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Author Topic: Who can save Superman now? KURT BUSIEK!  (Read 147591 times)
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Uncle Mxy
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« Reply #24 on: September 16, 2005, 09:51:58 PM »

Quote from: "Kurt Busiek"
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Why would Superman be generally unworthy to lift Mjolnir?  Is this a function of some particular Post-Crisis characterization.  Would, say, Pre-Crisis or Kingdom Come Superman have such a constraint?


I don't think we ever said either way whether he'd be generally worthy or generally unworthy -- just that he was worthy once, and not worthy shortly thereafter -- and admittedly, picking up the hammer to return it to Thor isn't an inherently worthy purpose, not when there's no danger and he's standing right there.

The reason we did that bit was because neither Tom Brevoort nor I liked the long, long list of people who'd lifted the hammer over the years, so we wanted to introduce the idea that "worthiness" is not steady-state, it varies according to circumstances and purpose, as well as the character's worth, by whatever Asgardian standards the hammer's spell recognizes as worth.  Just because someone picked it up once -- or twice, or a dozen times -- does not mean they'll always be able to do it.

Makes sense, I s'pose.  It started a bunch of fanboys going through the long. long list and wondering "What do Red Norvell and Wonder Woman have that Superman doesn't have?", though.  There were thoughts that maybe it was a character flaw, some sporadic allergy to magic, or some backdoor DC/Marvel deal of "if Supes beats Thor, he won't be able to lift Mjolnir".
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Kurt Busiek
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« Reply #25 on: September 16, 2005, 10:02:48 PM »

Quote from: "Uncle Mxy"
It started a bunch of fanboys going through the long. long list and wondering "What do Red Norvell and Wonder Woman have that Superman doesn't have?", though.  There were thoughts that maybe it was a character flaw, some sporadic allergy to magic, or some backdoor DC/Marvel deal of "if Supes beats Thor, he won't be able to lift Mjolnir".


Nah.  They just missed the obvious leap -- if Superman could lift it once but not the second time he tried, who says Wonder Woman could lift it consistently?  Or Red -- who, as I recall, used Thor's belt of strength and gloves of something-or-other, which Roy drew from Norse myth, but hadn't really been a part of the Marvel book before.

kdb
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JulianPerez
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« Reply #26 on: September 17, 2005, 07:14:39 AM »

Man, this is a kick and a half. I say some nice stuff about Kurt Busiek on a newsgroup somewhere, and Mr. Silver Age himself pops in to help me keep my facts straight. What a dude!

A few more questions:

You've written both Captain America and Superman in your career. Both of them are have personalities that are incorruptible, decent, and full of strong convictions, which is why they overreacted to each other in JLA/AVENGERS. What would you say is the difference between Cap and Superman?

In ARROWSMITH, you did a story that was in the style of pulpish, early 20th Century science fiction adventure. Superman is a character with strong "futurism" aspects to him, a product of that very "1939 World's Fair" mentality; note that while things about Superman may come and go, the art deco Metropolis stays. In a TIME magazine piece on Superman someone once said that "Superman was a product of a time when we liked our heroes the way we liked our steak: beefy and All-American." Do you agree with this view? What about Superman do you see as "period," of Superman being a product of that time you have shown great understanding for writing? For that matter, does Superman "work" ONLY as period, and if not, what about him can be updated for later times? And finally, why is it Superman is still around when so many other characters created roughly the same time have fallen off the pop culture radar?

And finally...as you live in the Pacific Northwest, have you ever met or seen the Sasquatch?  :lol:  I dig his style!
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Uncle Mxy
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« Reply #27 on: September 17, 2005, 03:05:18 PM »

Other questions for Kurt if he has time and inclination (and it doesn't detract from doing Astro City or enjoying other threads on this board, 'natch Smiley ):  

- You've said in interviews that you'd like to have a crack on Kirby's Kamandi.  Have you had any specific ideas on incorporating the legend of Superman into Kamandi?  The Post-Crisis Superman doesn't have that indestructible costume for the apes to worship, FWIW.  

- Are you interested in doing a Super-title?  Your past takes at comics with "Superman" in the title have been fine reads, but elseworldy tangents.  If you don't want to save Superman, could you perhaps put in a good word with someone who does?  Scott McCloud could be a fine savior for Supes, if he could learn to come up with better names for villains than "Fido".  Smiley

- Any particular thoughts on who the woman in Superman's life should be?  You've had Superman-esque sorts hook up with Lois C., Lang, and Winged Wonder Woman, but those weren't exactly mainstream Superman.
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Kurt Busiek
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« Reply #28 on: September 17, 2005, 05:28:51 PM »

Quote from: "JulianPerez"
A few more questions:
You've written both Captain America and Superman in your career. Both of them are have personalities that are incorruptible, decent, and full of strong convictions, which is why they overreacted to each other in JLA/AVENGERS. What would you say is the difference between Cap and Superman?


Politics and setting, to start with.  I think Roger Stern made a compelling argument when he chose to play Cap as an FDR-era New Dealer from the Lower East Side, translated via freezi-pop to the present.  The more time passes, the longer Cap's freezi-sleep becomes; he's not removed from his context.

Superman, however, is an outsider raised as a farmboy in the heartland (whether that heartland is rural NY or Kansas), whose origin floats and thus gets any too-specific bits, whether they be Great Depression of Sputnik or whatever, sanded off by revision as time goes on.  Superman's ideals aren't as tied to America -- they're the underlying ur-ideals of decency and kindness and courage that you're left with when you sand the specifics off the American Dream, Christianity and other human strivings he grew up among.

Quote
In ARROWSMITH, you did a story that was in the style of pulpish, early 20th Century science fiction adventure. Superman is a character with strong "futurism" aspects to him, a product of that very "1939 World's Fair" mentality; note that while things about Superman may come and go, the art deco Metropolis stays.


Actually, the art-deco Metropolis comes and goes, too.  And ARROWSMITH has nothing to do with a 1939 World's Fair mentality -- his setting, mythology, influences and themes are a generation previous.

Quote
In a TIME magazine piece on Superman someone once said that "Superman was a product of a time when we liked our heroes the way we liked our steak: beefy and All-American." Do you agree with this view?


It fits some eras of Superman, at least.

Quote
What about Superman do you see as "period," of Superman being a product of that time you have shown great understanding for writing?


I don't think I've written much Thirties-derived stuff, actually.  And I can't say I've ever really thought about which bits of Superman remain period -- I tend to think more about the universal.  I suppose the idea of the farmboy hero is one that faded from the Foorties on, but it was certainly present before the Thirties.

Quote
For that matter, does Superman "work" ONLY as period, and if not, what about him can be updated for later times?


Almost everything about him can be updated, I tend to think, and frequently has been.  There are still people growing up in rural America, still questions of morals, of ethics versus pragmatism, and more.  The Moses legend worked before the Thirties, and works still.

Quote
And finally, why is it Superman is still around when so many other characters created roughly the same time have fallen off the pop culture radar?


Two main reasons, I think:

1. He's a really good character, basic and bold, who is rooted in enough universal ideas that he could both become popular in the era he arose and could survive the many changes of surface detail and context he's been through since.

2. He's the flagship character of a publishing company who has had a strong interest in seeing that he survives, unlike, say, the Shadow or Doc Savage, whose owners do not view them as quite so crucial to their continued success.

Quote
And finally...as you live in the Pacific Northwest, have you ever met or seen the Sasquatch?  :lol:  I dig his style!


He pops in at the local conventions, but he's largely a Warren Ellis fan -- he likes stories about the corrupting effect of civilization.

kdb
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Kurt Busiek
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« Reply #29 on: September 17, 2005, 05:44:58 PM »

Quote from: "Uncle Mxy"
Other questions for Kurt if he has time and inclination (and it doesn't detract from doing Astro City or enjoying other threads on this board, 'natch Smiley ):  
- You've said in interviews that you'd like to have a crack on Kirby's Kamandi.  Have you had any specific ideas on incorporating the legend of Superman into Kamandi?  The Post-Crisis Superman doesn't have that indestructible costume for the apes to worship, FWIW.


Were I writing KAMANDI, I think I would leave Superman out of it.  "Mighty One!" was a great story that really works on its own, and doesn't need to be revisited or expanded on.  Rather than tie Kamandi to the ever-shifting DC present, which runs the risks of causing ongoing foundation shifts that require explanation and continuity-spackling that hurt the series (see: Legion), I'd just as soon treat Kamandi as its own concept, with no overt connections to other continuity.  There's a Superman in his world's past, but there's no need to address the question of which one, or even to bring him up.  The World That's Coming is the progenitor of the Great Disaster, but if it'd be messy to look at, don't worry about it -- Earth After Disaster has plenty to explore without needing to do team-ups.

Quote
Are you interested in doing a Super-title?  Your past takes at comics with "Superman" in the title have been fine reads, but elseworldy tangents.


The idea of me doing a Superman title has come up a few times in recent years -- each time, I've wound up coming up with a different set of ideas I like, and it strikes me that all those ideas could be braided together into a big, compelling tapestry that would be fun to explore.

So yeah, I'd be interested, if I had the room in my schedule and could do it the way I wanted.

Quote
If you don't want to save Superman, could you perhaps put in a good word with someone who does?


They're really not going to consult me on who they get to do the books -- unless, of course, they want me to do it.

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Scott McCloud could be a fine savior for Supes, if he could learn to come up with better names for villains than "Fido".  Smiley


Scott's busy on other stuff, but I'e enjoyed his Super-stories quite a bit.

Quote
Any particular thoughts on who the woman in Superman's life should be?


Lois.

That doesn't preclude stories involving other women, be they Lana, Lori, Lyla Lerroll or someone else, but Lois is The Woman for him.

kdb
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Uncle Mxy
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« Reply #30 on: September 17, 2005, 09:20:57 PM »

Quote from: "Kurt Busiek"
Were I writing KAMANDI, I think I would leave Superman out of it.  "Mighty One!" was a great story that really works on its own, and doesn't need to be revisited or expanded on.

Yeah, I loved that story too.  The Superman tie-in for that story was what first introduced me to Kamandi.

Quote
Rather than tie Kamandi to the ever-shifting DC present, which runs the risks of causing ongoing foundation shifts that require explanation and continuity-spackling that hurt the series (see: Legion), I'd just as soon treat Kamandi as its own concept, with no overt connections to other continuity.  There's a Superman in his world's past, but there's no need to address the question of which one, or even to bring him up.  The World That's Coming is the progenitor of the Great Disaster, but if it'd be messy to look at, don't worry about it -- Earth After Disaster has plenty to explore without needing to do team-ups.

I certainly wasn't thinking team-ups (unless DC has the rights to Thundarr, perhaps) or any strong continuity ties to modern DC or anything like that.  I just liked the idea of reverence for Superman distorted through the ages, and maybe an amusing artifact or two strewn throughout.  
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MatterEaterLad
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« Reply #31 on: September 18, 2005, 02:57:43 AM »

Thanks for posting, Kurt...

Sorry, I'm more of the mind that no one can save Superman, because he's locked up in my memory at my point in time when it meant something to me...

I guess I was only a fan boy for a few years... :lol:
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