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Author Topic: Are there too many Superman origins?  (Read 17444 times)
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Ruby Spears Superman
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« Reply #8 on: April 08, 2007, 08:10:49 PM »

One thing that probably factors in is that many characters get powers at very certain times - Flash, Green Lantern, Spectre, etc.  Kal-El comes to Earth with his powers in place, and its always tempting to want to show them earlier and earlier, or to react against it.

 I think this is largely what the post-crisis revamp was about, a reaction to what many saw as an unrealistic history. It would be very easy to argue that perhaps giving a toddler or an infant super powers isn't the smartest thing in the world. I don't like the idea of taking those powers away at a young age but I can see the logic in doing so. The point I was trying to make is that you don't have the option of giving Spiderman or Hulk their powers as children like you do with Superman, some versions do and some versions don't. My question is, should there be one for all time version that has to be universally followed in all forms like there is with the other characters? Peter Parker is always sixteen or seventeen when he gets bit by that radioactive (or in the case of the movie, genetically engineered) spider, Bruce Wayne is always around eight to ten years old when his parents died. With Superman it's easy to pick your favorite version but this creates problems in and of itself when another version comes along that doesn't do the exact same thing. For the most part, you don't have that problem with the other characters.

The one thing I think there is a general consensus on among both the pre and post crisis fanbase is that the early post crisis years were handled poorly. You can't remove Superboy from history and keep the ongoing Legion series, it just doesn't work. Ditto Dick Grayson as Nightwing. The attitude during the mid eighties was, "Well, we'll sort all that out later..." and it took them two decades to finally do it! That's just irresponsible. Someone should have sorted all this out long before John Byrne set pencil to artboard. You can't have a more "realistic" universe if you leave stuff behind from the previous universe. 
« Last Edit: April 08, 2007, 09:04:18 PM by Super Monkey » Logged
NotSuper
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« Reply #9 on: April 09, 2007, 07:19:14 AM »

In my view, an origin should not place much restrictions on future writers. For example, Byrne, as well as other writers took away even the possibility of other Kryptonians showing up. This limited the writers who came afterwards.

Granted, there should be some limitations (Superman shouldn't kill, his birth parents shouldn't be alive--holograms are okay though, ect), but not as many as there have been.
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Gangbuster
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« Reply #10 on: April 09, 2007, 02:05:18 PM »

Superman's origin was never rebooted until 1986, and since then there have been 3 of them. We just need to get back to the basics. In the Golden Age, Superman's origin wasn't revealed all at once, it was revealed and retconned a little at a time, until we wound up with this:

1) Superman arrived as a toddler. (The first episode of the radio show differs, but that episode was later retconned and ignored.)

2) After being at an orphanage, he was adopted by the Kents (Sarah and Eben in the radio show, tv show, and novel, but Martha and Jonathan in the comics.)

3) Had a career as Superboy.

4) (In Easter language) was fully man and fully kryptonian.

5) Left Smallville, came to Metropolis, and so on.

Every one of these Golden Age aspects of the origin of Superman are routinely ignored, except the last one. Therein lies the problem. Green Lantern, Flash, Spider-Man, Captain America, etc. all have intact origins. But with Superman, Action Comics #1 never even happened.
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nightwing
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« Reply #11 on: April 09, 2007, 03:05:49 PM »

Well I've already said elsewhere that I'm sick to death of the origin being retold. Mostly because it's never been improved on.

The origin of Superman is one of the greatest stories in the history of comics, and everyone seems to want to put his little spin on it, just as each comedian will embellish a favorite joke to make it his own.  The problem is some embellishments just make the joke longer, not better (see many of the Weisinger add-ons) and every now and then you get a joke-teller who misses the whole point of the joke and just plain tells it WRONG (you know who).

I just think it would be refreshing to see some of these overpaid modern "superstar" creators add something significant to the mythos instead of re-telling the oldest story in the book.  Just as it's nice to hear a new joke every now and then, no matter how great the old ones are. 
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MatterEaterLad
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« Reply #12 on: April 09, 2007, 03:21:29 PM »

Introducing a Superboy with an 8 to 10 year career (along with the many Superboy spin-offs like the Legion) seems as much of a re-boot as Byrne's, even though I liked the pre late 60s Superboy a lot.

I never have understood the desire to stuff more and more into a character's past rather than tell new stories, no matter what the era.
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Gangbuster
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« Reply #13 on: April 09, 2007, 05:51:42 PM »

There are easy ways around that. His entire career as Superboy could have been in the future with the Legion, for example.

It's not just Superman, I hate it when people mess with characters' origins in general. For example, I didn't even bother to see the recent Fantastic Four movie, after watching the mess that was the Hulk movie. Nearly every superhero movie ever made has significantly changed the hero's origins, except Superman: The Movie and Spider-Man, which are considered the best two superhero movies ever made.
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Uncle Mxy
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« Reply #14 on: April 10, 2007, 03:01:51 AM »

There are easy ways around that. His entire career as Superboy could have been in the future with the Legion, for example.
One idea I'd contemplated long ago is that Kryptonians age to maturity more slowly, such that he -had- to have lots of time travelling adventures as a boy because otherwise he'd still be a child. 

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It's not just Superman, I hate it when people mess with characters' origins in general. For example, I didn't even bother to see the recent Fantastic Four movie, after watching the mess that was the Hulk movie. Nearly every superhero movie ever made has significantly changed the hero's origins, except Superman: The Movie and Spider-Man, which are considered the best two superhero movies ever made.
The Superman movie tampered with his origins in serious ways, unless you think Jor-El sequestering him for a decade and Ma Kent being alive was part of prior Superman canon.
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Ruby Spears Superman
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« Reply #15 on: April 11, 2007, 02:02:53 AM »

 Late last year I picked up the Superman Sunday Classics and in it they reprinted an origin story from around 1942-3 that was about two pages long. It told me more in two pages about Superman's history then the 300 some pages of Birthright. I think this simplicity is what we have lost and I think that we still haven't gotten back to it yet. Does anyone know when the current universe Superman started developing his powers? How about the All Star universe Superman? DC is still tip toeing around the issue and I think it's because they are so desperate to get people to approve of it that they are afraid of offending someone if they choose the wrong origin. I think they figure that by the time that his history is revealed, you will like the series so much you won't care if it's not to your specifications.

In 1986 when they started the universe all over again so many old fans were turned off by the idea that they didn't give the "new and improved" Tongue Superman a chance. They may be trying to avoid that now. I don't think that's really necessary, trying to please everyone with a little bit of everything not only doesn't work, it hurts the credibility of the character. If DC really wants to have a stable Superman, they might want to take another look at that 1942-3 origin and do something to that effect. It's a lot simpler then deciding "he started doing this at this age" and so on.    
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