Active Topics | Member List | Search | Help | Register | Login
The John Byrne Forum MOBILE
Byrne Robotics | The John Byrne Forum Page of 8 Next >>
Topic: When did they go wrong with Superman? Post Reply | Post New Topic
Author
Message
Tony Marin
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 28 August 2018
Posts: 91
Posted: 22 October 2021 at 8:37am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

Now I’m not really reading comics anymore or buying them, but every now and then I look around the various sites to see what’s happening with characters I use to follow. Superman was the gateway for me. First the original movie then a little bit of the Curt Swan era just before John’s revamp which cemented how much I loved the character. I thought it was the most perfect take on the character and made so much sense from how his powers worked to his new status quo  in the DCU. Even after John left I was still enjoying the run from Jerry Ordway, Roger Stern, George Perez and Dan Jurgens. With what I’ve read about what’s happening now with with the character and his family, particularly Jon, I started to think about where have they gone wrong with this great icon. It’s not that they made Jon bisexual but that he even has a son at all, or that he’s even married and the secret identity is gone as well. It just seems to me that these are the stories you tell at the end of his career. The only point in time I could the arrive to where things went bad was when he revealed his identity to Lois back in the early 90’s. I know this means essentially we’ve had 30 years without the traditional set up of Superman but it seems so much has been lost with the character now that everything that made him endearing and unique is gone and everything they attempt now just seems to fail both sales wise and creatively. No matter who they get to work on the character no one seems to be interested in any great numbers and I can only come to the conclusion it’s because of the status quo they have to work with. Do people really want to read about a dad Superman with a loving wife and family, no secret identity and who now is apparently “president” of the earth?

Edited by Tony Marin on 22 October 2021 at 10:29am
Back to Top profile | search
 
John Byrne

Imaginary X-Man

Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 126476
Posted: 22 October 2021 at 9:49am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

Somewhere along the way, as the fans-turned-pro began to take over—around the same time as the original release of SUPERMAN-THE MOVIE—the prevailing attitude began to shift. Truth, justice and the American way was being eaten away by cynicism, and more and more the attitude became “F**k this! This is what I would do if I was Superman!”

It became all about the “vision” of various writers and directors—most notably an “embarrassed to be American” attitude.

Back to Top profile | search
 
Petter Myhr Ness
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 02 July 2009
Location: Norway
Posts: 3476
Posted: 22 October 2021 at 10:06am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

Someone got it into their heads that Superman was uncool or "difficult to write" (David Goyer), and they seem to have spent a lot of time "fixing" that. 
Back to Top profile | search
 
Marc Baptiste
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 17 June 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 3655
Posted: 22 October 2021 at 10:24am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

Superman and the wealth of co-starring characters that come along with him ceased to be a long time ago.  I see his comics/story as a complete train wreck these days.  Even Batman and Wonder Woman are shown a little more respect with regards to their respective mythos.

Marc
Back to Top profile | search
 
Tony Marin
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 28 August 2018
Posts: 91
Posted: 22 October 2021 at 10:25am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

But surely the success of the movie in 78 really proved that a straight up version of Superman is what people wanted, especially in a decade of very dark and introspective movies. Just like your revamp of him, and I‘m assuming it sold very well, proved that this is what the comic reading audience wanted. Right now from what I can tell characters like Superman and Batman have now such a large “family” and multiple versions of each other that there truly is nothing to set them apart anymore. It seems like any teenager in Gotham can be a vigilante and do what Bruce can while with Superman it seems like when Krypton exploded the only people who died are his parents and few close neighbours, just like it was before you started in 86. Oh well, it was a fun hobby while it lasted and I guess I got my 10 years out of Superman while it was good.
Back to Top profile | search
 
Mark Haslett
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 19 April 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 5357
Posted: 22 October 2021 at 11:00am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

Along with a sense that some creators were "embarrassed to be American," I believe there was also a sense that some were "embarrassed to be adults making comics for kids." As much as anyone went wrong with Superman in specific, it seems they went wrong with comics in general.

I think I detect a common dream was taking hold among some creators through the comic books of the 70's and 80's that, somehow, someway, they would sure love it if they could be writing popular Marvel and DC comics for other adults.

Since this fantasy would be generally the opposite of what had been successful for decades, I suspect it contributed to an "us vs. them" mentality between various would-be caretakers of the titles and characters.

Superman has such a towering presence in comics that he was among the first to feel the negative impact of this trend.

"Vas I dere, Charlie?" Not at all. Not trying to mind-read, but reflect my impression as a long-time reader. Comic books were in for a creative inversion in the 80's and Superman was like the canary in the coal mine.

Back to Top profile | search
 
James Woodcock
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 21 September 2007
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 6482
Posted: 22 October 2021 at 11:21am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

I’m a writer & I’m relevant dammit!

But comics are for kids?

Not anymore they aren’t.

Reality - write all ages & you can still be relevant.
1978? We live in different times. Everyone has flaws & you have to
examine those flaws.
But what happens once you have done that?
Create new flaws, what else?

Are heroes anything other than their flaws?

Not anymore they aren’t.

Which is really sad
Back to Top profile | search e-mail
 
Marc Baptiste
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 17 June 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 3655
Posted: 22 October 2021 at 12:25pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

Mark H.,

Come on.  Agree with the change or not - I don't believe the change from "the American Way" to "a Better Tomorrow" has anything to do with anyone at DC being EMBARRASSED to be an American!  I think it has more to do with the fact that we live in a very different world today than we did in 1938 and are less nationalistic now and much more international and interconnected across the globe.  Superman is no longer just a hero to young American boys and girls - he is truly a hero to people all over the world.  I think this is more of an acknowledgement of this REALITY by DC.

Marc




Edited by Marc Baptiste on 22 October 2021 at 12:25pm
Back to Top profile | search
 
Peter Martin
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 17 March 2008
Location: Canada
Posts: 13941
Posted: 22 October 2021 at 1:40pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

I'd tend to agree with the revealing of the identity to Lois as being an irrevocable branching from the path. It was the same with Spider-Man and MJ... Except Marvel  realised it was such a paradigm shift that it had to be fixed even if the fixing was ugly. These characters that have existed for decades have a fundamental set of things that make them tick, a kind of core path they follow. You can take fairly big swerves from that path, so long as you plan (and follow through) on always getting back to the path in good time.
Back to Top profile | search
 
Mark Haslett
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 19 April 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 5357
Posted: 22 October 2021 at 2:07pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

Marc,
Yes, it's different today than 1938. It's different today than 1978-- which is more the period I was referring to. And I never referred at all to the change you mention, so I have no opinion on why it was made.

It's JB who first mentioned that some creators let an "'embarrassed to be an American' attitude" affect their portrayal of Superman. If you don't feel that's accurate or that anyone at DC was embarrassed during the '70s about being American, that's your prerogative. Neither of us was there. JB was, so I defer to him.

It was a prevalent enough thought at the time-- Vietnam, Nixon, Iran-hostages, and much much more had come to bring a powerful period of American self-reflection to the late 70's-- particularly in the arts.

I don't gather from your comment that we are looking at the same thing at all. I'm not sure from what you say that you would agree there's any merit to the original question "when did they go wrong with Superman?" Do you think they ever went wrong?
Back to Top profile | search
 
Tony Marin
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 28 August 2018
Posts: 91
Posted: 22 October 2021 at 4:46pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

And I can’t say I’m really fussed about the the American way change. It seems to be a constant 10 year cycle about addressing that but DC always reverts to creating new images with Superman and the American flag in between the disingenuous statements. But like I said who are the new comics for? From what I’ve seen sales on all his books are so low nobody really cares anymore regardless of their beliefs or persuasions. Marvel Studios made a movie about a guy dressed in an American flag and people all across the world, cheered for him in the cinema. It just seems to me they just don’t want to give the people what they want and admit that they were wrong creatively. Did the majority of fans ever really care about what these characters were up to sexually, whether they were heterosexual, bisexual or whatever? 

Edited by Tony Marin on 22 October 2021 at 11:45pm
Back to Top profile | search
 
Mario Ribeiro
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 18 June 2016
Location: Brazil
Posts: 425
Posted: 22 October 2021 at 5:56pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

 Tony wrote:
Did the majority of fans ever really care about what these characters were up to sexually, whether they were heterosexual, bisexual or whatever?

Yes. The fact that they were all straight was really important for the majority of fans. And for their parents.


Edited by Mario Ribeiro on 22 October 2021 at 5:58pm
Back to Top profile | search
 

Page of 8 Next >>
  Post Reply | Post New Topic |

Forum Jump

 Active Topics | Member List | Search | Help | Register | Login

You are currently viewing the MOBILE version of the site.
CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE FULL SITE