superman.nuMary Immaculate of Lourdes NewtonHolliston School Committeefacebook    
  •   forum   •   COUNTDOWN TO MIRACLE MONDAY: "OVERACHIEVING!" •   fortress   •  
Superman Through the Ages! Forum
News: Superman Through the Ages! now located at theAges.superman.nu
 
*
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?
March 28, 2023, 07:02:30 AM


Login with username, password and session length


Pages: 1 [2] 3   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Working Class Heroes  (Read 11659 times)
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
Just a fan
Superman Family
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 136



« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2005, 02:46:57 PM »

As far as blue collar goes, don't forget the orginal Red Tornado. Even her mask was just a soup pot.
Logged

No man stands as tall as when he stoops to help a child
TELLE
Supermanica Council
Council of Wisdom
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 1705



WWW
« Reply #9 on: April 20, 2005, 05:01:06 PM »

Quote from: "nightwing"

Frankly I think even though many critics have labeled superheroes as fascist fantasies and slaves to the Establishment, the truth is they were born of a liberal mindset.


I guess my interest is more in looking at where liberalism and conservatism/fascism might share similarities and where they diverge from more extreme forms of progressive politics (socialism, anarchism, environmentalism, feminism).  I have no doubt that the mostly Jewish creators and publishers of the superhero comics, right through to the 60s at least, were motivated in part by an ideology informed by ideas of freedom from dictatorship, equality, etc.  I will even allow that comics helped win WWII.

Quote
out of a sense of "noblesse oblige," they look out for them and see to their interests.

This is the interesting part!  

Quote
America is a land of paradoxes, a land dedicated to the notion of equality which nonetheless recognizes a select few historic figures as "more equal than others."
 
All societies share some of these paradoxes.  I guess I'm interested in delineating them more clearly although the temptation is just to gloss over them or "live with it".

Quote
I will hold to the idea that most of this stuff is market-driven; the object is to write what sells, not to preach a dogma.


A concise summation of the "dogma" or ideology of the marketplace.  "What sells" can never be wrong.

Quote
Quote
Why are superheroes usually loners? What are the functions of side-kicks? These are things that I can't believe just "worked out" randomly, as the best possible solution to stroytelling problems, in a political and moral vacuum.


But it's much harder for me to believe that these guys sat down and deliberately worked to make a political statement, or even analyzed in any great detail the psychological or political reasons a character works.  In most cases, these guys were just kids...they simply knew what they liked in other characters and they stole it!  
I think the side-kick thing did  just "work out."  Someone -- most now agree it was Jerry Robinson -- decided kids needed a point of identification so they invented Robin.  It worked.  Others saw Robin worked, so they copied him as closely as possible.


Robin may be the first child side-kick in the comics, but Hercules had one 3000 years ago.  And let's not forget the "childlike" pulp sidekicks (especially Zorro's mute and the Lone Ranger's Tonto).

Quote
For me, that's the history of comics in a nutshell...it's a process of trial and error, run everything you've got up the flagpole, and when one idea out of a hundred succeeds, everyone rushes to imitate it in as many variations as legally possible.  At the end of the day, the fact that some thigns work and some don't says more about us as an audience than it does about them as creators.  America has embraced the notion of the aristocrat as defender, and for the most part yawned at "working-man heroes."  The publishers just give us what we want.

Personally I think it boils down to readers asking, "If this guy is so great, why can't he get a better job?"  :lol:


Great points (especially the last Cheesy ) --although I would venture that many of the elites we honour are in some part seen as working-man heroes in some way --especially when we think of sports stars and self-made millionaires.  The myth of meritocracy combined with love of the underdog.  The pioneer heroes, cowboy movie stars,  firefighters, etc. etc.
Logged

Everything you ever wanted to
know about the classic Superman:
Supermanica
The Encyclopedia of Supermanic Biography!
(temporarily offline)
nightwing
Defender of Kandor
Council of Wisdom
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 1627


Semper Vigilans


WWW
« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2005, 07:04:36 PM »

Quote
Great points (especially the last  ) --although I would venture that many of the elites we honour are in some part seen as working-man heroes in some way --especially when we think of sports stars and self-made millionaires. The myth of meritocracy combined with love of the underdog. The pioneer heroes, cowboy movie stars, firefighters, etc. etc.


Again, we're more or less in agreement here (though in the case of movie stars, success is often more about looks -- an accident of birth -- than about any personal merit).

But it reinforces my last point...America's built on the notion that with a certain amount of moxie, resolve, brainpower and sweat a man or woman can accomplish anything.  So while a superhero might start out in issue 1 as a production line worker, I'd get pretty tired of it if after a year or two he/she hadn't moved up the ladder.

This is why Spider-Man never held my interest.  There's only so much "poor me" I can stand.  If Peter Parker is such a freaking genius, why can't he pull his life together?  Adversity is one thing, but perpetual failure is something else again.

As for the crossover between liberalism and conservatism, it's probably the rule and not the exception.  If you look at countries where elections involve a real choice between multiple parties with wildly varying world views, America's pretty much got a one-party system.  We tend to disagree on relatively minor issues and fan them into major social fissures.

Superheroes straddle the line: they believe in a lot of liberal notions, but they enforce their views as fascists would, with fists and weapons.  They work for "law and order" but operate from a vigilante status.  And so on.  I remember once a Siskel and Ebert special on the "Dirty Harry" film series and the Gene and Roger observed the films had always stayed one step ahead of critics.  In the first film, Harry strikes a blow for cowboy justice in an America hamstrung by legal bureaucracy.  But in the second, he battles a group of rogue cops who set themselves up as judge, jury and executioner.  And so on.  Superheroes walk that same line, adjusting in each era to fit the zeitgeist of the times.

One thing that always appealed to me about Superman is that he tried to lead by example.  He's more concerned with saving lives than remaking the world in his image of a utopia.  Of course those same traits are perceived by many as goody two-shoes pollyanna-ism.
Logged

This looks like a job for...
TELLE
Supermanica Council
Council of Wisdom
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 1705



WWW
« Reply #11 on: September 04, 2005, 05:48:37 AM »

I thought I'd dredge up this thread in time for Labour Day.

I'm still working on my "definitive" list of working-class superheroes and am interested in suggestions from fans more knowledgeable than myself.  Especially in the area of Golden Age heroes.

Happy holiday!  Tears for the end of summer.
Logged

Everything you ever wanted to
know about the classic Superman:
Supermanica
The Encyclopedia of Supermanic Biography!
(temporarily offline)
JulianPerez
Council of Wisdom
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 1168



« Reply #12 on: September 04, 2005, 04:28:57 PM »

Interesting question; nothing "just happens," there are trends and cause-and-effect that make it interesting to figure out why things are, like for example, why blue collar characters are underrepresented in comic book superheroes.

Someone once pointed out in COMIC BOOK NATION that the DC Heroes of the 1950s possessed a "serve and protect" mindset, personifying ultimate authority figures. For that reason the characters of the 1950s were either policemen or wise scientists.

One possible reason for the fact blue collar characters are underrepresented is, there is a degree of admiration for intelligence and education that is only usually found in two other genres, detective and science fiction. One thing that can't be said about comics is that they are anti-intellectual. Look at all the scientist characters: Peter Parker, Reed Richards, the Black Panther, Barry Allen, Ray Palmer, Batman (at least the sciences related to crimesolving), Bruce Banner, Hank Pym, and so on.

Superheroes' primary function is to serve as wish-fulfillment projection, which is why socket wrench heroes may be uncommon. How many superheroes for example, are outright MONARCHS, royalty of foreign lands? Aquaman, the Black Panther, Namor, Wonder Woman, Geo-Force, Amethyst: Princess of Gemworld, Thor (son of Odin).

Quote from: "nightwing"
Plus, from a storyteller's point of view, it's easier for a roving reporter to go AWOL for a few hours and fight crime than it would be for someone on a factory production line.  What's he going to do, say, "I'd love to save the city from destruction, but my shift's not over for another two hours!"


I think you've hit it on the nail here: one of the most important criteria for superhero jobs is that they have a degree of mobility. This is why so many heroes are reporters, actors, private detectives, and millionaire playboys; characters that have jobs founded in a specific location are usually the exception. Stories can be advanced when, say, Clark Kent is sent to cover a mysterious explosion in the Metropolis Mine Works or when Simon Williams is asked to make a movie in the American Southwest (where dinosaurs have been discovered).

Here's one working class hero for you: Underdog, in his guise as Shoe-Shine Boy. "He's both humble, and loveable."

The ultimate "working class hero," naturally, is the always put-upon everyman Spider-Man.

While he may not be working collar or have a job of any kind, Captain Planet certainly has working class hair: check out his bright green mullet!

Quote from: "nightwing"
Green Arrow started off rich but went bust.  For a lot of time it was unclear whether he had any job at all.  I think he was doing something by the time of Mike Grell's series, but it might have been no more than delivering flowers for Dinah's shop.


Minor detail: Green Arrow was a reporter for a while after his company had disappeared.
Logged

"Wait, folks...in a startling new development, Black Goliath has ripped Stilt-Man's leg off, and appears to be beating him with it!"
       - Reporter, Champions #15 (1978)
Gangbuster
Superman Squad
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 589



« Reply #13 on: September 05, 2005, 03:22:27 AM »

nt
Logged

"Trying to capture my wife, eh? That makes me SUPER-MAD!"

-"Superman", 1960

Gangbuster
Superman Squad
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 589



« Reply #14 on: September 05, 2005, 03:24:59 AM »

nt
Logged

"Trying to capture my wife, eh? That makes me SUPER-MAD!"

-"Superman", 1960

Gangbuster
Superman Squad
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 589



« Reply #15 on: September 05, 2005, 03:40:21 AM »

nt
Logged

"Trying to capture my wife, eh? That makes me SUPER-MAD!"

-"Superman", 1960

Pages: 1 [2] 3   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

CURRENT FORUM

Archives: OLD FORUM  -  DCMB  -  KAL-L
Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.21 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines

Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS! Dilber MC Theme by HarzeM
Entrance ·  Origin ·  K-Metal ·  The Living Legend ·  About the Comics ·  Novels ·  Encyclopaedia ·  The Screen ·  Costumes ·  Read Comics Online ·  Trophy Room ·  Creators ·  ES!M ·  Fans ·  Multimedia ·  Community ·  Supply Depot ·  Gift Shop ·  Guest Book ·  Contact & Credits ·  Links ·  Coming Attractions ·  Free E-mail ·  Forum

Superman created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster
The LIVING LEGENDS of SUPERMAN! Adventures of Superman Volume 1!
Return to SUPERMAN THROUGH THE AGES!
The Complete Supply Depot for all your Superman needs!