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Author Topic: Super-Menace  (Read 7438 times)
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Super Monkey
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« Reply #16 on: November 10, 2006, 09:02:20 PM »

Yet alas, there is some evidence that the Super-Menace story in fact, did happen:

Have a look at the pin-up map of "How the Super-Family Came to Earth from Krypton," which was first printed in SUPERMAN #100 (1962), and was reprinted in the Superman Giant Annual and the Superman Sourcebook: it clearly shows the place where the rocket struck the machines that created Super-Menace. So maybe this story happened after all.

Of course it happen! The 1st clue was that it was written by Jerry Siegel! If Siegel isn't considered canon then nothing is.

http://superman.nu/wiki/index.php/Super-Menace
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« Reply #17 on: November 10, 2006, 10:32:51 PM »

Yet alas, there is some evidence that the Super-Menace story in fact, did happen:

Have a look at the pin-up map of "How the Super-Family Came to Earth from Krypton," which was first printed in SUPERMAN #100 (1962), and was reprinted in the Superman Giant Annual and the Superman Sourcebook: it clearly shows the place where the rocket struck the machines that created Super-Menace. So maybe this story happened after all.

Of course it happen! The 1st clue was that it was written by Jerry Siegel! If Siegel isn't considered canon then nothing is.

http://superman.nu/wiki/index.php/Super-Menace

That's right. The story isn't Imaginary, if that's the suggestion.
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MatterEaterLad
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« Reply #18 on: November 10, 2006, 10:42:01 PM »

I actually like the story and of course it happened.  And if once you accept that Superbaby had adventures on his journey, its pretty clever.

Also see:

http://superman.nu/wiki/index.php/Dr._Reese_Kearns
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« Reply #19 on: November 11, 2006, 01:27:18 AM »

I actually like the story and of course it happened.  And if once you accept that Superbaby had adventures on his journey, its pretty clever.

Also see:

http://superman.nu/wiki/index.php/Dr._Reese_Kearns

Ah, there are so many great Superman stories we could discuss. The Dr. Kearns one is a very good comic. I like the atmospheric scene where Superman, at Dr. Kearns' insistence, begins to cast his mind back, digging into the recesses of his memory to find something that may have happened to him en route to Earth from Krypton. This is also one of the best examples I know of those "feel-good" stories the writers of the time did so well -- in this case Edmond Hamilton I believe (?).
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JulianPerez
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« Reply #20 on: November 12, 2006, 10:58:17 AM »

And it isn't possible for Jerry Siegel to have a bad idea in his career, right?

Generally I judge works by a very simple standard: never trust any story you've already seen on an episode of THE BIONIC WOMAN.

Okay, okay, I can see why people would like this story: my heart nearly CRACKED when Super-Menace heard Wolf Derek call him a "freak" and revealed that S-M wasn't really loved at all by his folks. Jerry Siegel was capable of incredible character-centered stories with tragedy and powerful emotions: "Return to Krypton," more than any other story, brought home the tragedy of Krypton's destruction, and it was astonishing to see a cowering Superman bargaining for his life pitifully to Luthor, Brainiac, and the Legion of Super-Villains.

(Strangely, the one Siegel strip one would imagine would have very powerful emotions, Robotman, about a human whose brain is placed inside an inhuman robot, is actually the most upbeat and energetic of all Siegel's creations. For the Love of God, he even had a robot dog sidekick! And who could forget Robotman vs. Rubberman!)

I also dig the idea Super-Menace was in fact an energy duplicate instead of a true clone, which is a rather intriguing idea, though it was woefully unexplored: the only sign he's noncorporeal is that he's immune to Kryptonite, when really he ought to have weirder powers, a la Cary Bates's ERG-1.

Intriguingly, bringing Super-Menace back may actually be the easiest thing in the world if a writer forgets to take their medication that day and decides to do it: Super-Menace at the end disincorporated his energy body. Now, energy can neither be created nor destroyed. This was how they brought back ERG-1 (as Wildfire) and how, in the pages of IRON MAN, they resurrected the original Sunturion. Drake Burroughs reformed himself gradually, whereas Roxxon Oil went to the middle of the Pacific Ocean and re-energized Sunturion.

The Super-Menace story had the deck stacked so thoroughly against it that I can hardly see why anyone ever thought it was ever a good idea at any point, even Siegel himself.

1) "Evil twin" stories are the absolute nadir of the entire Silver Age - the most lazy, overused technique ever. Lex Luthor had his evil twin (Dru-Zod), Supergirl had several (including Lesla Lar, whose best story was as an insane, disembodied energy being in SUPERMAN FAMILY), and Jimmy Olsen had a lookalike double that was a Phantom Zoner, Ak-Var. Going beyond Superman, we have Barry Allen, who has the record of not one but THREE evil lookalikes: a crime lord in a 1970s story, the Reverse Flash, and the whole Mark Waid "Cobalt Blue" business. Shang-Chi, Master of Kung Fu, has a twin brother, and there were two Hank Pyms running around after Busiek/Pacheco's AVENGERS FOREVER.

2) It isn't just that Super-Menace was an evil twin; it's the idea that Super-Menace "always had been" present from "Day One." The idea of a criminal/evil version of a being as powerful as Superman existing in secret for decades and decades, thoroughly tries suspension of disbelief...especially the idea S-M was unknown to Superman, from whom it is not really possible to keep from any secrets.

Elliot Maggin devoted so much effort in his Superman novels to show what a colossal, unprecidented impact on global pop culture Superman had, how thousands of people went into service jobs because of Superman's inspiration, and so on.

Siegel just didn't explore the terrifying and staggering implications of what it would be like to have a Superman dedicated to crime on the loose for years and years - and one that is immune to Kryptonite, no less! This is why I enjoyed SUPERMAN II and the Gerber PHANTOM ZONE miniseries: they didn't pull punches and explored what malignant beings with Superman's powers rampaging over earth would be LIKE, and didn't wuss out of the implications.

In a nutshell: at this late point in the game, asking us to accept something as important as a Superman duplicate that has existed since Superman arrived on earth, yet has remained unknown...is really insulting the intelligence of the reader.

And the "Lone Ranger" mask looked pretty lousy, too. Give me Mummy bandages anyday - at least then there'd be a PRISONER-esque "reveal" moment.

Quote from: Aldous
Ah, there are so many great Superman stories we could discuss. The Dr. Kearns one is a very good comic. I like the atmospheric scene where Superman, at Dr. Kearns' insistence, begins to cast his mind back, digging into the recesses of his memory to find something that may have happened to him en route to Earth from Krypton. This is also one of the best examples I know of those "feel-good" stories the writers of the time did so well -- in this case Edmond Hamilton I believe (?).

I always found the idea of the Kryptonian Memory Chair intriguing, both as a gadget itself and as a frame story for telling Superbaby and World of Krypton tales. Besides the obvious jokes about Superman remembering breastfeeding (which would warp anybody) the Chair has potential use in present-day stories: Superman reconstructs memories of something that happens, but the details are incomplete...creating a mystery story where he has to piece together the facts.

Many of the Bronze Age writers - including Martin Pasko - did not like the Memory Chair because they felt that it would be more tragic to have Superman not remember Krypton all that well: he felt the tragedy all the more because he can barely remember his mother and father, and so on.

Quote from: Aldous
That's right. The story isn't Imaginary, if that's the suggestion.

What I meant was, there's a specific category of Superman stories that put such a profound, deep twist on the straightforward origin of Superman, that everyone decides to have collective amnesia and never mention the story again. This is what is done with stories like (for instance) Black Zero destroying Krypton or that story that had Jor-El and Lara survive. A nickname for this kind of story is a "Mopee," and you know it when you see it: for instance, a magical elf gave the Flash his superspeed.

Is the Super-Menace story a "Mopee?" I suspect it is, because it fits two the two major qualifications for Mopee-hood: a shocking origin-recontextualizing revelation about something that was there "all along," and which was quietly dropped and never mentioned afterward (though not entirely, as the map indicates).
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« Reply #21 on: November 13, 2006, 07:18:23 AM »

JulianPerez:
Quote
I also dig the idea Super-Menace was in fact an energy duplicate instead of a true clone, which is a rather intriguing idea, though it was woefully unexplored: the only sign he's noncorporeal is that he's immune to Kryptonite, when really he ought to have weirder powers, a la Cary Bates's ERG-1.

The "weird" powers an energy being might have is not at all what the writer is exploring. He is exploring something else entirely. If you want to read about ERG-1 or Sunturion, then surely you would read those particular comics? It is important that the energy duplicate of Superman in this story has Superman's powers and not ERG-1's or anyone else's.

Quote
1) "Evil twin" stories are the absolute nadir of the entire Silver Age - the most lazy, overused technique ever.

On the contrary, this is not a "lazy" script and the writer has used the idea of a "twin" to present a series of ideas about Superman and his upbringing. You have concentrated on the tools so much, you may have missed what has been built.

Quote
2) It isn't just that Super-Menace was an evil twin; it's the idea that Super-Menace "always had been" present from "Day One." The idea of a criminal/evil version of a being as powerful as Superman existing in secret for decades and decades, thoroughly tries suspension of disbelief...

You mean a flying man who is invulnerable doesn't try suspension of disbelief? This is a children's comic about a person who couldn't ever possibly exist in the first place. And again, you're missing what Siegel is saying because you want to pick to pieces the way he is saying it.

Quote
Elliot Maggin devoted so much effort in his Superman novels to show what a colossal, unprecidented impact on global pop culture Superman had, how thousands of people went into service jobs because of Superman's inspiration, and so on.

Siegel just didn't explore the terrifying and staggering implications of what it would be like to have a Superman dedicated to crime on the loose for years and years - and one that is immune to Kryptonite, no less! This is why I enjoyed SUPERMAN II and the Gerber PHANTOM ZONE miniseries: they didn't pull punches and explored what malignant beings with Superman's powers rampaging over earth would be LIKE, and didn't wuss out of the implications.

If you want those themes explored, and you are telling us they have been explored, then read those particular stories! Siegel has not "failed" and he did not "wuss out". You have set him a purpose for this story, judged him by it, then declared he has failed (accusing him of cowardice in the process). He did not go down the road you are talking about because he never intended to, and you are completely missing what he is exploring.

Quote
...is really insulting the intelligence of the reader.

When I read this comic as a 10-year-old, I assure you I was not insulted. And, reading it again now, I am still not insulted. It is a good story, and a thoughtful story. I suggest a relaxed and light-hearted re-reading to let the themes of this neat little tale emerge for you.

This isn't a comic about a neat new super-villain who "ought" to have all sorts of cool new powers and do this and that... It's actually telling us something about Superman. It's not wholly about Super-Menace at all; not even close.

In that regard, it's not a Mopee (yes, I understand your term). Rather, it's an intriguing story about the nature of Superman and his formative relationships, by his co-creator.

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« Reply #22 on: November 13, 2006, 12:38:38 PM »

Super-Menace was --Is -- an unforgettable character in a great 3-part novel. One of my all time faves.

Wotta creep.
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