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Author Topic: "I Can't Go Home Again"  (Read 3353 times)
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Great Rao
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« on: February 11, 2005, 04:17:52 PM »

This is for those who were wondering about the adult Pete Ross:

"I Can't Go Home Again"

S!
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"The bottom line involves choices.  Neither gods nor humans have ever stood calmly in a minefield forever.  Good or evil, they are bound to choose.  And when they do, you will see the truth of all that motivates us.  As a thinking being, you have the obligation to choose.  If the fate of all mankind were in your hands, what would your decision be?  As a writer and an artist, I've drawn my answer."   - Jack Kirby
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« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2005, 10:42:08 AM »

Wonderful story, Great Rao!  But I have to question Pete’s conclusion that Superman’s sentimental attachment to the old Kent home was due to Clark’s “human” persona.  From other examples throughout the Superman titles it appears that Kryptonians were obsessed with the past, and some of that yearning must have passed on to Kal-El, especially in light of Krypton’s tragic end.  But this widespread honoring of Krypton’s illustrious history might have actually cost the Kryptonians their future.

Peter Ross thinks that it’s “Clark” that wants his old home preserved, while “Superman” should be immune to such “human” foibles.  But it’s SUPERMAN who keeps in his Fortress of Solitude life-sized statues of all his Smallville and Metropolis friends, his Kryptonian and Earth families and his fellow associates in the Justice League.  Unless you’re Madame Tussauds, that’s not a normal “human” means to remember family and friends.  And Superman had a duplicate bottled city of Kandor after the real one was enlarged on Rokyn, plus in Superman #150 he, Supergirl and even KRYPTO converted an entire planet to resemble Krypton and populated it with robot duplicates!

We know that Kryptonian couples erected statues of their parents in their wedding hall, and other statues of famed Kryptonians (mostly from the House of El) were present both on Krypton and Rokyn.  (Perhaps this was a form of ancestor-worship?)  And there were many tales of both historical and semi-legendary Kryptonian heroes.  It appears that after 10,000 years of civilization, Kryptonians were justifiably proud of how their ancestors transformed their inhospitable planet into a technological utopia.  But focusing on past glories had a pernicious undermining effect.

Sometime during Krypton’s later generations, the population grew satisfied and comfortable with their advanced state of development.  While their forefathers toiled to make this world a better place for their children, the descendants saw little need to recklessly endanger their lives in the name of progress.  They had already reached the pinnacle of Kryptonian science and culture, so why bother?  Every place worth exploring had already been visited, everything required for a good life had already been invented.  Now it was time for Kryptonians to rest on their laurels, content in their evident superiority.

Such hubris was probably also expressed by Atlantis citizens before the Deluge…

In reality, the adventurous Kryptonian spirit that made such progress possible was quietly smothered.  The Juru Valley was never explored, the infant space program was cancelled, and after the disaster of Wegthor even rocket experiments were banned.  (One assumes the prohibition on spaceflight was for “public safety” reasons, but perhaps this was also a means to control the masses by keeping them on-planet?)  While there WERE advances in science during the “sunset years” and geniuses like Jor-El were lauded as celebrities, media reaction to his major achievements is telling.  Public conveniences such as the mass-produced “Jor-El” automobile and the Phantom Zone that eliminated costly incarceration of convicted criminals were appreciated.  But his anti-gravity spaceship was derided as a “Golden Folly” (perhaps to discourage other attempts to travel beyond the reach of Krypton’s authority?), and Kryptonians certainly did NOT appreciate bad news – “Gentlemen, Krypton is doomed!”

Sadly, Kryptonian beliefs about the sanctity of life (which led to the abolishment of the death penalty) developed into an overly-protective emphasis on eliminating ALL risks to individual and public safety.  And by forbidding Kryptonians to endanger their lives by traveling beyond their homeworld, Krypton’s leaders insured the deaths of (nearly) the entire population even when a planetary evacuation program was within the reach of current technology.  Instead, Kryptonians continued to venerate the past while ignoring the present danger, content that their future was forever assured.  And why risk manned spaceflight when one could examine primitive worlds like Earth through “super-telescopes”?  It’s somewhat disturbing to contemplate that Kryptonians became a world of “couch potato explorers”, observing other worlds from afar but unwilling to directly interact with their “backward” neighbors.

Any thoughts on this?
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« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2005, 05:12:39 AM »

It definitely seems that the Kryptonians indulged in many forms of ancestor worship, although if we compare Superman's and Batman's collecting habits, we see that there is not much difference.  Much of it has to be attributed to an obsessive personality resulting from early childhood trauma and a general sense of anomie or unease with the present --a sort of super-alienation, if you will.

That being said, one of my all-time favorite Superboy stories is "Father's Day on Krypton" which involves the ritualistic manipulation of statues representing members of the House of El.

And while I don't think that Krypton is/was as decadent a society as someone like John Byrne wanted it to be, I think that this aspect of Kryptonian culture was definitely something that obsessed earlier writers --the idea of a utopia that was destoyed and Superman's desire to recreate it in some form, whether in the Fortress, on another planet, or on a future Earth that he has protected until it reaches "maturity".

Michael Grost has commeted on the Utopia themes in Superman here:

http://members.aol.com/MG4273/superman.htm#Utopia
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Bill 9000
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« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2005, 04:59:11 PM »

Quote from: "TELLE"
If we compare Superman's and Batman's collecting habits, we see that there is not much difference.

Interesting point. In all my years of reading both Superman and Batman comic books, I've noted that the mementos in both the Fortress of Solitude and the Batcave are somewhat similar. They both have a full-sized replica of a Tyrannosaurus rex on display. The most memorable pieces to me are the Batcave's giant penny and giant Joker playing card, and the seagoing freighter that's hung from the Fortress' ceiling.
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« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2005, 08:50:04 AM »

As we all know, collecting is cool!  I'm sure Green Arrow had something similar.  Hawkman had a whole museum.  Green Lantern is too much of a jock/tight-end/reckless pilot type.  Flash had a chemistry set.  Wonder Woman wasn't a collector, as far as I know, unless she collected bondage gear.  The Legion, Jimmy, Lana, Lois and Supergirl were also collectors.
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« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2005, 06:18:13 PM »

Quote
As we all know, collecting is cool! I'm sure Green Arrow had something similar. Hawkman had a whole museum. Green Lantern is too much of a jock/tight-end/reckless pilot type.


Not to mention that Green Lantern never had a base.  Smiley
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« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2005, 02:32:15 AM »

Too much hunter/not enough gatherer.   I guess the Waid/Ross team may have been trying to rectify this problem with ol' GL when they gave him that satellite and an entire city in a green bubble to protect.
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