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Author Topic: Favorite "fan theory?"  (Read 15702 times)
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MatterEaterLad
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« Reply #16 on: December 06, 2006, 06:16:29 PM »

Despite its cleverness, I never liked it because it made the Superman/Kent situation so dull. It disregards the genuinely intriguing psychology behind the fact that Lois, among others, cannot (or will not) see Superman behind those glasses.

People complain about the lack of "reality" in classic Superman, but one of the most subtle and adult realities in comic's history is that people don't recognize Clark as Superman or the other way around because people are not good at seeing what they aren't looking for.
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nightwing
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« Reply #17 on: December 06, 2006, 06:35:53 PM »

Wow, Al, that was your idea?  Shocked

Just out of curiosity, when you say you're "afraid" it's yours, does that imply you aren't so keen on it anymore?  My opinion's on record, but it'd be interesting to know yours with the benefit of hindsight.

Thanks to this thread and other texts I keep coming across, I'm now learning just how much of DC lore was suggested by fans.  Does anyone else think that would never happen again?  I mean besides the fact that today's typical reader probably isn't capable of a more interesting idea than "Power Girl loses her top," you have to wonder if the threat of litigation wouldn't throw a wet blanket on the whole thing.  Over at my James Bond site, people are forever asking me to forward their movie scripts to the producers, and even if I could (I can't!), the producers would send them back unopened since they're unsolicited.  There's just too much risk that if you use an idea, or even a similar idea, it could come back on you in court.

I just think comic book publishers would run away from suggestions today or if they did accept them, they'd require all kinds of signatures certifying that rights were being waived.

Of course I'm assuming they didn't require all that in the 60s as well.
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JulianPerez
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« Reply #18 on: December 07, 2006, 06:10:54 PM »

Quote from: nightwing
Thanks to this thread and other texts I keep coming across, I'm now learning just how much of DC lore was suggested by fans.  Does anyone else think that would never happen again? 

I do agree, but not for the same reason.

I don't think fans of the current generation are any stupider orsmarter than their predecessors are, at least judging by past and present lettercols. You think leching after female characters openly is a new quirk? You should check out old FF lettercols sometime. Holy Christ! For some reason, they come off as a million times pervier because they're trying to be as polite as possible. "P.S. - Could you tell Jolly Jack to put Sue in more tight Angora sweaters, please?"

The strangest part about all this is that as far as comic femmes go, Sue Storm is really nothing special. I really, really disliked the recent FANTASTIC FOUR movie because of how brainless and cliche it was...but I can't bring myself to dislike the casting of Jessica Alba, something that brought as much righteous fan wrath as a miscasting. My reasoning is that Sue Storm, as presented in the Lee/Kirby comics, was a pre-feminist character, and she just wouldn't fly for a contemporary audience, and the creators would be expected to make the character more palatable in a movie adaptation. The casting of a feisty, firecracker Latina girl is one such response to this problem.

Back to what I was saying...the reason I think there probably won't be any fan input in the near future is because creators no longer value fans. This is a generality, of course, and some creators are genuine class acts (Bob Rozakis and Dan Slott come to mind) but the "feedback culture" that previously existed is no longer present, and creators no longer value the sense of community that things like letters pages and incorporation of fan theories have. This is ironic, because the fan community is at the moment cozier and smaller than it ever was. Letters pages are all but gone from contemporary adventure comics.

Warren Ellis wrote an article about how he felt letters pages were a bad idea because (get this) it kept comics from being more like movies - ignoring the fact comics are at their best when they're being COMICS.

Furthermore, this entire move to distance and remove comics from their community is entirely one-sided and 100% the fault of management and creators. All their fault. Fans still love to get in touch with writers and tell them what they think - I know I for one got a real thrill when Martin Pasko responded to some emails of mine, for instance. However, today, creators get away with reviling or stereotyping fans more than ever before. I strongly feel that Chuck Austen's "nobody wants to touch them naked" comment should have ENDED his career. J. Michael Straczynski especially enjoys using personal attacks against people that just don't like his work.

Quote from: nightwing
you have to wonder if the threat of litigation wouldn't throw a wet blanket on the whole thing. 

Quite right. I don't know the whole story, but I understand there was some pretty nasty shenanigans involved with a fan suing over a character in THUNDERBOLTS, which is why that comic has pretty much never been reprinted. My God, never before have I ever treasured so much my individual issues of anything.

Quote from: nightwing
I just think comic book publishers would run away from suggestions today or if they did accept them, they'd require all kinds of signatures certifying that rights were being waived.

Of course I'm assuming they didn't require all that in the 60s as well.

Yeah, they did. Remember DIAL H FOR HERO? The back of each story contained a sheet for readers to suggest their own characters. It also included a form saying "I agree that my sole compensation for creating a character will be a mention and a T-Shirt."

My favorite part was one issue where they had the H-Dial characters show up. "Hypnotella, Mistress of Mesmerism created by...Jack Roscoe, Chicago, IL, Age 11." Or "Aquarian created by Sidney Mintz, Buffalo, NY, Age 13." One particular superguy had written beside it, "Power-Cat created by Harlan Ellison, Age 42."

Hahahahaha. Incidentally, I barely remember, but the Harlan Ellison character was the LEAST interesting one in that issue.
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alschroeder
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« Reply #19 on: December 07, 2006, 07:42:37 PM »

Wow, Al, that was your idea?  Shocked

Just out of curiosity, when you say you're "afraid" it's yours, does that imply you aren't so keen on it anymore?  My opinion's on record, but it'd be interesting to know yours with the benefit of hindsight.


Oh, no, I actually still think it's a good idea---and much more palatable than no one recognizing Superman with a pair of glasses on, no matter HOW good an actor Supes is. Marty was VERY good to work with, but he made one suggestion to the artist, Curt Swan, which I think was fatal; he suggested they draw Clark with a receding hairline and much uglier than Supes. What I conceived of was sort of like Thor/Don Blake---much skinnier and less well-built, but still basically a handsome, thinner version of Superman. 

The difference is that Clark Kent is who we identify with---so if you make him too ugly, you're basically saying to all the readers, you're ugly too...

Again, I thought it was a good idea, and made good use of a super-power that had been around for years and basically hadn't been used well---super-hypnotism...and by tying it with the Kryptonian glass in the glasses, even made it somewhat plausible. Just make Clark more handsome.

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« Reply #20 on: December 07, 2006, 08:38:29 PM »

Thanks for filling in those details, Al, that's very interesting.

I think you're right that what tipped me over into the "against" camp was the fact that "Clark" was made ugly.  Up until then I just had my skeptical "hmmm..." mindset going, but those pictures put me over the edge.

Up to a point I do like the idea...for instance if the glasses didn't put out any particular alternate image of "Clark," but merely acted as a focusing and intensifying device for Superman's willpower.  He's thinking, "I am not Superman," and everyone else is going, "You are not Superman."  You know, like Ben Kenobi doing his "these are not the droids you're looking for" routine.

The problem with the glasses generating an alternate face for Clark is that it doesn't work within the rules of Superman's world.  As I noted on my site way back, there's no way this gimmick would fool a camera, which has no mind to fog...it's sees what's there, period.  Likewise when Bruce Wayne or JFK or whomever disguises himself as Clark, it should be the "Clark" humans see...prompting Kal-El to ask, "Who the heck are you supposed to be?  I don't look like THAT!"

The bigger issue is that there's a subtext running through the mythos from the days of Jerry and Joe, and that is the notion that Lois Lane must accept and love Clark in order to win Superman, something her superficial nature doesn't allow her to do.  But if the "Clark" she knows is an artifice, an illusion, a mask, then this "test of character" is never quite fair, is it?  So what if she does grow to love Clark?  What she sees doesn't really exist, so she's accomplished nothing.

But again, I do like the idea of the glasses as an aid to hypnosis, or if nothing else just as a device that dulls the inquisitiveness of people around Superman.  In that light, Lois' constant attempts to prove they are the same man would actually be an indication that she's brighter than the average person (instead of dumber, which is how she usually came off)...if her mind can fight a force which so completely fools everyone else, including Luthor, then she must be pretty sharp, right?



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Permanus
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« Reply #21 on: December 08, 2006, 10:14:46 AM »

I still like the idea, but Nightwing is right in the sense that it didn't really work when Clark was an anchorman appearing on national television every night.

Having said that, Superman's form of hypnotism seems to work on television too, since he uses a great big floating TV screen to wake everybody up in that very story, and it is established that an artist working from photographs still perceives Clark as looking quite different from Superman. I don't quite buy that, since the hypnotism involved depends on the Kryptonian lenses; the idea would have worked better when Clark was just an anonymous reporter who stayed out of the limelight.
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MatterEaterLad
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« Reply #22 on: December 08, 2006, 12:56:33 PM »

To me, I think it was a very creative idea, and interesting.

I also think it was a terrible idea... Grin  But hey, its all comics, LOL...
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« Reply #23 on: December 08, 2006, 11:30:10 PM »

All joking around, I think it is super cool that they actually used one of your ideas. I mean I would have that issue framed in my home if I were you! (maybe you do) That said it still was a bad idea, IMHO.  Wink
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