Superman Through the Ages! Forum

Superman Comic Books! => Superman! => Topic started by: JulianPerez on February 12, 2006, 04:27:31 AM



Title: Superman ideas not in the comics that were great
Post by: JulianPerez on February 12, 2006, 04:27:31 AM
Superman is a product of variant different types of media, not just comics, and some of them produce some really great ideas that ought to be incorporated into Superman's canon. Perry White and Jimmy Olsen, for example, were first created by the Superman radio show, as was Kryptonite and the "Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound!" poem. I mean, wasn't that some gorgeous wordsmithing?

Here, let me put it in Haiku form:

Faster than bullet
Mightier than a huge train
Go, leap over buildings!

There are other sources, however, that provide great ideas for Superman that are true to the spirit and can add, and not subtract provided we listen to them.


Lex Luthor's Tech Source: Krypton ('80s SUPERBOY show)

The Superboy show had a very intriguing idea, that the reason Lex Luthor was able to create wonders that were clearly generations on generations ahead of what is possible even for the most advanced scientists, like shrink rays and space travel and so forth, is because he had access and stole secrets of the advanced Kryptonian civilization through his contact with Superboy, which he raided and adapted.

An explanation like this accounts for Lex's prowess with science, and why he is able to do things that real, but brilliant scientists, cannot do today. Further, it made sense and made use of elements, like Krypton and the Phantom Zone, that were already around.

It appears that Mark Waid made use of this Superboy-originated idea to account in part for Lex's superior scientific prowess; kudos to Mark Waid for knowing a great idea when he sees one.


Superman under Orange Suns (SUPERFRIENDS cartoon)

In the Superfriends cartoon, it was stated that Superman was only HALF as powerful as normal under an Orange sun. This is not a trait that really changes him radically, and in fact there's no evidence that this ISN'T true in any version of his existence, however, it is a cute fact that it might be interesting to have confirmation for in the comics themselves.


Brainiac being from Krypton (90s Timm SUPERMAN cartoon)

This was a great idea, because it establishes a connection between Superman and Brainiac, that Brainiac wasn't just some random bad guy that Superman picked up and added to his Rogues Gallery like an evil lost puppy. In other words, Brainiac's presence in the Super-Mythos is no longer arbitrary.

Plus, the animated Brainiac design with that robot outfit and that streamlined three-circle emblem and everything was the greatest look Brainiac has had in the history of ever.


Superman as a Menace (Radio Show)

This is another one of those ideas that Mark Waid got mileage out of in BIRTHRIGHT; I'm keeping my fingers crossed it becomes the official origin.

The idea here is that in the radio show, Superman was originally believed to be a public enemy. Golden Age Superman needed the nomality and craven cowardliness of Clark Kent to be sympathetic more than any incarnation, because as Superman he was essentially a bully that took whatever he wanted, slapped people around, and so forth. In the Flieischer cartoons, he beats up many a Japanese person, for example. It's hard to imagine "our" Superman busting up a fountry making Japanese Zeroes, for example. Thus, Superman being viewed at least at first as a strange public menace might make much more sense under his Golden Age characterization. But it can be applied to his later periods, too, though not indefinitely.


Title: Re: Superman ideas not in the comics that were great
Post by: Super Monkey on February 12, 2006, 08:42:30 AM
Quote from: "JulianPerez"
Superman is a product of variant different types of media, not just comics, and some of them produce some really great ideas that ought to be incorporated into Superman's canon. Perry White and Jimmy Olsen, for example, were first created by the Superman radio show, as was Kryptonite...


K-Metal was created before it appeared on the Radio Show.


Quote
Superman under Orange Suns (SUPERFRIENDS cartoon)

In the Superfriends cartoon, it was stated that Superman was only HALF as powerful as normal under an Orange sun. This is not a trait that really changes him radically, and in fact there's no evidence that this ISN'T true in any version of his existence, however, it is a cute fact that it might be interesting to have confirmation for in the comics themselves.


There were Orange Suns in the comics, you just didn't read them :)

Who can forget the orange sun of Staryl (besides you) from the Luma Lynai  story. see here: http://superman.nu/wiki/index.php/Image:Luma_Lynai.jpg

Quote
Superman as a Menace (Radio Show)

This is another one of those ideas that Mark Waid got mileage out of in BIRTHRIGHT; I'm keeping my fingers crossed it becomes the official origin.

The idea here is that in the radio show, Superman was originally believed to be a public enemy. Golden Age Superman needed the nomality and craven cowardliness of Clark Kent to be sympathetic more than any incarnation, because as Superman he was essentially a bully that took whatever he wanted, slapped people around, and so forth. In the Flieischer cartoons, he beats up many a Japanese person, for example. It's hard to imagine "our" Superman busting up a fountry making Japanese Zeroes, for example. Thus, Superman being viewed at least at first as a strange public menace might make much more sense under his Golden Age characterization. But it can be applied to his later periods, too, though not indefinitely.


This was taken from the early Golden Age stories where he was threated the same way.


Title: Re: Superman ideas not in the comics that were great
Post by: TELLE on February 12, 2006, 09:45:26 AM
I liked the idea that Lex either was

a) inspired by Superboy/man to great feats of science

or

b) was a totally human, yet brilliant foil to the alien Superman.

Having him steal his knowledge smacks of the Iron Age "tycoon" Lex and belittles him as a character.  If we can accept Superman, we should accept his counterpart.


Title: Re: Superman ideas not in the comics that were great
Post by: NotSuper on February 12, 2006, 01:05:49 PM
Personally, I like the idea of Lex stealing alien technology. To me, it makes his character like a Prometheus figure, stealing fire from the gods and all.

Some other non-comic ideas I like:

Kryptonian Crystals

I always loved this idea, introduced in the Reeve movies. Having the Kryptonians store both information and even their essenses on crystals was one of those weird ideas that work. It made Krypton seem alien without turning the Kryptonians into the cliche "unemotional aliens."

The "S" Being a Kryptonian Design

This was another idea introduced in the movie. Having Superman's symbol be from Krypton and only resemble an "S" was a stroke of genius. It made sense for Superman to wear his family crest on his chest.


Title: Re: Superman ideas not in the comics that were great
Post by: Great Rao on February 12, 2006, 04:36:58 PM
There are two additional elements that I really like but that are somewhat obscure. These two have never worked their way back into the comics and are probably not very popular outside mine own brain.

Ro-Zan

In the Kirk Alyn serial, the Lowther novel, and the George Reeves series, the head of the Kryptonian council of Wisdom was named Ro-Zan.  I don't know why, but I just think the name is really cool.  I'd like to see it inserted into continuity and for the character to have a bigger role in the "destruction of Krypton" part of the origin.  Maybe even give him some back-story.

The Mole-Men

Sure, the pilot-movie was technically clumsy; but I'd really like to see the Mole-Men return in the comic books.  Maybe even have Superman visit their home at the center of the Earth.  With the hugely destructive environmental impact that human activity has been having, and with the accelerated rate of change that the entire planet is undergoing, the Mole-Men would be sure to notice.  They might even try to do something about it.   And if that involved a conflict with humanity, which side would Superman support?  A great way to bring back some great characters.

:s:


Title: Re: Superman ideas not in the comics that were great
Post by: NotSuper on February 12, 2006, 08:43:25 PM
Quote from: "Great Rao"

Ro-Zan

In the Kirk Alyn serial, the Lowther novel, and the George Reeves series, the head of the Kryptonian council of Wisdom was named Ro-Zan.  I don't know why, but I just think the name is really cool.  I'd like to see it inserted into continuity and for the character to have a bigger role in the "destruction of Krypton" part of the origin.  Maybe even give him some back-story.

Interesting. You know, I've always thought that the Science Council itself could use some actual defined characters with their own back-stories. Maybe they can even delve into why most of them didn't believe Jor-El when he said Krypton would explode, despite them being the greatest minds on the planet (I believe it was a case of groupthink myself).


Title: Re: Superman ideas not in the comics that were great
Post by: JulianPerez on February 12, 2006, 08:48:04 PM
Quote from: "TELLE"
Having him steal his knowledge smacks of the Iron Age "tycoon" Lex and belittles him as a character.  If we can accept Superman, we should accept his counterpart.


I don't think this is an equivalent comparison.

Super-Powers don't exist in the real world. Science and scientists, however, do. Thus, superpowers can work according to whatever physics the writers decide to give, however, there is a real world model for what science and scientists can and can't do. If Lex is given a REASON for why he is so much more advanced, this makes one aspect of his character less arbitrary and more believeable.

I do not think it reflects poorly or belittle Lex if he got a lot of his death rays from Krypton; it requires an extraordinary amount of mental adaptability to jerry rig a Kryptonian Earthquake Prevention System into an Earthquake Causing System.


Title: Re: Superman ideas not in the comics that were great
Post by: Avilos on February 12, 2006, 09:48:40 PM
Quote
Lex Luthor's Tech Source: Krypton ('80s SUPERBOY show)

What specific episode or episodes was this shown? What were the circumstances in which Lex acquired Kryptonian Tech?


Title: Re: Superman ideas not in the comics that were great
Post by: NotSuper on February 12, 2006, 10:09:13 PM
Quote from: "Avilos"
Quote
Lex Luthor's Tech Source: Krypton ('80s SUPERBOY show)

What specific episode or episodes was this shown? What were the circumstances in which Lex acquired Kryptonian Tech?

I'd like to know that myself. Man, I need to see that series.


Title: Re: Superman ideas not in the comics that were great
Post by: Great Rao on February 12, 2006, 10:29:50 PM
Season one is being released on DVD real soon.  I believe that Cary Bates was one of the writers on the show, which could explain why Lana was married and shipped off to England at the end,  (I'm assuming here that when Julian wrote "Lois" in another thread, he meant "Lana") thus tie-ing the series in with Cary's Superman issues.

I still like the Jack Larson and Noel Neill guest appearances; and Ron Ely gave an absolutely brilliant performance as Superman-Future.
 
:s:


Title: Re: Superman ideas not in the comics that were great
Post by: Gangbuster on February 12, 2006, 10:50:31 PM
Lots of ideas have recently transferred from television to comics, and vice versa

- Lex Luthor was reintroduced to Smallville, thanks to the TV show, followed by Birthright.

- Krypto returned. Maggin's novella probably had a lot to do with this, as Jeph Loeb, his college roommate, reintroduced the character to comics,  and a tv show followed.

- While Smallville's fourth season was probably the worst one, Black Kryptonite is a piece of rock that has made it into comics since being introduced last year.

- A large-scale Thanagarian war was done on Justice League Unlimited first, before being done in the comics.

- In Infinite Crisis, a villian team has formed that resembles the Legion of Doom, from Superfriends.

Those are just a few examples. I also liked the way that Brainiac's origin was handled in the animated series...not necessarily the fact that he was from Krypton, but that he was involved in its destruction.


Title: Re: Superman ideas not in the comics that were great
Post by: Great Rao on February 12, 2006, 11:05:17 PM
Quote from: "Gangbuster Thorul"
- Krypto returned. Maggin's novella probably had a lot to do with this, as Jeph Loeb, his college roommate, reintroduced the character to comics,  and a tv show followed.

I don't know if you're joking or serious here - but just for the record, Loeb wasn't Maggin's college roommate in the conventional sense.  He was, however, a kid fan of Maggin's who followed him around to a comic book convention or two when Elliot was in college.
Quote

- While Smallville's fourth season was probably the worst one, Black Kryptonite is a piece of rock that has made it into comics since being introduced last year.

Probably also due to the Loeb-connection - he works (or worked?) on Smallville and also wrote (or writes :)) Superman/Batman/Supergirl.

:s:


Title: Re: Superman ideas not in the comics that were great
Post by: JulianPerez on February 13, 2006, 12:16:23 AM
Quote from: "Great Rao"
There are two additional elements that I really like but that are somewhat obscure. These two have never worked their way back into the comics and are probably not very popular outside mine own brain.

Ro-Zan

In the Kirk Alyn serial, the Lowther novel, and the George Reeves series, the head of the Kryptonian council of Wisdom was named Ro-Zan.  I don't know why, but I just think the name is really cool.  I'd like to see it inserted into continuity and for the character to have a bigger role in the "destruction of Krypton" part of the origin.  Maybe even give him some back-story.


Ooooh, neat idea! I do recall this character. Further, it's one that is needed; the head honcho that tells Jor-El to shut his trap. Otherwise, the Krypton council is fairly faceless.

Ditto for

...Incidentally, where is it possible to GET the Lowther novel these days?

Quote from: "Great Rao"
The Mole-Men

Sure, the pilot-movie was technically clumsy; but I'd really like to see the Mole-Men return in the comic books.  Maybe even have Superman visit their home at the center of the Earth.  With the hugely destructive environmental impact that human activity has been having, and with the accelerated rate of change that the entire planet is undergoing, the Mole-Men would be sure to notice.  They might even try to do something about it.   And if that involved a conflict with humanity, which side would Superman support?  A great way to bring back some great characters.

:s:


Are you kidding? EVERYBODY loves the Mole Men! They're so cute!

And they can use the name without impunity because it came in the days before the OTHER "mole man" (though Miracleman might have something to say about that). Their society and culture and underground world is something that a comic book, which has a nearly unlimited special effects budget, can show us much more readily than a television show can.

If anybody could do it, I'd put my money on Roger Stern; he was an old school George Reeves fanboy.

And "Crystal Krypton" was such a great, otherworldly look. It was like living inside of a gemstone. And those costumes! The way they seem to glow.

It's a great thing that this aesthetic design is being preserved and updated into the next SUPERMAN RETURNS movie. I'm partial to both "movie" Krypton, with its biblical dialogue out of Cecil B. de Mille, and the Hugo Gernsback Krypton of the Silver/Bronze Ages.

(Though I wasn't crazy about the "christmas ornament" spaceship...couldn't they just make it a rocket, only out of crystal?)


Title: Re: Superman ideas not in the comics that were great
Post by: TELLE on February 13, 2006, 04:45:15 AM
Quote from: "JulianPerez"
Super-Powers don't exist in the real world. Science and scientists, however, do. Thus, superpowers can work according to whatever physics the writers decide to give, however, there is a real world model for what science and scientists can and can't do.


The character of Lex, as developed in the 60s and 70s, is already so dependant on Superman that I think to introduce the idea that even his science is stolen from Superman's world stretches not only credibility but also any humanity the character has, not just as a mortal foil to Superman and a self-appointed representative of humanity (he idolizes Einstein, after all).  It's okay for me when he steals a Kryptonian weapon here and there, but to make it his whole M.O. rings false.

For me, what's good for the goose (Superman's super-powers) is good for the gander (Lex's super-scientific genius).  Maybe it comes down to taste and individual limits on suspension of disbelief, but once I swallow the solar-powered flying man with x-ray vision whose hair can't be cut, a really smart bald scientist is not so tuff.

My fave good ideas from outside of comics? Ursa from Superman I and II.  Female Kryptonian baddies are rare.

Quote from: "Gangbuster Thorul"
A large-scale Thanagarian war was done on Justice League Unlimited first, before being done in the comics.

- In Infinite Crisis, a villian team has formed that resembles the Legion of Doom, from Superfriends.


Wasn't the Rann-Thanagarian war an ongoing back-drop through the 70s and 80s?  I remember it from the JLA and Swamp Thing.

I'd love to see something actually called the Legion of Doom in the comics, maybe drawn by Ramona Fradon, but I'll settle for the Secret Society of Secret Villains, Injustice League, or any other all-star combo.  They did a fun version in a Justice League cartoon I saw.


Title: Re: Superman ideas not in the comics that were great
Post by: Kal's Pal on February 13, 2006, 07:50:22 AM
Maybe 'cause I love Superman II, but I also though the idea of Supes battling General Zod, Non and Ursa as a major event in his early career a great way to introduce the idea of Kal-El being forced to confront his heritage and his legacy as a survivor of the planet Krypton. (I realise Birthright recycled this idea to an extent, though they were merely hired goons of Luthor posing as invading Kryptonians).


Title: Re: Superman ideas not in the comics that were great
Post by: alschroeder on February 13, 2006, 05:47:25 PM
Quote from: "JulianPerez"


Lex Luthor's Tech Source: Krypton ('80s SUPERBOY show)

The Superboy show had a very intriguing idea, that the reason Lex Luthor was able to create wonders that were clearly generations on generations ahead of what is possible even for the most advanced scientists, like shrink rays and space travel and so forth, is because he had access and stole secrets of the advanced Kryptonian civilization through his contact with Superboy, which he raided and adapted.

An explanation like this accounts for Lex's prowess with science, and why he is able to do things that real, but brilliant scientists, cannot do today. Further, it made sense and made use of elements, like Krypton and the Phantom Zone, that were already around.

It appears that Mark Waid made use of this Superboy-originated idea to account in part for Lex's superior scientific prowess; kudos to Mark Waid for knowing a great idea when he sees one.



I rationalize it a little this way; though a great genuis, Lex early had contact with the Legion of Super-Heroes, and later, the Legion of Super-Villains and Brainiac from Colu. In each contact with superior technology, he had the smarts to see some new underlying principles and apply it to his own technology, Ditto with Lexor. And there was one story where Luthor and his men shrank down and took over Kandor---I'm sure he "borrowed" from Kryptonian technology also.

This is not belittling Luthor. It would take a great genuis to do even THAT much---and made his technology, centuries ahead of others, much more believable.

I rationalize Reed Richards the same way (contact with interstellar races like the Skrulls, the Kree, and Galactus and the Watcher obviously gave him advanatages other scientists couldn't match) and ditto for Dr. Doom (the Ovoids, the technology of sub-microscopic "worlds", of Namor's Atlantis, etc.)
----Al


Title: Re: Superman ideas not in the comics that were great
Post by: lonewolf23k on February 13, 2006, 11:36:51 PM
I'd suggest my own twist on the "Lex's technology comes from Krypton" idea..

...Namely, that he finds some old Kryptonian probes (sent by Jor-El to scout the Earth), and showcasing brilliance far beyond normal Humans, reverse-engineers Kryptonian technology from those probes.

In short, Lex's super-science is based on Krypton tech, but is still the fruit of his own genius.


...Back on topic, I have to say that General Zod is now, to me, the definitive "Evil Kryptonian".  His portrayal in Superman II has made him eclipse Jax-Ur as the most Evil of Kryptonian Criminals.


Title: Re: Superman ideas not in the comics that were great
Post by: shazamtd on February 14, 2006, 10:00:00 AM
Great Rao wrote:

Quote
Ro-Zan

In the Kirk Alyn serial, the Lowther novel, and the George Reeves series, the head of the Kryptonian council of Wisdom was named Ro-Zan. I don't know why, but I just think the name is really cool. I'd like to see it inserted into continuity and for the character to have a bigger role in the "destruction of Krypton" part of the origin. Maybe even give him some back-story.


Ro-Zan first appeared in the first episode of the radio show.  :)

An idea I like from the radio show is Perry White becoming mayor of Metropolis and cleaning up the crime and corruption in the city.


Title: Re: Superman ideas not in the comics that were great
Post by: llozymandias on February 14, 2006, 06:55:27 PM
Actually Kal-El learned kryptonian science & technology by reverse-engineering every example of it he found.  Luthor & Kal-El (& in the Marvel Universe Reed Richards & Victor von Doom) created their own super-technologies.  They are super-geniuses after all.  Luthor was created as a super-genius.  He is even more brilliant than Kal-El.  In the silver-age Kal was the one descibed as being "more intelligent than an army of Einsteins".  Obviously Julian Perez has never heard of Leonardo Da Vinci.  Leonardo was centuries ahead of his time.  Nikola Tesla was ahead of his time.  It's anyone's guess what Thomas Alva Edison could have acomplished if he had mastered mathematics.


Title: Re: Superman ideas not in the comics that were great
Post by: JulianPerez on February 15, 2006, 11:50:27 AM
Quote from: "lonewolf23k"
...Back on topic, I have to say that General Zod is now, to me, the definitive "Evil Kryptonian".  His portrayal in Superman II has made him eclipse Jax-Ur as the most Evil of Kryptonian Criminals.


As crazy as I am about the Phantom Zone criminals (some of whom were not really "evil," like that Mad Prophet of Argo City and that monster-thing) I have to admit, General Zod received very, very kind treatment in the movies: in the comics, he was the unfortunate victim of "hey, that Kryptonian is my exact double" story, though that business about the army of clones was pretty cool.

The movie did him a real big favor. Now, when you think of General Zod, you think of this powerful, charismatic figure that scared the bejeesus out of you when you were five.

Quote from: "AlShroeder"
I rationalize it a little this way; though a great genuis, Lex early had contact with the Legion of Super-Heroes, and later, the Legion of Super-Villains and Brainiac from Colu. In each contact with superior technology, he had the smarts to see some new underlying principles and apply it to his own technology, Ditto with Lexor. And there was one story where Luthor and his men shrank down and took over Kandor---I'm sure he "borrowed" from Kryptonian technology also.


Good rationalization; I had forgotten all about the "Lex rules Kandor" story. Something like this incorporates a character into a background a lot better.

Though here's something to bake the noodle: what if the reason some of the Legion of Super-Heroes' 31st Century technology exists, is because Lex Luthor invented it? But...the way Lex Luthor invented it was because he found it in the 31st Century?


Title: Re: Superman ideas not in the comics that were great
Post by: The Spider on February 20, 2006, 01:48:46 AM
Quote from: "Gangbuster Thorul"

- Krypto returned. Maggin's novella probably had a lot to do with this, as Jeph Loeb, his college roommate, reintroduced the character to comics,  and a tv show followed.


I kind of think it's worth noting that Jeph Loeb was publisher for Rob Liefeld's Awesome Entertainment back when they were publishing Alan Moore's SUPREME (although Moore's SUPREME was already being published long before Loeb came on board).  

And it makes me wonder.... Did Moore's SUPREME kind of pave the way for the return of Krypto and other things?