superman.nuMary Immaculate of Lourdes NewtonTomorrow's Lesson!Holliston School Committeefacebook    
  •   forum   •   COUNTDOWN TO MIRACLE MONDAY: "THE SPECIAL REPORT!" •   fortress   •  
Superman Through the Ages! Forum
News: Superman Through the Ages! now located at theAges.superman.nu
 
*
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?
April 15, 2024, 01:14:44 AM


Login with username, password and session length


Pages: [1] 2 3 4 5   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: In defense of the Super-Marriage  (Read 19662 times)
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
JulianPerez
Council of Wisdom
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 1168



« on: January 03, 2007, 10:30:38 AM »

I must say, the warmth and purpose that Busiek and Johns have given to the Super-Marriage has made me change my mind about the whole topic. Previously, I denounced it as being the worst excess of the 1990s gimmicky, event-centered mentality, a love predicated on a failure of the imagination and a misunderstanding of who Superman is.

But I like the Super-Marriage, for no other reason than the fact Busiek and Johns aren't giving in to the traps that have plagued the Super-Marriage by bonehead writers, such as Lois suspecting infidelity (of SUPERMAN, of all people) or coming off as whiny demanding Superman spend more time with her.

1) It's a logical step in the evolution of heroic characters, once it's established they have a main squeeze, to get married. It's practically a heroic tradition, and it precedes crass gimmickry like Mulder and Scully kissing bec ause its "Sweeps Week." Tarzan got married and had a son, for instance. All of the best Scarlet Pimpernels have him married. John Carter of Mars had tons of kids hatching from eggs. Hell, even the Sons of Hercules got their own movies with Mark Forest and MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE's local meathead, Peter Lupus. Heroes get married all the time, and it doesn't affect their ability to be heroes, or even their general stories, except for the fact that they don't have to do a story about meeting and falling in love anymore. Only in Supercomics is marriage associated with inertia and emasculation, and even in comics, Reed and Sue, and Aquaman and Mera have pretty much had their identity been built around being a married couple.


2) It would be a wonderful step away from "DC-inertia." I hesitate to say this on a board for a DC hero like Superman, but one of the greatest weaknesses of DC's superheroic characters, and one of the differences between DC heroes and Marvel heroes, is that...well, let me put it this way: when John Byrne announced he wanted in his AWC run, to have the Scarlet Witch rejoin the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, because that's who she was in her first appearance, the entire world denounced that characterization as regressive for the sake of regression, and wildly implausible. Wanda was, because of events since then, a confident woman, not the unsure, easily dominated girl she was when Magneto knew her.

On the other hand...when DC fans say something like, "how can we save this book and return this title to former glory," I can't help but shake the idea what they really MEAN is, "how can we get things back to the way they were?"

Thus, you have "DC-inertia." It's seen as a "problem" that has to be "fixed," if Superman gets married, or if Supergirl is allowed to age past 16. Which is a really ugly way of thinking.


3) Undoing the Marriage would, at this point, after all this time, be unbelievably lame. After all the effort and stories with the Super-Marriage, undoing it would be turning back the clock in a really inappropriate way, EVEN IF the writers could think of a way to do it that would be satisfying. Tom Brevoort refused to give Mary Jane a miscarriage because he did not want to go down in history as the guy that killed Spider-Man's baby. Imagine the poor writer that has to give Superman divorce papers! Even if they did find a way to break the marriage up that makes sense and leaves no bitter aftertaste (as Tom Peyer did in his unused SUPERMAN 2001 proposal) with all the work done with it up to this point, getting rid of it would feel like regression for the sake of regression.

To quote Martin Pasko, "It's there. Use it."
Logged

"Wait, folks...in a startling new development, Black Goliath has ripped Stilt-Man's leg off, and appears to be beating him with it!"
       - Reporter, Champions #15 (1978)
Super Monkey
Super
League of Supermen
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 3435



WWW
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2007, 11:24:11 AM »

Didn't you just write think right before starting this thread?  Tongue


Quote
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.

http://superman.nu/smf/index.php?topic=3152.msg25062;topicseen#new
Logged

"I loved Super-Monkey; always wanted to do something with him but it never happened."
- Elliot S! Maggin
Uncle Mxy
Superman Squad
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 809



« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2007, 12:53:35 PM »

Are you talking Superman 2000, or was there a separate Superman 2001?

I thought that there was some controversy over the Superman 2000 idea of marriage -- having it be something in the past that only Superman remembers (with Brainiac being the super-kiss of forgetfulness), but Morrison wanting to do more with it?

Logged
Aldous
Superman Squad
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 843


Downunder


« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2007, 08:21:32 AM »

Julian - Reed Richards and Aquaman are hardly in the same class as Superman.

"Inertia" is not a characteristic exclusive to DC's comics.

And even The Phantom went downhill as an adventure character once he married Diana. By adding marriage, something else is lost: the hero's edge, the adventure element... The possibilities are greatly reduced. What kinds of personal conflicts are left? You get Superman bickering with his wife, or his wife nagging him that they never go out anymore. Or Superman starts casting a secret super-eye over the other women in the office. It all just makes Superman look small, and he should be the big gun in comics.

Superman is special. His powers give him some immunity to feminine wiles. In the great "Who Took The Super Out Of Superman" -- as I recall -- he found himself attracted to one of the Marigold twins only after he had become a normal man. (Or, if not his powers, his enormous sense of responsibility is what stops him relaxing his resolve enough to marry.) He has bigger fish to fry than keeping a wife.
Logged
Uncle Mxy
Superman Squad
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 809



« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2007, 10:13:30 AM »

Quote
He has bigger fish to fry than keeping a wife.
Does this include perpetuating an elaborate hoax of a secret identity, and doing lots of things to try and maintain a job at the Daily Planet because somehow that grants him access to lots of information he couldn't readily  obtain otherwise?  That is where the "bigger fish" thing falls apart. 

One idea here that I've rarely seen is of Clark taking a wife as a means of better hiding his secret identity.  Rather than every lame excuse centering around him, his wife could be why he has to suddenly run off.  She could be a robot, or someone like Lori Lemaris who knows his identity but doesn't have the legs to make the relationship work, when she needs to be shown at all (e.g. Niles Crane's first wife Maris from Frazier).  Clark can have a reasonably full life, but avoid pesky romantic entanglement by wearing a wedding ring, wheeling a woman in a wheelchair around, etc.

If not a wife, what about a cousin...  perhaps one who likes to fly.  "We have to stick together because we're both orphans, the last of our line.  Sorry if I'm a little obsessed about trying to give my only remaining kin a good life, Perry."  Oh wait...  obviously she belongs in an orphanage, all the better for Clark to do what, exactly?
« Last Edit: January 04, 2007, 10:23:47 AM by Uncle Mxy » Logged
JulianPerez
Council of Wisdom
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 1168



« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2007, 05:44:43 PM »

Quote from: Uncle Mxy
Are you talking Superman 2000, or was there a separate Superman 2001?

I thought that there was some controversy over the Superman 2000 idea of marriage -- having it be something in the past that only Superman remembers (with Brainiac being the super-kiss of forgetfulness), but Morrison wanting to do more with it?

I have very vague memories of this proposal, but what I'm talking about is the Superman semi-reboot idea that was shot down and not used, put together jointly by Tom Peyer, Mark Waid, Morrison, and some other guy. The unused proposal had an instant way out of the Super-Marriage: Lois Lane dies. Superman asks Mxyzptlk to bring Lois Lane back to life, and Mxyzptlk does so...on the condition that everybody in the world, including Lois, would forget Clark Kent and Lois Lane were ever married. But Superman would still remember.

It was an interesting, intelligent way to get out of the Super-Marriage, while at the same time "using" the fact the marriage happened to give Superman a new characterization.

At the same time, my point was that even if the marriage could be undone in an interesting manner, it would not be desirable at this point.

Quote from: Aldous
Superman is special. His powers give him some immunity to feminine wiles.

There have been stories that show Superman is certainly vulnerable to women. Superman was willing to give up being Superman for Lori Lemaris and for Lyla Lerrol, for instance. And all through the seventies there were hints dropped by Len Wein and others that Superman and his relationship with Lois and Lana had a sexual/physical dimension.

Quote from: Aldous
In the great "Who Took The Super Out Of Superman" -- as I recall -- he found himself attracted to one of the Marigold twins only after he had become a normal man.

I interpreted this as some of the elements that make Superman or Clark Kent start to slip into the other identity, so you get a ballsier Clark and a far less "workaholic" Superman.

Quote from: Aldous
(Or, if not his powers, his enormous sense of responsibility is what stops him relaxing his resolve enough to marry.)

Having huge responsibilities is made bearable by a significant other. The Chinese Premier once said in a TIME magazine interview, that if not for his wife he wouldn't be able to sleep nights.

This is the Doc Savage justification: "I have too many enemies and too many responsibilities to possibly have a wife."

Other characters have used it, too, including Superman, but the only character it ever really worked for is Doc Savage himself, and that's because Doc is remote and emotionless (and a bit inhuman) enough that it's possible to see Doc give up women entirely.

I would agree with you, that Superman's responsibilities would keep him from being interested in women, if we went by the Steve Englehart characterization in his JLA and issue of DC COMICS PRESENTS, where Superman is very explicitly an alien and an extraterrestrial - in other words, when he is most like Doc Savage.

As written by Maggin and others, though, this justification isn't terribly strong, because Superman has a level of humanity about him. For instance, witness the way Maggin had Superman get jealous when the slick, good looking Green Arrow was "making time" with Lois Lane in "The Junkman Cometh."

Alan Moore never thought much of this justification. There was one hilarious interaction in his SUPREME:

SUPREME: Well, I thought because of, ah, who I am, we could never be together.

GIRLFRIEND: What, are you anatomically abnormal in some way?

Quote from: Aldous
Julian - Reed Richards and Aquaman are hardly in the same class as Superman.

Of course. What I meant to point out was that being a superhero and being married, are two things that are not incompatible. More importantly, though, a superhero being married in the long term can have longevity. It can WORK.

Quote from: Aldous
"Inertia" is not a characteristic exclusive to DC's comics.

True. I want to strangle every peabrain that says Spider-Man "has to stay a teenager," for instance. And DC has made some great steps, especially with less than flagship characters, for organic character growth beyond the original concept: Dick Grayson becoming an adult with his own identity comes to mind.

In DC though, the more of a "flagship" character you are, the more calcified everything gets.

Thor for instance, had a relationship with Jane Foster all through the sixties. However, it ultimately just didn't work out and people can accept a Thor book without Jane Foster...all this despite the fact that Thor tried to move Heaven and Earth for Jane and make her immortal.

On the other hand, one of the first things the recent GL writer, Geoff Johns did, was bring in Hal's sixties girlfriend, Carol Ferris, and rekindle their relationship, despite the fact that since then

This example is not perfect, because there are many differences between Carol and Jane, naturally...but one way the example works is that both are girlfriends the hero had back in the sixties, because it's required by Natural Law that the hero have a girl. Carol Ferris was your Lois Lane/Iris West type, and if it was at all possible, Jane was even MORE boring, so it isn't because of either Jane or Carol's originality or sex appeal that they were brought back or not brought back. And it is true that both Thor and Jane Foster in the interim have had other girlfriends, indeed, they've had more compatible ones that are more their physical and mental equals (Arisia and Lady Sif).

Yet, Hal Jordan got his sixties gal back recently, and yet Jane hasn't been seen since the sixties when their relationship didn't work out.

Quote from: Aldous
By adding marriage, something else is lost: the hero's edge, the adventure element...

Well, who's to say marriage can't work as an extension of "superhero family-building?" Thus bringing in even more of an adventure element. The single greatest disappointment of SUPERMAN RETURNS was, to quote Roger Ebert, "Superman's son should be brassy and fun, like the Spy Kids."

If Maggin is right and Lois is a Catholic, we're pretty much guaranteed to have Janet-El and Steve-El and Juan-El just WALK out after a little while. Cheesy

You mention the Phantom, and maybe marriage was one of many things that gets him down. But on the other hand, Tarzan's best book after his first one was TARZAN AND THE ANT-MEN, which had Tarzan happily married and with a son. True, his son and Jane were offscreen while Tarzan was fighting the Amazons and Ant-Men, but adventure is compatible with a married hero. It gave Tarzan motivation to escape out of that anthill.

Quote from: Aldous
What kinds of personal conflicts are left? You get Superman bickering with his wife, or his wife nagging him that they never go out anymore. Or Superman starts casting a secret super-eye over the other women in the office. It all just makes Superman look small, and he should be the big gun in comics.

Previously, I agreed with you, mostly because the Super-Marriage HAD been written very much in the manner you describe: used to make Superman look small.

Kurt Busiek has made it a very human kind of love story, which is at the same time strangely domestic, and is one of the most interesting elements of his current run on the book. He, and Geoff Johns, have changed my mind on the subject because they haven't fallen into the emasculating traps that you describe.

Quote from: Uncle Mxy
Does this include perpetuating an elaborate hoax of a secret identity, and doing lots of things to try and maintain a job at the Daily Planet because somehow that grants him access to lots of information he couldn't readily  obtain otherwise?  That is where the "bigger fish" thing falls apart. 

I think what Aldous meant was that Superman is a grandiose hero and he should worry about "big" problems instead of picayune Spider-Man stuff like getting Baby Zack-El his formula that evening. I agree with him, and the marriage is written wrong if its an unending, banal series of domestic problems.

But I think you do have a point: if Superman has time for Clark Kent, he can have time for a marriage too.
Logged

"Wait, folks...in a startling new development, Black Goliath has ripped Stilt-Man's leg off, and appears to be beating him with it!"
       - Reporter, Champions #15 (1978)
Aldous
Superman Squad
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 843


Downunder


« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2007, 03:41:38 AM »

Quote
He has bigger fish to fry than keeping a wife.
Does this include perpetuating an elaborate hoax of a secret identity, and doing lots of things to try and maintain a job at the Daily Planet....

Mxy, Superman's secret identity is not a hoax. I can't emphasise that strongly enough.

Superman is Clark Kent and Clark Kent is Superman.

KENT IS NOT A HOAX!

Is that clear now?
Logged
Super Monkey
Super
League of Supermen
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 3435



WWW
« Reply #7 on: January 05, 2007, 04:13:34 AM »

Quote
He has bigger fish to fry than keeping a wife.
Does this include perpetuating an elaborate hoax of a secret identity, and doing lots of things to try and maintain a job at the Daily Planet....

Mxy, Superman's secret identity is not a hoax. I can't emphasise that strongly enough.

Superman is Clark Kent and Clark Kent is Superman.

KENT IS NOT A HOAX!

Is that clear now?

no! Grin

Actually, Clark Kent is as real as Superman, since that's how he was raise, however the Daily Planet version of Clark Kent is a bit of a put on to be sure. The Clark Kent/Superboy version was a lot closer to his real self, as he didn't ham it up as much as he started to as soon as he moved to the city. Even while in college he was still pretty close to how he acts alone at the Fortress of Solitude. But, if you notice that once he moved to the city, he started to act different, more mild, wimpy and goofy. There is a lot of acting involve. That version is not really him.

Logged

"I loved Super-Monkey; always wanted to do something with him but it never happened."
- Elliot S! Maggin
Pages: [1] 2 3 4 5   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

CURRENT FORUM

Archives: OLD FORUM  -  DCMB  -  KAL-L
Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.21 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines

Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS! Dilber MC Theme by HarzeM
Entrance ·  Origin ·  K-Metal ·  The Living Legend ·  About the Comics ·  Novels ·  Encyclopaedia ·  The Screen ·  Costumes ·  Read Comics Online ·  Trophy Room ·  Creators ·  ES!M ·  Fans ·  Multimedia ·  Community ·  Supply Depot ·  Gift Shop ·  Guest Book ·  Contact & Credits ·  Links ·  Coming Attractions ·  Free E-mail ·  Forum

Superman created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster
The LIVING LEGENDS of SUPERMAN! Adventures of Superman Volume 1!
Return to SUPERMAN THROUGH THE AGES!
The Complete Supply Depot for all your Superman needs!