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Author Topic: Through the Ages: Evolution of Superman  (Read 11062 times)
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TELLE
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« Reply #16 on: November 28, 2005, 06:53:13 AM »

I'm sure we could find many examples of Superman stories that reflected aspects of popular opinion and experience, for better or worse, throughout the canon.  After all, something made him popular.  

On the other hand, a top ten list of specific topical Superman stories would be fun.

My own experience of classic Superman?  I watched the Adventures of Superman in reruns in the early 70s as well as the Superfriends TV show --huge fan.  I saw the Superman movie at an impressionable age and around the same time was given Maggin's Last Son of Krypton (and later Miracle Monday).  I became obsessed with that book and plagiarized parts of Superman's near-death experience for a speech in grade-school.  I was unimpressed with the comics at that time, being mostly a Marvel kid until I branched out in the 80s.  I was fascinated by my friend's collection of Silver & Golden Age DC comics which I never got to really read.  I can't remember the first Superman comic I owned.  

In the 80s I read the Fleisher encyclopedias in my local library (my formative Superman experiences were mostly prose and video based, I guess) and would pick up the occasional DC book, although I tended to follow artists (like George Perez & John Byrne) more than characters.  Intrigued by the most arcane aspects of DC mythology: multiverse, Mr and Mrs Superman, Private Life of Clark Kent. It all seemed deliciously weird to an intimate of the Marvel universe.  Amazing Heroes issue devoted to Superman at 50 with Bill  Sienkiewicz cover laid it all out for me.  The good and the bad of Superman.  I ate it up.  Interest in superheroes culminated in late-80s with Crisis, and the usual suspects: Alan Moore and Frank Miller, and their disparate takes on the Man of Steel.  Fantastic figure of Charm and Innocence vs Fascistic Government Stooge.

Began collecting 70s Superman in early 90s.  Nowadays the Silver Age Superman universe holds a special place in my pantheon of great world art.  Relevance of Superman?  A touchstone of quality and inventiveness covering a 40-year period of western culture and children's literature.
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JulianPerez
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« Reply #17 on: November 28, 2005, 07:04:27 PM »

Quote from: "Jor-L"
I wrote a paper last year that began to discuss that very matter. It also dealt with how Superman's story is allegorical to the story of Christ, discussed how his story corresponds to Joseph Campbell's heroic pattern, and discussed how Superman in general appeals to people's subconscious psychological desires. It was 25 pages long (double space) so obviously I did not have the room necessary to truly do the thorough job with it that I some day hope to do.


As much as I admire Campbell's work, I think an analysis of Superman exclusively through Campbell would be incomplete because it would look at the story in terms of psychology and Jung and symbology, and so forth, while a character like Superman is the product of several writers working at a specific time, place, medium, and situation, and consequently looking at the time, place, situation, and medium may be more accountable for explaining why Superman is the way he is.

The danger of a "Hero's Journey" essay is that it makes analyzing works out to be a sort of Easter Egg hunt, cherry-picking details to fit the pattern. Campbell creates a formula, and with archetypes that are by definition vague, all you have to do is plug new numbers into it.
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« Reply #18 on: November 28, 2005, 08:07:06 PM »

I think it might be too much of a stretch as well, but its also true that many myths and religious texts are the result of many different perspectives (in effect, writers or story tellers) over time, see the Bible or the Iliad (written long after the fact and actually mixing in heroes from before and after the time in question)...
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Jor-L
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« Reply #19 on: November 30, 2005, 05:09:17 PM »

I didn't exclusively use Campbell's hero work. I also compared Superman directly to Achilles and Jesus, and once again that was only just one part of the paper that I admitted was pretty shallow to be able to fit on just 25 pages and appeal to a broad audience who would not have been familiar with the Superman story and mythology.
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« Reply #20 on: November 30, 2005, 09:13:01 PM »

the original costume?

http://iconcreationsart.homestead.com/files/Golden_Age_Statue_sketch_full_size.jpg



ultimate superman?

http://superman.nu/ultimate/usuperman.jpg
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Psybertrack
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« Reply #21 on: December 09, 2005, 12:31:08 AM »

I don't know about the current supes being a times reflection but....
Notice how many people are getting married due to the spread of hiv and aids among the swingers. So more people are getting married and going MOnogamous.  clark kent finally married Lois Lane after a long courtship!
There are other reasons too why monogamy has come back into fashion.
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