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Author Topic: Viewpoint: A Generational Perspective on the Iron Age Superman...  (Read 26883 times)
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Superman Emergency Squad
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This Ain't No Sippin' Tea

« Reply #32 on: November 30, 2006, 07:08:06 PM »

And you kind of have to wonder if that Superman The Secret Years did so well based on the fact that Frank Miller did the cover.

I also suspect that the DC Comics Presents sold better than the rest of the regular Superman books because of Ambush Bug.

Though now I see why World's Finest was cancelled.  Jeez.

"I now own well over 13,000 comic books.  Most people would call this a hobby.  I prefer to call it was it actually is; a hopeless addiction." -MRB
Council of Wisdom
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« Reply #33 on: January 03, 2007, 09:59:03 AM »

The more I think about it, the more wrong this entire point becomes.

Generation Y cannot be responsible for the current Superman because Superman under Johns and Kurt Busiek is cool, whereas Generation Y is the least cool generation in human history. One would have to look back to the cheroot-puffing, Irving Berlin-listening doughboys of the 1910's to find a less cool generation. Generation Y combines the authoritarianism and brick-wall denseness of the "Great Santini/Archie Bunker" generation with the unbelievable consumerist selfishness of the 1970s-plus "Me" generation.

I will concede that the terminally uncool MySpace generation may have had one effect on Superman: no other generation would have tolerated a married Superman. Even Len Wein and Maggin suggested ever so subtly that Superman knocked boots with Lois and Lana outside the bonds of Holy Matrimony. Maggin even wanted to get rid of Lois altogether and have Big Blue run around with space babes.

This line made me realize where all this is coming from:

Quote from: Gangbuster Thorul
At this time, an older friend of mine began recommending comics for me to read- "new classics" if you will. I found that I absolutely hated everything he recommended to me, from Watchmen, Sin City, Dark Knight Returns, you name it. Until he bought me a copy of "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?" and then I knew that Superman was at one time optimistic, creative, and fun.

Generation X's great discovery, the one that made stars all over again out of losers like Gary Coleman, the two Coreys, Shatner, and Hasselhoff, was ironic appreciation.

That is, being able to appreciate something because of its unintentional awfulness, like, say, the Superbowl Shuffle, American Gladiators, or Dustin "Screech" Diamond's low-selling album, SCREECH: GOTSTA GIT FUNKY.

Generation Y, however, has grown up with irony and ironic appreciation to the point of immersion. Is it possible that Generation Y has so thoroughly internalized irony, that they just aren't able to tell the difference between honest appreciation and ironic appreciation?

Is it REALLY that Generation Y is less cynical that Generation X, or is it that Generation Y just doesn't get the joke?

You didn't like DARK KNIGHT RETURNS and WATCHMEN. This I can understand. DKR is a great miniseries, but it really requires a lot of its context to understand completely. And WATCHMEN is nowhere near Moore's best stuff. Its main mystery is tangental to the plot, it has dozens of annoying subplots that don't go anywhere.

If it was up to me, I'd replace WATCHMEN and DKR's hallowed, untouchable place in comics lore with the Englehart DETECTIVE and AVENGERS runs, anything written by Alan Brennert ever, Steve Gerber's DEFENDERS, Busiek's THUNDERBOLTS, and the Jim Shooter/Curt Swan ADVENTURE COMICS with Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes.

But going back to the main point...what does all this have to do with Gen Y having internalized irony? Alan Moore's Superman stuff is fantastic and is rightfully well-remembered. However, you need irony, at some level, to appreciate the Kryptonite Man, those absurd Flash Gordon fins on the Legion of Super-Villains, and Jimmy Olsen and Lana Lang getting powers (along with outfits that make them look like an Australian's Nightmare).

Lots of people enjoy DKR and WATCHMEN for many reasons, but ironic appreciation is not among them. On the other hand, Moore and his Superman downright thrives on it at some level. He played the death of Krypto straight, sure, but even if Lana Lang's final fate was tragic, at the same isn't able to surmount the entirely ridiculous plot point of her getting powers just like back in LOIS LANE. For comparison...even if you tell a tragic, serious tale of Steve Urkel's clone being kiled in a transformation chamber accident, you still can't surmount the triple whammy of 1) Urkel, 2) cloning, and 3) transformation chamber hijinks.

I don't in any way mean to disparage your enjoyment of an excellent miniseries, or of classic sixties Superman. I am, however, pointing out that the juxtaposition of this with works like DKR is significant.

So, in conclusion, I ask:

Wat'chu talkin 'bout, Gangbuster?

"Wait, a startling new development, Black Goliath has ripped Stilt-Man's leg off, and appears to be beating him with it!"
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Superman Squad
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« Reply #34 on: January 03, 2007, 01:16:50 PM »

I do thank my forebears for irony. "My So-Called Life," Nirvana's "Live! Tonight! Sold Out!," and the music and tv shows of the early 90s all reflect a sense of ironic humor. But what you call an ironic appreciation for awfulness, I call making fun of awfulness. People appreciate Gary Coleman's work... as a form of humor. Gary Coleman is unlike Lou Reed, David Bowie, or Adam West, who depended on people's sense of irony in their art. Gary Coleman is ironic by mistake, and therefore funny. As another example, nobody rushes out to buy Eddie Murphy's new remix of "My Girl Wants to Party all the Time" but people talk about it because it's the Superbowl Shuffle.

By the way... I looked it up and apparently I am a hybrid, of Generation XY, or the MTV Generation. Therefore, when it benefits me I can disown anyone I want, from Paris Hilton and Lindsey Lohan, to Tommy Lee and Dee Snider.  Smiley
« Last Edit: January 03, 2007, 09:04:15 PM by Gangbuster » Logged

"Trying to capture my wife, eh? That makes me SUPER-MAD!"

-"Superman", 1960

« Reply #35 on: January 06, 2007, 04:56:07 PM »

Sorry, but you totally lost me on the Bowie thing. Did you hear "Heathen"? See "The Prestige"? Gone to see him live lately?

HOWEVER...the general attitude to Byrne at the present time is that Johnny Redbeard joins the company of Peter Bogdanovich, David Bowie, and George Lucas as someone that was great back in the day, but whose creative instincts have since died.

« Last Edit: January 06, 2007, 05:06:34 PM by BrianK » Logged
Supermanica Council
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« Reply #36 on: January 08, 2007, 03:35:35 AM »

Since this thread was bumped, I finally got around to reading the last few posts in it.  My conclusion?  I missed a classic Julian Perez essay on Gen Y and irony.  It goes into my "favourite funny Julian posts ever!" file.

Maybe as an old person I just like to see something that in some way takes a shot at validating my own "what's wrong with these kids today?" pessimism.

And classic Bowie (say pre-1986), like classic Superman, is and was appreciable using some sense of irony.  Iron Age Bowie just plain stinks and now form of ironic rehabilitation can change that.


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Supermen of America
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« Reply #37 on: March 15, 2011, 12:23:54 AM »

The one name I really don't see thrown into the mix too much is Marv Wolfman.  A lot of people seem to forget that he was the one responsible for changing Luthor into the tycoon (or as some called him the Kingpin rip off) basedis problems with how Luthor had been presented.  John Byrne agreed with the concept and the two together mapped out the new Superman. 

Byrne wasn't alone, you should have heard of the ideas that were rejected!

We speak of the Big Bad Wolf every once and a while. Man was he a bad writer and to make matters worst there was a time when it seem like he was writing every book at DC! So wonder sales were so bad!

Bryne is a non-Superman because he is a non-Superman, and this would be true if he had never written a Superman comic.

Sorry but Wolvman is far from being a bad writer, his run on Teen Titans proves this plus his Bronze Age revamp of Braniac was well done.

I would say his best Post-Crisis Superman story is the Gangwar arc, which is a really good story plus Jerry Ordway's Perry White is my favorite character design of the character.

No matter how many reboots, new origins, reinterpretations or suit redesigns. In the end, he will always be SUPERMAN
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