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Topic: When did they go wrong with Superman? Post Reply | Post New Topic
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Andrew Bitner
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Joined: 01 June 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 6922
Posted: 02 November 2021 at 7:33am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

I'm not a fan of "married with a kid" Superman. I gave it a try but... I'm not sold on this version of the guy and choose not to support it with my $. Similarly it's why I'm not watching SUPERMAN & LOIS. Just not for me.
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Shawn Kane
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Joined: 04 November 2010
Location: United States
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Posted: 02 November 2021 at 8:00am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

I noticed what JB mentioned about Superman as a problem with Captain America back in the day as well. Always calling younger male characters "son", referring to himself as an old warhorse. I always assumed that he was in his early to mid-twenties when he was frozen, he was that age when he came out of suspended animation. His dialogue would seem to be that of a character who aged naturally in that time.
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Robert Bradley
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Joined: 20 September 2006
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Posted: 02 November 2021 at 8:29am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

When you start asking questions like "how much has this character aged" and "how much time has passed since..." you quickly get to the point where you're making decisions where you can't put the genie back in the bottle.

This all probably started with Peter Parker graduating from high school and Dick Grayson going off to college because it suddenly sets the clock in motion and ages all of the characters.

Comics writers had no idea that they would be around this long of course, but the gest path to take would have probably been to keep them a certain age, ignore most of the past stories (with rare exception) and keep in mind that most readers had a "lifespan" to their readership.

When the 70's came around Peter Parker, Johnny Storm and Dick Grayson should all still be in their late teens (or younger), and adult characters like Batman, Superman, Mr. Fantastic, Captain America, etc. should be firmly entrenched in their established ages.  We don't want a 50 year old Reed Richards, or fatherly Batman or Superman.  Then you don't have the problem of (seemingly) every writer trying to tack on a legacy character to appeal to younger readers.  That's what Spider-Man, the Human Torch and the Teen Titans were for!  And don't get me started on the mess they've made of Rick Jones, the character designed for every kid to relate to - he's become a train wreck.

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Athanasios Kollias
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Joined: 27 September 2021
Location: Greece
Posts: 70
Posted: 02 November 2021 at 8:35am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

I agree with Shawn on the Cap age thing. The same problem carried over to the MCU where Tony would call him old man when he was seemingly older... Cap is a young man,

Honest question: Would a 25 year old in the 40s call a teenager "son"?
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John Byrne

Imaginary X-Man

Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 127000
Posted: 02 November 2021 at 8:51am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

For the first few years, Marvel characters seemed to age in real time. Donít know if this was a conscious choiceópart of the verisimilitude they were going foróbut itís easy to spot the exact moment the brakes are applied. Itís when Agatha Harkness is introduced.

Stan and Jack clearly realized Franklin Richards was a mistake. Adults can go for years without major signs of aging, but babies age almost visible from day to day. So the decision was made to get rid of Franklin. Killing him was not an option in those days, so instead he was packed off to Whisper Hill. Problem solved.

Except not. The fans-turned-pro flowing in to Marvel wanted to follow the original model. Peter Parker had aged in approximately real time. So had Johnny Storm. So had Franklin. (We even got a scene where Johnny decided to look up his old girlfriend, Dori Evans and found her married with three or four kids!)

So various scales and graphs had to be worked out and applied. It didnít matter how much time passed, as long as it did.

Madness. Short sighted madness.

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Robert Bradley
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Joined: 20 September 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 4636
Posted: 02 November 2021 at 8:55am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

Stan also had Hawkeye, who was portrayed as being in in his early 20's at the time, calling him Methuselah.  Which only makes sense if you include the 20 years (at that point) that Cap had spent frozen in ice.

Stan made a few odd choices early on when it came to the character's ages - originally portraying Charles Xavier as much younger and attracted to the teenage Jean Grey, having a large age gap between Sue Storm's brother's age and that of her love interest (was she a much older sister or a very young beau?) and tying characters to historical evens proved extremely problematic in the long run.  You can easily explain Jim Hammond, Steve Rogers or Namor being around since WWII, but it becomes a lot more problematic for Peggy Carter or the Howling Commandos.  Bringing back Nick Fury as a spy in the 1960's made sense, but they eventually had to invent the Infinity Formula in order to make him plausible.  And then you have to wonder if they were handing out doses to all the SHIELD agents who survived WWII.

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John Byrne

Imaginary X-Man

Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 127000
Posted: 02 November 2021 at 9:26am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

Öa large age gap between Sue Storm's brother's age and that of her love interest (was she a much older sister or a very young beau?)

ēēē

Both. Sue is about ten years older than Johnny, and about ten years younger than Reed.

(This, as I have noted before, is based on a letter column in which Stan identified Reed as in his late thirties, Sue in her twenties, and Johnny as 16.)

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Joseph Gauthier
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Joined: 11 March 2009
Posts: 1372
Posted: 02 November 2021 at 10:02am | IP Logged | 8 post reply

Honest question: Would a 25 year old in the 40s call a teenager "son"?
...............

I don't know if it's inspired by Captain America's military origins, but it definitely is a military thing. I noticed it right away in basic training. When not calling recruits MFers and CSers, or Qballs and 8balls, or worst of all Private (said as if it's the lowest thing on Earth), drill instructors often call recruits son, most often in one-on-one teaching situations. In many cases, these drill instructors are little older than kids themselves..twenty-five, twenty-six-years-old.
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Bruce Eaton
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Joined: 09 June 2019
Location: United States
Posts: 28
Posted: 02 November 2021 at 1:48pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

It seems the quest for continuity is both a blessing and a curse, for both characters and readers.

But here we are, decades later, and there's no easy entry point into superhero comics for kids, even with reboots and renumbering.

I long for the days of self-contained stories which is why I tend to gravitate to mini-series and enjoyed DC's foray back into 100-page Giants from a few years ago. 

Just provide me good stories with good characters at a price I can afford.
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Valmor J. Pedretti
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Joined: 14 October 2011
Location: Brazil
Posts: 785
Posted: 02 November 2021 at 2:08pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

Speaking of Superman's son have you guys heard about the professional volleyball player in Brazil who got fired from his club and banned from the national team for making homophobic posts on social media about the character?

This dude has been supporting far-right views for a good while now and after he got canned he posted a picture of Superman (Clark) kissing Wonder Woman to support his view. People then pointed out that it was somewhat curious that a man of conservative values was celebrating an image of suggested adultery, since Clark is currently married to Lois.
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Peter Martin
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Joined: 17 March 2008
Location: Canada
Posts: 14102
Posted: 02 November 2021 at 5:48pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

I don't like aging characters at all, but I'm willing to cut some slack on Cap calling people 'son'.

Someone in their mid-twenties in the 1940s who went off to war in Europe was likely more mature mentally than someone in their mid-twenties nowadays.

Then you have to factor in the added weight on their shoulders of being the first and last super soldier. And being frozen for decades. And blaming himself for the death of his young sidekick.

It's a unique scenario. Acting like the grown up in the room seems in character for Cap.
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Paul Kimball
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Joined: 21 September 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 2026
Posted: 02 November 2021 at 8:24pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

I agree with pretty much everyone's rationales for why Captain America calls
people "son" and here's another......
He's older than than many of their grandparents!
suspended animation aside, he grew up in the Great Depression
that would tend to make moden folks seem like kids
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