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  1. #61
    Notorious M.O.S. Kuwagaton's Avatar
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    I think you can only take him so far from step one, then bring him back again, before it gets tedious. There were some fascinating storylines in the 70s showing some neat facets of the character, but if you read the next month or a few months after, chances are high that it wouldn't really matter whether or not you read the preceding stories. For all the heads the original Man of Steel mini series turned I think it was great for them to make an explosive break out of an admittedly great mold.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Kelly View Post
    There are certain tropes in how John Byrne writes characters. I didn't know about the George Reeves thing, but that supports my opinion that Byrne created a lot of square-jawed heroes. While other Byrne characters could be quirky and flawed, these guys were big, tall ideal men. And that's how I saw his Superman/Clark.

    Sure Superman/Clark had physical weaknesses, but in his character he was this big jock hero. Sort of strange given Byrne himself wasn't that type--but maybe he wanted to live vicariously through those jocks.

    It's the pre-Crisis, Schwartz era Clark that seems more relatable to me. There were lots of arcs for him where his humanity came out--Sand Superman, Private Life of Clark Kent, Who Took the Super, the Amalak come back, Carl Draper-Master Jailer, Miraculous Return of Jonathan Kent, the Secret Years.

    Hey, an even 8,000! Nice.

    The ability to relate seems like a squirmy thing to me, because it doesn't have to be one or the other. I'm a lifelong comics and videogame guy but I still placed in two sports for Regions in high school. Most people find the Reeve act as Clark charming, but hopefully we can all agree that being a worm in front of his wife and son would be mortifying. In "Who Took the Super out of Superman?" he sets Edge straight and knocks Lombard senseless because he lets Clark be a real person. That to me is basically the same.

    If this was solely for Superman's character and not general directions for other characters or parts of the franchise, I'd agree with never having rebooted.

  2. #62
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    The writers did tend to waffle at times. Which bugged me. I could understand that Clark was mild-mannered but I didn't like him having a sick stomach and running away in front of everyone. But that also happens with the George Reeves Clark (as I'm finding out, now on season 2). But when they were at their best, the writers gave Clark a nuanced character who was just as real as Superman.

    There was follow-through on Clak after the "Who Took the Super . . ." arc--even though Elliot Maggin had left by then. Gerry Conway used it in a few stories directly after that and then Marty Pasko ran with it and made Clark's character a strong part of his whole run.

    I think the main problem for writers is how to get Clark out of a scene so he can become Superman, without giving away his secret. And that sometimes has them taking the easy way out--making Clark look foolish. And that still happens.

    Mind you, as Jules Feiffer pointed out, Clark getting humiliated is not a bad thing for the story. I just want those scenes to be better written.

  3. #63
    Not a Newbie Member JBatmanFan05's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Kelly View Post
    But when they were at their best, the writers gave Clark a nuanced character who was just as real as Superman.
    I like the way you word this. That's the key with Clark Kent or Bruce Wayne...nuance where they are just as real as Superman (or Batman). Which is not "Clark is who I am, Superman is what I can do." Or "Bruce is the mask, but he's really Batman." I think that's what Morrison always realized about dualities...there shouldn't really be any, these are holistic integrated people that have parts equally contributing to the whole.

    But yea, so much of great writing is balance-striking and nuance.
    Last edited by JBatmanFan05; 02-07-2018 at 03:07 PM.
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  4. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Kelly View Post
    I confess to liking holding patterns. As long as the material is good. And SUPERMAN 233 - 335 is some of the best comics I own. If I ever sell off my collection, it will be hard to give up any of those issues. I actually remember in the moment thinking how much I love the holding pattern in these comics. No matter how many other comics went through bad times, it felt good to know there was SUPERMAN every month to count on for a standard of quality.

    There are always several factors in the market determing the business decisions in the comics industry. So with the 1970s, you have to appreciate what DC was up against. Their ace in the hole was their distritbution to the mass market. Comic book specialty shops were just developing and the economic model hadn't taken hold. Marvel was starting to eat DC's lunch, but there wasn't one clear answer how to maximize profits for the shareholders.

    When I was in business studies--back in the late 1970s--our study groups ran a popcorn simulation, where each group had certain variables they could adjust in selling popcorn--and we'd see how that affected our bottom line.

    In the 1970s, there were factors like the energy crisis, which affected the cost of paper. If you had cheap rates for paper, you could publish more comics and flood the market. But if your paper rates go up, then mass producing comics becomes more expensive. Is it better to up the price and have a bigger margin per unit--even though that will drive down sales--or is it better to cut other costs and keep the price low, so you sell more units and maximize profits that way?

    DC was experimenting throughout the 1970s in an effort to hedge off declining sales and keep up with Marvel. The early 1970s shows them trying high quality story and writing--with relevant themes and character development--and extended story arcs. But they had problems with their distributors--not to mention organized crime--and those quality experiments didn't show a profit. They tried upping their prices--in a mutual agreement with the other big publishers like Marvel and Archie--but only DC stuck to the agreement, so they ended up looking over-priced while Marvel cut their prices and captured the market.

    Sticking with a book like SUPERMAN that is a proven commodity and not taking too many risks with that character worked for DC for a long time. They would have to be pretty desperate to do anything too wild with the character and risk losing a lot of their sales in the mass market. The fact that SUPERMAN was dependable kept people like me coming back to the drug store every month--so it was a loss leader--you bought that comic that you counted on for solid value and then you took a risk on other comics.

    Even so, I'd argue there were several arcs during the 1970s that did take risks and were every bit as good as anything else on the stands.
    I'd extend the Schwartz-era to 1979's #338 (rather than 335) where Kandor was enlarged as being the good stuff, in general. Some of it was gimmicky and dumb (like the disembodied football uniform story that introduced Steve Lombard) because Schwartz was an old-school editor where stories were plot-driven rather than character-driven, but I still had a good time reading those Supermans growing up.

    Something happened soon after 338 where the series just became juvenile. Wolfman's attempt at subplotting and story arcs in Action Comics had interruptions and had mixed results at best. Gil Kane had lost a lot of his mojo by then and his panel layouts were cramped and unattractive. His art in general was subpar to me at that point. 1980-1986 Superman was the absolute pits for the character more often than not. Say whatever you want about Byrne's reboot (I generally loved it), but it absolutely removed a lot of the tarnish the character had accumulated.

    As for other eras:
    - I'm ok with Superman killing the Kryptonians from the pocket universe because it did provide story material for years after. I liked that we got to see Superman form his code against killing through experience rather than just because he's such a boy scout.

    - On the other hand, I hated the way the reboot messed up the Legion irrevocably.

    - 1986-1996 was the absolute best era of Superman stories in the character's history. The stories only got better after Byrne and editor Andy Helfer left. Mike Carlin is Superman's best editor in his entire comics career. Loved this entire run from the long story arcs that built upon each other to the deepening of the supporting cast to Big Belly Burgers to the always six-fifty cab rides.


    On another note, about the price increase: I would give Archie Comics credit for sticking to the price increase. They kept going with their 25-cent giants for years and, in contrast to DC, they had all-new material. Only Marvel switched back after a month.
    Last edited by Comic-Reader Lad; 02-07-2018 at 03:48 PM.

  5. #65
    Looney Toon Carabas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JBatmanFan05 View Post
    "Marvel Characters Are More Relatable Than DC Characters According To Marvel Animation VP"

    No shit, sherlock. You don't think they might be not exactly 100% neutral here?
    "One may be intelligent, and a Nazi. Then one is not decent. One may be decent and a Nazi. Then one is not intelligent. And one may be intelligent and decent. Then one is not a Nazi"
    - Gerhard Bronner

  6. #66
    Not a Newbie Member JBatmanFan05's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carabas View Post
    "Marvel Characters Are More Relatable Than DC Characters According To Marvel Animation VP"

    No shit, sherlock. You don't think they might be not exactly 100% neutral here?
    Everyone knows what he said is true (overall historically and intentionally so, niche-wise). I'm sure I could dig up many upon many writers and editors who talk about the long core macro differences between the big two, conceding this point about DC. And it's easy for some to angrily read "More Relatable" as more desireable and that's exactly what I don't believe as a mostly DC fan, that "more relatable" = better. I don't think that. That's too simplistic and not what I think.

    https://www.quora.com/Is-there-a-dif...ics-philosophy

    https://hubpages.com/literature/DC-C...an-Comic-Books
    However, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby ushered in a new breed of superheroes. While DC Comic heroes were often one dimensional and seemingly without character flaws, Stan Lee wrote characters that had everyday human problems. This approach of "Superheroes in the real world" went the opposite direction of DC Comic characters and revolutionized the industry.
    ..
    Marvel Comics delivered a new type of superhero that had everyday problems. The readers could relate to these character's problems more than they could with DC Comic characters at the time.
    Last edited by JBatmanFan05; 02-07-2018 at 04:41 PM.
    Thank you AMericA for votinG for chAnge.

  7. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by Comic-Reader Lad View Post
    On another note, about the price increase: I would give Archie Comics credit for sticking to the price increase. They kept going with their 25-cent giants for years and, in contrast to DC, they had all-new material. Only Marvel switched back after a month.
    Yeah. But it's not easy to explain with Archie, because they already had their Giant Series--so it's a complicated thing that I tried to track in "I Was a Teen-Age Giant" [scroll half way down this giant post to "sixteen candles"]. Harvey was another publisher that got in on the 48 pages for 25 cents format.

    In the early '80s I was all over the place, often living out of a suitcase. I somehow managed to keep up my collection with BATMAN and DETECTIVE COMICS and a few other titles, but large gaps started to appear in my SUPERMAN and ACTION COMICS runs. In recent years, I've filled all those holes, but I haven't got around to reading all the issues I missed. I always have the plan to do one big read through of my Superman collection.

    I'm not sure what happened with the Superman titles at that time, but they didn't seem to put as many resources into those comics as they could have. I still like the comics (that I've read), but at a certain point it's like they've gone back to the style of comics from the '50s and early '60s. Which has a certain charm, but maybe they were just killing time in preparation for the big change that would sweep away all the old mythology.

    I think the term "relatable" has been emptied of any meaning. Everyone is different--so one person might relate to a character, because they see that character as like them. But another reader might relate to a character as an escape from themselves to something they would like to be. The duality of Clark/Superman has a lot of appeal for people, because many of us like to think that though we appear as Clark Kent to the outside world, we are really Superman. That's the basic analysis for what Siegel and Shuster were doing. They looked like Clark Kent--but they created this ideal persona which was Superman. And everyone has the right to be Superman.

  8. #68
    Fantastic Member Last Son's Avatar
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    I feel sometimes like Marvel(and their fans) has clung onto an old glory of theirs without realizing that it's not necessarily as true today as it was in the 60s and 70s. Yes, Marvel innovated in having superheroes with every day problems instead of just focusing on the superheroics, but comics in general have been written that way for decades now, it's not just a Marvel thing anymore. At this point, there really isn't some huge inherent difference between Marvel and DC, they have a similar ratio of human to alien heroes and average Joes to millionaires with gadgets and mythologically-inspired characters, and the big two both make all the efforts in the world to make their characters relatable, even if they're as alien as a silver guy flying around on a surfboard in space.

  9. #69
    Obsessed & Compelled Bored at 3:00AM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Last Son View Post
    I feel sometimes like Marvel(and their fans) has clung onto an old glory of theirs without realizing that it's not necessarily as true today as it was in the 60s and 70s. Yes, Marvel innovated in having superheroes with every day problems instead of just focusing on the superheroics, but comics in general have been written that way for decades now, it's not just a Marvel thing anymore. At this point, there really isn't some huge inherent difference between Marvel and DC, they have a similar ratio of human to alien heroes and average Joes to millionaires with gadgets and mythologically-inspired characters, and the big two both make all the efforts in the world to make their characters relatable, even if they're as alien as a silver guy flying around on a surfboard in space.
    Definitely. Everything that Stan, Kirby & Ditko innovated during the 1960s has been incorporated into DC, just as DC's earlier innovations were baked into Marvel. From the 1970s on, both Marvel & DC have been pushing each other forward (and holding each other back) in various ways. At this point, its like arguing over Coke or Pepsi. They are both sugar water. Just drink the one you like.

    Same with DC & Marvel. There are certainly differences between their approaches, but trying to pretend that one is somehow fundamentally better than another is ridiculous. It's all a matter of preference.

  10. #70
    Notorious M.O.S. Kuwagaton's Avatar
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    Also agreed, in the sense that the "revolutionary" bit about what I see in old Marvel is that you realize that those elements will inevitably have to factor into the whole of the superhero genre.

    Quote Originally Posted by JBatmanFan05 View Post
    I like the way you word this. That's the key with Clark Kent or Bruce Wayne...nuance where they are just as real as Superman (or Batman). Which is not "Clark is who I am, Superman is what I can do." Or "Bruce is the mask, but he's really Batman." I think that's what Morrison always realized about dualities...there shouldn't really be any, these are holistic integrated people that have parts equally contributing to the whole.

    But yea, so much of great writing is balance-striking and nuance.
    That's a line from the tv show I see used for some reason when ironically while that show was going on:



    There was a major storyline refuting that very point.

    Quote Originally Posted by Comic-Reader Lad View Post


    On another note, about the price increase: I would give Archie Comics credit for sticking to the price increase. They kept going with their 25-cent giants for years and, in contrast to DC, they had all-new material. Only Marvel switched back after a month.
    It's crazy for me to think about how Archie has been a player in the game this long. It's incredibly foreign to me, and yet I still remember buying those comics growing up. Weird.

    I kinda liked Phantom Quarterback, although it's odd to consider such a random story giving us a cast character that would stick around for over ten years. But that was at least one instance where a story demonstrated ability to contribute to the lore and at least mattered to #280 as a progressing plot. I think a bit more of that would have been nice.

  11. #71
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    The difference between DC and Marvel for me is that when I think of the big Marvel characters, there's only a confined list of creator names that come to mind; whereas, when I think of DC, there's a wide range of creators.

    And at Marvel, all these creators were working in Martin Goodman's offices. While with DC, there's not much relation between Bill Finger living in the Bronx close to Bob Kane and coming over to Bob's place to write Batman stories for Bob, versus Jerry Siegel living in Cleveland and laying in bed one night, dreaming up Superman, then getting his high school chum and fellow fanzine creator, Joe Shuster, to draw the hero.

    Then add in college professor William Marston or lawyer turned writer Gardner Fox. And so on--these creators have very little contact with each other and are living completely different lives. Whereas, Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko are all in the same place working together to create their characters. And when younger guys like Roy Thomas and Gary Friedrich come to Martin Goodman's office looking for a job, they are working directly for Stan Lee and with those artists.

    So the identity of DC and the identity of Marvel starts out completely different. I'm not saying one is better than the other, but they have a completely different orientation. And while Marvel was more proactive in publishing credits in their comics--every Marvel Comics Group mag I picked up in the 1960s and 1970s said in big bold letters: STAN LEE PRESENTS.

    Now what has happened with these companies later, as they became corporate idea factories, led to them becoming more alike. But it's always something that's in my head--given my age--where when I see the characters, I know where they come from.

  12. #72
    Mighty Member Thor2014's Avatar
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    Post-Crisis: Keep WGBS prominent. Clark doesn't need to work there but there could be mingling and angst between the two organizations. I've always liked how Lana was co-anchor with Clark and how Lana was in Lois and Clark's orbit once again.

  13. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thor2014 View Post
    Post-Crisis: Keep WGBS prominent. Clark doesn't need to work there but there could be mingling and angst between the two organizations. I've always liked how Lana was co-anchor with Clark and how Lana was in Lois and Clark's orbit once again.
    Yes, I will agree that Martin Pasko bringing back adult Lana into the Superman series in 1977 was a highlight. Given how Lana has since been portrayed as so likeable in Superman III, Smallville and the like, one can look back on those stories and object to the unsympathetic way Pasko wrote her, but he did redeem her in that classic scene, which was at the end of the Master Jailer story, I believe, where Superman finally told her off and she's banging on the windows as he flies away. Good drama, and it was stuff you really couldn't do with Lois.

  14. #74
    Notorious M.O.S. Kuwagaton's Avatar
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    I liked WGBS split between Cat, Jimmy, and the Edge family, but it's a toss up because I also thought Clark as a newscaster was a really great update. Not that comics have to mirror reality and treat newspapers like a nearly dead industry. If I made a change to the New 52 that wasn't creator related, it'd be to have Clark as a foreign correspondent for the Planet to split the difference.

    Certainly didn't care for Lana getting involved in Lexcorp, I thought she was just fine at WGBS especially since I love Superman III. The New 52 engineer gig was also solid imo.

  15. #75
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    It was great that Lana worked in TV. I think, in the '60s, she worked for WMET. I didn't like what happened to Lana after the reboot.

    Just prior to Crisis, I believe Clark was splitting his time between the Planet and WGBS. Which seems the most logical thing. Especially if Galaxy owns both. They would put Clark on different platforms to exploit his talent.

    Reporters I've known have not worked exclusively in one medium. Broadcast journalists will still file stories with newspapers and magazines. And the other way around. These days, reporters are constantly jumping from one medium to the other in reporting the news. Especially for stringers in far off places.

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