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Author Topic: Back to the Golden Age...again!  (Read 19031 times)
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carmine
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« on: July 14, 2011, 12:18:55 PM »

When Superman gets new writers they seem to always want to bring him back to his "golden age" roots.

My guess is that most comic book writers are fairly left wing so they want to use Superman as their mouth piece . I don't mind that sorta thing but only if you're the person who created the character! other wise it seems a tad forced

and while I like those golden age stories, their isn't all that much to them really. Plus frankly Supes comes off as a bit of a bully and that type of vigilantism is very much a part of the American psyche , its also profoundly anti-democratic
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nightwing
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« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2011, 02:12:11 PM »

Politics of any kind are a bad idea, since you immediately alienate half your audience as soon as you choose a side.

Things were different in the Golden Age.  As far as Superman goes, one man's "social activist" is another man's urban terrorist.  Audiences were less sophisticated then and content with simplistic morality plays; "What if we had a champion to tear down those slums and throw the crooked politicians in jail?"  Of course the real-life answer, then and now, is that the government would drop everything to see Superman captured or destroyed.  And why not?  If a vigilante is a bad thing, then a super-vigilante is the worst.

Even if you accept that his behavior is "good" and that once he did it, everyone would be on his side, then again logically you have one path open to you; move on each month to a new city and do it all over again.  Cleaning up Metropolis won't help anything in Chicago or New York.  And if he really cares about "justice," shouldn't he care about enforcing it everywhere? Quickly the book becomes one about Superman's cross-country crusade to impose justice by force.  Then when his bullying has turned America into a Utopia, it's off to Europe, South America, the Middle East, etc to continue the crusade.  Of course in his absence, things begin to slide back in the States, so he'll have to come back and start the cycle all over again. 

The stories were fine for the time they were written for, and the children they were aimed at.  But they're like Dick Tracy; I love that strip, but there's no way anything Tracy does would stand up in court today, more likely he'd be kicked off the force for beating confessions out of suspects or use of excess force.  Last week I read a story where he got hit over the head with a telephone and when the tables were turned, he let his partner hold a gun on the perps while he beat the tar out of them as payback.  That stuff, like GA Superman, has to be viewed as a product of its times; it's fun, but you can't go back.
  
« Last Edit: July 14, 2011, 02:16:37 PM by nightwing » Logged

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carmine
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« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2011, 03:40:41 PM »

well supes comes off as a bully when he had limited powers
if golden age supes had his "normal" power levels then he'd basically be  a facist dictator!

Plus writers have a desire to go back to basics. But I liked all the "junk" that got added to superman. It gave him his own universe to play in and made him stick out a bit more from other heroes

If a writer gets rid of all his "junk' they are just going to add new junk anyways. Its not like every issue needs to be totally fresh

I could metropolis being a total dump when supes first moves there but after a year he turns it into silver age metropolis where he has plenty of free time to pull pranks on his friends. So take that Batman!! you never cleaned up gotham, ya chump!!!

plus why would I want to see a vastly powerful character beating up regular crooks??

and i liked colored kryptonite and super pets!!! so sue me
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nightwing
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« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2011, 06:22:54 PM »

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If a writer gets rid of all his "junk' they are just going to add new junk anyways. Its not like every issue needs to be totally fresh

What's more, as we have seen, it's going to be all the old junk just slightly re-jiggered.  With the last reboot, they took away Kara, Krypto, Kandor, etc only to bring them all back in inferior forms.  Brainiac, Terra-Man, Prankster, Parasite, Nightwing and Flamebird...the most you could say about any of them, if you were generous, is that they were interesting updates to old ideas.  But is that the same as creating something new?  Not even close.

This, BTW, is where we get hilarious catch-phrases like "a fresh new take on..." 

Sorry, but "recycled" is by definition not "fresh."

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Adekis
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« Reply #4 on: July 15, 2011, 05:40:50 AM »

I really do like the Golden Age Superman.
If you think that a man who breaks into a governor's house to keep an innocent woman from dying, who tears open a bank vault to save someone trapped inside, who stops a man from abusing his wife isn't heroic, then I must disagree.

Every version of Superman pales in comparison to the Golden Age man of steel, and if they actually try to take him back to that and succeed, then I heartily approve.
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India Ink
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« Reply #5 on: July 15, 2011, 06:57:58 AM »

The thing is that I don't find a lot of good stories in comics these days for the most part. The modern approach seems to be, don't tell a story. Using comic book language, comic book motifs, is regarded as old-fashioned--or I don't know what the thinking is, but it seems like the writers are embarrassed to use the language that classic scripters and artists developed to tell a story with economy--so we don't have transitions through captions, exposition through thought balloons. The argument is that the artwork is supposed to do that--but really artists don't do a lot of story telling through their art these days--they just make pretty pictures. So you're never getting a really well told story. In fact, procedural TV crime dramas use the equivalent of classic comic book story telling techniques much better (montage shots, exposition, voice over--think of the typical CSI show which uses a series of shots to show how a piece of evidence is processed, which is the kind of thing you used to find in a good Bill Finger story).

So even if the modern writers were to take a classic Jerry Siegel story--they would strip it of all the motifs that Siegel and the artists handled so well. And instead of feeling like a full story that you could really chew on, the story would feel light and unfulfilling.

Modern writers don't seem to believe in the worth of the story as story. They seem to believe that readers don't want story, but rather some kind of spectacle. So for example, if you take the first Superman story (which was not even Siegel's best writing--he was capable of much better)--the whole story would centre around Superman getting really angry and threatening and that would be 'the story'--because this is always we're supposed to care about. There would be no transitions, just a jumble of scenes where the heroes and villains posture, and nothing would be accomplished by the end of the story.
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carmine
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« Reply #6 on: July 15, 2011, 12:41:52 PM »

They can't tell a story because a story has a start, a middle, and an ending.
now "stories" just go on and on and on forever.

Maybe they are better "artists" but they are worst "story tellers".

I'm not sure that Superman should go around threatening innocent bankers. Or just tossing around private citizens. People say they "softened" superman but it seems like he became a bit more mature. Plus I liked when supes would trick criminals into giving up.

Its sorta like a modern writer trying to do "golden age" wonder woman. It only worked because Marston was a bit of a weird guy (no offense). If they tried to do it again it would come off as "ironic" or totally miss the point.
or like when other people write Kirby's 4th world saga. When I read those stories its just like Kirby is writing down a dream he had the night before, I can follow it but its so personal that I don't see how someone could copy it without it falling into parody or it just being a boring superhero adventure.

same goes with golden age superman. The politics are a bit off sometimes (he destroys the projects!?!?what kinda person agrees with that, though I agree with the idea that the a bad enviroment can cause some kids to "turn bad")
I just feel we are going to get Morrison's politics wrapped up in Superman instead of Seigels original vision. Its not reassuring that Grant talks about how supes is a "socialist crusader". Ya because we all see how awesome socialism is plus Supes never seemed like that in the golden age. a populist? sure. A commie? I don't know.
You'd have to be either SUPER right wing to think he was a socialist because if he wasn't quoting Ayn Rand He'd HAVE to be a commie
or
SUPER Left wing where you have a wish fulfillment where you'd love to have the greatest american comicbook hero agree with you're politics.
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nightwing
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« Reply #7 on: July 15, 2011, 01:08:42 PM »

Quote
If you think that a man who breaks into a governor's house to keep an innocent woman from dying, who tears open a bank vault to save someone trapped inside, who stops a man from abusing his wife isn't heroic, then I must disagree.

Let's say I don't think it's terribly heroic to toss a guy into the air or dangle him by his heels from a great height until he agrees to sign a confession.  As crime-solving goes, it's pretty much the exact opposite of Holmes- or Columbo-like deductive brilliance.  It's also childishly simplistic and, after the tenth time or so, embarrassingly unimaginative.  And one would imagine that even in 1938 the courts would dismiss any confession signed under duress. 

I think Siegel's heart was in the right place, and I even agree it's thrilling, but ultimately it was an approach that had nowhere to go, and even before they changed gears it had already been tired for some time.
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