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Author Topic: Proof that Golden Age Superman = Silver Age Superman  (Read 12321 times)
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Super Monkey
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« on: September 01, 2006, 11:58:38 PM »

Today it seems that many people think that the Golden Age Superman is a totally different person from the Silver Age Superman, this is due to Superman writers in the 1960's picking and choosing what was canonical and what was not at their own accord and they fact that Superman's origin and power details and life details keep getting added to and sometimes subtracted from countless times over the years. Add to this the introduction of the Earth-2 Superman and that pretty much steals it for many people that these two are different beings.

However, that doesn't make it so, for the reason we must look at the comics and how they treated Superman. In the famous Hyper-Man story from Action Comics No. 265, Superman muses : "Hyper-Man dove underwater! His fortress us a plastic dome built on the sea bottom, instead of in the Arctic like mine! But, I had an undersea Fortress once, too!"

EDITOR'S NOTE! See Action Comics No. 44 for the story where Superman's fortress of solitude existed under the ocean!

That issue was from January 1942!

Case close.

 Cheesy


Side note: that's one mean editor, how could some poor kid get that comic to reference it?!? There weren't any comic book shops back then that I know of.
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MatterEaterLad
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« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2006, 01:05:38 AM »

Cool  Good spot there...
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Johnny Nevada
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« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2006, 04:05:12 AM »

>>However, that doesn't make it so, for the reason we must look at the comics and how they threated Superman.

Well, guess Byrne's books threated Superman pretty well (and "Infinite Crisis" certainly threated the Earth-2 Superman/various aspects of good taste)... :-)

The Earth-2 Superman was created/introduced in 1969 (for that year's annual JLA-JSA throwdown,  which that year involved the teams fighting the rogue star-creature Aquarius)... thus, I gather the assumption before that point was that 1938 Superman was the same as the then-present-day Superman.

Re: the undersea fortress reference: did they ever reprint (in an 80-page giant/etc.) the 1940's story in reference?
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« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2006, 04:25:53 AM »

Quote from: "Johnny Nevada"

The Earth-2 Superman was created/introduced in 1969 (for that year's annual JLA-JSA throwdown,  which that year involved the teams fighting the rogue star-creature Aquarius)... thus, I gather the assumption before that point was that 1938 Superman was the same as the then-present-day Superman.


Actually, I think that the assumption introduced 'round about then was that the Golden Age Superman and the Earth-2 Superman were different rather than the logical assumption that Earth-2 Superman was the Golden Age Superman -- to me, a needless complication for the sake of a bunch of later Superman Family stories that could easily have taken place in the Golden Age...they weren't that great stories anyways... Cool
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Super Monkey
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« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2006, 06:00:09 AM »

Quote from: "Johnny Nevada"
>>However, that doesn't make it so, for the reason we must look at the comics and how they threated Superman.

Well, guess Byrne's books threated Superman pretty well (and "Infinite Crisis" certainly threated the Earth-2 Superman/various aspects of good taste)... :-)


I serious need to turn off auto-spell check, since all this parapraxia is making me look bad. :hit:

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Re: the undersea fortress reference: did they ever reprint (in an 80-page giant/etc.) the 1940's story in reference?


As far as I know, it wasn't until the Archives that it was finally reprinted. :shock:
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JulianPerez
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« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2006, 02:11:43 PM »

No, there definitely is a break point between Silver and Golden Ages for Superman.

The explanation for why some events that happened in the Golden Age are the "true past" of the very different Silver Age Superman is that occasionally some Golden Age stories took place with Silver Age Superman, and others did not (though not necessarily under the same set of circumstances). An example would be how BOTH Golden Age and Silver Age Batmans at one point fought Doctor Hugo Strange in what presumably were identical circumstances.

Let me explain.

Like with Batman, some Golden Age events may actually have happened on Earth-1 as well, just as there is a Batwoman on both Earth-1 and Earth-2, however, it may be possible that the "specifics" of a story varied on either earth. In other words, there may have been occasions where parallel versions of Superman had parallel adventures.

The much more complicated explanation for how to read Superman is that the comics occasionally toggle between Earth-1 and Earth-2; some stories that appeared chronologically in the Golden Age, "in fact," were "previews" or "windows" into Earth-1. For instance, some say the first TRUE appearance of Earth-1 was the first appearance of Superboy, and that was all the way back in the 1940s. Another example would be how there was a special in the 1980s about Superman's Fortress of Solitude that used a lot of Golden Age history, including the underwater fortress, written by (who else?) Roy Thomas. This story was quite clearly set on Earth-1, which implies that some Golden Age stories are "true" of the Earth-1 Superman (though obviously not others).

But you do raise an interesting point. There was much more of a continuous continuity between the Silver and Golden Age, and here I use continuity in the original sense of the term, as in "unbroken."

However, it's arguable that the reason that such a break as between Golden Age/Silver Age was possible, was because Superman gradually became a very different animal with a very different personality. Golden Age Superman was a tough guy, Dirty Harry with a cape who liked to play rough, a beefy macho-man who was supersmart, but not "intellectual." It's hard to really identify exactly where he started to become the cosmic, brainy, alien-in-exile, however, some defining moments would have to be the first appearance of the "real" Fortress of Solitude (NOT the various Earth-2 prototypes) and all the attending love of Krypton and loneliness it implied. I agree with those that place the first appearance of the Earth-1 Superman as being the first appearance of the Fortress, because the presence of the Fortress was the first sign of the elements that defined his Silver Age characterization: desire to withdraw, his intellectual inclinations, and pride in special alien heritage.

Another break point would be the first fight scene Superman ever had where he doesn't throw a single punch, one of the Golden Age Superman's favorite pastimes, but something Silver Age Supes would never, ever do. If Silver Age Superman ever actually threw a punch anywhere, I think I would have a heart attack.

This is why it makes perfect sense that Power Girl would be so brassy and tough, but Supergirl, at least in the 1960s, was bubbly and outgoing: any girl raised by a guy as hardcore as Earth-2 Superman was going to be a ball-buster for sure.

Incidentally, if Superman's Golden Age and Silver Age are hard to break, ohhhh brother, just WAIT 'till you have a look at Batman! The most commonly given "first appearance" of the Earth-1 Batman is the issue where the yellow oval is introduced, with the clear implication being that Earth-1 Batman never used anything else. This is the date that WHO'S WHO gives, which is one of many reasons why ultimately WHO'S WHO is not an effective reference source. The clear implication is that E-1 Batman "always" had a yellow oval. However, Batman's appearances with the Justice League are clearly on Earth-1, BUT, there, Batman's symbol is sans-oval.
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« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2006, 06:10:55 PM »

ACTION 265 was published about a year before the FLASH story that introduced the concept of multiple Earths, and before the idea of "The Silver Age" had been coined by fans.  They didn't make that kind of distinction back then.

The idea that the Superman comics at some point switched over to telling stories of a different world's Superman was only decided and established in retrospect.

However, even well after that sort of thing had been decided, there were occasional references to Golden Age stories as part of an Earth-One character's continuity.  When Steve Englehart wrote DETECTIVE COMICS, he brought back Hugo Strange, who hadn't been seen since three stories in 1940, and treated those adventures as part of Batman's early history.  He also brought back Floyd Lawton, aka Deadshot, who'd appeared once, in 1950, in a story that the comic treated as if it was part of the Earth-One Batman's history.

The continuity-hound explanation for this is that both the Earth-One and Earth-Two Batmen had adventures where they ran afoul of Hugo Strange and Deadshot.  And presumably, both the Earth-One and Earth-Two Superman had similar adventures involving an underwater fortress.

kdb
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« Reply #7 on: September 03, 2006, 06:56:02 PM »

Its hard for me to make a definite break in my mind when the characteristics are "gradually emerging"...like Batman, the so-called "terse, gritty" age of Superman seems to have been much shorter than is usually assumed, and as far as him thinking of himself as alone or thinking more of his heritage, I can't really call that an "age" or a "different person" anymore than Lois Lane becoming less of a hard-nosed reporter, to being more interested in Superman as a husband, to becoming more interested in what's going on in the slums of Metropolis marks anything more than a transition in new writer's desires to tell stories over time.
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