Man or Superman Part 3- Why You Won't Miss Post-Crisis Clark Kent

Posted by Jekylhyde14 (747 posts) - - Show Bio

I wrote this blog post awhile ago and posted it on the DC message boards to prove a point and never thought I’d use it again. Lately, however, I’ve been hearing a lot of melodramatic comments coming from Superman fans who are against Grant Morrison’s September reboot in Action Comics. These fans have been bemoaning the loss of some Post-Crisis continuity, and have been claiming that this is regressive storytelling that will wipe out the realistic characterization that’s been built for Superman since Crisis on Infinite Earths. Now, I’m in favor of this reboot and I’m hoping it makes Superman the dynamic and interesting character he should be. Considering that it’s more than a month until the first issue is released, I can’t comment much on what the reboot will be like. I can, however, try and convince you that you’re not losing much with the revision of Post-Crisis Superman. I’m about to show you how he was the least interesting part of his own book.

As I stated in Part 1,   John Byrne’s Man of Steel powered Superman down and put more of an emphasis on Clark Kent. Specifically he made Kent the man behind Superman rather than looking at Superman as the dominant personality. But what does Superman really do in the Man of Steel story? Well, he hits the boy scout routine perfectly, he catches Magpie with Batman, he beats some terrorists on Luthor's boat, makes Luthor angry, and beats Bizarro (who explodes and whose ashes magically cure Lucy Lane's blindness- and this is the more "realistic" version of Superman). Oh yeah, and he whines about being an alien A LOT. And this self-loathing over his alien (Superman) half would probably be Clark 's most unique human trait throughout the Byrne years. Honestly, none of the things Superman does in Man of Steel really impressed or interested me. Also, Kent's self hatred over being alien and Superman in these years presents to me a man who wants to conform rather than celebrate the things that make him unique and special. But- this was a version of Superman that obviously some people needed to see and that DC had been building up to without Byrne for a number of years. Man of Steel as a reboot was also generally pretty successful in renewing some interest in the character. But did this interest really last? Keep in mind what I said in Part 1 of the series, that Byrne believed Clark Kent would be the human link that made Superman more “relatable,” so the man that you’re afraid of losing to Grant Morrison’s Action Comics is basically this version of Clark Kent.

Let's take a look at some of the more memorable Superman stories post-Byrne to see if Clark’s relatability lead to their success:

1) Superman exiles himself to space and fights Mongul on Warworld- Superman abandons his Clark identity and has some space missions (a very Silver age concept).

2) Panic in the Sky- Brainiac returns to his Silver Age roots by staging an old fashioned alien invasion with Warworld. Not many moments for Kent and a more traditional use of the Silver Age villain Brainiac.

3) Death of Superman- Where they kill Byrne's Superman off after interest in him completely ran out. The first time Superman caught my attention as a kid and a highlight of the Modern Age. Clark appears only once in the beginning.

4) Reign of the Supermen- A great Superman story where Byrne's Superman is nowhere in sight. Instead we replace him with four more dynamic characters and we even celebrate Silver Age concepts like having a Superboy and a Superman who was completely alien with his eye on the bigger picture (Eradicator).

5) Dominus Saga- Where Superman drops his Clark Kent identity under mind control and takes over the world.

6) Emperor Joker- Where the charm of the story really came from pitting Supes against the most popular DC villain of all-time. Plus, it’s well-established that Jeph Loeb was doing his best to reintegrate Silver Age concepts like a traditional Krypton and Krypto the superdog.

7) Our World's At War- Where Clark shows up only twice (at the very beginning and very end) and Superman is dealing with insanely vague cosmic threats (again Silver and Bronze Age stuff).

What are the biggest storylines for post-Byrne Clark ?

1) Death of Clark Kent- How many people actually remember this story? How many of you care? It also contains some of Clark's worst fashion sense ever (for those of who are going after the new Action Comics costume). Does Conduit really stack up to any of Superman’s classic rogue gallery?

2) Wedding to Lois- And if you tell me this is an exciting story then you're either lying or really into marriage. It’ a nice romance story with some fine characterization for Lois, but it effectively kills the romance angle for many Superman stories that followed. And Kent wears a hernia belt…

3) Power Struggle - Where he lost his powers and was DESPERATELY trying to become Superman again.

All of this says to me that people really didn't care much about John Byrne's Clark post Man of Steel. Even in the most popular post-Byrne Superman story-arcs, Clark is still mostly absent. In fact, they all seem to have Superman dealing with some sort of cosmic threat. And these post-Byrne stories are still only so good. Death of Superman and Reign of the Supermen picked up a Comic Buyer's Guide Award Each. Meanwhile, All-Star Superman has won , Eagle, AND Eisner awards while Alan Moore's Supreme picked up some Overstreet awards and an Eisner. Both of those series use an updated version of the Silver Age Superman with no thought to any kind of Byrne-esque relatability and they produced two of the most critically acclaimed modern Superman stories. All-Star Superman has generated more interest in the character outside of long-time Superman fans than any post-Byrne continuity story.

And yet, people still cling to this post-Byrne continuity. So what if Man of Steel isn't cannon anymore? A lot of what the Man of Steel wrought is still present in Superman today. His marriage to Lois, his lower IQ, the distance he feels from his Kryptonian roots (why else would he care more about Earth being attacked by Kryptonians than the genocide of his own people in the New Krypton story), his excessive self-doubt (caving so quickly to the "slap" in Superman #700), and leaving the legacy of Superman fans who believe in the red herring of Clark Kent so much that they don't think there can be a good Superman story without seeing him as the man behind the hero (even though I think I just proved that's not true). I believe if we just completely let go of this disappointing hero we've lived with for over two decades (and I know this is tough, we've spent a long time with this guy), we can replace him with a hero who has the guts to be a Superman and who will give us better stories that are more fun. Or we can go back to scenes of Clark eating Chinese take-out with Lois in his sweat pants. Your choice.

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

Good article! I mostly agree with your points. I think you missed to expound more on how New Krypton all the way to War of the Supermen had almost completely forgotten about Clark and focused more on Kal-El. But then again you wouldn't have the need to... as you have established your point very well already.

#2 Posted by turoksonofstone (13200 posts) - - Show Bio

Sorry I'm not convinced. 
Shill - a person who poses as a customer in order to decoy others into participating.

#3 Posted by Jekylhyde14 (747 posts) - - Show Bio
@turoksonofstone
 
Ah, my new friend! Honestly, I wish DC was paying me to say all this stuff. They probably should. I'm just a dedicated fan of both Superman and Grant Morrison. I have argued that Superman has desperately needed some major changes for a couple years now. I used to get into long, drawn-out battles about it on the DC message boards under the name Jekyl. I'm about to see all of those arguments I spent so much time and effort on rewarded with this Action Comics reboot. That's why I've been so vocal the past few weeks. I'm glad you feel so threatened by my posts that you're resorting to libel. It's very telling to me that all you can seem to do is call me a shill without addressing any of the points I made at all. It's probably because you have no answer for them. Come back when you have something interesting to say.
#4 Posted by Jekylhyde14 (747 posts) - - Show Bio
@ssejllenrad
 
Thanks for your comments! I'm glad you brought up New Krypton and the War of the Supermen. Isn't funny how some writers in the Modern Age tend to avoid writing Clark Kent as much as possible? I've always asked, what's there to write about? Clark barely has a personality. He has no politics, no hobbies, and not much of a sense of humor. He's really lacking all the things that make people interesting. The most intriguing thing about him is that he's Superman.  
 
At least in the old days, Clark was sort fun to read because he was this nerdy act Superman put on to hide his identity. It was funny to watch him slink off complaining of some minor ailment or those times when he'd wink at us when someone would compare him to Superman and we'd know better (it was like we were in on his inside joke). Modern Clark always came off to me as a rigid yuppie. I think that's why no one likes to write him. I can't, for the life of me, see why people are upset about losing that character.
#5 Posted by turoksonofstone (13200 posts) - - Show Bio

I do not have any answers relating to your observations or opinions. Byrne's Superman is just a variation of Siegel and Shuster's, and Grant Morrison's is whole new animal. Let's just see how long the reboot lasts and how well it is received and I can assure you I will be back to dance on the grave of your hopes and dreams.

#6 Posted by Jekylhyde14 (747 posts) - - Show Bio
@turoksonofstone:  
 
Only in your dreams, cupcake...
#7 Posted by buttersdaman000 (10259 posts) - - Show Bio

Nice article man!
I never understood why people hated on Superman because he wasnt 'relatable' enough. Who really reads comics because they can relate to a Super hero? Can you relate to a crazily determined billionare martial arts expert who spends all his time in a cave? No! Can you even relate to an oppressed and hated people with super powers who save lives on a daily basis? No! So why do people hate on Superman for being unrelatable? 
There's also the complaint that he is too powerful. I for one think he is fine where he is right now. The magic vulnerability can go and he could be more powerful but im fine....yet other people say hes the most overpowered character in comics. Yes, the same people who read Silver Surfer comics and Martian Manhunter comics....or even Captain Marvel, who is basically Superman without any weaknesses, say that Superman is overpowered...........double standards ftw!
Nobody hates on Thor for any of these reasons yet the guy is a freaking powerful god with no weakness and is hardly ever in his other persona. And honestly, its one of the reasons I started picking up Thor comics last year (although I had to drop it since Marvel is expensive). Thor has silver age like adventures that, too me, are missing out in Superman comics. His writers portray him the way Superman oughta be portrayed: As a larger than life Super hero who kicks ass and takes names.
Screw relatabilty, I read my comics for entertainment 
I really hope Grant Morrison makes Superman a force to be reckoned with and just an overall fun read
 
@Jekylhyde14
And I think Turok just hates Superman.....or DC. He keeps going on about how they will lose the character in 2013

#8 Posted by Jekylhyde14 (747 posts) - - Show Bio
@buttersdaman000
 
Thanks for taking the time to comment! You have a good point about how other characters are allowed to have fantastic qualities and it doesn't seem to effect their relatability but people can't seem to take it when it comes to Superman. I think the real issue behind it might be that they just naturally resent a character who seems that perfect. Not only is this guy a walking saint but he's also crazy powerful. Readers look at that and are immediately reminded of all the arrogant jerks who have put them down in real life. I don't see Superman as that guy, though. I look at his crazy powers and see that they're the reason he has the freedom to be a walking saint. The fact that he's super-strong and invulnerable means that he doesn't need the same kinds of protection and reinforcement that most people need to make it through the day. This means he never has to compromise in order to survive. It gives him the room to make higher moral choices in situations where normal men would have to sacrifice something. He uses these powers to make life easier for everyone because he doesn't need anything. What could you do for Superman that he can't already do for himself? Instead he shares the things that make him great with the world. I think that's something we should all aspire to relate to.
#9 Posted by buttersdaman000 (10259 posts) - - Show Bio
@Jekylhyde14
No problem man
You may have a point there...
#10 Posted by Night Thrasher (3705 posts) - - Show Bio

Clark Kent has never been the problem with Superman. The problem with Superman has been fanboys as writers. Byrne's run on Superman was great because Superman didn't feel like the biggest threat to himself. He could be touched, he couldn't hear a fly bat his wings on Uranus, he had weaknesses. Superman wasn't always the strongest or fastest. He struggled at times, and it was great. 
 
 
The difference between Superman then and now is that writers are afraid to portray Superman as weak. I can't think of a storyline in recent history that involves Superman being in real physical danger. As a way around it, writers have put the people around him in danger, but not Superman himself. This points to either one of two things, either Superman is being portrayed as too powerful, or his rogues are too weak. This is the major difference between Marvel and DC. Marvel's flagship character, Spider-Man, is put through the ringer every month. Twice a month in his bi-monthly mag. But Superman, if he happens to bleed from getting punched by someone on a lower level than Darkseid then fanboys would be writing letters calling for the writers head. This is the true nature of the need for a Superman reboot.

#11 Posted by Jekylhyde14 (747 posts) - - Show Bio
@Night Thrasher
  
And what you just described to me is EXACTLY what I see as the problem with Superman in the Modern Age. You want him to be Spider-Man when he's really Superman. Honestly, it's no accident that the two characters have basically had the same problems since the 1990's: dull marriages, neverending clone sagas, and melodramatic soap opera threads that go nowhere involving the supporting cast. All John Byrne and fans that hold your opinion want to see is Superman become Peter Parker. But he's NOT Spider-Man. He's SUPERman. He went through 1938 to 1986 as near-perfect without losing steam and only in the last few decades has this bull about him needing to be vulnerable come around. Superman is America's greatest myth. He's like our Samson or our Hercules which is why those two characters are brought up in Silver Age stories. He needs to be an almost Deus Ex Machina for his stories to work because his stories aren't really about the man himself but the triumph of the human spirit. The Modern Age stories that have worked the best for me (All-Star Superman, Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow, Alan Moore's Supreme, Superman Red Sun, Kingdom Come) all treat him as this super-powerful pinnacle. This allows the philosophy and message of the story to take precedence over more menial, soap operatic concerns like will Peter ever notice Debra's effections or will Ron and Jimmy come to blows over Lucy. I've seen Marvel exploit that soap opera formula again and again in Spider-Man and I saw Byrne bring it over to Superman, and it's played out. There's also the basic problem that Clark Kent will never be seen as relatable as Peter Parker. Peter is younger, hipper with more economic struggles. Clark, in the 90's, is a yuppie with a steady job and no personal problems that his super powers can't fix. What you want just can't happen without making Superman even less super than Byrne made him in the 90's and I assure you that that's the wrong way to go.  
 
Superman and Spider-Man are TWO DIFFERENT CHARACTERS. If you want another character that's LIKE Spider-Man but a little different, I'd suggest Dark Hawk or Static or the Ted Kord Blue Beetle or Nova. All of those guys have a lot more in common with Peter than Clark does. Leave Superman as Superman. Let him represent the pinnacle of the human spirit because that's what Shuster and Siegel meant for him to be and that's who he is. Pretending otherwise makes him the shallow puppet show he was in the 90's. And, as I pointed out in my blog, if it was necessary to see him like that then name one, great Superman story that had Clark Kent center stage. If you can't, let him be Superman again.
#12 Posted by Night Thrasher (3705 posts) - - Show Bio
@Jekylhyde14 said:
@Night Thrasher:   And what you just described to me is EXACTLY what I see as the problem with Superman in the Modern Age. You want him to be Spider-Man when he's really Superman. Honestly, it's no accident that the two characters have basically had the same problems since the 1990's: dull marriages, neverending clone sagas, and melodramatic soap opera threads that go nowhere involving the supporting cast. All John Byrne and fans that hold your opinion want to see is Superman become Peter Parker. But he's NOT Spider-Man. He's SUPERman. He went through 1938 to 1986 as near-perfect without losing steam and only in the last few decades has this bull about him needing to be vulnerable come around. Superman is America's greatest myth. He's like our Samson or our Hercules which is why those two characters are brought up in Silver Age stories. He needs to be an almost Deus Ex Machina for his stories to work because his stories aren't really about the man himself but the triumph of the human spirit. The Modern Age stories that have worked the best for me (All-Star Superman, Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow, Alan Moore's Supreme, Superman Red Sun, Kingdom Come) all treat him as this super-powerful pinnacle. This allows the philosophy and message of the story to take precedence over more menial, soap operatic concerns like will Peter ever notice Debra's effections or will Ron and Jimmy come to blows over Lucy. I've seen Marvel exploit that soap opera formula again and again in Spider-Man and I saw Byrne bring it over to Superman, and it's played out. There's also the basic problem that Clark Kent will never be seen as relatable as Peter Parker. Peter is younger, hipper with more economic struggles. Clark, in the 90's, is a yuppie with a steady job and no personal problems that his super powers can't fix. What you want just can't happen without making Superman even less super than Byrne made him in the 90's and I assure you that that's the wrong way to go.   Superman and Spider-Man are TWO DIFFERENT CHARACTERS. If you want another character that's LIKE Spider-Man but a little different, I'd suggest Dark Hawk or Static or the Ted Kord Blue Beetle or Nova. All of those guys have a lot more in common with Peter than Clark does. Leave Superman as Superman. Let him represent the pinnacle of the human spirit because that's what Shuster and Siegel meant for him to be and that's who he is. Pretending otherwise makes him the shallow puppet show he was in the 90's. And, as I pointed out in my blog, if it was necessary to see him like that then name one, great Superman story that had Clark Kent center stage. If you can't, let him be Superman again.
No, I don't want Superman to be Spider-Man..You missed the point entirely. Superman stories used to be about the triumph of the human spirit. Now, it seems more like a marathon of fanboy tributes. Superman doesn't need to go through the drama that Spider-Man does, but he does need some drama. Why pick up a book if you already know the ending and there are no character progression? Superman is going to kick the crap out of someone, the characters are going to still be stale and one dimensional, and maybe you get to see Superman show off his powers in some new way. This isn't a winning formula for any character. Deus Ex Machina Man never sells. The more equivalent stories in the MU would be Silver Surfer or Thor stories. No matter how powerful they are, there are still threats to them. They are just as powerful as Supes, but when you read their stories you feel as if maybe it could be the end. You don't get that with Supes, because writers are afraid of the fanboys who can't bear to think of Superman losing. We know Superman is going to win in the end, but we need to feel as if maybe he won't. That's what makes a good story, Superman or otherwise, not some catalog of feats and stale characters.
#13 Posted by ReVamp (22865 posts) - - Show Bio
@turoksonofstone said:


                    I do not have any answers relating to your observations or opinions. Byrne's Superman is just a variation of Siegel and Shuster's, and Grant Morrison's is whole new animal. Let's just see how long the reboot lasts and how well it is received and I can assure you I will be back to dance on the grave of your hopes and dreams.

                   

               
Wouldn't be the first person he's done that on.
#14 Edited by Jekylhyde14 (747 posts) - - Show Bio
@Night Thrasher
 
 Honestly, I don't think I missed your point at all. You're just echoing the same, old complaints about Superman that have been thrown at him since the start of the Modern Age (even after Byrne's revamp of the character). I don't buy it and I still don't. You don't like Superman stories because you know he's going to win in every situation you throw him into? That's just being a superhero (or the hero of just about any story). Spider-Man eventually wins every fight he has, Captain America wins every fight he's in, and so on and so forth. Even the heroes that die are usually given a noble death where they sacrifice themselves to win the day for the greater good. Does being momentarily tricked into thinking otherwise really make for a better story? There are other ways to make a story dramatic like having interesting plots or thought-provoking themes. Saying that you need Superman to be more physically vulnerable to make the story interesting is like saying that superhero battles are the only things that make these stories interesting and that's ridiculous. You can have great characters who are Deus Ex Machina: Miracle Man, Supreme, Dr. Manhattan, and even the Silver Surfer and Thor have large fan followngs. Superman, even at his most powerful, still comes off as more human and relatable than any of them, so I figure he can survive being a Deus Ex Machina again. Also, I've pointed this out before, he seems to do better as if evidenced by the popularity of stories like All-Star Superman and Superman Red Sun. The times when he's struggled the most are times when they've tried to make him more "vulnerable" like the late Bronze Age and the mid to late 90's. Finally, it's funny that you're saying we should fix Superman by cutting out his "fanboys" i.e. the people who know the most and care the most about him. Maybe just maybe that' one of the reasons he's struggled a lot in the Modern Age. Instead of trying to please Superman's fans they've tried to cater to people like you who just don't seem to understand the character and what makes him interesting. Superman was fine where he was Pre-Crisis. That's when he was the most memorable. He needs to be taken back to that place.
#15 Edited by Night Thrasher (3705 posts) - - Show Bio
@Jekylhyde14 said:

@Night Thrasher said:



                   

@Jekylhyde14

said: 
                    
No, I don't want Superman to be Spider-Man..You missed the point entirely. Superman stories used to be about the triumph of the human spirit. Now, it seems more like a marathon of fanboy tributes. Superman doesn't need to go through the drama that Spider-Man does, but he does need some drama. Why pick up a book if you already know the ending and there are no character progression? Superman is going to kick the crap out of someone, the characters are going to still be stale and one dimensional, and maybe you get to see Superman show off his powers in some new way. This isn't a winning formula for any character. Deus Ex Machina Man never sells. The more equivalent stories in the MU would be Silver Surfer or Thor stories. No matter how powerful they are, there are still threats to them. They are just as powerful as Supes, but when you read their stories you feel as if maybe it could be the end. You don't get that with Supes, because writers are afraid of the fanboys who can't bear to think of Superman losing. We know Superman is going to win in the end, but we need to feel as if maybe he won't. That's what makes a good story, Superman or otherwise, not some catalog of feats and stale characters.

                   
 
 
 
 
 
Honestly, I don't think I missed your point at all. You're just echoing the same, old complaints about Superman that have been thrown at him since the start of the Modern Age (even after Byrne's revamp of the character). I don't buy it and I still don't. You don't like Superman stories because you know he's going to win in every situation you throw him into? That's just being a superhero (or the hero of just about any story). Spider-Man eventually wins every fight he has, Captain America wins every fight he's in, and so on and so forth. Even the heroes that die are usually given a noble death where they sacrifice themselves to win the day for the greater good. Does being momentarily tricked into thinking otherwise really make for a better story? There are other ways to make a story dramatic like having interesting plots or thought-provoking themes. Saying that you need Superman to be more physically vulnerable to make the story interesting is like saying that superhero battles are the only things that make these stories interesting and that's ridiculous. You can have great characters who are Deus Ex Machina: Miracle Man, Supreme, Dr. Manhattan, and even the Silver Surfer and Thor have large fan followngs. Superman, even at his most powerful, still comes off as more human and relatable than any of them, so I figure he can survive being a Deus Ex Machina again. Also, I've pointed this out before, he seems to do better as if evidenced by the popularity of stories like All-Star Superman and Superman Red Sun. The times when he's struggled the most are times when they've tried to make him more "vulnerable" like the late Bronze Age and the mid to late 90's. Finally, it's funny that you're saying we should fix Superman by cutting out his "fanboys" i.e. the people who know the most and care the most about him. Maybe just maybe that' one of the reasons he's struggled a lot in the Modern Age. Instead of trying to please Superman's fans they've tried to cater to people like you who just don't seem to understand the character and what makes him interesting. Superman was fine where he was Pre-Crisis. That's when he was the most memorable. He needs to be taken back to that place.

               
Actually you missed the point entirely. I don't not read Superman stories...I've been off and on depending on the direction of the character. I'm saying that if there's no threat, then there's no story. You want Superman to be a walking God; I don't. I'd much rather have an actual story than a feat to use in the battle threads. He doesn't have to be depowered, his rogues can be empowered. But if one of them seems stronger than Supes, then fanboys are going to go nuts.  
  
 
Also, the characters you mentioned (i.e. Silver Surfer and Thor) have far more depth than Superman. Both are supremely conflicted characters and that's half of the story. Norrin Radd is far more human and relatable than Clark Kent. His story is more of sacrifice and morality then it is of doing cosmic feats. Thor is more about fitting into two worlds than Superman is. A good comic book is a delicate mix of drama and action. You just can't have a book with no character development. That is the main gripe with Superman.
 
 
S/N: Spider Man is going to win; however the major difference is that Spider-Man usually is the underdog. The majority of his villains are either faster, stronger or both. Case in point Rhino and Scorpion, both stronger...Scorpion is actually physically superior in almost every way, Superman villains usually can't say the same.
#16 Posted by Jekylhyde14 (747 posts) - - Show Bio
@Night Thrasher said:


                  
               
Actually you missed the point entirely. I don't not read Superman stories...I've been off and on depending on the direction of the character. I'm saying that if there's no threat, then there's no story. You want Superman to be a walking God; I don't. I'd much rather have an actual story than a feat to use in the battle threads. He doesn't have to be depowered, his rogues can be empowered. But if one of them seems stronger than Supes, then fanboys are going to go nuts. 

                   

               
Nope, I got your point dead on. You're saying Superman is only interesting if there's a chance his enemies can wound or kill him. What I'm saying is that he needs to be powerful enough to always save the day because that's who he is and when he's like that we can use him to discuss higher ideals and concepts. I don't really care about battle threads, either. I don't care if he's facing off against a villain who's crazy powerful. The whole power level comparison that you're alluding to is just a silly distraction. My favorite moment for Superman recently was when he created the world without Superman in All-Star to see what his world would be like after his death. He ends up creating our world with Siegel and Shuster creating a fictional Superman in his place. That was a beautiful and brilliant moment in Superman literature that wouldn't have been possible unless he was a "walking god." If humans were perfectly noble and capable we'd all be "walking gods." We can't be either of those things so we created Superman to do it in our place. That's the point of Superman. What I'm saying to you is making him a "vulnerable" hero like Spider-Man is missing the point which you clearly are. Thank you for confirming that you aren't really a Superman fan because that only validates my point that people with your arguments aren't really interested in the character in the first place. Every word you type just makes my arguments stronger.
#17 Posted by Night Thrasher (3705 posts) - - Show Bio
@Jekylhyde14 said:
@Night Thrasher said:


                  
               
Actually you missed the point entirely. I don't not read Superman stories...I've been off and on depending on the direction of the character. I'm saying that if there's no threat, then there's no story. You want Superman to be a walking God; I don't. I'd much rather have an actual story than a feat to use in the battle threads. He doesn't have to be depowered, his rogues can be empowered. But if one of them seems stronger than Supes, then fanboys are going to go nuts. 

                   

               
Nope, I got your point dead on. You're saying Superman is only interesting if there's a chance his enemies can wound or kill him. What I'm saying is that he needs to be powerful enough to always save the day because that's who he is and when he's like that we can use him to discuss higher ideals and concepts. I don't really care about battle threads, either. I don't care if he's facing off against a villain who's crazy powerful. The whole power level comparison that you're alluding to is just a silly distraction. My favorite moment for Superman recently was when he created the world without Superman in All-Star to see what his world would be like after his death. He ends up creating our world with Siegel and Shuster creating a fictional Superman in his place. That was a beautiful and brilliant moment in Superman literature that wouldn't have been possible unless he was a "walking god." If humans were perfectly noble and capable we'd all be "walking gods." We can't be either of those things so we created Superman to do it in our place. That's the point of Superman. What I'm saying to you is making him a "vulnerable" hero like Spider-Man is missing the point which you clearly are. Thank you for confirming that you aren't really a Superman fan because that only validates my point that people with your arguments aren't really interested in the character in the first place. Every word you type just makes my arguments stronger.
I'm a fan of good stories. Obviously a "walking God" can have only so many interesting stories if he's not facing other "walking Gods". Who cares if he stops Toyman, he's a "walking God", he should stop Toyman, in one panel actually. My point isn't he needs to be a street leveler to be interesting, he needs viable threats. He isn't boring because he's written as invincible. He becomes boring because he's written as invincible AND one dimensional. And he doesn't need to hear an ant footstep in Africa to be Superman, he doesn't have to be the end all be all. I think that's the point JMS was making in "Grounded". Being nigh omnipotent can make someone forget about what's really effecting people, real people. He doesn't have to be everywhere, just where he's needed most. It's not that I am or not a "fan". I read some of the books, some I don't. But a story has to have depth no matter the character. If Superman "fans" worried more about character development and story progression, instead of feats, then the reboot wouldn't be needed.
#18 Edited by Jekylhyde14 (747 posts) - - Show Bio
@Night Thrasher:                     


                    

 Well, if you were a fan of good stories then I'd hope you'd be a fan of All-Star Superman and Supreme which are two of the most critically acclaimed stories using the Superman archetype in the Modern Age that were written by two of the most critically acclaimed creators, and they both used a "walking god" Superman. "Grounded" was a critical flop and a really boring story to read in comparison. Also, you're still too fixated on battles when you talk about "visible threats." There are problems you can present to the man that have nothing to do with the possibility of killing him. I think you're too worried about "vulnerability" when it comes to character progression. Superman has always been a great character without writing him the Marvel way. If you need fleeting soap opera themes and threats that go nowhere to make comics interesting then stick to Marvel (which is what they do). What I'm saying is Superman should be more about the theme and ideas a story presents and not trying to build a character that only reminds you of your personal problems. Superman was written for decades as an all-powerful hero and his popularity did just fine. He only falters when he's held to standards that aren't in his character. Standards that you keep outlining.         
#19 Posted by Night Thrasher (3705 posts) - - Show Bio
@Jekylhyde14 said:
@Night Thrasher:                                          Well, if you were a fan of good stories then I'd hope you'd be a fan of All-Star Superman and Supreme which are two of the most critically acclaimed stories using the Superman archetype in the Modern Age that were written by two of the most critically acclaimed creators, and they both used a "walking god" Superman. "Grounded" was a critical flop and a really boring story to read in comparison. Also, you're still too fixated on battles whe you talk about "visible threats." There are problems you can present to the man that have nothing to do with the possibility of killing him. I think you're too worried about "vulnerability" when it comes to character progression. Superman has always been a great character without writing him the Marvel way. If you need fleeting soap opera themes and threats that go nowhere to make comics interesting then stick to Marvel (which is what the do). What I'm saying is Superman should be more about the theme and ideas a story presents and not trying to build a character that only reminds you of your personal problems. Superman was written for decades as an all-powerful hero and his popularity did just fine. He only falters when he's held to standards that aren't in his character. Standards that you keep outlining.         
I haven't read All Star Superman...I heard it was good, but I really don't have any interest in it. For the same reasons I don't read Ultimate Spider-Man. The things that differentiate between us is basically emphasis. You love to emphasize the Super, will I much rather prefer the Man part of the equation. You described your favorite moment, and it was basically a feat, not a moment. There's the difference. If Marvel style of writing means "character development" and "conflict", then yes, that's what I want. I want to read about characters struggles, internal and external. Pain is a writer's best friend. Pain is what gives stories and ultimately characters their depth, if a character can't experience pain, then there's really no story to tell.
#20 Posted by Jekylhyde14 (747 posts) - - Show Bio
@Night Thrasher
 
Well, you're right about one thing, we're on opposite sides of the spectrum. I take exception to the idea that there's no story to tell my way. Read my post about the best stories in Superman's Silver Age and I think you'll see otherwise. In fact, most of the best post-Byrne stories even alluded to stories written in the Silver Age which is a point I made in this blog and a point I keep making again and again. Most of the world's best literature, in fact, was written without continuity in mind and wiithout some melodramatic concept of "pain." I think you're missing out when you refuse to read out of continuity stories like All-Star Superman and Ultimate Spider-Man. They really are two of the better superhero tales in the Modern Age. Fans like you miss out on some great literature. You relive the same Spider-Man and Daredevil stories again and again watching their lives get dragged through some momentary problems that won't mean anything once that creative team is gone, and you get tricked into believing that this is a "progression." What new themes or ideas are presented? You just go through the same motions again and again with stories like this and they don't hold up as one, continuous thread after a couple decades pass. That's why you'll be frustrated and done with the genre eventually. What I want to see is better literature outside of that easy-answer formula. I think I'll get it with this revamp.
#21 Posted by Night Thrasher (3705 posts) - - Show Bio
@Jekylhyde14 said:
@Night Thrasher:  Well, you're right about one thing, we're on opposite sides of the spectrum. I take exception to the idea that there's no story to tell my way. Read my post about the best stories in Superman's Silver Age and I think you'll see otherwise. In fact, most of the best post-Byrne stories even alluded to stories written in the Silver Age which is a point I made in this blog and a point I keep making again and again. Most of the world's best literature, in fact, was written without continuity in mind and wiithout some melodramatic concept of "pain." I think you're missing out when you refuse to read out of continuity stories like All-Star Superman and Ultimate Spider-Man. They really are two of the better superhero tales in the Modern Age. Fans like you miss out on some great literature. You relive the same Spider-Man and Daredevil stories again and again watching their lives get dragged through some momentary problems that won't mean anything once that creative team is gone, and you get tricked into believing that this is a "progression." What new themes or ideas are presented? You just go through the same motions again and again with stories like this and they don't hold up as one, continuous thread after a couple decades pass. That's why you'll be frustrated and done with the genre eventually. What I want to see is better literature outside of that easy-answer formula. I think I'll get it with this revamp.
Actually the mainstream Spider-Man and Daredevil are still finding ways to be fresh. Hence Shadowland and Grim Hunt. Not saying they aren't good books (USM AllStar), I prefer the mainstream universe to the alternates. As for the Silver Age of Superman...most of the stories are just unreadable to me. I've tried to read some, but they don't hold my interest. They really represent to me what your complaining about... repetitive. They seem to be the same story recast over and over. To me the one of the best stories in recent history is the New Krypton storyline. To me it made Superman stand out as a character, not because of his powers, but because of who he is. Also the fight with Brainiac was done well. I'm not completely dismissing your opinion, I'm just saying IMO, it doesn't mean a hill of beans without character development. 
#22 Posted by Jekylhyde14 (747 posts) - - Show Bio

@Night Thrasher
 
I'll have to point out that Grim Hunt was A LOT like Kraven's Last Hunt except involving more characters and Shadowland is just another version of what if the hero turns on his friends (like Iron Man in Civil War or Magneto switching sides once again in the early 90's). How are those stories any less repetitive than the Silver Age? At the end of the day, there are only so many stories to tell and it's always more about how you tell them.

As for character development, there are other ways to do it than trying to make a character as relatable to you as possible. When it comes to Superman, I think the question that needs to be asked is "what would a guy be like if he had the power to do anything" rather than "how can we make this guy seem more human." That seems more genuine and "realistic" to me. A guy like Superman with powers like his just wouldn't be like us. He's more capable and he'd see the world under a different light with his extra-sensory perceptions. There's no way you could be that powerful and just be another guy who lives on the block. That's why the Post-Crisis Superman comes off as a bit disingenuous to me. It's taking a man who is more than your average joe and trying to make him act like just another guy. I don't think the writers of Post-Crisis Superman even believed it. That sort of characterization may work well for characters like Spider-Man and Daredevil, but Superman has always been different and should be different. What's good for man is not good for Superman. He just doesn't work that way. I appreciate your stance. It's how most superhero comics have been written in the Modern Age. What I'm saying is that it's time for something different. It'll be more unique and interesting than just reaching for the superhero soap opera formula again. Isn't there room for something like that in comics?
#23 Posted by Night Thrasher (3705 posts) - - Show Bio
@Jekylhyde14: Your approach isn't unique or different. It's called fan-fic. Basically take a villain and a hero, they fight, the hero wins, next story. It's all well and good for a couple of issues, but for an ongoing series you need some type of character development. The closest example to this in Marvel would be the Silver Surfer, he's more alien and more powerful than even Superman. But yet, there is some humanity there to add character. He doesn't understand Earth, but he has an attachment and has defended it. There are reasons for him doing so and have been fleshed out in stories. You want Superman to defend Earth for no other reason than he can. There's no story there, I doubt event the strongest fanboys would buy that for long. 
#24 Posted by Jekylhyde14 (747 posts) - - Show Bio
@Night Thrasher said:
@Jekylhyde14: Your approach isn't unique or different. It's called fan-fic. Basically take a villain and a hero, they fight, the hero wins, next story. It's all well and good for a couple of issues, but for an ongoing series you need some type of character development. The closest example to this in Marvel would be the Silver Surfer, he's more alien and more powerful than even Superman. But yet, there is some humanity there to add character. He doesn't understand Earth, but he has an attachment and has defended it. There are reasons for him doing so and have been fleshed out in stories. You want Superman to defend Earth for no other reason than he can. There's no story there, I doubt event the strongest fanboys would buy that for long. 

LOL! 
 
You're not even listening to me anymore. I said I'm not interested in battles and you're going on about how I want battles. You take time to mention that the Silver Surfer is more powerful than Superman because that matters to you.  
 
What I'm saying is we characterize Superman differently than your average joe. Why does Superman defend Earth? Well, let's start with the fact that he lost his native planet. There's anxiety that he'll lose his new home as well. Superman was brought up in a good home to be courteous and helpful. As an adult "walking god" he takes these qualities to their natural extremes and decides the best way he can help is to become Earth's defender. He chooses not to be a despot because he sees enough to know exactly where that leads in the end. These are examples of what I said about alternate character progression. Do we really need Superman to be a normal guy with a career path, a family, and an active love life to understand why he'd be a hero? There are actual human beings in this world who seem to do just fine without those things. Your definition of humanity seems a bit narrow. Why do you have to be convinced that someone might just want to be selfless for the sake of being selfless? That's Superman. The drama of his character comes with the realization that that's really hard to do in this world. Especially when people suspect your motives so much that they're looking for alterior ones. I outline a lot of other interesting character traits I see in the Silver Age Superman in my blog post Man or Superman Part 2- The Man of the Silver Age. Take the time to read it if you actually care to open your mind and learn something. You'll see that there is an actual character there after all. 
 
It's funny that you mention "fan-fic." The Bronze Age of comics is often called the "fan fiction" age because creators like Byrne and co. got really into the Marvel formula and started to write their own derivative, soap opera tales based on Stan Lee plots instead of trying to write actual stories. I feel this is a bit unfair to the Bronze Age but the description of fan fiction in that setting fits your type of story more than it does mine. I think you'll find that people would be hard pressed to call All-Star Superman and Alan Moore's Supreme fan fiction and those are the kinds of stories I'm really hoping formulate with a new kind of Superman. Plus, the Silver Age writers weren't fans of comics at all. They were writing professionals looking for a quick buck. That's why they delivered actual stories and not the same review of Stan Lee's plots over and over again. I read in an issue of Doom Patrol yesterday a comment by Rachel Pollack about Grant Morrison and how he's never turned his back on superheroes despite the fact that most literary critics see the genre as exhausted. In Rachel's opinion, Grant said (and I'm paraphrasing) "no, the genre's not exhausted, the creators have only exhausted their own ideas so let's look at these characters again and try something new." What you're suggesting is we keep using the same, tired formula that's killing the genre. What I'm suggesting is let's take Superman back to his roots and try something different with him using modern eyes. I believe Grant's the man to do it. Just watch.
#25 Edited by Jekylhyde14 (747 posts) - - Show Bio
@Thorion88
 
Maybe I'm way too optimistic in response to all you naysayers who are jumping to tear it down. Grant successfully revamped Animal Man (a forgotten hero before), the Doom Patrol, the JLA, and the X-Men. With that kind of reboot resume, how can you doubt that he'll have a positive effect on Superman? Grant's work is also brilliant and reaches me on a level most comic book writers fall well short of. Grant's my favorite writer and Superman's my favorite character. Why wouldn't I be optimistic? Also, whoever said he needed to knock Batman off his vaunted perch for this reboot to be successful? I'd settle for having a story more interesting than Grounded and more worthwhile to read than New Krypton. Grant will do that. He even made Batman so interesting to me after decades or reading the same, old bat-stories that I'll probably drop the character after he's done with him.
 
As for all that garbage you spewed about Silver Age Supes, I don't accept it. I see him as a very distinct individual with particular personality traits as I outlined in Man or Superman Part 2- The Man of the Silver Age. His boasts and his tendency to act like a jerk sometimes makes him a much more coloful character than the stiff, yuppie boyscout we were treated to throughout the Modern Age. Silver Age stories make me laugh, keep me interested, and usually have some veiled message about human ego and behavior (most of the plots were conceived by an intelligent man, Mort Weisinger, who was going through a nervous breakdown). I explained some of my favorite Silver Age stories in my blog post The Best of Silver Age Superman. There's more going on in them than you're giving credit for.  Most of the time, when people like you knock Silver Age Superman it's because you're trying to read him like you would a melodramatic modern hero who takes himself and the genre WAAAY too seriously. Superman is not Batman, you're right about that. He's not going to be snapping gang members legs in half and hanging his enemies from rooftops. Superman is supposed to be a bit more light and fun (and sometimes funny). Fun is a concept sorely missing from most Modern Age comics and its bred a lot of fans who get mad any time it even comes near their favorite characters. It's a sad state of affairs. I'd suggest you all lighten up, open your minds, and try to see Silver Age Superman in a different light.
#26 Posted by Night Thrasher (3705 posts) - - Show Bio

Grant Morrison is a great writer...but my opinion of him is hit or miss. If it's a D-List character or team he's writing then I'm very interested, however with established characters I'm a little bit hesitant. He has a habit of taking characters and completely revamping them beyond recognition (i.e. Emma Frost, Jean Grey). He's a lot like Alan Moore. It's all well and good with B to D list characters, but I really don't want to see "Ultimate Superman" in the main continuity. 

#27 Posted by Jekylhyde14 (747 posts) - - Show Bio
@Night Thrasher said:
Grant Morrison is a great writer...but my opinion of him is hit or miss. If it's a D-List character or team he's writing then I'm very interested, however with established characters I'm a little bit hesitant. He has a habit of taking characters and completely revamping them beyond recognition (i.e. Emma Frost, Jean Grey). He's a lot like Alan Moore. It's all well and good with B to D list characters, but I really don't want to see "Ultimate Superman" in the main continuity. 
Oh c'mon, the man brought the big seven back to the Justice League and made the book more popular than it had been in years. I don't remember anyone crying about the characterization then. I also don't see how he missed the mark on either Emma or Jean's characterization. Emma had been an X-Man since around the mid-90's and I never saw anything wrong with what he did with Jean (but, then again, I don't populate too many X-Men message boards). I've always felt he's been right on the mark with Superman in the works he's used him in (JLA, All-Star Superman, Final Crisis: Superman Beyond 3-D, and his brief appearances in The Return of Bruce Wayne). He does a good job of balancing the awesome power of Silver Age Superman with the super-intellect and spiritual wisdom with the more human aspects that come from his country upbringing and exposure to his friends. Just read All-Star Superman #4 where Grant goes back to the day Pa Kent dies and tell me that there's nothing special about the way he characterizes Superman (the speech Clark gives at the end is wonderful). Grant does just fine with A-listers. 
 
Alan Moore does as well, for that matter. Alan's few Superman stories "What Do You Get for the Man Who Has Everything" and "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow" are usually ranked among the most memorable Superman stories of the 1980's. Keep in mind that a lot of Alan's Watchmen characters were also based on readings of some major DC heroes. Sure, they were more directly based on the Charlton characters. But when you read Dr. Manhattan, you know Alan is giving you an interpretation of Superman (just like he did with Miracleman and Supreme). When I read Rorschach's dialog I can almost hear Frank Miller's Batman just underneath it. Not to mention The Killing Joke which is still referenced as one of the best Batman/Joker stories. The only reason you didn't see guys like Alan and Grant writing A-list characters back in the 80's and early 90's was because of squeamish editors who were too afraid to take a chance on their more cutting edge creators, so they went the safe route and chose writers who did a more updated version of the Bronze Age Superhero formula that everyone felt comfortable with (if a bit bored). That's one of the reasons I'm so excited by Grant getting Action Comics. This never would have happened when I was a kid. It was a big enough deal when he got the JLA and that was the only time I ever bought the Justice League consistently when I was younger. 
 
Finally, I think everyone needs to lighten up a bit about these continuity changes he's bringing to the table. First off, remember that Crisis on Infinite Earths wiped out over 3 decades worth of continuity to make way for the likes of Man of Steel and Batman Year One. Even after that, they made minor continuity changes to tweak history as they went along. Zero Hour changed DC continuity, Infinite Crisis did as well, and Final Crisis restarted the world once again. We've also been treated to Birthright and Secret Origins which have given us alternate versions of Superman's early years altering what happened in the Man of Steel. At some point, we should just accept that this is how DC works and keeps its stories fresh. Alright, it can be a bit annoying when they don't let enough time pass between alterations, and I accept that. But Secret Origins wasn't great, and it's not Grant's fault so how about we let him tell his Superman story? I'm telling you that it'll be great. And, in a lot of ways, the way DC changes their continuity is a lot better than the Marvel philosophy of treating everything from 1961 on as all having happened in the same universe. You may feel better thinking it's one, continuous story, but there's a lot of awkward stuff that builds up there over time that may not really work for every single character and history (you need only read a single entry in one of the Official Marvel handbooks to know this is true). There are also a lot of mistakes in Marvel continuity like how the Purple Man was killed and then resurrected by Bendis without a single explanation. So no matter how you do it, no continuity is going to be clean. Try to embrace the fact that DC likes to work with clean slates, and remember that anything that's happened before can be easily brought back (The Death and Return of Superman will still be cannon, for instance). I really think all this griping is an overreaction and that Grant, at least, will deliver something special. Admit it, he does REALLY well with reboots. 
#28 Posted by Night Thrasher (3705 posts) - - Show Bio
@Jekylhyde14: Honestly his Justice League stuff was great. But you gotta keep in mind the framework of the book. He can't make major changes on the characters.  All of the characters in that book had their own ongoing series. If he made a change then the writer and editors of that character's book would have to approve of them. I think that limitation kept him in check. 
 
 
As for his X-Men work....I'm in the minority. It was good, not great. I hate what he did to half of the characters he wrote and loved what he did with others. His X-Men seemed more "weird" than "different". It felt as if he was writing Doom Patrol stories and passing them off as X-Men stories. I don't have a problem with Morrison or Moore at all. I'm just a little skeptical. They have tendencies to entirely revamp characters.
#29 Posted by Jekylhyde14 (747 posts) - - Show Bio
@Night Thrasher said:


                    @Jekylhyde14: Honestly his Justice League stuff was great. But you gotta keep in mind the framework of the book. He can't make major changes on the characters.  All of the characters in that book had their own ongoing series. If he made a change then the writer and editors of that character's book would have to approve of them. I think that limitation kept him in check.   As for his X-Men work....I'm in the minority. It was good, not great. I hate what he did to half of the characters he wrote and loved what he did with others. His X-Men seemed more "weird" than "different". It felt as if he was writing Doom Patrol stories and passing them off as X-Men stories. I don't have a problem with Morrison or Moore at all. I'm just a little skeptical. They have tendencies to entirely revamp characters.

                   

               

Though you're right when you point out that technically Grant was writing the versions of the major characters that were in continuity in the late 90's with the JLA, I always felt like he was still writing them his way. For instance, many of the things he set up for Superman in the JLA came back up in All-Star Superman. Kal Kent from DC One Million reappeared in All-Star Superman #4 and Solaris, the Tryrant Sun was a main villain in both DC One Million and All-Star. When I went back and reread the JLA after reading All-Star Superman for the first time, it wasnt hard for me to read Grant's Superman as being the same guy in both books even though he was being effected by late 90's continuity in the Justice League. It didn't even seem like the blue lightening suit altered Grant's approach to Supes. JLA # 5 with Tomorrow Woman seemed like an updated Silver Age Superman android story to me. It was a common Silver Age theme for one of Superman's androids to turn on him only to redeem themselves by acting in the world's best interest by the end of the story (like Wonder Man in Superman #163 or Adam Newman in Superman #174). Superman's reaction to Tomorrow Woman's sacrifice was very similar to his Silver Age counter-part's reaction only updated which fits with how Grant wrote Clark in All-Star Superman. Also, one of my favorite Superman feats happened when he was wearing the Blue Lightning costume in the JLA. He wrestles the angel Asmodel in JLA #7 which is a quasi-Biblical feat worthy of the things he does in All-Star Superman. I would also say that Batman has been consistent throughout Grant's work on the JLA and Batman. He's always the serious strategist who has a plan for every situation and that's what makes him dangerous. He outsmarts the Martians in JLA #3-4 (which was a transformative moment for Batman in the 90's where most writers didn't know what to do with him when cosmic threats reared their heads) and he outsmarts Darkseid when he returns to life. So, though you're right when you say he had to use the versions of the JLA that were in continuity in the late 90's, I think you'll find that Morrison's characterizations stay consistent throughout his entire body of work for DC.  
 
As for the X-Men, well, I'm a believer so when people see weird for the sake of being weird in Morrison's work I see strange symbols and metaphors that he specifically chose for a good reason. Check out my recent review of his Doom Patrol issue "Planet Love" if you want an example of what I mean by that. When it comes to his X-Men run, though, it's hard for me to see it as anything but one of the best X-Men runs ever. It had all the elements that made the X-Men interesting: The Cyclops/Jean Grey/Wolverine love trianlge; Sentinels; interesting new students like Beak and the Stepford Cuckoos (much like the New Mutants or Generation X); a part of Professor X's psyche turning on him in the form of Cassandra Nova (like Onslaught or any other time Xavier's acted like his own worst enemy); and Magneto was the big threat in the end like any other great X-Men epic. I don't think he did much that wasn't already established, but he did it all his own way. It was like he told EVERY great X-Men story in one run. He also made the idea of being a mutant something rather positive. He outed them to the public to show that they were proud, he focused on the idea that their powers made these people remarkable and not just objects of hatred, he played with the notion of mutants being a connection between humanity and alien races like the Shi'ar which pushes humanity toward the future. For awhile, it felt like Grant and the mutant race were making strides (before Magneto ruined everything). As for the weirder stuff, I just love it. He took the idea of the Shi'ar imerperial guard and said "what if the Shi'ar culture was so advanced in their ideas of breeding superhumans that the bred certain people for certain tasks" so you get guys like Smasher. Obviously, I can't make you think something is great if you just don't feel that way, but I think Grant did a great job of making the X-Men his own while still paying homage to everything that made the X-Men interesting. I hope that's how he does his run on Action Comics.
#30 Posted by entropy_aegis (15472 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm a huge Morrison fan and i'm one of those freaks who loved Superman Beyond,however i just cannot feel excited for his Superman run.Maybe it's cause the whole reboot/relaunch business was so abrupt. 
 I just don't wanna read about Clark Kents adventures before he became Superman,sorry i just don't.Between Smallville and Superboy they have that all covered.

#31 Posted by Jekylhyde14 (747 posts) - - Show Bio
@entropy_aegis
 
I hear you on that. There weren't too many years between Birthright and Secret Origin, and Secret Origin is still in recent memory for this revamp. However, I think Grant's doing it this wasy because he literally wants to make Superman a different man than he's been since 1987. If you've ever read the Superman 2000 proposal (http://superman.nu/theages/History/2000/) that Grant did with Millar/Waid/Peyer, you know that Grant had very strong feelings about changing the way Superman developed into a hero and what kind of man he grew into. To tell the story that he wants to tell, Grant has to go back and give you his version of the early years. I can almost assure you it'll be nothing like Secret Origins or Smallville. If you're a fan of Grant AND Superman, I know you won't be sorry by giving it a read.
#32 Posted by bbally81 (9 posts) - - Show Bio

I actually enjoyed the Conduit arc and I'm also a fan of the marriage and the Kents being alive. My biggest gripe with Byrne's Man of Steel is the screwing up of the Legion timeline, a concept I was always a fan of, people defend that saying that Clark getting his powers in his late teens meeting Legion couldn't work, well Smallville had Clark meet up with Legion members and it followed Byrne's concept of Clark developing his powers late, you don't need him being Superboy for him to meet up with the legion. I don't fully blame Byrne for that, I blame DC Editorial for not realizing the screw up it would cause the Legion of Superheroes titles.

As for the Clark vs Superman issue, I've always considered both to be a part of Clark's identity, you have the mild mannered farmboy moving to the big city, you have the ultimate hero who inspires all and you have the last son of Krypton angle. All 3 to me parts of his true identity, an alien raised on a farm with a loving couple with a desire to help others. It's that simple really.

#33 Posted by Jekylhyde14 (747 posts) - - Show Bio

@bbally81 said:

I actually enjoyed the Conduit arc and I'm also a fan of the marriage and the Kents being alive. My biggest gripe with Byrne's Man of Steel is the screwing up of the Legion timeline, a concept I was always a fan of, people defend that saying that Clark getting his powers in his late teens meeting Legion couldn't work, well Smallville had Clark meet up with Legion members and it followed Byrne's concept of Clark developing his powers late, you don't need him being Superboy for him to meet up with the legion. I don't fully blame Byrne for that, I blame DC Editorial for not realizing the screw up it would cause the Legion of Superheroes titles.

As for the Clark vs Superman issue, I've always considered both to be a part of Clark's identity, you have the mild mannered farmboy moving to the big city, you have the ultimate hero who inspires all and you have the last son of Krypton angle. All 3 to me parts of his true identity, an alien raised on a farm with a loving couple with a desire to help others. It's that simple really.

I'm with you on the whole Legion issue. I've always been a fan of Superboy being a member of the Legion. Sometimes I think the Superboy/Legion stories are better than the Superman/Justice League tales, but don't tell too many people I said that. We'll have to agree to disagree about the marriage, the Kents, and Conduit, though.

As for the issue of identity, yes, you're right that his farmboy upbringing, his Kryptonian heritage, and his heroic ambitions all make up who he is. However, my point was that Byrne went out of his way to emphasize the Clark Kent was the "real" identity inside the man and that Superman was just for show. I ask, how can you ever stop being Superman if you take into account his powers, his heritage, and his heroic ambitions. I'm not discounting his Kansas upbringing. I'm just skeptical of John Byrne when he practically diminished everything about Superman's identity that makes him unique in an effort to show you what a normal guy good ole Clark is. It always came off as disingenuous to me and a weak way to make Superman relateable.

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

They really need to give Supes a new girlfriend  that ain't Lois.

#35 Posted by Jekylhyde14 (747 posts) - - Show Bio

@SandMan_ said:

They really need to give Supes a new girlfriend that ain't Lois.

They've been trying. Perez couldn't make that Heather Kelley girl stick, and it looks like Jurgens/Giffen have been trying to pair him up with Lucy Lane. Who knows what'll happen to that after Lobdell takes over. We'll see what happens. I'm glad Clark's getting to play the field.

#36 Posted by bbally81 (9 posts) - - Show Bio

Actually there are a lot of good Post Byrne Clark Kent stories, such as Kurt Buseik/Geoff Johne's Up, Up, Up And Away, which is one of the better Superman without his powers stories, and a beginning of a great run from Busiek, there's also the final 3 Superman/ Batman issues, which involved Clark investigating a murder in Gotham, the first half of Birthright was a really good Clark Kent story.

I'm going to miss the marriage and the Kents being alive, which gave us some nice moments between Clark and his loved ones. People assume Clark Kent being assertive is exclusive to his Post Crisis counterpart, which it isn't really true, as that was a quality the Pre-Crisis Clark Kent had at times.

#37 Posted by Jekylhyde14 (747 posts) - - Show Bio

@bbally81 said:

Actually there are a lot of good Post Byrne Clark Kent stories, such as Kurt Buseik/Geoff Johne's Up, Up, Up And Away, which is one of the better Superman without his powers stories, and a beginning of a great run from Busiek, there's also the final 3 Superman/ Batman issues, which involved Clark investigating a murder in Gotham, the first half of Birthright was a really good Clark Kent story.

I'm going to miss the marriage and the Kents being alive, which gave us some nice moments between Clark and his loved ones. People assume Clark Kent being assertive is exclusive to his Post Crisis counterpart, which it isn't really true, as that was a quality the Pre-Crisis Clark Kent had at times.

You're right, that late into the Bronze Age right before Crisis on Infinite Earths, that DC tried to make Kent more of the focus and gave him a personal life and had him date Lana Lang. However, that Kent was still much different from Byrne's. The main problems I have with Byrne's Kent was how self-hating he was over his alien heritage. I often felt like Byrne's Kent was almost defensive when it came to being a "normal guy." He took so much time and effort to repeat how normal he was despite his powers which wasn't even true. It wasn't just that Byren's Kent was assertive. It was that Byrne's Kent was geared to steal the show over Superman. And no version of Kent has EVER been that interesting.

As for your story picks, sure, those are good stories. However, Birthright was an attempt to replace Byrne's Superman which didn't take because of DC's disintegrating relationship with writer Mark Waid. Waid, fyi, tried a few times to replace Byrne's Superman because he thought the character had run into the ground by the late 90's. Up, Up, and Away was okay but it's charm was in the return of Superman, and I can't remember much about Kent's character that really drove the story. I never read the last three issues of Superman/Batman but I'll take your word that it was alright.

Honestly, there's probably nothing that will change my mind on Byrne's Kent. He was always so boring to me. He had no interests, no opinions, but we were supposed to buy that there was something more to him than being Superman. He seemed to be afraid of everything that made him great and unique and was too concerned with fitting in. I really enjoy Grant Morrison's Clark Kent a lot more. He's assertive too but he actually has a passion for politics and a personality all his own. I like that he doesn't have the earthy, old-fashioned wisdom of Pa Kent to fall back on every time he has to make a tough call. Be honest, as sentimental as that stuff was it really was getting old hearing the same, old truisms time and time again. I'm glad there's no more marriage to get in the way of Lois' character development or the romantic possibilities of Superman's titles. Change needed to happen. The Post-Crisis Superman was too old and too Conservative. Since the new 52, Action Comics has been a top ten selling comic and Superman has sold better than it was before Flashpoint as well. I think it's due, in no small part, to the fact that Superman now resembles an updated version of his Pre-Crisis self rather than being a man who was created to distance himself from his past as Byrne's Superman was. I have read a lot of Superman both Pre and Post Crisis. My least favorite stuff all happens after Man of Steel.

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