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Author Topic: What Post-Crisis elements would you KEEP?  (Read 24537 times)
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JulianPerez
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« Reply #40 on: August 18, 2005, 12:16:46 AM »

Quote from: "lonewolf23k"
I'm the kind of guy who looks at comic book villains and tries to figure out what they represent in symbolic terms.  In Lex Luthor's case, it's simply Human Hubris taken to extremes: the brilliant man who wants to topple the gods (or the Superman) simply because he can't stand that there's someone better then him.

In Brainiac's case, I see the symbolism being "Technology Overcoming Humanity".  Cold Logical Efficiency replacing Human Compassion.  In short, the perfect motivations for anything he'd do are "Scientific Curiosity" and "increasing efficiency"..  


There is a danger in thinking of characters this way. Namely, you're not thinking of them as three-dimensional, with motivations and quirks and definite unique traits if you think of them as personifying concepts like "the randomness and evil of disease" or "personification of human arrogance." There's no reason one can't be both, however: Dracula was successful both as a symbolic force, AND as a chilling, fully realized villain. If you can only go for one, have the second.

The specific danger of thinking of Brainiac this way is that has the potential to be interpreted as "anti-intellectual." That is, considering intellect and cleverness as frightening characteristics, that are less valid than holding abstract concepts like "having a good heart" and "right and wrong" (never mind somebody has to think right and wrong through). Anti-intellectualism can be successful when used for humor and satire: notice for instance, how funny it is that nobody on the Simpsons ever listens to Lisa despite the fact she's the only smart person in Springfield. But any other way it is ugly and doesn't work. One way to diffuse this bomb is to have Superman defeat Brainiac, not just through intelligence, but also the fact he has a "human" psyche capable of cunning and outside the box thinking, which the mathematical, linear Brainiac cannot grasp.

Perhaps your story can start with Superman helping NASA deposit a space probe on Pluto or something at least, that shows in some way that it is not the SEARCH for knowledge that is evil, but Brainiac's perversions that are.
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lonewolf23k
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« Reply #41 on: August 18, 2005, 12:36:54 AM »

Quote from: "JulianPerez"
There is a danger in thinking of characters this way. Namely, you're not thinking of them as three-dimensional, with motivations and quirks and definite unique traits if you think of them as personifying concepts like "the randomness and evil of disease" or "personification of human arrogance." There's no reason one can't be both, however: Dracula was successful both as a symbolic force, AND as a chilling, fully realized villain. If you can only go for one, have the second.

The specific danger of thinking of Brainiac this way is that has the potential to be interpreted as "anti-intellectual." That is, considering intellect and cleverness as frightening characteristics, that are less valid than holding abstract concepts like "having a good heart" and "right and wrong" (never mind somebody has to think right and wrong through). Anti-intellectualism can be successful when used for humor and satire: notice for instance, how funny it is that nobody on the Simpsons ever listens to Lisa despite the fact she's the only smart person in Springfield. But any other way it is ugly and doesn't work. One way to diffuse this bomb is to have Superman defeat Brainiac, not just through intelligence, but also the fact he has a "human" psyche capable of cunning and outside the box thinking, which the mathematical, linear Brainiac cannot grasp.

Perhaps your story can start with Superman helping NASA deposit a space probe on Pluto or something at least, that shows in some way that it is not the SEARCH for knowledge that is evil, but Brainiac's perversions that are.


Well, I have to agree on the fact of having three-dimensional, fully realized villains.  And even my concept of Brainiac would have some depth to him.  The Evil of Brainiac isn't his search for knowledge, but his absolute lack of ethics and morals in that pursuit.  

Still, I agree with your suggestion of having Superman vanquish Brainiac through the use of more human "irrational" thinking which Brainiac cannot match..  It adds the twist that Brainiac, in his desire for the immortality of Virtual Existance, sacrificed his humanity, the one thing that could help him defeat Superman.

Of course, that leads to other stories in which Brainiac comes to the "logical" conclusion that to defeat Superman, he needs to become Superman...  ...Or to study Humanity in the hopes of adding "the Human Factor" to his systems..
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lonewolf23k
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« Reply #42 on: August 18, 2005, 12:55:00 AM »

Something else from Post-Crisis I think should be kept: the fact that objects from Kryptons don't become "Super" just because they're under a Yellow Sun.

Living Kryptonian creatures, I can accept as gaining super-powers: people, animals and plants, sure.

But inanimate objects?  I'm sorry, but how is a piece of metal from Krypton supposed to "benefit" from yellow sun radiation?  Or a flask of Kyrptonian fuel?  

Now, instead, I can accept devices from Krypton being "Super" as a result of them being the result of Kryptonian Super-Science, such as molecularly-bonded Kryptonian Super-Steel, or a Kryptonian fuel which is actually a form of Raw Liquid Energy.  Instead of their "Superness" being an innate quality of their origin, make it so that those items are Super because Kryptonian Science was just that far ahead of everyone else's before the planet blew up..
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MatterEaterLad
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« Reply #43 on: August 18, 2005, 01:53:22 AM »

I can agree with the inanimate matter, but then again, I don't know why organic molecules should necessarily be subject to a power inorganic ones aren't...

Another example that people just pick the fantasy they like best...
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lonewolf23k
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« Reply #44 on: August 18, 2005, 04:46:35 AM »

Quote from: "MatterEaterLad"
I can agree with the inanimate matter, but then again, I don't know why organic molecules should necessarily be subject to a power inorganic ones aren't...

Another example that people just pick the fantasy they like best...


Well, at least life-forms from Krypton can be assumed to have evolved the same kind of ability to absorb Solar Radiation that the people of Krypton did.  Of course, they would probably develop entirely different abilities then just copying Superman's powers..  Perhaps Kryptonian plants just grow at an incredible rate?
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JulianPerez
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« Reply #45 on: August 18, 2005, 05:33:14 AM »

Quote from: "lonewolf23k"
Well, at least life-forms from Krypton can be assumed to have evolved the same kind of ability to absorb Solar Radiation that the people of Krypton did.  Of course, they would probably develop entirely different abilities then just copying Superman's powers..  Perhaps Kryptonian plants just grow at an incredible rate?


On various occasions, notably in SUPERMAN RED/SUPERMAN BLUE, the seeds from the Scarlet Jungle have been caused by Earth's Yellow Sun to grow at incredible rates of speed, their leaves becoming as invulnerable as steel under those conditions. It is unknown if they could manifest other abilities, but really the point is moot when it comes to them: they're PLANTS. They can't have superspeed because they can't move, or supervision because they can't see, superhearing because they can't hear, superbreath because they don't breathe, and super-shout, because they have no voices.

Krypto and Beppo and the Super-Gorilla, all animals from Krypton, has manifested identical powers to Superman - which means that ALL animal life on Krypton, not just upright, bipedal Kryptonians, become "Super" when exposed to Yellow Sun Rays. In fact, knowing what we know about the laws of evolution and the similarity of vertebrate life, it would be strange if we had to explain why Kryptonians are the only form of life on that world that would have powers.

Elliot S! Maggin posited the theory of the Photonucleic Effect, kept on this site incidentally, which is impressive and uses lots of big, big words and is as good an explanation as any other, I suppose. From a guy that "gets" Superman. There's also Mark Wolverton's SCIENCE OF SUPERMAN, which has a few very well-thought out theories of how Superman's powers work: namely that the reason the Yellow Sun/Red Sun thing makes a difference is because all life on Krypton has a type of supplementary system, sort of like chlorophyll in plants, that allow them to make energy from sunlight.

Like I said earlier in this thread, I don't know if I'd agree with the sentiment that Superman's costume not being "Super" should be something that should survive the next big revision. Mostly because I think a super-costume is neat! I love how his cape is super-stretchy (elastic enough to, for instance, stretch over to catch all the flood level rains falling on a small town like a giant circus tent) and has a pocket for his Clark Kent clothes, and how (at least Supergirl's) has tele-crystals on the belt that tell her the time both on Earth and in Kandor.

Allow me to revise my statement: I would support the concept of Superman's costume having an origin other than the Silver Age concept of it being indestructible under a yellow sun - provided an explanation of equal interest could be supplied, and the outfit had properties that were just as mindblowing.

Here's a few that are just a "for instance," to help you know what I'm talking about:

Superman can change his costume instantly, because the cloth atoms are stored in a can on his person in the form of "dust," and rubbing his hands together at superspeed to create static electricity would cause the costume to "form" on him.

Superman acquired his costume by capturng a pair of creatures on a distant world that are sort of like earthly silkworms, except the "silk" they produce is the hardest substance in the universe, sort of like weaveable versions of "unbreakable diamond filaments" from Arthur C. Clarke. Superman's costume has properties depending on the mood of the space-silkworms when they made it; for instance, if they were cranky and the Superman Robots didn't feed them enough, the costume would start changing color psychadelically.

Superman's costume isn't a physical object at all, but is instead a variety of solidified thought: think of it like a "three dimensional thought photograph." This accounts for the reason the costume is indestructible: as it is solid thought, it doesn't really exist at all.
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"Wait, folks...in a startling new development, Black Goliath has ripped Stilt-Man's leg off, and appears to be beating him with it!"
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lonewolf23k
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« Reply #46 on: August 18, 2005, 11:53:05 AM »

Well, I liked the Golden Age origin of the costume, which was made out of indestructible cloth Superman himself designed..

I suppose a way to update the concept would be to make the costume some sort of "Bio-Cloth" which assimilates the properties of Superman's skin..  On Krypton, that would only make the costume incredibly comfortable, but on Earth..
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ProfPotter
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« Reply #47 on: August 22, 2005, 10:33:24 PM »

Quote from: "Genis Vell"

- Certain new characters like Cat Grant, Prof. Emil Hamilton and Ron Troupe.


I'm behind in my reading, and was just catching up with this thread, when I read this on the first page.

Prof. Emil Hamilton?!?!?!  Why would you want him?  What does he have that I don't have?

(And don't get me started on Professor Pepperwinkle...)
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