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Author Topic: The importance of Superboy?  (Read 17952 times)
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Permanus
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« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2005, 01:17:51 PM »

Quote from: "JulianPerez"
Quote from: "Johnny Nevada"
] seeing it set around 15 years or so behind whatever the then-current year was... nostalgia, and whatnot.


The problem with this is, in order to make Superboy stories nostalgic and rural with the amber waves of grain and all that, the whole "Americana" look that was achieved in the SUPERMAN movie, you have to fix the stories in a single specific point in time.  This doesn't work for comic books, which operate on a sliding timescale. That is, the Fantastic Four made their famous flight "ten years ago," not "in 1963." Superboy was at first, set in the 1930s, then suddenly, they were in the 1960s. Put the Superboy stories in a specific period, pretty soon Superman will start getting pretty old. This might be an interesting decision to make, but it isn't how they choose to handle these kinds of characters.

Ah yes, sliding timescales... Fred Hembeck once noted that Superman had met President Kennedy in the early 60s, then, years later, he met him again, but as Superboy this time... because of course the story was set in the past. It couldn't be long, Hembeck pointed out, before Superbaby flew into the Oval Office with a mighty cry of "Me am here, Mister Kennedy!"

I picked up a Punisher comic book not so long ago and was astonished to find that he is still described as a Viet Nam War veteran. He must be getting on a bit; I thought by now they would have had to upgrade him to the first Gulf War at least.

Anyway, I certainly am not knocking the Superboy stories per se: I loved the ones with the Legion that Curt Swan drew (what's the one where Shrinking Violet has to do some surgery on Superboy and escape by his tear ducts, so he has to think of Jor-El and Lara to make himself cry?), I just don't feel they have any place in the continuity (Note: I am not a continuity hound. I don't care about discrepancies, to be honest). Superman is an emblematic figure, he doesn't need all that luggage.
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Johnny Nevada
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« Reply #9 on: December 03, 2005, 06:26:27 PM »

>>

The problem with this is, in order to make Superboy stories nostalgic and rural with the amber waves of grain and all that, the whole "Americana" look that was achieved in the SUPERMAN movie, you have to fix the stories in a single specific point in time. This doesn't work for comic books, which operate on a sliding timescale. That is, the Fantastic Four made their famous flight "ten years ago," not "in 1963." Superboy was at first, set in the 1930s, then suddenly, they were in the 1960s. Put the Superboy stories in a specific period, pretty soon Superman will start getting pretty old. This might be an interesting decision to make, but it isn't how they choose to handle these kinds of characters.

It MIGHT be possible to create a vague "rural past" without getting into time-centered details, sort of like how the Batman Animated Series was not set in any specific time point. <<

I meant "nostalgia" as in "oh, I recall that sort of stuff from 15 years ago" (from whatever the current year is), and letting Superboy's setting float behind the present (just as in 1991 or so we got an episode of the SImpsons about Bart being born in c. 1980, with appropriate trappings, but a 2000-ish episode features a kid Bart's age being born around the first Gulf War). Thus, the year would just be "15 years ago", not a specific year (since I agree that causes problems).

Sorry if I wasn't clear earlier...

Re: Smallville attracting an unusual amount of oddities: The "Smallville" TV show doesn't seem to have any lack of plot material to draw from, despite the town's size...

I wouldn't mind seeing a new Superboy series like the "New Adventures of Superboy" title from the 80's (and its increased emphasis on Superboy being a teenager, particularly the latter issues in the run---along with giving a still-unresolved subplot about Jonathan Kent running for city council and dealing with Smallville possibly getting its first shopping mall, with the effect it'd have on businesses...).
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forgottenhero
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« Reply #10 on: December 03, 2005, 06:50:24 PM »

The main problem with Superboy is this: if Clark/Kal has already been Superboy for several years, it makes the first appearance of Superman very un-dramatic. "Oh, so he's grown up and calls himself 'Superman' now. OK, whatever." It should be "Wow! Who's this flying guy with the cape?"

I think the Superboy stories should've never been more than a "What If?" scenario, and making them canonical was a mistake.
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« Reply #11 on: December 03, 2005, 07:11:50 PM »

marlon brandon as jor-el is very important to superman.
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JulianPerez
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« Reply #12 on: December 03, 2005, 08:54:21 PM »

Quote from: "Permanus"
I picked up a Punisher comic book not so long ago and was astonished to find that he is still described as a Viet Nam War veteran. He must be getting on a bit; I thought by now they would have had to upgrade him to the first Gulf War at least.


Ahhh, yes. Well, one of the great strengths of a mostly consistent continuity is that there are no real "problems," only inventive solutions waiting to be revealed. The guy that did the Marvel Appendix pointed out a possible solution on the ten year sliding scale, which has Thor, Flash Thompson, and Buzz Baxter going to Vietnam: on Marvel-Earth, there was a SECOND Vietnam War, 8-10 years ago.

I *DO* regret that Ben and Reed are no longer World War II veterans. It wasn't just a fun little detail; it was something that characterized them wonderfully as being men of that generation, and also as the source of the wonderful cameraderie that those two have.

Quote from: "forgottenhero"
The main problem with Superboy is this: if Clark/Kal has already been Superboy for several years, it makes the first appearance of Superman very un-dramatic. "Oh, so he's grown up and calls himself 'Superman' now. OK, whatever." It should be "Wow! Who's this flying guy with the cape?"


It generally isn't wise to eliminate possible stories just to make one specific moment possible. Many writers have characters die off permanently for the sake of a single moment, which is shortsighted because it closes the door to any future stories that can be told with said characters. But the fact that if the Superboy chapter were closed, would ADD to the power of that specific Superman moment, all the better. I don't know about you, but I had my heart in my throat when Superman revealed himself in BIRTHRIGHT.

Great Rao, you wrote that writer's guide we're talking about. I'm wondering what your thoughts are on this.
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llozymandias
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« Reply #13 on: December 04, 2005, 02:03:19 AM »

Actually many citizens of Smallville thought Clark was Superboy & tried to prove it.  Clark always found a way to "prove" them wrong.  Helps to be a super-genius. :wink:   Remember Kendall Kent?  Didn't it seem weird that he wanted to adopt his brother's adopted son?  What if he believed that Clark was really his son?  Also Bruce Wayne lived in smallville for a brief time when he & Clark were around 13 or 14.  I imagine that people would notice how Bruce & Clark look like they could be brothers.  Since everyone knew Clark was adopted, maybe they assumed he was Bruce's illegitimate half-brother.  Thus by the time Clark moves to metropolis, it's accepted by everyone (other than Lana) that Clark can't be Superboy's secret identity.  By that point most of them came to believe that Clark was either Kendall Kent's son or a Wayne.



        Marvel's Handbook also mentions another possible explanation for the "sliding" time scales, a reality-manipulater is causing it somehow.
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John Martin, citizen of the omniverse.
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« Reply #14 on: December 04, 2005, 02:29:00 AM »

to answer the thread question...

"Must there be a Superboy?"

While Superboy is great and his stories are wonderful, does he have to exist? I say yes!

Ok, you can do without him and still have Superman, true, but it just wouldn't be as good, it just wouldn't be the real Superman, the one from the 50's to 86. Golden Age sure, post-crisis yes, but not the best version of Superman ever created.

Indeed, nearly all the great heroes were heroes nearly from birth. Hercules killed a snake while he was still an infant which was sent to kill him by Hera. Remember mere minutes after arriving on Earth, baby Kal-El saves Pa Kent by lifting that car. He was born to be a hero. The Kents didn't make him become a hero, they just made him care for and love humans and want to protect Earth, even if it wasn't his planet. Later, thanks to the Legion, he came to love and care for other aliens worlds as well.
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« Reply #15 on: December 04, 2005, 02:50:08 AM »

I have to say that I come down on the side of Superboy, I really liked the  Smallville stories growing up, and gawd, anyone DC wanted to kill by bad soap opera and circular and stupid time travel in the 90s has got my vote to survive anyways...

Still, you liked Superbaby... Cool
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