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Author Topic: Who can save Superman now? KURT BUSIEK!  (Read 147599 times)
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Uncle Mxy
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« Reply #88 on: September 30, 2005, 07:41:11 PM »

My thoughts on how Clark and leadership should work (and the overall Superman Clark dichotomy) go something like this:

As Clark becomes Super, he finds he has to rein himself in. After some incident or other, perhaps with persuasion by Ma and Pa Kent, he concludes that doesn't want to be hauled in as a freak and doesn't yet know his potential (which would make anyone hauling him in awfully difficult).  Also, he doesn't yet have full control, possibly because his powers came in intermittently.  Show him accidentally hurting someone in a football game.  So he goes from being JV football star to isolationist "always having to help with the farm".  (Heck, the fact that he had time enough to play football with a farmer lifestyle is notable in and of itself.)  

Though he avoids people, Lana falls for him and worries about him, and this evolves into that lovely scene where he reveals his powers and his concerns.  He needs to find himself -and- he doesn't want to hurt Lana.  Don't make it be -just- "I'm a god I need to find myself goodbye", so we don't have Lana as perpetually despondent without Supes.  That'd also explain why he leaves the farm and family -- doesn't want to hurt Ma and Pa accidentally while he works through this.

Fast forward to adult Clark.  After some "away" adventures, he finds that he wants to have a life where he can just "hang out" and be with people.  He doesn't want to be an alpha male when he's not wearing the S.  He wants to sometimes just be able to listen, but that's hard to do when, as the leader. everyone expects him to talk and everyone is looking for his reaction when someone else talks.  Besides, it's too easy to be the alpha male when he can't be hurt and can out-do most anyone at most anything.  He's conflicted because he is a natural leader, powers or not, but on the whole, have Clark express the stuff he can't as Superman.  

Make "being a reporter" about his desire to listen, perhaps him wanting to feel "human" like he did when he wasn't so super growing up, more than about being close to where the action is to fight crimes.  Remember all those statues Supes made pre-Crisis?  Have Clark be the sculptor and want to show his work at an amateur level, beyond just engaging in ancestor worship.  It's something that he can't do as Superman because his art would be judged more on "it's Superman" than its value.  Have Kal-El be one person, but with Supes and Clark as dimensions of his personality.  

Ok, enough rambling for one post.
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Captain Kal
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« Reply #89 on: September 30, 2005, 09:15:26 PM »

Basically, Uncle Mxy, you're saying Clark returns to a meeker, more introspective personality which harkens back to the saner Pre Crisis elements of Clark Kent.  But keeping him Byrned in personality clearly makes it impossible for him to have a worthwhile dichotomy to make the Lois/Clark/Superman triangle work.

Since you chose to bring up the leadership aspect, let me comment further on that.

The one significant difference between Superman and Clark Kent after the Byrning was Superman is a natural leader while Clark Kent is not.  Otherwise, we'd see everyone reflexively deferring to Clark in situations, his boss, parents, or otherwise.  Kent would be a leading force perhaps running the Daily Planet or having carved out an empire like Luthor did.  The only way this works is if Kal-El is deliberately holding back any leadership qualities as Clark Kent while feeling free to express them as Superman.  In this one regard, Byrned Clark Kent cannot be Byrned Superman and, indeed, Superman is closer to the real man in this regard.

Just the same, in all other regards, Superman is just Clark in a costume free to use his super-powers.  His personality is basically the same so the great dichotomy really is irrelevant Post Crisis.

Therefore, marrying Byrned Clark off makes no difference to a dynamic that is nonexistent.
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Captain Kal

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Uncle Mxy
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« Reply #90 on: September 30, 2005, 10:59:17 PM »

Quote from: "Captain Kal"
Basically, Uncle Mxy, you're saying Clark returns to a meeker, more introspective personality which harkens back to the saner Pre Crisis elements of Clark Kent.

Just by putting on the costume and even pretending to be a normal joe, Clark will have to be "meeker" than Superman.  But he also can do things that a Superman can't do -- take a break, visit a friend without a mob following him, etc.  In my ideal world, Clark should be as liberating in some ways as Superman, just different ways.  There's a lot of focus on how Clark acts or doesn't act, less focus on what specific things really motivate him.  I remember how Maggin's Clark has a hobby of collecting amusing TV commercials.  Why wouldn't Clark have a real hobby, just something that he couldn't easily express as Superman?  

Quote
But keeping him Byrned in personality clearly makes it impossible for him to have a worthwhile dichotomy to make the Lois/Clark/Superman triangle work.

Agreed.  Poor Lois has to pick between two super guys to be with.  One flies and saves the earth on a regular basis, the other is a Pulitzer Prize winning football stud.  They both look alike, though one would look better if he wore contact lenses or got Lasik, maybe did his hair a little different.  

Quote
Since you chose to bring up the leadership aspect, let me comment further on that.

The one significant difference between Superman and Clark Kent after the Byrning was Superman is a natural leader while Clark Kent is not.  Otherwise, we'd see everyone reflexively deferring to Clark in situations, his boss, parents, or otherwise.  Kent would be a leading force perhaps running the Daily Planet or having carved out an empire like Luthor did. The only way this works is if Kal-El is deliberately holding back any leadership qualities as Clark Kent while feeling free to express them as Superman.  In this one regard, Byrned Clark Kent cannot be Byrned Superman and, indeed, Superman is closer to the real man in this regard.

Exactly!  How much does earthly ambition mean to a guy who is as rich, famous, and admired as he wants to be, and then some?  But the opposite of "ambitious" isn't necessarily "meek" -- more like "slacker".  Now "slacker Superman" is amusing as a Red K accident (I liked that L&C episode!).  But I was thinking something akin to the lead character Peter from the movie Office Space, post-hypnosis.  He does what he wants to do and is surreally self-assured, but he's not exactly "ambitious".  

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Just the same, in all other regards, Superman is just Clark in a costume free to use his super-powers.  His personality is basically the same so the great dichotomy really is irrelevant Post Crisis.

Therefore, marrying Byrned Clark off makes no difference to a dynamic that is nonexistent.

I agree.  I just think that the split between Supes and Clark should flow from "what does Kal-El wnat to do".  Most of pre-Crisis Clark's personality elements were solely about how to quick-change into Superman.  If I were  Kal-El, it seems like I would put myself in a better position to do that.  Have Clark be a freelance journalist for the Planet rather than a regular staffer, refusing that regular job offer for scooping Lois on Superman, but always hanging around at the Planet ('cause he's got the hots for Lois, naturally).  Why would he do such a thing?  Well, that's a mystery for Lois.  Have both Clark and Superman be "mystery men" to Lois -- each somewhat two-dimensional, but when you put it together then he becomes three-dimensional.
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Uncle Mxy
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« Reply #91 on: October 03, 2005, 05:03:03 AM »

On a completely different tangent...

Kurt, how friendly should Superman and Batman be toward each other?  

Generally, there's the pre-Crisis "best of Superfriends", the post-Crisis "Batman is the shadow to Superman's light", many Elseworlds where they're at odds, etc.  What do you think works best for what you'd want to write?

Also, when is Superman: Public Identity coming out, again?  Smiley  Seriously, how did the title for Superman: SI come about?  Was there ever any other ideas on what to call it?
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Kurt Busiek
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« Reply #92 on: October 03, 2005, 05:34:55 AM »

Quote from: "Uncle Mxy"
Kurt, how friendly should Superman and Batman be toward each other?  

Generally, there's the pre-Crisis "best of Superfriends", the post-Crisis "Batman is the shadow to Superman's light", many Elseworlds where they're at odds, etc.  What do you think works best for what you'd want to write?


When I wrote WORLD'S FINEST -- for two whole issues -- my take on it was that each was the only guy the other could relax with, the only one who knew what it was really like to do what they did.  Bruce didn't have to be public-Bruce or grim-avenger-for-effect, Clark didn't have to be meek-Clark or unshakeable-Supes.  As such, when they were hanging out, we saw their real selves.  I liked that approach.

Oh, you can nitpick it -- the whole JLA knew, for instance -- but I think, pre-Crisis, everyone else looked up to them and that changed the dynamics.  The two of them were equals and their friendship was built on respect.  The only other person that could be on that same level was Diana, but both of them are too guy-ish (in different ways) for it to work out the same.

Post-Crisis, Clark has Ma and Pa (and later, Lois).  Bruce doesn't have anyone.  That may be why he's so f@#ked up.

But on that basis, I think they don't have to be friends, but they do still have that respect, and that works too.

I like 'em best as very, very different -- but still friends.

Quote
Also, when is Superman: Public Identity coming out, again?  Smiley  Seriously, how did the title for Superman: SI come about?  Was there ever any other ideas on what to call it?


Originally, I just wanted to call it S.  Just use the shield.  Marketing said no.  So for a while it was called SUPERMAN: A LIFE IN SECRET, which always felt clunky to me.  And one day, the title SECRET IDENTITY hit me -- the series is all about the secrets inside us that make up our true self, the identity we share with so few others.  So it just seemed to work.

kdb
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Uncle Mxy
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« Reply #93 on: October 03, 2005, 01:16:05 PM »

Quote from: "Kurt Busiek"
When I wrote WORLD'S FINEST -- for two whole issues -- my take on it was that each was the only guy the other could relax with, the only one who knew what it was really like to do what they did.  Bruce didn't have to be public-Bruce or grim-avenger-for-effect, Clark didn't have to be meek-Clark or unshakeable-Supes.  As such, when they were hanging out, we saw their real selves.  I liked that approach.

Oh, you can nitpick it -- the whole JLA knew, for instance -- but I think, pre-Crisis, everyone else looked up to them and that changed the dynamics.  The two of them were equals and their friendship was built on respect.  The only other person that could be on that same level was Diana, but both of them are too guy-ish (in different ways) for it to work out the same.

Post-Crisis, Clark has Ma and Pa (and later, Lois).  Bruce doesn't have anyone.  That may be why he's so f@#ked up.

Or it could be because of pre-Crisis cover art suggesting that Batman is a dick.  Observe:

http://www.comics.org/graphics/covers/216/400/216_4_308.jpg

I _just_ saw the above on Superdickery recently, and had no idea that it was for a Kurt Busiek story until I looked up those two issues.  Did you do the word balloons for the cover?  Smiley  Oh FWIW, here's the cover for the other World's Finest Kurt did.

http://www.comics.org/graphics/covers/216/400/216_4_309.jpg

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But on that basis, I think they don't have to be friends, but they do still have that respect, and that works too.

I like 'em best as very, very different -- but still friends.

I do as well.  I was just reading Matt Wagner's Trinity, and enjoying a similar dynamic.  

Quote
Originally, I just wanted to call it S.  Just use the shield.  Marketing said no.  So for a while it was called SUPERMAN: A LIFE IN SECRET, which always felt clunky to me.  And one day, the title SECRET IDENTITY hit me -- the series is all about the secrets inside us that make up our true self, the identity we share with so few others.  So it just seemed to work.

I agree with marketing about "S".  Living in the computer age, the more distinctively that you name something, the easier it is to categorize and find it.  Go search for S! in Google.  And "A Life In Secret" sounds like soap opera ("Lois's sister isn't really dead, and she's sleeping with Lex!"  <gasps>).  When I first saw the title, I was surprised it hadn't already been used.
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Captain Kal
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« Reply #94 on: October 03, 2005, 03:13:13 PM »

Kurt, should Superman be just another super-hero, the premiere, legendary iconic DC super-hero, or somewhere between these two extremes, in your opinion?

Would you try to make him the first super-hero, chronologically, in the DCU again if you had the chance?
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Captain Kal

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Kurt Busiek
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« Reply #95 on: October 03, 2005, 06:02:12 PM »

Quote from: "Uncle Mxy"
I _just_ saw the above on Superdickery recently, and had no idea that it was for a Kurt Busiek story until I looked up those two issues.  Did you do the word balloons for the cover?  Smiley


I had nothing at all to do with the cover.  From concept to dialogue, it was the work of cover-editor Len Wein (and the artists, of course).

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Living in the computer age, the more distinctively that you name something, the easier it is to categorize and find it.  Go search for S! in Google.


I actually had marketing ideas about that, but maybe I'll get to use them elsewhere someday.  

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When I first saw the title, I was surprised it hadn't already been used.


Same with me, when I first thought of it.

kdb
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