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Author Topic: Some Rambling Thoughts On Superman  (Read 22992 times)
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Gernot
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« on: September 27, 2005, 02:07:02 AM »

I recently won a large lot of Superman comics of mostly Bronze Age vintage (Superman, Action, World's Finest, Superman Family, and DC Comics Presents).  I'm reading (in a lot of cases, re-reading) these classic books, and I'm remembering NOT liking this version of Superman when these books were new.  

I'm remembering how "corny" and "un-hip" Superman was compared to The X-Men and Spider-Man back then, while wishing that I'd felt THEN how I feel NOW about these same books.  These comics are just as, if not MORE, enjoyable to me as the afore-mentioned Marvel titles.  Sure, Superman's stories MAY have been a little more child-like (NOT childish), but the CONCEPTS behind many of the stories are WONDERFUL.  

In fact, as I'm going through my Superman issues now (I've already gone through my "new" Action Comics), I'm reminded just WHY I'd been so eager to read so many of the stories back then.  

Superman was a (THE) Good Guy.  He knew right from wrong, and always did his best to protect and serve the common man as often as possible, with as little harm done to his opponents as possible, and he KNEW how to do so.  

Batman was his best friend, and all other heroes looked UP to the man.  

If absolutely NOTHING else can be done, I wish we could go back to those days.  

Thanks for letting an old fan get some thoughts off his chest.  Wink
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MatterEaterLad
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« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2005, 02:15:40 AM »

Cool to hear, imagine what it would be if you came into a stash of Silver Age stuff without GBS, Morgan Edge, Kents the age they should be, hip language (at least no one took Snapper Carr seriously), Supergirl without a search for the "grooviest" costume, and a sense of goofy and yet never dated timelessness... Cheesy
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JulianPerez
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« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2005, 05:31:53 AM »

I like what you're saying about Superman being unique amongst superheroes. Alan Moore once said that "[Superman] is what this entire business is about." Superman isn't your average superhero, he's the point of origin for the concept.

Yeah, you're so right about Superman's dominant personality trait being his incorruptibility and decency. I especially love his treatment under the Schwartz-era writers, who made Superman underplay and so his heroism came naturally to him instead of the speech-giving and posing he often made in other ages. I also enjoy Superman's sense of humor, which showed up more in the streetwise Brooklynite Maggin's tales than in Bates's.

Honest, endearing oddity and acid-trip conceptual weirdness never gets old, because fresh ideas never get old.

Afros and bell-bottoms, though, have an expiration date.
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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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TELLE
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« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2005, 06:24:04 AM »

Quote from: "Gernot"
I'm remembering how "corny" and "un-hip" Superman was compared to The X-Men and Spider-Man back then, while wishing that I'd felt THEN how I feel NOW about these same books.  These comics are just as, if not MORE, enjoyable to me as the afore-mentioned Marvel titles


I feel that the writing in most Seventies books has aged badly compared to the more heavily edited Superman family comics, especially since so much of the X-Men and Spider-Man -type of comic storytelling became more of an industry standard for the next 20 years, while the Silver and Bronze age DC-style went by the wayside.
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JulianPerez
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« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2005, 07:07:14 AM »

Quote from: "TELLE"
I feel that the writing in most Seventies books has aged badly compared to the more heavily edited Superman family comics, especially since so much of the X-Men and Spider-Man -type of comic storytelling became more of an industry standard for the next 20 years, while the Silver and Bronze age DC-style went by the wayside.


I don't know about that; MASTER OF KUNG FU still has a wonderful charm about it, reading it years and years later.

It's best not to think of comics history in terms of what gave way in favor of what, because the opposite is usually true: there's give and take both ways. DC inspired the Marvel heroes, and Lee's characterization-heavy worldbuilding approach inspired DC right back.

So much of what was done in the Marvel Silver Age and the seventies didn't survive to the eighties so I wonder what you mean by "industry standard"; it certainly wasn't the use of thought bubbles, or electric bubbles at dramatic moments ("I...I can't believe it! THIS IS BEYOND BELIEF!") and the dramatic asides by the wiseacre narrator in caption boxes that break the fourth wall ("Who's that making the scene? I'm afraid you'll have to see Ol' Webhead Next Ish, Marvelite!" or "How do you think you defeat a robot with the power of Thor? If you're Hawkeye...you don't.").
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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!"
       - Reporter, Champions #15 (1978)
RedSunOfKrypton
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« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2005, 10:39:14 AM »

Quote
Afros and bell-bottoms, though, have an expiration date.
They're coming back, in a big way.  Tongue
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"...and as the fledgeling Man of Steel looks for the first time over the skyline of this city, this, Metropolis, he utters the syllables with which history is made and legends are forged: This, looks like a job...for Superman."
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« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2005, 02:50:42 PM »

IMHO, what differentiates Marvel in general from DC is their greater willingness to embrace fads and trendiness.  Note the Silver Surfer (derived from the surfer teen fad of the 60s), the Inhumans (deriving from the hippies),. Dazzler (disco era hero), Shang Chi/Iron Fist (martial arts fad), Deathlok (bionics craze).

Notice that the DC and Marvel characters that survived were timeless such as Spider-Man, who isn't tied to a specific fad or era.

DC tends to create legends on timeless iconic concepts.

Marvel tends to buy into the latest fashion.
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Gernot
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« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2005, 03:18:30 PM »

Quote from: "RedSunOfKrypton"
Quote
Afros and bell-bottoms, though, have an expiration date.
They're coming back, in a big way.  Tongue


The only thing I REALLY wanna see come back is mini-skirts!  

Wink  

Sssshhh...  DON'T tell my wife, okay, fellas?  

Wink  

Seriously, thanks for all your responses.  I didn't expect ANY!  I was just rambling out some thoughts.  Cheesy
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