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Author Topic: Is there such a thing as a fool proof character?  (Read 8532 times)
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« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2007, 01:45:04 PM »

Supermonkey says:

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Therefore, we are all really fans of writers and artists rather than Characters, more so than we might be willing to admit.

I have to disagree.  I stuck with Superman through a lot of periods, good and bad, and a lot of creators, talented and otherwise.  I have a place on my video shelf for George Reeves, Kirk Alyn, Christopher Reeve and Brandon Routh, even though they're all different and some are definitely better than others.  But if it's Superman, I'm pretty much there.

I would argue that some characters have tremendous appeal regardless of how badly they've been handled at various points in history.  In that documentary last year, Bryan Singer said something to the effect that Superman is powerful enough to survive his own history.  I probably mangled that, but you get the gist; Superman's history is full of mediocre stories, cheesy films, so-so artwork, pathetic animation and other limitations that would have KILLED a character with less charm or resonance.  But Superman is bigger than the sum of his parts.

I believe Superman, like James Bond, Sherlock Holmes, Star Trek and a handful of other concepts, has a tremendous potential that keeps us coming back even if that potential is seldom realized.  We all have a mental image of our ideal Bond movie that does not quite match any Bond movie that was actually lensed.  And we all have our own image of Superman that's cobbled together from a little of this, a little of that from various periods, with all the stuff we don't like left out.

Trust me, I know about being a fan of writers and artists.  I could never read Thor unless Walt Simonson was doing it, I never cared for Daredevil except under Frank Miller and all post-Ditko Spider-Man bores me silly.  But Superman is bigger than writers and artists, because when you get down to it, the ones who got it right are far fewer than the ones who didn't, and yet we hang around.

On the other hand, the Iron Age Superman was mucked up enough to make me quite reading, so maybe you're right...no character's fool proof -- or maybe that should be idiot-proof -- in terms of thriving under any creator no matter what.  But so far no fool has been able to destroy Superman's basic appeal, whereas comics are full of characters who only came alive once and briefly.

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« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2007, 12:05:16 AM »

Trust me, I know about being a fan of writers and artists.  I could never read Thor unless Walt Simonson was doing it, I never cared for Daredevil except under Frank Miller and all post-Ditko Spider-Man bores me silly.  But Superman is bigger than writers and artists, because when you get down to it, the ones who got it right are far fewer than the ones who didn't, and yet we hang around.

I agree on those points, however...

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On the other hand, the Iron Age Superman was mucked up enough to make me quite reading, so maybe you're right...no character's fool proof -- or maybe that should be idiot-proof -- in terms of thriving under any creator no matter what.  But so far no fool has been able to destroy Superman's basic appeal, whereas comics are full of characters who only came alive once and briefly.

Seriously, due to how bad the post 1986 and 1990's Superman comics were, I couldn't just tell people I was a Superman fan, I had to say it with a speech about how I only liked pre-crisis comics. There were some people that only knew the Iron Age Superman and therefore, HATED Superman!!! They thought I was crazy for being a Superman fan, so I had to keep explaining myself. Thank Rao I found this site or I would had gone wacky Wink Finally other people who got it! Actually, I showed those friends some of those old great Superman cartoons, and my friends FINALLY got it. I tried reading those Iron Age stories, the more I read, the more I hated myself for wasting money on them, and I quit. I completely stop reading Superman. Same as you. So if some of the biggest Superman geeks and nerds Tongue could stop reading Superman, then he can not be fool-proof.



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« Reply #10 on: January 09, 2007, 03:14:11 AM »

When Jerry and Joe made Superman, they created the formula for Coca-Cola.

In its crudest most rudimentary state.  Like Cokem, it wasa Supernan powered by cocaine - figuratively - a raw, violent, vigilante who couldn't even fly.

When one considers what they brought to DC before other writers, editors and artists got involved how close was THAT concept to the Superman we know today?

Unfortunately, it's a collaborative process in an industry like any other industry - film, shoe making, etc -- and things get shaped those doing the shaping. 

These creations bear not only the fingerprints of not only the initial creators but those additional talents (or non talents) along the way.  And then add in the mix elements from other media and a constant reshaping of the myth, one asks:  is it the singer or the song.

It's both.  And a lousy singer can't make a good sonmg sound great.  Nor can a gifted voice save a lousy tune.
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