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Topic: When did they go wrong with Superman? Post Reply | Post New Topic
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Joe Zhang
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 16 April 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 12764
Posted: 22 October 2021 at 6:42pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

Superman is quintessentially American, but his adventures are rarely patriotic stories. "Truth, Justice, the American way" should be Captain America's motto. 

Yet altering the motto is a stupid decision. DC must make comics for the audience they have left, not the young, Woke audience they wish they had. 


Edited by Joe Zhang on 22 October 2021 at 6:45pm
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Shawn Kane
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 04 November 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 3169
Posted: 23 October 2021 at 5:19am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

I've often stated that I lean further to the right than the majority of people on this site but the American Way issue means nothing to me. Captain America and Superman are 1A and 1B for me as favorites but Superman is a more global character and that slogan doesn't fit (though I do love the iconic images with Superman and the American flag). 

To me, this announcement was made to ignite the flames of the Fox News Right Wing promo machine. Get the highly rated conservative news and talk shows fired up about it and it puts Superman in the spotlight, toxic discussion or not. Making a big deal about removing the "American Way" was more about promotion and less about how global Superman is. If they cared that much about Superman and a better tomorrow, they'd make a movie about it.
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John Byrne

Imaginary X-Man

Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 126476
Posted: 23 October 2021 at 6:09am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

When we were working on CAPTAIN AMERICA, Roger Stern and I used to say he stood for the American Dream. At that time, the Seventies, there was much to be faulted in the American Way, but the Dream remained something to which all could aspire.

This was at a time before the Nation started carving itself into ever thinner slices, each equally convinced their “dream” was the right one.

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Tony Marin
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 28 August 2018
Posts: 91
Posted: 23 October 2021 at 7:34am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

Look at this photo of Cavill in one of the later movie suits. All that money spent and they come up with one of the most ridiculous designs possible and then they have the nerve to say the red trunks don’t work because they look “silly”. It looks like he should squeak when he moves.
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John Byrne

Imaginary X-Man

Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 126476
Posted: 23 October 2021 at 7:53am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

Red trunks, silly. Superman wearing sculpted muscles, genius!
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Petter Myhr Ness
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 02 July 2009
Location: Norway
Posts: 3476
Posted: 23 October 2021 at 7:58am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

I HATE that suit - and that's not a word I use lightly. Not just the lack of trunks, but the dark colours. And yes, the sculpted muscles ... 
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Tony Marin
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 28 August 2018
Posts: 91
Posted: 23 October 2021 at 8:05am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

Although the recent tv show went for the 1940’s look. For some reason but they persisted with the muscle under layer.

Edited by Tony Marin on 23 October 2021 at 8:21am
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Carlos Velasco
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 02 August 2019
Location: Spain
Posts: 223
Posted: 23 October 2021 at 8:37am | IP Logged | 8 post reply

 I rather have a bisexual son of Superman than this:


I also agree that Superman is universal, not just American. Even John started reading Superman while living outside the USA.

About the costume, I think the original one (and also the logo) were incredible for the time. Today, I would personally remove both the red trunks and the cloak (too "medieval" for me).

Here's another opinion that will probably not be very popular: I like the action and sci-fi of Superman (and even the light horror, and this is why I love JB's run), but I find his human relations with friends and family predicting and boring.

Superman, even in today's times, is still not exactly a revolutionary, even if homosexuality elements are introduced in some characters. It's still just trying to be popular with most of the readers, but not exactly trying to change the world views of its readers with its stories.

So once we've accepted Superman can change with the times and is not fascist, but also far from a leftist revolutionary (see recent marriage), we must wonder: what makes him good? What makes him bad?

For me, the answer to why is it not that good today is because the stories are not that interesting, because the art is not that great, and because elements like "adult content" (either violence or excessive personal problems) are not fun for kids, and other elements like the unnecessary marriage with Lois Lane, make the character fundamentally more boring and older, as well as removing most of his liberty to live as he wants.

Most of these elements have been introduced because the people who buy the comics today are 35-50 year old guys, so they said: what the heck? Let's do a married, serious and dramatic version of Superman so that these guys can feel identified with their own lifes... f***k the few kids that still read us!

(Also, if we consider Superman as a mainstream sci-fi/action/adventure story, there's a huge lack of imagination in those genres that may be affecting Superman too.)
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John Byrne

Imaginary X-Man

Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 126476
Posted: 23 October 2021 at 8:38am | IP Logged | 9 post reply

How times change!

Before filming started on SUPERMAN - THE MOVIE, Christopher Reeve visited the DC offices to soak up as much "lore" as he could. He went back to work to tell the costume designer that Superman did NOT have an "S" on his beltbuckle.

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Mark Haslett
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 19 April 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 5357
Posted: 23 October 2021 at 12:22pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

Superman changing with the times is an incontrovertible truth-- good or bad, he IS always changing.

I think it takes insight and talent to make new Superman stories that take full advantage of the character.

I think one key is to actually be interested in taking "full" advantage-- trying to keep as much as possible of the original intent as can work today.

Another key is to agree what it means for the character to "work". This doesn't mean just sales or publicity. When Superman "works" he inspires. He's a hero. He overcomes impossible odds. He makes it possible to keep believing in truth and justice and the dream that people can have an equitable society.

For me, too many versions of Superman are reactions to current trends or narrow versions of what heroism is. I have always loved the imaginary stories and extended superman families therein. But my favorite official version of the character is the last son of Krypton, living here with a secret identity. "Imaginary Stories" allowed room for both, but modern comics don't really like to stay in boundaries like that.

Superman is such a big topic that talking about him quickly gets into pretty deep thoughts.
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Shawn Kane
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 04 November 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 3169
Posted: 23 October 2021 at 2:19pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

Superman made many of us throw a towel over our shoulders and fight crime when we were kids. It may have been due to the comics, the TV show, Christopher Reeve, the Super Friends, etc... DC doesn't seem to have the ability to do that anymore. Like I said earlier, if he stands for a better tomorrow, treat him that way. Don't give him dark stories, don't do things like referring to him as the Big Blue Boy Scout, but also don't write him like he's some kind of god. Many people point to All-Star Superman as the way to go, I don't agree. He doesn't need to look down at us, he needs to help us. Even though he's an alien, he needs to be human.
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Brennan Voboril
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 15 January 2011
Posts: 1533
Posted: 23 October 2021 at 2:30pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

I haven't looked at a Superman comic in years.  Like with most characters, I don't recognize him any longer.  My Superman was the one of the Silver Age.
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