nothing conceptually wrong with those stories, though they may be somewhat poorly executed. JMS made him solve the little problems instead of big ones. Morrison, now, made him more proactive and willing to hunt down the sources of injustice rather than just dealing with the symptoms. Your opinions on these stories may vary, but they don't change anything because they don't matter. Because they don't alter anything about Superman on a fundamental level. Ideologies come and go. Moralities and messages come and go. But the core of Superman, a guardian angel, a mighty protector, a hero who helps us not because of justice, or vengeance, or some high ideal, but who helps us simply because he can, that will never go out of style.

Superman is fine the way he is. If his stories don't match up to All-Star Superman or Kingdom Come, that's because stories of that caliber come once in a decade. If his stories are bad, that's because the stories are bad, not the character that plays in them. There are a lot of things you could do with Superman. There are so many things which could expanded upon, so many things which could be addded, but there's nothing wrong with him that needs to be fixed.

And for the record, I personally think AC is awesome Superman story.

Brilliant post mate, kudos.

Moderator
#9 Posted by utotheg38 (18883 posts) - - Show Bio

all star superman.................................You know Its f#cked up when all I can come up with Is all star superman

#10 Posted by azza04 (1503 posts) - - Show Bio

Everyone raves about how incredible All Star was....am i really the only one who thought it was...meh

#11 Posted by Zur_En_Arrh (26 posts) - - Show Bio

To Azza04 No, plenty of other people feel All Star was meh, and I'll agree it has some strange Grant Morrisonisms in it, but it felt very right to me, new, fun and orginal, after all this is just in my own opinion. ^^

#12 Posted by Zur_En_Arrh (26 posts) - - Show Bio

@AtPhantom said:

@Zur_En_Arrh said:

This I belive, is the nexus of the problem. Superman is no longerrelatable, or even likable, I think the last story I read were I actually liked him was All-Star

Groan

Get out of here with this. Your problem is assuming the new Superman is any different than the old one. He's not. There is no fundamental difference between AC, Grounded and All-Star Superman. There's nothing conceptually wrong with those stories, though they may be somewhat poorly executed. JMS made him solve the little problems instead of big ones. Morrison, now, made him more proactive and willing to hunt down the sources of injustice rather than just dealing with the symptoms. Your opinions on these stories may vary, but they don't change anything because they don't matter. Because they don't alter anything about Superman on a fundamental level. Ideologies come and go. Moralities and messages come and go. But the core of Superman, a guardian angel, a mighty protector, a hero who helps us not because of justice, or vengeance, or some high ideal, but who helps us simply because he can, that will never go out of style.

Superman is fine the way he is. If his stories don't match up to All-Star Superman or Kingdom Come, that's because stories of that caliber come once in a decade. If his stories are bad, that's because the stories are bad, not the character that plays in them. There are a lot of things you could do with Superman. There are so many things which could expanded upon, so many things which could be addded, but there's nothing wrong with him that needs to be fixed.

And for the record, I personally think AC is awesome Superman story.

That of course is your opinion AtPhantom and your welcome to it, and it was not Grounded, AC, or All Star's concepts I take issue with, it is in fact their Execution. After all The Execution is the final product and it is this I feel is lacking, from many a Superman story, especially the ones he stars in now. It's the writers/company's job not to give us a lackluster execution, I don't think anybody would forgive Nolan if he failed on Dark Knight Rises Execution. If we are to keep this conversation balanced, let's at least agree on what we're discussing: In this case, the poor execution of Superman Stories, especailly the ones in the recent past.

I like Action Comics Concepts, but its execution has been, to me, choppy, confusing, and more then a little dissapointing. Same goes for the Grounded storyline. I picked it up expecting a thoughful exploration of Superman's character, instead, I was left with a choppy mishmash of street sermons from a Superman I felt did not represent what I liked about the character. Again this is my personal opinion, but my rant was not about which Superman stories were the best, it was about the fact that the character deserves better treatment and, again in my own personal opinion, has been respresented poorly in current comics.

#13 Posted by ssejllenrad (12847 posts) - - Show Bio

Here we go again... Cool is "of the times"... That's why cool gets outdated. Superman has never been cool. He transcends the changes in time. He's Legen...wait for it... dary!

#14 Posted by AtPhantom (14521 posts) - - Show Bio

@Zur_En_Arrh said:

That of course is your opinion AtPhantom

Yes, and I will argue the hell out of it.

@Zur_En_Arrh said:

That of course is your opinion AtPhantom and your welcome to it, and it was not Grounded, AC, or All Star's concepts I take issue with, it is in fact their Execution. After all The Execution is the final product and it is this I feel is lacking, from many a Superman story, especially the ones he stars in now. It's the writers/company's job not to give us a lackluster execution, I don't think anybody would forgive Nolan if he failed on Dark Knight Rises Execution. If we are to keep this conversation balanced, let's at least agree on what we're discussing: In this case, the poor execution of Superman Stories, especailly the ones in the recent past.

I like Action Comics Concepts, but its execution has been, to me, choppy, confusing, and more then a little dissapointing. Same goes for the Grounded storyline. I picked it up expecting a thoughful exploration of Superman's character, instead, I was left with a choppy mishmash of street sermons from a Superman I felt did not represent what I liked about the character. Again this is my personal opinion, but my rant was not about which Superman stories were the best, it was about the fact that the character deserves better treatment and, again in my own personal opinion, has been respresented poorly in current comics.

You are simply bringing me back to my ultimate point. If you didn't like the execution, fix the stories, not the character. The crux of the matter here is that we're not discussing execution. You're arguing there is something fundamentally wrong with how Superman has been portrayed recently, and that this needs to be fixed. There isn't. He's the same Superman that was in All-Star and the same Superman that fought Manchester Black. Again, if the stories he's been in for the past few years aren't up to your liking, just wait. A writer with some great ideas will appear eventually. He won't change a damn thing, he'll just write a quality story and all will be well.

#15 Posted by HolySerpent (12735 posts) - - Show Bio

brilliant post Sir.

yeah I didn't think all star superman was all that either.

great counter argument

#16 Posted by Dernman (15474 posts) - - Show Bio
@Zur_En_Arrh: Good post.
#17 Posted by azza04 (1503 posts) - - Show Bio

@Zur_En_Arrh said:

To Azza04 No, plenty of other people feel All Star was meh, and I'll agree it has some strange Grant Morrisonisms in it, but it felt very right to me, new, fun and orginal, after all this is just in my own opinion. ^^

Yeah there were parts I thought were cool and well thought out but all in all it wasn't really my cup of tea.

#18 Posted by azza04 (1503 posts) - - Show Bio

@HolySerpent: Glad I'm not the only one, I read what people write about All Star and i keep going back and must have read that damm story like 5 times but it just doesn't click with me.

#19 Posted by HolySerpent (12735 posts) - - Show Bio

I did love bizarro though