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Author Topic: Superman = Namor?  (Read 12510 times)
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Council of Wisdom
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« Reply #16 on: June 07, 2007, 08:25:53 PM »

Also, if you really want to get technical, Superman was not the first costumed hero on Earth-1. One of the interesting oddities of the multiverse, along with the fact that Gardner Fox exists on both Earth-1 and Earth-Prime, is that the Manhunter was active on both Earth-1 and on Earth-2 at the same time on both earths.

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« Reply #17 on: June 08, 2007, 05:41:46 AM »

Quote from: Criadoman
Agreed.  There does come a point where I could see that the only option would be resorting to that - however, the Zoners weren't it.  Doomsday was - as appears to be the consensus and I agree.

I agree with what you're saying, essentially, that Superman's Code vs. Killing works best when it is a function of something other than a hardassed "rule" that he obeys, and is more a function of life-changing experiences and a veneration of life itself. One of the most wonderful additions that Elliot Maggin made to Superman in his novels was the idea that Superman sees life in a totally different way, as luminous, beautiful beings, and it is this sense of awe and mystery that is the cause of his code against killing - an idea used later by Mark Waid.

I love that idea!!  I've seen posters call this "spirit vision", but I personally think this idea is brilliant.  One of my typical main complaints about the Silver Age were the obviously forced times that Superman or Superboy were wholesome and white-bread characters.

Quote from: Criadoman
I can't quite seem to ever forget that Superman was the reason for the rest, and that should ring true in his books and interactions in the DCU.

Not to get too sentimental here, but on a bit of a tangent, and I really don't know how this might get fixed outside of possibly a set up similar to Alan Moore's Supreme series and the concept of the Supremacy where the all the out-of-continuity Supreme's teach the new avatar the ropes.  The thing is that Superman shines best as number 1.  1st guy with a secret ID, 1st guy that's a superhero, 1st guy who sets the standard for others, etc., in his respective universe.  He loses a lot when there are "mystery men" before him, I think.  One of my more saddening moments of all things was the revised timeline in Zero Hour where Jay Garrick was the 1st superhero.  What a joke!

Actually, I think I remember reading somewhere that at one point in the DC Universe, the first known superheroes were the Crimson Avenger and Zatara.

Whoops, that went somewhere I didn't expect.  But, I'll clarify my earlier point.

As far as I can tell (and before making this reply I did some research to find out), the term "superhero" started with Superman and his ilk, but the term "mystery man" was applied to guys like the Crimson Avenger and his "father" the Shadow.  The 1st time I saw the "mystery man" term used was by Jonathan Kent in the Supes books, and I distinctly got the impression he was saying that the term "superhero" didn't exist till after his adopted son. 

You're right as far as I know.  The Crimson Avenger didn't go to tights till well after Superman's debut if I remember correctly.  Manhunter was adventurer/vigilante, as well as Zatara who was more a Mandrake clone and an adventurer.  When I use "superhero" I'm using the "fictional character who is noted for feats of courage and nobility and who usually has a colorful name and costume and abilities beyond those of normal human beings" definition - not the "mystery man" term, which I switched to in my paragraph following Jon Kent's lead in the books.

That said...

One of the reasons that UNDERWORLD UNLEASHED is one of the few of these large crossovers that I truly like (along with COSMIC ODYSSEY and THE AVENGERS-DEFENDERS WAR) is because Superman is not center stage, he's just another one of the characters, and other people (notably the Trickster) got their chance to shine. One of the real weaknesses of the Morrison JLA is that it was "Superman, Batman and Friends," with Superman and Batman generally being the one to solve problems. I love Superman and all, but give other people a chance to save the day. Heck, remember the stunning upset Elongated Man gave the Lord of Time during the Len Wein years? Didn't see that coming.

I don't think Supes needs to be center stage.  Although I didn't mind Superman and Bats being so key, myself, in what I recall.

As for Superman being the first superhero vs. Superman as a significant hero but not the Alex Ross, I was always very much in favor of the first option because it gave Superman his deserved role in history.

That is, until Geoff Johns's JSA. That book convinced me of the value of the singleverse where the JSA came before Superman and the rest, for several reasons:

The biggest reason is it gave the JSA a new identity, a grandiose one that defined them as something more than being "the slightly older JLA of a parallel earth." Namely, the JSA are elder statesmen, the most experienced, who created the hero and the heroic legacy, which continues not just in their members, but in their legacy: hence the presence of INFINITY INC. people and types like Cyclone and Stargirl. Ordinary people may look up to the JLA, but the JLA look up to the JSA.

I recently read the entire JSA series.  I liked what I saw.

Superman as the first hero is a great idea...but the JSA as the first, and as the subsequent keepers of the flame with a relationship to the "later" Silver Agers, is a great one too.

Well, this is my own difficulty with this.  Supes was the trailblazer for each of those guys - a concept that I have a hard time buying in terms of retconning.  The main reason I loved the whole E1 and E2 concepts was because Superman was there at the outset on his respective Earths.  Hard not to see Supes as the soul of those superhero universes and the standard by which they all follow.

I say without hyperbole that Geoff Johns's JSA is the single most important DC comic of the past ten years. More important than INFINITE CRISIS, more important than the Peyer HOURMAN. Because this book radically redefined not only who the JSA are, but what the DC Universe looks like. Time was, JSA was a pet project of Roy Thomas and a favorite of the most hardcore of fans, one of those titles that gets resuscitated every five years to get canceled again after 30 issues, like Doctor Strange, Green Arrow, and so on. Now, it's unthinkable to even imagine a DC Universe without a JSA as a constant presence, and it's because of the niche for them that was created by Johns.

I don't disagree with you there.  I really did like the JSA series and especially liked how they are a bit more of the patriarchs of superheros thing.  For me, the only real importance of IC was simply that Superman was again a Golden Age hero. 

See, I go back to when DC pre-crisis really started establishing the importance of Superman (e.g. Sword of Superman, et al.) where you didn't miss how important or relevant Superman was in the DCU.  Sure, you can say Kingdom Come, Funeral for A Friend (which was an outstanding story line I thought) - and that's all fine.  But, here's an example...

Superman starts his career in 1938 by stepping in and getting involved in justice straight away.  Although not explored as much as it could be, Supes does have run ins with the justice system a bit.  I don't see where the JSA ever had to deal with that in their Golden Age incarnation.  (Funny, I think I just found another similarity between GA Superman and GA Namor - I needed to seeing how off topic this is heading.)  Here's the point, Superman (and Bats, I suppose for that matter) had been there and done that - and established the relationship of superhero to justice system by the time JSA got going.  Now, how much fun would it be in later, "more sophisticated" years for a writer to explore that more?  How Superman and superheroes became official deputized lawmen - without the "forced" moral items we talked about earlier?  I mean in both the stories themselves and the writers of the stories, it rapidly became the standard thing that superheroes were helping and were ok.  Again, this harkens so much to what I liked about Secret Identity - boy did Supes have to pay Heck to pave the way!

If you look at the current DCU, it looks like what Johns was doing back in 2000: emphasis on examining DC history, use of minor characters in a serious way, "character doctoring," returning classic characters to rightful roles (Hal Jordan, Hawkman, Dr. Fate), new visions made up of all sections of a book's history (as in he used classic JSAers, but also members of INFINITY INC. and later additions) and an emphasis on talented writers telling characterization-centered, LOST or HEROES style stories (e.g. what Gail Simone, Busiek and others are doing).

I've got no argument there.  You do make some valid points, but the Supes trailblazer aspect is something that is very sentimental for me.  On a more personal note, you know, my 1st experiences with superheroes were Marvel, in particular, the cartoon Marvel heroes show that reran on my local TV station after school.  With those guys, I could take them or leave them.  What dear ol' Stan would say is the reason Marvel heroes were so popular - 'cause they had real problems, really wasn't all that interesting to me at 7 or 8 years old.  But, with Superman, it was an escape (I read mainly Silver Age reprints of Superman when I was younger - DC Digests and the Superman Filmation 'toons).  A much friendlier and caring universe.  So, I tend to be incredibly biased to the character, for good reason.

"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
Jimmy Olsen Fan Club
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« Reply #18 on: June 18, 2007, 06:39:48 PM »

I, for one, love the story of the pocket Kryptonians. It's actually one of my favorite. I have no problem with Superman killing if he sees no other option. Furthermore, I love that the villains pushed him to do something that he abhors. That makes them effective villains.
Great Rao
Council of Wisdom
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« Reply #19 on: June 18, 2007, 07:59:53 PM »

Hi karasu, welcome to the forum.  Thanks for your post!

I, for one, love the story of the pocket Kryptonians.

When I first read "pocket Kryptonians," I thought you meant these guys.

Furthermore, I love that the villains pushed him to do something that he abhors. That makes them effective villains.

I would agree that they would be effective villains if they had intended to push him to do something he abhors.  That's what Manchester Black was all about, trying to push Superman to kill.  But the PU-villains weren't trying to do that - they were trying to stay in power as universal dictators.

If the pocket universe Trio had defeated Superman and taken over his universe - succeeded in their aims - then they would have been effective.  And if Manchester Black had succeeded in pushing Superman to kill, then he would have been effective.

But as things worked out, neither of them succeeded.

"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
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« Reply #20 on: June 18, 2007, 08:37:53 PM »

True it may not have been intentional, but the effect was undeniable(at least back then). I don't know what other choice he had, but it really did a number on his psychology. I think I would even prefer it if that were where his deepest belief in his no kill policy came from.

Thanks for the welcome. Smiley
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