Hello Comic Vine community! How's it going? Welcome to the ninth Roundtable User Discussion. If you are wondering what this is let me give you the quick rundown. A couple of CV users, like yourself, virtually met up to talk comic books and comic-related topics. That conversation has been posted here for you guys to see, read and enjoy. After you read our conversation be sure to comment below where you can submit your own opinions after reading ours. If you liked this then go back and read our past conversations (Here) and share your thoughts there too. We like comments, so feel free to disagree!
I am Geo, better known as sora_thekey, and I will be moderating this discussion. "Sitting" with me are two Roundtable regulars: haydenclaireheroes and RazzaTazz. Added to these two lovely ladies we have newcomer: Emperor Gonzo Noir! Welcome! :)
Emperor Gonzo Noir: Hello kids, how's it going? I'm Emp, it's my first time so go easy on me.
haydenclaireheroes: Hey guys I am haydenclaireheroes and I do videos on Comic Vine called Comic Uno and I am a Spider-Girl super-fan.
RazzaTazz: Hi all, this is Razzatazz (known as Tammy to real life people) coming at you from the city that rocks and and the city that never stops... Oh actually forget that I am from Canada and plus I think that line comes from "We Built This City on Rock & Roll".
So how's life been going? Y'know comic-book-wise? Read anything lately?
haydenclaireheroes: The last thing I read was Ultimate Spider-Man trade number 1. It was awesome.
RazzaTazz: Still working on my torturous project to review a bunch of Wonder Woman issues. Today I did #10 from the first volume (back in the forties sometime) where earth get invaded by Saturn people and #32 from volume 2, a Wonder Woman issue with no Wonder Woman.
haydenclaireheroes: I know all of your hard work will be worth it RazzaTazz. Your reviews are awesome.
Emperor Gonzo Noir: I just read the Ares: God of War mini which introduced the common Marvel version of Ares. Fantastic book, written by Michael Avon Oeming of Powers fame and art by Travel Foreman. It also introduced the Chaos War villain Mikaboshi.
If you ever want to read a comic where a guy sets himself on fire and gets Fastball Special into a crowd of undead samuari then this is the book for you. I just wish Ares kept his sweet mohawk.
I am poor and have had to stop my weekly comic buys but today I organized all my comic books and found some older issues I plan on re-reading.
Razz is an amazing reviewer. Hayden is pretty much known for her reviews and if you've ever talked to Gonzo in the forums, you know he always has something to say. I am liking this combination since this Roundtable will focus, or spotlight, on a single character. I am talking about the first super hero, the Man of Steel, the character often confused for a bird and a plane. You guys know who I am talking about right?
Emperor Gonzo Noir: Kal-El? Or is that Kal-L? I can never remember.
haydenclaireheroes: I usually spell it Kal-El.
Emperor Gonzo Noir: I actually think Kal-L is the Earth 2 version, but thats getting picky.
I guess you guys do know your comic books.
This is going to be the first Roundtable where we spotlight a single character. We will begin to do this once a month and this way we can take our broad spectrum of topics and focus them into more condense and specific theme. Like today's: Superman.
So, since Gonzo is the newbie to this Roundtable I say we should put him on the spot. Emperor, who is Superman?
Emperor Gonzo Noir: He's keen.
I kid, but Superman is one of the most popular and enduring American icons of the 20th century. Almost everyone knows his story of hope and triumph. Coming from a distant world and becoming a powerful force for good on his adopted home world. Some people don't like him and other out right hate him. But I r\feel they don't really know him, because to know is to love him.
I noticed that some users really don't like Superman or mostly associate him with the site Superdickery.
haydenclaireheroes: I agree I never really see people anymore say that Superman is there favorite character .
Emperor Gonzo Noir: I think they either see him as too much of a goody goody boy scout or as a power mad jerk.
Well, Gonzo already mentioned he likes the character. Hayden and Razz, do you like Superman? Or what are your opinions about the guy?
haydenclaireheroes: I like Superman but he is far from my favorite superhero.
While growing up I actually hated the character... Since I thought the character was too perfect to be likable. My opinion changed as I grew up.
RazzaTazz: I am sort of torn both ways on the character, a lot of his mythos are tied to the USA which I am not sure appeals to people in other parts of the world, though as a Canadian it is not such a big deal. The aspect of his super powers is also an issue for me as he is basically unbeatable. However as a Wonder Woman fan it would be silly for me to not admit that in many respects she is his feminine counterpart and also pretty much unbeatable. Ironically though one of my favorite and least favourite WW moments of the past few years involve him, the favorite was the Max Lord story, the least favourite was the recent one where Wonder Woman said she was inspired to heroics by him (I think a lot of Wonder Woman fans didn't like this, Babs even wrote an article on it.)
Emperor Gonzo Noir: Even as a passing fan of Wonder Woman I was kind of offended by that.
haydenclaireheroes: I think the place that show the most that Superman is not perfect is the Smallville TV series. I really love Smallville for that becuase it shows a different aspect of Superman. But this can be very controversial since not everyone agrees with me.
Emperor Gonzo Noir: I'm not a fan of Smallville.
Smallville was actually the reason I started liking the Superman character.
haydenclaireheroes: Yeah, Smallville was one of the reasons I loved comics. I was very small when I saw the show. I was in first grade and me and my dad use to watch it. I really grew up with the show and it made me get into comics.
So lets specifically talk about his powers. Razz mentioned that he's pretty much unstoppable. That was one of the reasons I thought this character bored the heck out of me.
RazzaTazz: Well he can pretty much do anything can't he? An alternate version of him (Prime) punched reality until it changed.
haydenclaireheroes: I agree I think the thing that makes him perfect is his powers. Because he has every superpower people dream of. Like Flight and super strength.
Emperor Gonzo Noir: That's actually not true, he's got plenty of weaknesses. Magic, kryptonite, large sources of energy, anyone stronger than him.
RazzaTazz: I guess thats true, but not near as many weaknesses as even another really strong character like say Hal Jordan.
haydenclaireheroes: Even though he has his weaknesses. He is still somehow beats them.
So he's not entirely perfect, but it does get kind of tiering when you use a rock to beat the guy. Over and over and over...
Emperor Gonzo Noir: That's when you use a giant robot. ;)
RazzaTazz: Well magic has been used fairly often as well. The few times WW fought (sorry for dwelling on her) she was capable of hurting him with magical objects.
Emperor Gonzo Noir: Captain Marvel nearly killed Superman in Kingdom Come with a few rounds of magic lightening.
RazzaTazz: Oh yeah they paid homage to that (the magic lightning) in JLU once.
I ignored the fact that magic was used so often. Do you guys like his powers? I mean is it really necessary to have laser beams come out of your eyes when a punch can destroy a building?
haydenclaireheroes: I like his powers. The laser beams do get him out of tight situations. When his hands are not free literally.
RazzaTazz: Well the one that gets me actually is the X-Ray Vision, you would think for a character that has so many other advantages that they might play up his detective abilities? But no, both X-Ray vision and telescopic vision means he can scan an entire city in seconds for any bad guy he is looking for. Still his powers aren't all that bad, having a heavy around is necessary for quite a few stories, for instance who else would fight Darksied?
haydenclaireheroes: Yeah I think out of all his powers X-Ray vision is the one i wish he did not have. It makes him rely on his powers to much. He should think out of situations more than just use his powers.
Emperor Gonzo Noir: Well he has what has become the "default" set of powers, ie. super strength, speed, flight, invulnerability, etc. But even to this day I don't understand laser eyes. I mean super hearing and X-Ray eyes are just exaggerations of regular human functions, hell even the freeze breath kind of makes sense. But why does heat blasts come out of your eye balls?
I like what you mentioned Gonzo! His powers are just exaggerations of the human condition (Except his laser beams). I never thought of it that way.
haydenclaireheroes: I never thought of it that way either.
Emperor Gonzo Noir: I did find it kind of amusing how on Smallville they used heat vision as a weird metaphor for well .....something else.
haydenclaireheroes: It weirded me out a little also.
C'Mon you got to admit that was hot! XD
Emperor Gonzo Noir: Ah! The pun! It burns!
RazzaTazz: Well not a Smallville fan so I can't say one way or the other, but it seems strange.
Emperor Gonzo Noir: The first time he did it on the show was during a wildlife movie during class. o.O
haydenclaireheroes: I remember that episode I think it was the second episode. I am sure it was called "Heat".
Emperor Gonzo Noir: I can sit here all day pick apart the reason I like and don't like Smallville.
Alright let's talk about Clark Kent. Superman's alter ego. What do we think of the glasses?
Emperor Gonzo Noir: He should consider frame-less.
haydenclaireheroes: When I was little I thought how can anyone not know that Clark Kent is Superman all just because of his glasses. But then my friend got glasses and we all got use to it and he took them off one day and I really did not recognize him. So, my point is that maybe for some people it works.
I started to wear glasses a couple of weeks ago and some people overlooked me because of the glasses. Yet, spending so much time with Superman and Clark Kent it would be kind of hard to miss the resemblance.
Emperor Gonzo Noir: I know from experience that glasses can change your appearance enough that you can avoid detection. But after a while the effect goes away. I remember one explanation that it was special lenses that confused people or something to that effect. Like a perception filter on Dr. Who. You see it but you don't want to.
But really it's more than just the glasses, his Clark Kent persona is as much an act as his Superman one. There's his public self , his civilian and his private self, a lot like Batman.
RazzaTazz: I think in terms of what he represents as a character this aspect of him is kind of ridiculous. Just like Bruce Wayne is whats faked for Batman, the same holds true for Superman, he really is Superman. So for a guy who has dedicated his life to fighting injustice he wastes a lot of time at the Daily Planet writing up stories on local councilman or what have you. Basically for every moment he spends on his secret identity he could be saving thousands of lives. I can understand the aspect of the Lois Lane angle, the sort of "will they or wont they?" throughout much of the publication history, but he is Superman that is who Lois should fall in love with, not his lame alter ego.
Wasn't that angle explored. Lois was in love with Superman before she was in love with Clark.
RazzaTazz: Well thats the thing, but he wanted her to fall in love with Clark for who he was underneath.
RazzaTazz: Though that is kind of silly as well, because he really is Superman, not some sheepish reporter.
Emperor Gonzo Noir: She did fall in the love with Clark before she actually knew.
haydenclaireheroes: I guess she was happy that Clark was the same person.
Right, so Clark is the disguise rather than Superman?
RazzaTazz: Yes I think so, but why does he need a disguise?
haydenclaireheroes: Well like every hero he needs a identity to protect his family and friends from his villains.
Emperor Gonzo Noir: Clark Kent is no more Superman's critique on the human race, than Bruce Wayne is Batman's critique on the wealthy.
Now that this has become to Lois oriented. Clark's love interest haven't been touched upon other than Lois and Lana right?
Emperor Gonzo Noir: He's had a few other loves like Lori Lemaris.
RazzaTazz: I am the wrong person to ask, still sore that at any time in DC history that WW is regarded as a potential love interest for Superman.
Emperor Gonzo Noir: I understand the logic of pairing Wondy and Supes together. But in character it doesn't really work.
I liked when Wonder Woman was Batman's love interest in the Justice League Animated Series, but now I am realizing that we are gearing away from Supes. Lets get back on topic.
Past vs Present
I like Smallville's modern take of Superman, I loved Secret Origin and Earth One but I was bored by Superman: The Animated Series. What do you guys think? Past or present?
haydenclaireheroes: I love Smallville. I never read Secret Origin but always wanted to. Earth One I loved the art it was great take on another Universe. I have not seen Superman in a while but when i was kid i use to like it. I loved Supergirl costume.
RazzaTazz: I have not read any of those, but I think what I have seen of Smallville that it deviated a bit too much from his regular story for my liking, though of course part of that is up to the network.
Emperor Gonzo Noir: I really liked Superman: TAS, but it was never my favorite DCAU show. I was surprised by how much I liked Earth One, the negative fan reaction to the preview pages did steer me away at first. I loved Secret Origin, especially Parasite origin (toxic waste donut, embarrassing. Guess the ten second rule doesn't always apply.) and as I said before I'm not a fan of Smallville.
So does this mean that you guys favor the past incarnation of Superman over the present?
haydenclaireheroes: I like the past better than the present.
RazzaTazz: I would say so yes, he has one of the most iconic origin stories of any hero. I bet people that haven't heard of Wonder Woman still know what Krypton is (I know it's also a chemical element).
Emperor Gonzo Noir: I like the John Byrne Superman, he was at a good power level, was likable and he made tough decisions. (Such as executing Pocket Universe versions of General Zod , Non and Ursa for genocide. But no one likes to talk about that.)
RazzaTazz: I liked the Byrne on Superman.
haydenclaireheroes: I never read his Superman.
Emperor Gonzo Noir: I had to read back issues, they probably won't reprint the story where Superman killed some villains.
This is the most iconic character in comic books but it seems like people like the character just because he's iconic. What do you guys think? What's the verdict?
haydenclaireheroes: I think non comic readers like Superman the most because he is iconic. Superman symbols America.
Emperor Gonzo Noir: A character can't stay popular on reputation alone, there has to be a reason why Superman has stayed so popular. It's about who he is, and what he represents.
He may be an alien, but he's more human than some of the people born here. He's a regular guy, from the midwest who just happens to be able to fly at Mach 10 and chuck a bus into orbit.
RazzaTazz: In the movie Nixon there is a scene where Nixon looks at the portrait of JFK and says something along the lines of "When they look at you they see who they ant to be, when they look at me, they see who they are." I think this is an excellent way to describe the iconic image of Superman (compared here against Batman). Superman represents the world we all dream of where men hold doors open for women, everyone is nice to each other and we all work together. Batman represents who we are, a constant struggle against the injustices of this world. So I think part of the iconic status of Superman is his idealism and the fact he is American. Superman for me is one of those words or phrases like "apple pie" which stirs up thoughts of wholesome America.
haydenclaireheroes: I never thought of it that way.
RazzaTazz: Well I don't recommend watching Nixon to research it :P
Emperor Gonzo Noir: That is an amazing way to put it, but now I keep seeing Nixon dressed as Batman. Amusing , yet frightening.
Well, my perspective on Superman has changed after this. I think his iconic nature has more to him than meets the ground -level perspective. I think that is all we can say about our favorite immigrant. Comment below to tell us what you think about this super man (yes the space set there on purpose). I think it's time to say good bye!
haydenclaireheroes: All right bye guys. I have taken Superman in a different perspective now.
RazzaTazz: This is RazzaTazz (Tammy) signing out from the city that rocks and the city ... oh ... uh... forget it, that didnt work before did it? Thanks for reading everyone and thanks to Hayden and Emp. Always a pleasure to work with Hayden and hopefully we see Emp back.
haydenclaireheroes: Like i said it was really fun to talk to you guys can't wait to do it again.
Emperor Gonzo Noir: Had a lot of fun here hope I can do this again. This is Emp Gonzo, signing off.
Thank you for joining me Tammy, Hayden and Gon-- I mean Emp!