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Author Topic: Superman's influence on Spiderman.  (Read 13520 times)
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alschroeder
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« Reply #8 on: August 07, 2007, 11:17:19 PM »

I always thought Spider-Man was in many ways a composite of Superman, Batman, and a touch of Superboy.
Teenage bespecled loser made fun of in high school, with white-haired parent figure..(Superboy.)
 Gets powers sort of halfway between near-omnipotent Superman and non-powered Batman.

Batman elements include the swinging around, the Spider-Signal and utility belt, and of course the other "parent" being killing by a gunman.

Superman elements include the actual super-powers, albeit sort of halfway between Superman and Batman, the newspaper job with the hot-headed boss.

And I think a lot of those elements are DITKO's additions, more than Lee's, although Lee was very important. He took a lot of imput from a lot of artists, (for instance, Jack Kirby introduced the Silver Surfer into the Galactus storyline, which wasn't in the original synopsis.) and I think Ditko liked the idea of making it a halfway between Superman and Batman.

The reason I think it was DELIBERATE on Ditko's part, rather than an amalgam of ideas, is that he sort of did the same thing with HAWK AND DOVE, only this time combining Batman and Robin with the original Captain Marvel, who was of course the best-selling comic hero of all time. Youths who change into a more powerful form by saying a magic word given them by a mystical entity....Captain Marvel. Two adventurers who are modeled after two flying animals and fight crime mainly with extreme athletic prowess...Batman and Robin.

Kirby took a different tack. He would take three main superhero archtypes---Superman, Batman, and Captain Marvel---and do variations on a theme, as it were, often splitting the character into four or more components.. His Captain Marvel variations included the Fly, Thor, the Demon. and the Forever People, who were basically Billy Batson split into five separate beings. But all of them changed to powerful mystical beings by a magic word and/or totem, in Thor's case. (The striking of the cane.) The Infinity Man isn't per se mystical, but he was able to evade normal physical laws---which is another word for magic. The Fly is sort of a Captain Marvel combined with an insect motif. Thor is Captain Marvel with a Norse myth motif. The Demon is Captain Marvel with a horror motif.  The Forever People is Captain Marvel with a hippie motif.

His Superman variations, methinks, are the Hulk, the Fantastic Four, the New Gods.  The FF are basically Superman split into four parts---their origin starting with a rocket ride. The Hulk and the New Gods both start with a gigantic explosion---the gamma bomb in the Hulk's case, the explosion of the Old Gods' world in Orion. (Darkseid, interestingly, is a combination of Sivana---ruler of another world, Sivana of Venus, Darkseid of Apokolips--and Jor-El.)  The Fantastic Four is Superman split into four parts---including one who's a Bizarro-like monster, one who's a young kid in the Jimmy Olsen age range (with the heat powers and flying), then Sue and Reed---who vary more, but Sue is not unlike Lois with Superman's ability to go faster than the human eye, and later invulnerability in the form of force fields and Reed's sort of the Jor-El of the group. (He did the same trick, as we'll see below with Batman.) The Hulk is Superman through a horror motif (combining Frankenstein and Jeckyll/Hyde), but strength in Superman's weight class, leaping over tall buildings, and a bespecled alter ego. Orion, the main star of New Gods, is a superstrong alien in the culture that raised him(New Genesis), adopting the values of the culture he was raised in rather than his homeworld...as Superman was.

Batman variations include Captain America, Challengers of the Unknown, and Mister Miracle. Captain America is Batman seen through a patrioic motif. Challengers of the Unknown is Batman broken up to his core skills---his strength/fighting ability, his acrobatic ability, his great mind, and his piloting and leadership skills. Mister Miracle is a nonpowered escape artist who avenges the death of a father figure (Thaddeus Brown, the original Mister Miracle) with gadgets and a keen agile mind.

    I could cite more Kirby variations of a theme---I think the Silver Age Shield (Lancelot Strong) was a Superman variation)---but you get the idea.

---Al

PS. The first time he "split up" any archetype, I think, was with the Newsboy Legion. He took the basic Batman and Robin idea, but instead split up ROBIN into his combonent traits---one a two-fisted Scrapper, one a brain, one a fairly normal kid, and one a talkative kid who occasionally puns. The Batman-figure was more or less another Batman ripoff, but it was the kids who made it different.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2007, 11:28:08 PM by alschroeder » Logged

Al Schroeder III, former letterhack (met his wife through Julie Schwartz' lettercolumns) of MINDMISTRESS http://mindmistress.comicgenesis.com---think the superhero genre is mined out? Think there are no new superhero ideas?

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« Reply #9 on: August 09, 2007, 06:05:58 AM »

Those examples are awesome! Shocked Now I gotta try and find those! I wonder how many Superman references there have actually been in Marvel comics. 

To add to the previous lists:  Clark Kent had a brief appearance in one of Walt Simonson's issues of Thor, right after Thor adopted his "Sigurd Jarlson" secret ID.
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« Reply #10 on: August 09, 2007, 08:52:49 AM »

I actually read that --Lois appears as well.

Wouldn't it be great if we had a Spider-Man Through the Ages Forum?  Rao could be Spidey-Sense (or maybe radiation? Uncle Ben?), Super-Monkey could be Spider-Monkey, Klar could be Spidey 2099, and MEL could be Electro!


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« Reply #11 on: August 09, 2007, 12:19:07 PM »

I actually read that --Lois appears as well.

Wouldn't it be great if we had a Spider-Man Through the Ages Forum?  Rao could be Spidey-Sense (or maybe radiation? Uncle Ben?), Super-Monkey could be Spider-Monkey, Klar could be Spidey 2099, and MEL could be Electro!

Since Marvel is all about irony, shouldn't I be Kraven the Hunter?
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« Reply #12 on: August 09, 2007, 01:22:10 PM »

Quote
The FF are basically Superman split into four parts---their origin starting with a rocket ride.

Wow, that's a neat way of looking at it, but I think you're putting a lot more thought into it than Stan and Jack ever did.

The FF were basically a slap-dash effort to capitalize on the renewed interest in superheroes at DC, cobbled together from whatever odds and ends Stan and Jack could find in the scrap heap of comics history.  Reed was Plastic Man (at that time not being published), Sue was Invisible Scarlett O'Neil, the Human Torch was...well, duh...and the Thing was a stock Kirby monster thrown in for insurance since that's the only thing that sold dependably at Atlas/Marvel.

The general vibe and "mission statement" of the FF was cribbed from Kirby's own "Challengers," obviously.  Throw in Stan's homages to Doc Savage and his pals (who even went by the name of "The Fantastic Five"), and voila!  A kit-bashed superhero team!

Of course the book evolved into possibly the most amazing, sustained run of great ideas and concepts in any comic book ever made, but there at the beginning it probably represents the least imagination Stan and Jack ever put into any project.  As a collection of knock-off's and recycled premises, it was the spiritual forefather of Liefeld's "Youngblood" and tons of fan-made comics.
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« Reply #13 on: August 09, 2007, 02:12:10 PM »

Those examples are awesome! Shocked Now I gotta try and find those! I wonder how many Superman references there have actually been in Marvel comics. 

To add to the previous lists:  Clark Kent had a brief appearance in one of Walt Simonson's issues of Thor, right after Thor adopted his "Sigurd Jarlson" secret ID.


"It worked for that other guy", quips Nick Fury as he hands Sigurd a pair of glasses. I really liked the fact that Jarlson's foreman on the building site he worked at suspected that he was a superhero, he just didn't know which one.
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« Reply #14 on: August 09, 2007, 07:23:42 PM »

Quote
The FF are basically Superman split into four parts---their origin starting with a rocket ride.

Wow, that's a neat way of looking at it, but I think you're putting a lot more thought into it than Stan and Jack ever did.

The FF were basically a slap-dash effort to capitalize on the renewed interest in superheroes at DC, cobbled together from whatever odds and ends Stan and Jack could find in the scrap heap of comics history.  Reed was Plastic Man (at that time not being published), Sue was Invisible Scarlett O'Neil, the Human Torch was...well, duh...and the Thing was a stock Kirby monster thrown in for insurance since that's the only thing that sold dependably at Atlas/Marvel.

The general vibe and "mission statement" of the FF was cribbed from Kirby's own "Challengers," obviously.  Throw in Stan's homages to Doc Savage and his pals (who even went by the name of "The Fantastic Five"), and voila!  A kit-bashed superhero team!

Of course the book evolved into possibly the most amazing, sustained run of great ideas and concepts in any comic book ever made, but there at the beginning it probably represents the least imagination Stan and Jack ever put into any project.  As a collection of knock-off's and recycled premises, it was the spiritual forefather of Liefeld's "Youngblood" and tons of fan-made comics.

(Nodding.) Very well might have been. And there is no WAY I believe Lee would have thought it through that much as in the above explanation. But Kirby? Yeah, I could see that. Lee was the better writer, but Kirby was the deeper thinker of the two.  NEW GODS and YOUNG SCOTT FREE especially explored philosophical issues, and certainly it's not unusual for fictional writers to use archetypes--for instance, Christ archetypes in Faulkner's LIGHT IN AUGUST or Kesey's ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST, or Oddysseus in Joyce's ULYSSES. But there seems to be too many things in common for it to be just mere coincidence, and you see the same thing when Kirby went from Marvel to DC, IMO.---Al
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« Reply #15 on: August 09, 2007, 09:21:08 PM »

Iron Age = Spider-Man's influence on Superman
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