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Poll
Question: Is Superman, in fact, out of the Dark Ages?  (Voting closed: January 15, 2006, 06:19:13 AM)
Yes - 2 (20%)
No - 2 (20%)
Too soon to tell - 6 (60%)
Total Voters: 10

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Author Topic: Is Superman out of the Dark Ages?  (Read 12612 times)
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JulianPerez
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« on: January 12, 2006, 11:19:13 AM »

I don't know about you guys, but when it comes to Superman, these days I want to tap dance!

Anybody that says that Classic Superman is as dead as a doornail hasn't been paying attention to what's going on with the character in the past few years. Every single Superman work of significance has brought emphasis on his classic incarnation and elements over the 1986-2003 variation of Wolfman and Byrne.

More importantly, stellar talent, from Geoff Johns, Kurt Busiek, and yes, even Mark Waid and Grant Morrison (who at least understands who Superman IS) are being assigned to the character.

INFINITE CRISIS is restructuring the DC Universe to a configuration before it was rewritten by writer-artist singularities. INFINITE CRISIS is releasing Silver Age elements left and right to make even my cautiously optimistic statements about it now seem downright conservative. I mean, we've got Geoff Johns referencing, of all the things in the world, a lightning monster from an issue of TOMMY TOMORROW.

So, my question is this: at least as far as Superman is concerned, are we out of the Dark Ages?

BIRTHRIGHT is not perfect by any means, however, the Superman present is more inspired by Swan and Bates than by Byrne and Wolfman. The Krypton of BIRTHRIGHT was the gutsy science fiction world seen in pre-Crisis incarnations. Byrne went out of his way to paint Krypton as unsympathetic; Waid went out of his way to make it intriguing and its destruction a tragedy. Ditto for the character of Clark Kent; instead of being the handsome GQ model and football jock of the 1990s, he is once again the put upon, dismissable mildmannered figure of every single other incarnation except the post-Crisis variation. Luthor has his sense of humor, and his scientific know-how again - it's hard to imagine the 90s Luthor cracking a joke. He also has his Maggin-originated ability to create sympathy, he is once again one of the "sympathetic" villains like Namor and Magneto who is a foe by circumstance. Superman is superintelligent once again; he further has the "life sense" ability Maggin gave him in MIRACLE MONDAY.

Lois has black hair again. Yeah, it's a little thing, but it shows that Waid was writing in the spirit of Classic Superman.

Heck, they're even bringing back the original issue numbering.

And of course, we have Geoff Johns and his "Return to Krypton." The guy brought back the Fire Falls, the Gold Volcano, Mt. Mundru, Jor-El with a headband, antigravity belts...

And we have Mark Millar and his RED SON, which is Classic Superman while not in background, in terms of power level, purpose, and props: the bottled city, Lex as a genius scientist, Superman as super-intelligent, hypercompetent, and fearless, and so forth.

ALL-STAR SUPERMAN is clearly Classic Superman. Morrison has said as much, stating that he is Superman where the 1986 reboot did not take place, featuring Steve Lombardi, trippy concepts (the nitrogen-blooded zero-g giant was incredible), and "meek" Clark Kent. Most importantly: what is Superman's response when he discovers he is dying? Does he angst? Does he cry? No! He says (paraphrased), "there's always a way, Doctor, and I'll find it But if not, I'll take steps to make sure the earth is protected."

THAT'S the Superman we all know and love. My friends, Superman has returned!

Superman does reveal himself to Lois, true. But there's nothing specifically 1986-2003 about this. Superman's been revealing his identity to Lois since "K-Metal from Krypton." And this is the plot of approximately 4,000 Imaginary Stories.

Oh, and who are the next guys to take over Superman?

"Mr Silver Age" himself, Kurt Busiek. The guy that had Dr. Cyber be the principal villain in POWER COMPANY. The guy whose praise of Cary Bates's Superman is overflowing, who says he will bring back the Microwave Man at the earliest opportunity.

And Geoff Johns, too, is going to be writing Superman. The guy that returned Earth-2 Superman to relevancy, remember?

It would be enough if both these men were Silver Age junkies, like Mark Waid and Grant Morrison, who know who Superman is and how to have him behave. But even better, they're both also supertalented.

Byrne's "Superman" has joined the dustbin of failed variants that comics have forgotten, along with the female Dr. Mid-Nite, powerless Judo disco Wonder Woman, Connor Hawke, and Kyle Rayner, who is still around as an armistice concession to eighties-nineties fans - which I can live with as long as he's not THE Green Lantern. That parking space is reserved for another, better character.

I mean, what more do we all want?

The war's over, and old school fans like us have won. The urge to gloat is nearly insurmountable.

We won't have everything back the way it was in the Silver Age, which is just fine; the Super-UNIVAC, Jewel Kryptonite, and Supermobile were interesting but it doesn't make Superman SUPERMAN. But stories are being written with the same SPIRIT of that period, and with Busiek and Johns, with the TALENT of that period, too. There's no doubt in my mind that they're the Elliot S! Maggin and Cary Bates for a new generation.

Took a while, but it couldn't have happened sooner.

When Superman was made an unrecognizeable creative abortion by a talentless fraud who flushed all the oddity and imagination of five decades down the toilet, Alan Moore loudly and angrily proclaimed they had thrown the baby out with the bathwater and wrote the zany, acid inspired love letter to the Silver Age, SUPREME.

I highly doubt anyone will do the same for Byrne's "Superman" now that he's gone.

Alan Moore once said that no age lasts forever, not even a dark one. I hope to never mention that period again and get back to looking forward to Superman comics!
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« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2006, 12:28:04 PM »

Quote from: "JulianPerez"

Anybody that says that Classic Superman is as dead as a doornail hasn't been paying attention to what's going on with the character in the past few years.


Ha! Good one Julian.   Cheesy

With very few exceptions, Superman is uglier than ever and the DC brass is still clue-less, as are most of the fans (present company excluded).

Call me inattentive, I guess! Cheesy
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ShinDangaioh
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« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2006, 04:08:40 PM »

Too soon to tell one way or the other.  Once Infinite Crisis is over, there should be a better picture.

Although with Brad Meltzer on one of the Superman titles, I'm not holding out too much hope.  He like the wimp Superman over the iconic one.
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JulianPerez
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« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2006, 04:58:23 PM »

Perhaps you didn't read that, TELLE.

We've got BUSIEK and GEOFF JOHNS getting on Superman.

Busiek...AND Geoff Johns!

One or the other would be cause for celebration. But BOTH?

Yeah, okay, we've got (ugh) Meltzer, but Superman was still great even when he had one book done by the Big Bad Wolf, because he still had Bates and Maggin.

There have been multiple versions of Superman in other comics - and nearly all of them are mostly Silver Age inspired.

And we've got INFINITE CRISIS.

Quote from: "ShinDangiouh"
Too soon to tell one way or the other. Once Infinite Crisis is over, there should be a better picture


True. However, the problem with the last Crisis was that it was put together by Marv Wolfman. This time, it's Geoff Johns, the man who brought back Hal Jordan, the guy that brought back Hawkman, the guy that got rid of that goofy leather jacket Dr. Fate and brought back the proper guy in the most logical way to bring back a character I've ever seen, and he and had a whole story arc of JSA around Rip Hunter: Time Master, who treated with dignity and respect - of all the characters that could have been a parody - the original Red Tornado.

This guy feels the same way we do. In IC, Batman vocalizes what we've been thinking: "Superman, you haven't inspired ANYBODY since your death."

Somehow, I don't think it's going to get any darker.  Cheesy
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« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2006, 08:23:48 PM »

was there ever an else worlds set in the middle ages with clarkie and/or brucie?
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NotSuper
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« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2006, 10:05:54 PM »

I made a thread similar to this one a while back. I believed then (and still believe) that Superman is out of the "Dark Ages." If you truly think things are bad now then you should go back and read some of the Superman stories from the nineties--it's not a pretty sight (with a few exceptions).

Right now, DC has some great writers that are working (or will be) on Superman. Most of these writers know who Superman is and don't want to make him dark or "edgy." I think the reason for some of the skepticism has to do with people believing that Superman can never crawl out of the Dark Ages (he will, don't doubt that). I consider myself to be a somewhat objective fan and I feel that DC is heading in the right direction.

Despite this, I don't believe we are at a new age yet. The period we're in right now seems like a "flux" (1948-1958) one. DC seems to be getting rid of the things that don't really work for the Superman character but still deciding on the ones to put back in.

In other words, we're witnessing the creation of a new age--we just don't know when it will be finally be completed. That's just my opinion, of course.
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« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2006, 11:14:30 PM »

Quote
Despite this, I don't believe we are at a new age yet. The period we're in right now seems like a "flux" (1948-1958) one. DC seems to be getting rid of the things that don't really work for the Superman character but still deciding on the ones to put back in.

In other words, we're witnessing the creation of a new age--we just don't know when it will be finally be completed. That's just my opinion, of course.


I was going to post pretty much the same thing, but I'll just be lazy and quote you instead Smiley
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« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2006, 11:21:46 PM »

Quote from: "Super Monkey"
Quote
Despite this, I don't believe we are at a new age yet. The period we're in right now seems like a "flux" (1948-1958) one. DC seems to be getting rid of the things that don't really work for the Superman character but still deciding on the ones to put back in.

In other words, we're witnessing the creation of a new age--we just don't know when it will be finally be completed. That's just my opinion, of course.


I was going to post pretty much the same thing, but I'll just be lazy and quote you instead Smiley


DITTO. Super-laziness is one of my amazing powers. S!
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