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Author Topic: Evolving views...  (Read 10844 times)
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Leonardo
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« Reply #8 on: April 13, 2005, 07:26:44 PM »

Well, first of all, thanks to all who replied. Your views have been very interesting, and gave me "food for thought"...Iīll be considering your points, theyīre all very interesting.

Yes, on hindsight, Iīll admit maybe I am a little too romantic...but you see, I think Superman has on some moments attained such a...shining height as a rolemodel for what man should be, that yes, it is hard to see some other moments when the caracter is in a less-than-godlike attitude.

I donīt mean Supesīstories should be only about perfection, there were some very nice and even funny ones, which were great for leisure.

But, I am referring to when he is reduced to a sort of "big, strong and dumb" guy, just one more of them super super super types...for me at least, he has distinguished himself for his principles, his ethics, his intelligence, not only his ultrapowerful attributes.

In short, as one of you posters put it, he is just a commercial product, yes...and I am romanticizing things...but, i gotta say this - for me, the Superman I knew in my childhood was more than just a superhero - he was an ideal to look up to, an icon, of what we should all try to be.

His vow of never taking a human life (yes, I know of the micro-universe story in which he killed the three kryptonian criminals, but I place that story alongside with the irrelevant ones, I think it was awful, not Superman at all) or any other kind of life, was sublime, if not as an attainable practice, but as a crystal-clear ideal we should all be deeply aware of - the sanctity of all life.

So in THAT way, I think he should be kept in that spirit, not give in to trends and modisms....can you imagine, if in 20 or 30 years ahead, due to changing values, we have a story in which he is portrayed as being gay, or a serial killer, or what-have-you? (BEFORE the criticism storm....I think there is nothing wrong with gays, or being gay, donīt mean to criticize them....but sorry, this is personal, it just ISNīT MY THING - and I certainly could never project it into Superman.)

The Superman I knew was a hell of a fighter, a no-quitter, courageous, brave, chivalrious to women (esp. to Lois), the ideal balance of man-type values combined with a sensitive and generous soul.

He defended the weak, the needy, he cared for the well-being of everyone, and he fought for life. He was selfless, always placing the good of others before his own. He was a fighter, but forever against fighting, and certainly all-out against war and hate.

He was Superman.

Well, perhaps I should just adopt the nik "Romantic"... Smiley)
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nightwing
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« Reply #9 on: April 13, 2005, 07:55:09 PM »

Quote
So in THAT way, I think he should be kept in that spirit, not give in to trends and modisms....can you imagine, if in 20 or 30 years ahead, due to changing values, we have a story in which he is portrayed as being gay, or a serial killer, or what-have-you?


Hey, just a minute!  Some of my best friends are serial killers!  (And the rest are "what-have-you's"...)

I guess maybe we got away from your original point, which seems to have been that Superman has been reduced to a mindless pugilist like every other comic book character out there.  On that we are in total agreement.

For all the talk and posturing about the new "maturity" and "sophistication" of modern comics, they are in the end more one-dimensional and mindless than ever.  There was a time when Superman comics were, yes, littered with all sorts of silly concepts and characters like flying dogs and bottle cities, but underneath it all were some deep and fascinating subtexts that scholars (comics and otherwise) are still analyzing to this day.  In contrast, the post-86 version is just another garden-variety, run of the mill superhero in the grand Marvel tradition, a guy who answers every problem with his fists (since he has no brain), who lacks moral direction or a sense of self and who more often than not ends up on the losing end of a battle.

Bad enough that Byrne and his successors remade Superman as just another guy in longjohns and a cape, but they didn't even make him a particularly interesting one!  

The next time DC wonders why Superman is such a poor seller, they might do well do think these things over.  Superman used to have an ethics, a backstory and a moral character that made him one of a kind.  Take that away and there's not much left; other characters have "cooler" MO's, sexier attitudes, better costumes (I know, heresy! But it's true) and are usually more relevant to modern sensibilities.  Superman was supposed to be bigger than trends, bigger than "the latest thing."  He was supposed to be eternal.  Maybe that made him seem staid and boring to some fanboys, but it also helped him weather 6 decades of cultural change while other characters came and went.
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Leonardo
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« Reply #10 on: April 13, 2005, 11:40:29 PM »

Thanks, Nightwing, you hit it on the spot, said it better than I could! Who knows, if these posts are read by some of the DC editors, we might get our hero back into his true shape! Smiley
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Johnny Nevada
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« Reply #11 on: April 14, 2005, 12:01:30 AM »

Quote from: "Leonardo"
Well, first of all, thanks to all who replied. Your views have been very interesting, and gave me "food for thought"...Iīll be considering your points, theyīre all very interesting.

Yes, on hindsight, Iīll admit maybe I am a little too romantic...but you see, I think Superman has on some moments attained such a...shining height as a rolemodel for what man should be, that yes, it is hard to see some other moments when the caracter is in a less-than-godlike attitude.

I donīt mean Supesīstories should be only about perfection, there were some very nice and even funny ones, which were great for leisure.

But, I am referring to when he is reduced to a sort of "big, strong and dumb" guy, just one more of them super super super types...for me at least, he has distinguished himself for his principles, his ethics, his intelligence, not only his ultrapowerful attributes.

In short, as one of you posters put it, he is just a commercial product, yes...and I am romanticizing things...but, i gotta say this - for me, the Superman I knew in my childhood was more than just a superhero - he was an ideal to look up to, an icon, of what we should all try to be.

His vow of never taking a human life (yes, I know of the micro-universe story in which he killed the three kryptonian criminals, but I place that story alongside with the irrelevant ones, I think it was awful, not Superman at all) or any other kind of life, was sublime, if not as an attainable practice, but as a crystal-clear ideal we should all be deeply aware of - the sanctity of all life.

So in THAT way, I think he should be kept in that spirit, not give in to trends and modisms....can you imagine, if in 20 or 30 years ahead, due to changing values, we have a story in which he is portrayed as being gay, or a serial killer, or what-have-you? (BEFORE the criticism storm....I think there is nothing wrong with gays, or being gay, donīt mean to criticize them....but sorry, this is personal, it just ISNīT MY THING - and I certainly could never project it into Superman.)

The Superman I knew was a hell of a fighter, a no-quitter, courageous, brave, chivalrious to women (esp. to Lois), the ideal balance of man-type values combined with a sensitive and generous soul.

He defended the weak, the needy, he cared for the well-being of everyone, and he fought for life. He was selfless, always placing the good of others before his own. He was a fighter, but forever against fighting, and certainly all-out against war and hate.

He was Superman.

Well, perhaps I should just adopt the nik "Romantic"... Smiley)


Speaking as someone who *is* gay, I can't imagine seeing Supes being shown as coming on to Jimmy or anything myself... :-)

Still, do agree that Supes does better when he's not succumbing to too many lame trends (like that mullet hairdo in the 90's), though his supporting cast has changed with the times---see Lois in 1955 vs. Lois in 1975, for instance, or Clark using the Internet in recent comics vs. a typewriter, or the addition of characters like Maggie Sawyer (I figure the supporting characters were Byrne's one vaguely redeeming contribution ;-) ).
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The Starchild
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« Reply #12 on: April 14, 2005, 12:54:38 AM »

I don't agree that Superman must be kept apolitical.  In the Siegel & Shuster days, Superman stopped wars; arrested power hungry dictators and crooked politicians; and stopped weapons munitioners - not only that, but he was clear about why he did it.  I think all of those things still apply today.  Regardless of right or left postion on the political spectrum, how could anyone with Superman's powers and strong moral compass sit back and do nothing while thousands are killed for short-term political and monetary gain?  Superman stands for freedom - even in the U.S.

Having Superman be apolitical would lead to a world where insane things like,  say, Lex Luthor becoming president while Superman sits back and does nothing about it, actually take place.

And we all know he'd never allow that.
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"I just wish that you could all see the Earth the way that I see it - because when you really look at it, it's just one world."
- Superman, Superman IV: The Quest for Peace
Leonardo
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« Reply #13 on: April 14, 2005, 06:06:19 AM »

Thanks Johnny Nevada, Starchild, for your contributions....

Nevada, glad you understood me right, Superman probably would have defended everybodyīs options, though he himself has always been a paradigm of "straightness"...lol. And yes, Lois and the rest of the cast having been updated was a very good contribution, of course, it wouldnīt do to have a woman of the XXI century depicted the same way as in the 50īs. Good point.

Starchild, your opinion is very interesting, and yes, thatīs one of the things I loved about Super, he did bring down tyrants and he did fight for liberty, sometimes even against the very US government! Reminds me of an interesting fictional story in the 80īs or 90īs, in which Metropolis is blasted by an Intergang nuke, and afterward he goes against all governments (including US) in order to rid the world of nukes...thereīs political standing for you!

Of course, thereīs a very thin line between "policing the world" against oppression, and becoming an oppressor yourself....thereīs a famous Brit poem line, "Battle not with monsters, lest ye yourself become one"...hard to keep up the good fight, no doubt.

Anyway, thanks to everybody, itīs so nice to see Supermanīs ideals have reached so many of us...Superman for president, now THATīS what we needed.Smiley
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Anonymous
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« Reply #14 on: April 14, 2005, 01:18:38 PM »

Seigel and Shuster's comics were refreshing in their own way, but they were also so simplistic and broad that they'd never work today.  War is bad, corruption is bad, building skyscrapers with substandard materials is bad, yes yes we get it already.  For me, these situations were just a series of "straw men" set up for Superman to knock down.  In the end it was about as risky as saying, "I'm in favor of freedom and mom's apple pie and anyone who doesn't like that can lump it!"   :roll:

I take all these simplistic morality plays as part and parcel of a character who fooled his closest friends with a pair of glasses.  Jerry and Joe's creation was not made to stand up to the rigors of modern storytelling.  

The big problem today is that Superman has become incredibly powerful compared to his original incarnation.  In the old days, he was just a very strong guy.  Now he's practically a god.  So "getting involved" means, potentially, going up against whole governments...and winning.  Dismantling arsenals, defeating armies, bossing around legislatures.  Once you open that "why doesn't he get involved" can of worms, you can't really stop.  If it's okay for him to use some of his powers to enforce his ideals, why not all of them?  So soon you have a dictator running the whole world from his throne at the Fortress.

I think Superman sees his role as that of an example to others, not the final arbiter of what is right and wrong.  Because you know what?  If you convince the peoples of the world that they can get along and achieve something on their own, they just might do it.  But if you force your will on them -- however benign you might think your motives -- they will only unite in one cause...your destruction and removal from power.  And once they've killed you off, they'll go right back to fighting.
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nightwing
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« Reply #15 on: April 14, 2005, 01:19:53 PM »

Dad blast it, I did it again!  "Guest" above is me!
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