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Author Topic: Hello,Everyone: On The Byrne Krypton Issue and Superman's Cultural Themes  (Read 4397 times)
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Superman Fan
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« on: January 24, 2007, 04:22:40 PM »

Superman is just not meanst to be a post modern 'cynical' character who hates himself, as Byrne portrayed. He is meant to be an uplifting inspiration, not Peter Parker with a cape, a grown up teenager who subconsiously hates and is ashamed of who he really is.

Since Superman was always meant to be a wishfulfilment version of Jerry Siegal himself, I wonder what he thought of Superman Kryptonian heritage(a metaphor for Sigal Jewish ancestry) being thought of as cold and evil.

Krypton is a pretty blatant scifi version of the future Hebrew Paradise 'tikkum olam', where humans evolved toa higher place and lived in utopian harmony. Superman comes from a place that is BETTER and more morally evolved than where we are from, and he is here to show use a better way of being based on helping the oppressed and disenfranchised.

This a basic recurring theme is Jewish culture and literature, from Moses to Samson to David to Elijah to Jesus. Gilgamesh, Hercules,Mithras,and King Arthur are some of his other influences, along with Hugo Danner and Doc Savage.

Superman was always intended to be a modern day reincarnation of the Jewish Moshiach(messiah),sent froma higher plane to save humanity and help us evolve to a higher levelof existence.

That was Superman fundamental theme throughout the Golden Age. the 'ultimate human'. who was the 'savior ofthe oppressed'.

This theme was picked up on and 'Chirstianized' in the silver and Bronze ages, most notable in the Superman Movie and Eliot S! Maggin 'Last Son of Krypton and 'Miracle Monday' novels, before Byrne trashed it for a post mordern pop psychology charcter who is ashamed of his heritage and identity, a complete travestyto those who arefascinated with Superman's cultural MEANING.

As a result, we've had an unconfident man-child imposter for the majority of post crisis continuity. Superman stopped being a MAN and started being a BOY in a certain way, psychologically speaking. He was unsure of himself, hung up on his limitations(which were largely self-imposed due to his weak mindstate), intellectually stangnant and even afraid of technology due to what happened on Byrens false Krypton, etc.

Superman should never be a guy who looks upon his cultural identity as a BAD thing.

Being an analogy for Jewish-American immigration diaspora(as well as Jewish diaspora from bibilcal times to the present an extent), Superman being Ashamed of who is really is should never be what a writer has to resort to in order to create a soap operatic sense of drama and angst. It's fine if he's a teenager, but once he becomes SuperMAN he should be secure and confident with himself. That's what it is to be a balanced adult.

Superman is not Peter Parker.

I'm sorry that some don't understand that.

Grant Morrison certainly, does, and that's why All Star Superman is by far the best Superman storyline in the past 20 years.
Superman Squad
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« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2007, 05:31:12 PM »

Well, Byrne trashed Superboy, so maybe he had to combine the two characters in adult form.  Huh?

As for what Siegel thought, it ticks me off every time I read Byrne say he was going back to "Siegel's original vision" when Siegel's original vision included Superboy, or if you want to be technical about it, a villain with strange mental powers. Obviously, Siegel thought Byrne's Superman represented the end of his character, or he wouldn't have been willing to write the last story (before Alan Moore got the job.)


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

-"Superman", 1960

Great Rao
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« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2007, 06:15:54 PM »

Obviously, Siegel thought Byrne's Superman represented the end of his character, or he wouldn't have been willing to write the last story (before Alan Moore got the job.)

I'd love to have seen Jerry Siegel write Superman's last story.  Too bad about Alan Moore getting in the way like that.

"The bottom line involves choices.  Neither gods nor humans have ever stood calmly in a minefield forever.  Good or evil, they are bound to choose.  And when they do, you will see the truth of all that motivates us.  As a thinking being, you have the obligation to choose.  If the fate of all mankind were in your hands, what would your decision be?  As a writer and an artist, I've drawn my answer."   - Jack Kirby
Last Son of Krypton
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« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2007, 05:45:25 AM »

I can kind of see where some creators are coming from when the put forth the idea of a dystopia Krypton or in the case of the movies a Krypton that has become cold (both literally and figuratively).

But I think the entire has more meaning and more punch for the story if it is a grand and wonderous place and you feel genuinely bad for these people. People who are also in very many ways not that different from us which to me is part of the point. The loss of Krypton should be heartbreaking for both the audience and Superman himself. Honoring and embracing his heritage does not detract from nor demean the Kent's or his humanity in any way. The idea that it does is to me one of the most laughable and pathetic aspects of Byrne's vision. Though it prolly comes from not looking at the idea by itself objectively and simply railing against the influx of Kryptonian beings and such in the Silver and Bronze Ages. Baby and the bathwater.

Krypton counts, Johnny!

Superman Family
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« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2007, 03:46:52 AM »

Well, we are talking about Mr. Byrne, here.  As far as he's concerned, there is only one Superman, his.

"If I print "She was stark naked"--& then proceeded to describe her person in detail, what critic would not howl?--but the artist does this & all ages gather around & look & talk & point." - Mark Twain
Genis Vell
Last Son of Krypton
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« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2007, 03:27:46 PM »

I have never considered Byrne's Superman as a sort of Peter Parker. The post-Crisis Clark Kent was an adult, even if he could have some doubt.

Captain Marvel - Italian Earth-Prime Superman'll be a job for Superman!
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