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Author Topic: Superman ideas not in the comics that were great  (Read 10623 times)
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JulianPerez
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« on: February 12, 2006, 09:27:31 AM »

Superman is a product of variant different types of media, not just comics, and some of them produce some really great ideas that ought to be incorporated into Superman's canon. Perry White and Jimmy Olsen, for example, were first created by the Superman radio show, as was Kryptonite and the "Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound!" poem. I mean, wasn't that some gorgeous wordsmithing?

Here, let me put it in Haiku form:

Faster than bullet
Mightier than a huge train
Go, leap over buildings!

There are other sources, however, that provide great ideas for Superman that are true to the spirit and can add, and not subtract provided we listen to them.


Lex Luthor's Tech Source: Krypton ('80s SUPERBOY show)

The Superboy show had a very intriguing idea, that the reason Lex Luthor was able to create wonders that were clearly generations on generations ahead of what is possible even for the most advanced scientists, like shrink rays and space travel and so forth, is because he had access and stole secrets of the advanced Kryptonian civilization through his contact with Superboy, which he raided and adapted.

An explanation like this accounts for Lex's prowess with science, and why he is able to do things that real, but brilliant scientists, cannot do today. Further, it made sense and made use of elements, like Krypton and the Phantom Zone, that were already around.

It appears that Mark Waid made use of this Superboy-originated idea to account in part for Lex's superior scientific prowess; kudos to Mark Waid for knowing a great idea when he sees one.


Superman under Orange Suns (SUPERFRIENDS cartoon)

In the Superfriends cartoon, it was stated that Superman was only HALF as powerful as normal under an Orange sun. This is not a trait that really changes him radically, and in fact there's no evidence that this ISN'T true in any version of his existence, however, it is a cute fact that it might be interesting to have confirmation for in the comics themselves.


Brainiac being from Krypton (90s Timm SUPERMAN cartoon)

This was a great idea, because it establishes a connection between Superman and Brainiac, that Brainiac wasn't just some random bad guy that Superman picked up and added to his Rogues Gallery like an evil lost puppy. In other words, Brainiac's presence in the Super-Mythos is no longer arbitrary.

Plus, the animated Brainiac design with that robot outfit and that streamlined three-circle emblem and everything was the greatest look Brainiac has had in the history of ever.


Superman as a Menace (Radio Show)

This is another one of those ideas that Mark Waid got mileage out of in BIRTHRIGHT; I'm keeping my fingers crossed it becomes the official origin.

The idea here is that in the radio show, Superman was originally believed to be a public enemy. Golden Age Superman needed the nomality and craven cowardliness of Clark Kent to be sympathetic more than any incarnation, because as Superman he was essentially a bully that took whatever he wanted, slapped people around, and so forth. In the Flieischer cartoons, he beats up many a Japanese person, for example. It's hard to imagine "our" Superman busting up a fountry making Japanese Zeroes, for example. Thus, Superman being viewed at least at first as a strange public menace might make much more sense under his Golden Age characterization. But it can be applied to his later periods, too, though not indefinitely.
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« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2006, 01:42:30 PM »

Quote from: "JulianPerez"
Superman is a product of variant different types of media, not just comics, and some of them produce some really great ideas that ought to be incorporated into Superman's canon. Perry White and Jimmy Olsen, for example, were first created by the Superman radio show, as was Kryptonite...


K-Metal was created before it appeared on the Radio Show.


Quote
Superman under Orange Suns (SUPERFRIENDS cartoon)

In the Superfriends cartoon, it was stated that Superman was only HALF as powerful as normal under an Orange sun. This is not a trait that really changes him radically, and in fact there's no evidence that this ISN'T true in any version of his existence, however, it is a cute fact that it might be interesting to have confirmation for in the comics themselves.


There were Orange Suns in the comics, you just didn't read them Smiley

Who can forget the orange sun of Staryl (besides you) from the Luma Lynai  story. see here: http://superman.nu/wiki/index.php/Image:Luma_Lynai.jpg

Quote
Superman as a Menace (Radio Show)

This is another one of those ideas that Mark Waid got mileage out of in BIRTHRIGHT; I'm keeping my fingers crossed it becomes the official origin.

The idea here is that in the radio show, Superman was originally believed to be a public enemy. Golden Age Superman needed the nomality and craven cowardliness of Clark Kent to be sympathetic more than any incarnation, because as Superman he was essentially a bully that took whatever he wanted, slapped people around, and so forth. In the Flieischer cartoons, he beats up many a Japanese person, for example. It's hard to imagine "our" Superman busting up a fountry making Japanese Zeroes, for example. Thus, Superman being viewed at least at first as a strange public menace might make much more sense under his Golden Age characterization. But it can be applied to his later periods, too, though not indefinitely.


This was taken from the early Golden Age stories where he was threated the same way.
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« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2006, 02:45:26 PM »

I liked the idea that Lex either was

a) inspired by Superboy/man to great feats of science

or

b) was a totally human, yet brilliant foil to the alien Superman.

Having him steal his knowledge smacks of the Iron Age "tycoon" Lex and belittles him as a character.  If we can accept Superman, we should accept his counterpart.
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« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2006, 06:05:49 PM »

Personally, I like the idea of Lex stealing alien technology. To me, it makes his character like a Prometheus figure, stealing fire from the gods and all.

Some other non-comic ideas I like:

Kryptonian Crystals

I always loved this idea, introduced in the Reeve movies. Having the Kryptonians store both information and even their essenses on crystals was one of those weird ideas that work. It made Krypton seem alien without turning the Kryptonians into the cliche "unemotional aliens."

The "S" Being a Kryptonian Design

This was another idea introduced in the movie. Having Superman's symbol be from Krypton and only resemble an "S" was a stroke of genius. It made sense for Superman to wear his family crest on his chest.
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« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2006, 09:36:58 PM »

There are two additional elements that I really like but that are somewhat obscure. These two have never worked their way back into the comics and are probably not very popular outside mine own brain.

Ro-Zan

In the Kirk Alyn serial, the Lowther novel, and the George Reeves series, the head of the Kryptonian council of Wisdom was named Ro-Zan.  I don't know why, but I just think the name is really cool.  I'd like to see it inserted into continuity and for the character to have a bigger role in the "destruction of Krypton" part of the origin.  Maybe even give him some back-story.

The Mole-Men

Sure, the pilot-movie was technically clumsy; but I'd really like to see the Mole-Men return in the comic books.  Maybe even have Superman visit their home at the center of the Earth.  With the hugely destructive environmental impact that human activity has been having, and with the accelerated rate of change that the entire planet is undergoing, the Mole-Men would be sure to notice.  They might even try to do something about it.   And if that involved a conflict with humanity, which side would Superman support?  A great way to bring back some great characters.

S!
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« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2006, 01:43:25 AM »

Quote from: "Great Rao"

Ro-Zan

In the Kirk Alyn serial, the Lowther novel, and the George Reeves series, the head of the Kryptonian council of Wisdom was named Ro-Zan.  I don't know why, but I just think the name is really cool.  I'd like to see it inserted into continuity and for the character to have a bigger role in the "destruction of Krypton" part of the origin.  Maybe even give him some back-story.

Interesting. You know, I've always thought that the Science Council itself could use some actual defined characters with their own back-stories. Maybe they can even delve into why most of them didn't believe Jor-El when he said Krypton would explode, despite them being the greatest minds on the planet (I believe it was a case of groupthink myself).
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JulianPerez
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« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2006, 01:48:04 AM »

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Having him steal his knowledge smacks of the Iron Age "tycoon" Lex and belittles him as a character.  If we can accept Superman, we should accept his counterpart.


I don't think this is an equivalent comparison.

Super-Powers don't exist in the real world. Science and scientists, however, do. Thus, superpowers can work according to whatever physics the writers decide to give, however, there is a real world model for what science and scientists can and can't do. If Lex is given a REASON for why he is so much more advanced, this makes one aspect of his character less arbitrary and more believeable.

I do not think it reflects poorly or belittle Lex if he got a lot of his death rays from Krypton; it requires an extraordinary amount of mental adaptability to jerry rig a Kryptonian Earthquake Prevention System into an Earthquake Causing System.
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« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2006, 02:48:40 AM »

Quote
Lex Luthor's Tech Source: Krypton ('80s SUPERBOY show)

What specific episode or episodes was this shown? What were the circumstances in which Lex acquired Kryptonian Tech?
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