Results 1 to 10 of 10
  1. #1
    Standing Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Posts
    12,236

    Default What if Leo Dorfman's Superman Red/Superman Blue had happened . . .

    In "The Amazing Story of Superman-Red and Superman-Blue," SUPERMAN 162 (July 1963)--by Leo Dorfman, Curt Swan and George Klein--the Man of Tomorrow splits in two, becoming Superman-Red and Supeman-Blue, and ends up creating a utopia on Earth.

    This is not an imaginary story--it supposes that one day these events could happen. Of course, it assumes the status quo of 1963 and as that didn't last in the long run, we now look at it as an imaginary story. But if this was what really happened in Superman's near future, how would that have affected the entire DC world?

    In the story, through the efforts of Red and Blue, the USA and the USSR give up all their nuclear weapons, the Twins of Steel create an anti-evil ray that wipes out all crime, and Lex Luthor (being reformed) cures all diseases on Earth.

    All of the Kandorians (who are now full height) and all of the Phantom Zoners (who are now good and are released from their twilight prison by Supergirl) go to New Krypton--a restored home planet created by the Red and Blue champions.

    The Crimson Son of Krypton marries Lois Lane and they also go to New Krypton to raise a family, while the Big Blue Boy Scout stays on Earth with his wife, Lana Lang, to live in domestic bliss and study science.

    Since there's no crime and no disease, there would be nothing for Batman and Robin or the rest of the Justice League to do, as far as protecting the Earth. Maybe they would still have to prevent natural disasters. Since a lot of the heroes around that time seemed to be interested in archaeology, perhaps they would go off on digs to investigate the past. Or maybe Bruce and Dick would go time travelling thanks to Professor Carter Nichols.

    What about Hal Jordan? As Green Lantern of Earth, he would have little to do--maybe he would go on long patrols of his space sector and help out other planets. Katar Hol and Shayera came to Earth to study police methods--I always wondered why they stayed so long, before finally going back to Thanagar to report on their findings--maybe they take the information about the anti-evil ray back to Thanagar so they can introduce the same technology there.

    Oh and the people of Atlantis all left Earth to go to their own water world. I wonder if Aquaman and Mera joined them. Seems like they would. They would have their baby in that world and little Arthur would never know the cold death brought by Black Manta (who would be a good guy anyway).

    In a world where we don't need super-heroes, what would they do instead? It always seemed to me that most of them were just in it because they were thrill-seekers and they liked to dress up. If they couldn't get their kicks from punching thugs, what did they do with their time?

  2. #2
    Traveler of omniverses Thor-Ul's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Halfway between Asgard & Krypton
    Posts
    2,731

    Default

    I have the chance to read that story,the original Superman Red Superman Blue story and is really good and fun, a representative of the imagination and innocence of that time. It is one of the iconical tales from the Superman of that time and in fact it is an imaginary story because it represents an ending for the Superman story: The premise it was simpel: If a Superman was good, two would be awesome. In this story, Superman, sorry, both Supermen are capable to end all of the world problems from crime to conflicst and restore a lost, endangerment civilization, bring peace not only to earth but for all the galaxy, his (thier) enemies becomes allies and Luthor cures all the diseases of humanity and even resolves the love triagle of Superman with Lois Lane and Lana Lang.
    It was a story very in the line of "the final days of..." with Superman (both Supermen) ending his adventures, but in a very positive and innocent solutions to their dilemmas. It was the "and they all lived happily ever after" for that Superman. You can't make any story set that world after that.

    And, yes it was an imaginary story. The first page of the book called the story an "imaginary novel".

    It is a fun story and a product of its time and people like Alan Moore and Mark Evanier seems to be fond of that tale. Moore even put a small homege to that story in his Supreme with the Supreme White and Supreme Gold easter egg. And even it was given his own earth (don't remember if it was officially or not, but it was earth-168, before the earths collapse in the '85) and dropped as easter eggs in events like Convergence and Infinite Crisis.

    I really like that story. It was fun. But it couldn't be made now. Not in the same way as it was originally.

    Why? Because some of the solutions proposed then are not the best solutions as seen now. In fact some of them are pretty much very disturbing, even for a book for kids. I can understand and forgave the ideas in a book from that time, but applied in stories today it would seem very unsettling.

    Let start with the most problematic: the hypnotic anti-evil ray. Of course it is a simple way of putting and sounds cool. But basically, it was a brainwashing machine which stole any person of the freewill capacity or more preciselly to nullify any agressive behavior. (I'm leaving out what exactly we can understand as "evil") Something very in the line of pulp tales like the ones from Doc Savage. But after stories like Gruenwald' Squadron Supreme and Identity Crisis, the idea of modify the mind of a person, even an evil person, it is not seen as very heroic. If the Green lanterns would had appeared in the story, they should had put both Supermen under arrest for that crime. And the Thanagarians directly would eradicate earth to erase such technology.

    Other conflictive point is the displacement of the atlanteans: All the atlanteans would leave earth just like that? What if some atlanteans, like Aquaman for example, would add choose to stay on earth? They had the same right to live on earth seas, that was their home. And they want to leave because people on land consider them to be freaks? Why not the other way around? Maybe people in land are freaks with splited, broken tails. Why not make them being the ones to leave the planet? Take that racial minority and move them from here where they (and we) can be happy. Awkward, isn't?

    I liked the idea of the solution for Kandor and new Krypton, but also had the same problem, the idea of a society 100% in complete agreement. Worked in the 60s, but today? Not everyone agree on everything, always there is someone who thinks most people is wrong and sometimes, as history has showed us, they can be right.

    And then, the convenient solution for the romantic dilemma: both Supermen thinking the same but were with the enough difference to choose between both women each one: Blue with Lana and Red with Lois. One Superman for each girl. It could had been problematic if bioth Supermen would had choose the same girl for their love, isn't? But this was a happy place, so such problems doesn't exists.

    Anyway, as I said before, I can excuse these points and enjoy the story, and undestand it was from a more innocent form of see the world. But any revisitation of this story or world, either as a continuation of the original tale or as a retelling under a modern new prism, could not be done today if it don't take into account these dark aspects.

    I still love yet, the original tale.
    Internet Rule 14: Do not argue with trolls it means they win.

  3. #3
    Father Son Kamehameha < Kuwagaton's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Posts
    7,216

    Default

    I think someone who wasn't evil would find a way, eventually, to justify messing it all up. Maybe Batman.

    Also, I think Superman Red was the happier of the two. He basically had something he'd previously accepted as gone forever. Technically what he lost would still be gone, but what was salvaged was really worth it.
    Welcome or welcome back! Please check out the updated
    CBR Community STANDARDS & RULES

  4. #4
    Standing Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Posts
    12,236

    Default

    Thanks for the reply. I had given up on anyone replying.

    What made me think of this was a discussion on the Batman forum about Batman retiring. It occurred to me that there was a circumstance under which it would make sense for Batman to retire and all Earth super-heroes to retire--and it would be a circumstance such as the one in Dorfman's story. That's the main thing I was trying to get at. Not simply to wax nostalagic about an old, favourite story. It just provided the best jumping off point for me to ask this larger question about what would super-heroes do if their whole reason for being no longer was there.

    Funny thing is while I liked the Superman-Red/Superman-Blue story when I first read it in a 100 Page Super Spectacular, I didn't get why everyone was so wild about this story, if it was just an imaginary story. It's only been as I got older and read it many more times that I found new things in the story that challenged me and made me consider what it was saying about Superman and the world. Now I understand why editors selected it as one of the greatest--because it's like Snoopy's doghouse, or the Doctor's TARDIS or the human brain--there's more on the inside than there is on the outside.

  5. #5
    Father Son Kamehameha < Kuwagaton's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Posts
    7,216

    Default

    Ha, that happens to me all the time, but it's strangely fitting if the Red and Blue of Superman #162 is a story that resolves its own discussion.

    I think it's an interesting challenge. Suppose on some level, you don't agree. What do you even do? They're not Superman anymore but they can be. And two Supermen who don't want you to unfix things sounds like a good sequel to me. I think you can expand on why someone wouldn't agree and maybe use someone else, but I think right away you have the idea of a man who either doesn't want to be fixed, or arguably shouldn't. Knowing how good he is at being Batman, why would he be anything else?
    Welcome or welcome back! Please check out the updated
    CBR Community STANDARDS & RULES

  6. #6
    BANNED
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Posts
    1,818

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Kuwagaton View Post
    Ha, that happens to me all the time, but it's strangely fitting if the Red and Blue of Superman #162 is a story that resolves its own discussion.

    I think it's an interesting challenge. Suppose on some level, you don't agree. What do you even do? They're not Superman anymore but they can be. And two Supermen who don't want you to unfix things sounds like a good sequel to me. I think you can expand on why someone wouldn't agree and maybe use someone else, but I think right away you have the idea of a man who either doesn't want to be fixed, or arguably shouldn't. Knowing how good he is at being Batman, why would he be anything else?
    The problem is that as far as we can see the system worked. Anyone who undid it is breaking the world again. I can't see Batman wanting to restore a world where people like Joe Chill can create orphans. Or if it were a modern story of restoring the Joker's ability to kill another Jason Todd or cripple another Barbara Gordon. How would Jason or Barbara feel in that world when Bruce explains that Superman had cured the Joker and tleft unchallenged he would never have been free to attack them, but Batman took it on himself to free the Joker's psychosis because he disagreed with Superman's methods leaving Jason and Barbara to pay the cost later.

  7. #7
    Standing Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Posts
    12,236

    Default

    I think with any fiction, you have to accept the fiction that someone is giving you. Because it's fiction, it has to be self-contained and it can't include everything from the real world. It's a matter of selection. Just like when you draw a picture, you don't draw everything--you're selective in what details you use to to make the picture.

    The interesting thing is what is shown in that fiction, what is in that picture. I don't think the Dorfman story is all that simple, because the things that we're shown--like the desire to get rid of all nuclear weapons--tells us something about the person telling the story as well as the characters in the story, like Superman.

    Every reader could make up their own version of how to make the world a better place and what ending would be the best for Superman and all his family and friends--and every reader would come up with a different solution. Spltting Superman in two--splliting the child in two--seems like a good way to satisfy two different camps.

    I imagine that if there was a sequel, it would be that an alien race attacked Earth. So long as they weren't affected by the goodness rays before they got in range to take them out and then attack the Earth. I don't think even Superman could pacify the whole universe. And because everyone had grown complacent on Earth, they wouldn't be prepared for an attack.

    Or if this was done as an Elseworlds in the 1990s, it would be about how this was a dystopian future, where all the good things turned bad. Because just about every Elseworld back then had to have that theme.

  8. #8
    Mighty Member Johnny Thunders!'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    WGBS
    Posts
    1,714

    Default

    It must just be inevitable that things go wrong, or the next generation of super humans just sees the past as oppressive and end up turning the whole system upside down.
    I think it could look like the the young Justice League series from Multiversity. Eventually everyone gets so bored that Luthor's grand daughter ends up starting an apocalypse. I think eventually Darkseid comes to Earth and lets Superman know he went wrong, or I guess right in his case. There are a few Utopian society books out there where the superheroes just win. DC 1,000,00, Miracle Man the Silver Age, Squadron Supreme, Grant Morrison's Zenith... The books where the Superheroes solve evils always end up as books about tyranny. I always think Superman spins things right so his version of paradise on Earth would actually work. I think we would all end up with Superpowers and up spreading the word through the multiverse.

  9. #9
    Traveler of omniverses Thor-Ul's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Halfway between Asgard & Krypton
    Posts
    2,731

    Default

    It is because we are living in a world post utopia. As it was exposed in several previous works, any brave new world is built upon the bones of others. Also, ss Superman himself said it: "A perfect earth would not need Superman". Miracle Man imposed paradise upon mankind, in DC 100000, there were unsppakable evils and a planet prision, Squadron Supreme rebuilt the world, under the control and manipulation of the superhumans. I haven't read Zenith but I will believe the word of Johnny Thunders! Even with good intentions, imposing order is questionable.

    And don't forget Red Son, where a Red Superman also imposed a (comunist) utopia in the world, by force and with good intentions yet in his absence it fell apart. Ironically, it was Luthor, with less than noble intentions who built an utopy for mankind, but he was smart enough to offer it to the people instead of imposing it. (By the way, how would happened this story in the universe of red son: Superman Red, Superman Grey?)

    Back on the story itself, if there was a second part to do, I would like to see how both Supermen grew apart molded by different life experiences: Blue stays on earth, still being Super, but Red lives as a common man on new Krypton, powerless as all their peers. After the years, how these different live would made different two persons who were the same originally?
    Internet Rule 14: Do not argue with trolls it means they win.

  10. #10
    Mighty Member Johnny Thunders!'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    WGBS
    Posts
    1,714

    Default

    Zenith is okay, the Super heroes take over and become possessed by higher dimensional beings that change our world into their hellish landscape. Anyways, I think Superman gets his society working like clockwork and the whole world moves forward as a benevolent shining civilization. I'm sure just like Red Son and Squadron Supreme, Batman has to shake things up. Maybe he and Luthor actually do team up? My money is that Superman elevates the human race to New God Status and New Metropolis floats right next to new Genesis. Unless Batman...

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •