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Author Topic: Worst Superman Stories?  (Read 24731 times)
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JulianPerez
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« Reply #24 on: August 30, 2005, 02:51:18 AM »

Quote from: "Super Monkey"
Also maybe you only read mainstream stuff, but nearly every cartoonist in the Indies write and draw their own stuff and do everything else for that matter.


True story: I bought Neil Gaiman's SANDMAN so that I could say I'd read it and impress women.

Quote from: "Captain Kal"
FYI, the phenomenon you're referring to here is the Positive Halo Effect in psychology and sociology. A single characteristic such as great physical attractiveness makes the person and those perceiving the person seem to have all sorts of other 'associated' supposedly related characteristics like charming personality, intelligence, good character, etc.


Interesting factual points you raise, CaptainKal, thank you for bringing it to our attention. Do you work in psychology or some related field?

And that issue sounds godawful, too. The only Byrne story that I remember being good at all was the one that introduced the revamped Lori Lemaris - and that was only bearable because it was essentially a panel-for-panel remake of her original origin story. As always, with Byrne the Robert Heinlein-esque misogyny reins supreme: Lori Lemaris was competent and likeable, so naturally she had to DIE at the end of the tale. Though the detail about whales singing their love to the ends of time was a wonderful touch.

Quote from: "Gary"
Re: Perez' (no, the other Perez) Wonder Woman, I think what was wrong with the robot plane was that it would've stood out like a sore thumb when the treatment of the Amazons was going for a strong Greek Mythological flavor.


A character like Wonder Woman is big enough for various kinds of takes upon her; the mythological aspect is just one, and it may be successful. I for one, love how great and evil Mars/Aries became (he wears a mask because his face is the true face of war and would horrify any that look at it), or Diana's Wonderdome in Washington D.C. filled with harpies and pegasus. My problem with it, though, is that it compromises Wonder Woman's uniqueness if she flies instead of gliding, and is invulnerable (for one thing, why would she use her bracelets?) and doesn't have her bondage related weakness. It means she fights exactly like Superman does, and Superman is super enough for the both of them; characters benefit and are made stronger by uniqueness.

And I miss her half-sandals, half-high heels. I miss Amazonium. I miss her being called "the Amazing Amazon." I miss the Purple Ray. I miss those cute little Kangas that she rides on. This isn't Silver Age nostalgia (I missed most of that period, to be honest) but that stuff was just plain neat and unique and while George Perez came up with a lot of neat concepts, he did not create any ideas that were truly trippy and original enough to replace all these LSD-derived elements. I would not go as far as to say that George Perez's retooling of Wonder Woman was the clueless failure Byrne's revamp of Superman was; Perez got the character's personality very successfully, and his myth-centered approach at least had some internal consistency if nothing else.

Quote from: "TELLE"
As for his Kamandi-period work, the Fourth World stuff is very well-plotted and written (albeit slightly off-kilter as you would expect from an idiosyncratic genius like Kirby), as is the 70s Marvel Black Panther and Captain America stuff.  


I'll agree with you for no other reason than to give props to Kirby's underappreciated and great ETERNALS, MAN-MACHINE, and DEVIL DINOSAUR. Kurt Busiek once said (and I agree with him) that ETERNALS was weakened because Roy Thomas later established it as being in the Marvel Universe; Kirby's concepts there were too big. Now suddenly instead of being the inspiration for mythic deities, the Eternals were MISTAKEN for the real ones that actually exist. And then suddenly mutants go from a clear-cut concept to a murky afterthought. Ditto for MAN-MACHINE; he was better off as the only android that exists because if he's the fifth or so in the Marvel Universe, he no longer can be said to experience what he's going through for the first time.

Quote from: "TELLE"
Well, if we are going to open up the can of worms known as "post-Crisis Superman Stories" we will have lots of ammunition (about 100% of them qualify).


I didn't mention any because criticising the Mike Carlin helmed stuff (to say nothing of, for the Love of God, BYRNE's work) would be like shooting a fish taped to the end of a gun.

I would NOT put any of the Jimmy Olsen issues on a list of Worst Superman comics. Personally, I prefer my flavor of Jimmy Olsen to be competent (though lacking common sense), instead of a dumb kid that swallows things he finds on alien spaceships and whatnot. Retooling Jimmy Olsen as "Mr. Action," a sleuth that solved gangster-related crimes, as well as Kirby's two-fisted approach with Jimmy as the buttkicking leader of the Newsboy Legion, made Jimmy more engaging, because his problem was that he was prone to biting off more than he can chew, instead of being stupid enough that one wonders if Superman saving him all the time is interfering with natural selection.
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Maximara
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« Reply #25 on: August 30, 2005, 09:57:28 AM »

Quote from: "DoctorZero"
Quote from: "nightwing"

Getting back to What If? for a second, my big problem with so many of those stories was that they all turned out so negative.  

What if Spider-Man had joined the Fantastic Four?  
They'd all die, that's what!

 What if the Avengers went to...
They'd all die!

Well then what if the X-Men...
Dead, dead, dead!

After awhile it seemed the bigger message of the series was, "Look, if anything happened at all different from the way we told you it did, you'd be really sorry, so stop asking already!"

For my taste, far too many Elseworlds take the same path.  The attraction for writers and artists seems to be that it's a way to do things with established characters that they couldn't do otherwise.  Which more often than not means, kill them.  Comics creators are a bloodthirsty bunch.

That said, I always liked What if #4 (I think), about Steve Rogers' life had he NOT been frozen in ice at the end of World War II.[/i]


That was the basic premise of What If.  No matter what, it would have ended in disaster for the heroes in question.


In reality that is NOT what What If was about. In the Spiderman F4 stories they do NOT 'all die' - Sue leaves the F4 to become Namor's wife. In the story where the F4 get different powers  (What if v1 #6) Read soundly defeats Dr. Doom by taking over his body - this version of the F4 was not killed until the TimeQuake storylin some 25 (!) years later.

Though the What IF series did suffer from going down the othing would really be different path as demonstrated in What If V1 #7 Someone Else Had Become The Amazing Spider-Man? and What If V2 #10 the Punisher's Family had not been killed? there were the occational better timeline as in What if vol 2 #7 Wolverine became a member of SHIELD? (Sentinel program dies a quick death and the anti-mutant groups are politically neutralized)
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Brainiac44
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« Reply #26 on: August 30, 2005, 12:20:31 PM »

Hello humans,

I totally hate ma comics.  Even authors don't seem to know where Superman's limits are.  If they don't know - how will I know when I attack Earth again?
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nightwing
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Semper Vigilans


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« Reply #27 on: August 30, 2005, 01:55:53 PM »

JulianPerez writes:

Quote
True story: I bought Neil Gaiman's SANDMAN so that I could say I'd read it and impress women.


Haha!  How'd that work out for you?  :lol: Unless they were all Goth chicks, I'm betting not so good.

Quote
Personally, I prefer my flavor of Jimmy Olsen to be competent (though lacking common sense), instead of a dumb kid that swallows things he finds on alien spaceships and whatnot. Retooling Jimmy Olsen as "Mr. Action," a sleuth that solved gangster-related crimes, as well as Kirby's two-fisted approach with Jimmy as the buttkicking leader of the Newsboy Legion, made Jimmy more engaging, because his problem was that he was prone to biting off more than he can chew, instead of being stupid enough that one wonders if Superman saving him all the time is interfering with natural selection.


Well we have to remember that Jimmy only got his own book because of the huge popularity of Jack Larson's portrayal on "The Adventures of Superman" tv show.  And that Jimmy was, it's fair to say, the kind of guy who made Jerry Lewis look like James Bond.  So of course the comics would follow suit.

I agree "tough guy Jimmy" was much more fun.  In fact I find I tend to relate to the human characters that inhabit a superhero's world.  I like Jim Gordon, Ben Urich, Jason Bard and sometimes Jimmy Olsen.  I really liked a character who was in a handful of Thor issues...can't remember his name but he was a Korean War vet.  It's always refreshing to see people with guts and moxy instead of perpetual victims screaming, "Save me!"  

Maximara writes:

Quote
In reality that is NOT what What If was about. In the Spiderman F4 stories they do NOT 'all die' - Sue leaves the F4 to become Namor's wife. In the story where the F4 get different powers (What if v1 #6) Read soundly defeats Dr. Doom by taking over his body - this version of the F4 was not killed until the TimeQuake storylin some 25 (!) years later.


I wondered if anyone was going to call me out on that.  I know that's how What if #1 went, in fact I wrote that and then changed it to keep things simple.  Maybe everyone doesn't die in every issue, but my point's the same; things always end up for the worse.  Yes, Sue runs off with Namor, and this is presented as a bad thing, a deeply affecting tragedy that forever shatters the "family" dynamic that always defined the FF, a life-altering blow to Reed, a heartache to Johnny and of course the end of Franklin altogether.  I came away with two messages: 1, it must forever be the Fantastic FOUR (if Pete comes aboard, Sue must go) and 2, altering the official timeline results in misery and gloom.

Likewise, having Reed take over Doom's body is not what I'd call an attractive option, even if it did result in victory.

I just feel that where DC's Imaginary stories often had an upbeat message ("There must always be a Superman" -- even if it's not Kal), the Marvel tales were often frightening and negative ("If you think your hero has trouble now, trust us-- it could always be worse!").

I think several things ruined "What If," which I must say started out as one of the most interesting concepts of my young collecting days (and one of the few Marvels I bought regularly).  First, the stories became predictable...as I said, few if any happy endings.  Second, the concepts became increasingly esoteric ("What If The Avengers Had Become the Pawns of Korvac?"  Kor-who?  Who cares?), inconsequential ("What if the FF Had Different Super-powers?") and unexciting ("What if the Thing and the Beast Continued to Mutate?").  And third, as it became a matter of editorial policy to turn characters' worlds upside down in the monthly books, there was really no need anymore for a What If book.

That said, some of them were fun.  I especially enjoyed "What if the Fantastic Four Had Not Gained Super Powers?"...the answer being, of course, "They'd have been the Challengers of the Unknown!" (sorry, Jack, your secret's out!).  Ironically, this one was written and drawn by John Byrne.  So my two favorite Byrne FF tales ...this one and FF 236...were about a powerless team.
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Captain Kal
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« Reply #28 on: August 30, 2005, 02:48:27 PM »

Hey, Julian, you got part of your wish.  WW used her purple healing ray in JLA: WW3 (to help activate the super-human future potential of the whole human race), and recently in the OMAC related storylines (to heal Batman from Superman trying to kill him).
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Captain Kal

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Captain Kal
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« Reply #29 on: August 30, 2005, 03:14:47 PM »

BTW, since the Metal Men's metal-emulating polymer was brought up, I believe that was Byrne's version of Marvel's 'unstable molecules' which he was applying to the Metal Men.

FYI, a very similar tech substance does exist now in reality.  It's called Wellstone/programmable matter that can dynamically alter their properties to mimic the chemical properties of any element and even some electron configurations that don't exist in nature.  Try Wil McCarthy's book Hacking Matter for more info.  This programmable matter fits Byrne's polymer and Marvel's unstable molecules very closely.

EDIT: I've included an FAQ link below.

http://www.wilmccarthy.com/pmfaq.htm
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Captain Kal

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lastkryptonianhere
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« Reply #30 on: August 30, 2005, 05:39:40 PM »

Getting back to the topic of worst Superman Stories

I agree about the Superman Special by Gil Kane - not the best Superman story ever.  I also didn't like the way every Superman issue for about a year before the 86 reboot was somehow Alien related.  

Personally I feel that the worst Post Crisis stories were the horrible Superman Red/Superman Blue arc which was down right awful.  

As for George Perez and Wonder Woman - that was the best part of the post crisis era - Wonder Woman was far superior in this era.  Except there were no Huntress back up stories anymore of course.
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Uncle Mxy
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« Reply #31 on: August 31, 2005, 02:59:46 AM »

Superman making whoopie with Amazing Grace the first time he was on Apokolips was when I thought "man this Crisis revamp stinks!".  Is anyone else leery of bringing up "worst" stories for fear that some DC hack may try to top them?  I can see it now... Supes' child from a perverted union wheeled in to combat him.  Come to think of it, though, Alan Moore (decidedly not a hack writer) did the same thing with Tom Strong...
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