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  1. #1
    Astonishing Member manwhohaseverything's Avatar
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    Default Was postcrisis superman more complex?


    So, is it justfied?is superman complex?if so,how?what makes superman's world complex now? I would like to get another perspective. Because I just don't see any complexity in the character or the world that the story claims it has.

  2. #2
    Father Son Kamehameha < Kuwagaton's Avatar
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    Superman was billed as the Man of Tomorrow, but created in a time so long ago that it's almost as alien as Krypton. Stories will always get simpler as you travel backwards through time. Although I don't think the character changes much, he has to look different because his place in the world is always changing with it.
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  3. #3
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    Pardon me for saying so, but I think there's a lot more to unpack with the pre-Crisis Superman.

    Writers from the last few decades are not shy about telling you everything you could want to know about their characters (and some things you don't need to know). You don't have to have any imagination, because you can find everything about the character in the comics or the fan press interviews or the internet resources.

    With pre-Crisis comics--especially pre-1971 comics--writers kept their cards close to their vest. So to understand the character, you have to work it out on your own. And few of the writers are around to explain it to you and tell you whether you're barking up the wrong tree.

    Alvin Schwartz did live a long life and had a chance to write AN UNLIKELY PROPHET--which at least gives you a glimpse of his deep understanding of Superman from the 1940s and the 1950s. I imagine every classic Superman writer had his own understanding of the character and what drives him. They just didn't waste a lot of paper dwelling on it.
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  4. #4
    Astonishing Member Yoda's Avatar
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    That scene was talking about morality not story complexity. Morality in the 1930's is largely considered more black and white. I mean, razing a tenement so the owners will build a new safer housing is ridiculously simplistic and naive. Recognizing that that would result only in homelessness for the residents and a lucrative opportunity to rebuild as something other than low income housing would be a modern take so another solution would be better served. Even New 52 Superman saw that type of complexity.

    That was what this scene was getting at. You see that play out still today with practically any issue.

  5. #5
    Mighty Member Johnny Thunders!'s Avatar
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    I think you could argue that Post Crisis Superman was designed to be simpler rather than more complex. Post Crisis Superman is more fully realized as a human character, to my mind much too much like Peter Parker, but I wouldn't say more complex. One of the big knocks against pre crisis Superman was that his universe and timeline was too baffling. The whole pre-crisis idea was to streamline the story. When I read Superman comics now, they feel like a big soap opera, "My stories," as Kevin Smith says. When I read pre-crisis Superman, especially the imaginary tales, the red kryptonite stories, the almost twilight zone allegories of some of those books, I see the connection to later books like the Sandman or Alan Moores Swamp Thing. Superman's universe seemed to host every kind of possible story, and underneath them all, I see some sort of commentary on what it means to be a human being in an increasingly mechanized or alien world. Fables about power, humanity, and what it means to pursue justice. That and stories with flying monkeys and horses.

  6. #6
    Astonishing Member Riv86672's Avatar
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    Nowadays Superman is written by ppl who grew up knowing about the character, and what they know about him has changed as they’ve gotten older. I dont think of Superman now at age 51 the same as I thought about him at age 8.
    Back in the 30s/40s writers weren’t lifelong fans (of Superman or even comics really), and that’s kind of reflected in the writing.
    As fans have become creators, they’ve literally gotten to put a lifetime’s worth of thought into the character.
    So maybe it’s the creators that are more complex.

  7. #7
    Astonishing Member manwhohaseverything's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yoda View Post
    That scene was talking about morality not story complexity. Morality in the 1930's is largely considered more black and white. I mean, razing a tenement so the owners will build a new safer housing is ridiculously simplistic and naive. Recognizing that that would result only in homelessness for the residents and a lucrative opportunity to rebuild as something other than low income housing would be a modern take so another solution would be better served. Even New 52 Superman saw that type of complexity.

    That was what this scene was getting at. You see that play out still today with practically any issue.
    That isn't a moral conundrum. It's just escalation. People get smarter, meaner,stronger..etc. Superman does the same, superman adapts. It just so happens the later supermen aren't in your face or blunt with their methods. They choose a subtle methods.But, superman can't guarantee any income being generated for any kind of housing. So,still simplistic and with problem remaining mostly same. The swash buckling viglante has other means. Even dirty tricks postcrisis superman wouldn't even think of doing or would allow himself to do deal with escalation. He has wide variety of choices because he isn't much of moral paragon. He wasn't meant to be seen as such. So,my question remains the same.

  8. #8
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    Comic books in the 1950s and 1960s were not meant to provide multi-faceted and complex characterizations of their heroes and villains, deep examinations and controversial depictions of different aspects of society, or deliberations over ambiguous moral dilemmas. They were meant to provide good guys, bad guys, lots of fights, and plenty of excitement, all in color for a dime.

  9. #9
    Astonishing Member Yoda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by manwhohaseverything View Post
    That isn't a moral conundrum. It's just escalation. People get smarter, meaner,stronger..etc. Superman does the same, superman adapts. It just so happens the later supermen aren't in your face or blunt with their methods. They choose a subtle methods.But, superman can't guarantee any income being generated for any kind of housing. So,still simplistic and with problem remaining mostly same. The swash buckling viglante has other means. Even dirty tricks postcrisis superman wouldn't even think of doing or would allow himself to do deal with escalation. He has wide variety of choices because he isn't much of moral paragon. He wasn't meant to be seen as such. So,my question remains the same.
    It has nothing to do with escalation. It presents a simple black and white solution to a complex problem. That's exactly what the page you posted is getting at.

  10. #10
    Ultimate Member Ascended's Avatar
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    I actually think pre-Crisis/Bronze Age Superman is far more complex than the standard post-Crisis version.

    The narratives were simpler back in pre-Crisis and didn't delve into the complexity of someone's actions the way modern writing does. But Clark himself was far more complex a person.

    Hell even his diet in pre-Crisis was more complex.
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  11. #11
    Astonishing Member manwhohaseverything's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yoda View Post
    It has nothing to do with escalation. It presents a simple black and white solution to a complex problem. That's exactly what the page you posted is getting at.
    Okay, you haven't provided why that is morally complex ? What the later supermen does, i mean. Its what a morally decent person would do. A plan with limitations regarding the success rate and low risk rate. It's a safe choice, keeping your own moral integrity intact. I wouldn't call it complex at all.

    In my view. Inside the story, people would only become homeless if superman just allows that to happen. Superman can steal, threaten.. Etc do all sorts of tricks to get safer housing from the owners. He is a vigilante . The morality of whatever superman does is left to the readers,means actually morally complex . Furthermore, It provides an entertaining solution with a swash buckling action hero, out story.Also, his recklessness means he is actually flawed and complex. with his solution being high risk and high reward. That can have disasterous outcomes. So situation is more complex as well.
    Last edited by manwhohaseverything; 05-12-2020 at 01:09 PM.

  12. #12
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    I always go to Kill Bill part 2, on what Bill said about Superman (used as a mouthpiece for Tarantino)

    If you listen to his Superman speech, it describes pre-crisis Superman. Superman is the real person, while Clark Kent is a disguise to live among weaker humans. I’m paraphrasing but I recommend viewing it yourself, maybe on youtube.


    Post-crisis Superman is different. The real person is Clark Kent, where Superman (and to a lesser extent Kal-El)
    are the “disguises” he uses to blend in as a superhero and his Kryptonian heritage.




    Post-crisis, this is a stark contrast to Batman. Where Batman is the real person, while “playboy billionaire Brice Wayne” is the facade used to blend in.

  13. #13
    Astonishing Member manwhohaseverything's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Will Evans View Post
    I always go to Kill Bill part 2, on what Bill said about Superman (used as a mouthpiece for Tarantino)

    If you listen to his Superman speech, it describes pre-crisis Superman. Superman is the real person, while Clark Kent is a disguise to live among weaker humans. I’m paraphrasing but I recommend viewing it yourself, maybe on youtube.


    Post-crisis Superman is different. The real person is Clark Kent, where Superman (and to a lesser extent Kal-El)
    are the “disguises” he uses to blend in as a superhero and his Kryptonian heritage.




    Post-crisis, this is a stark contrast to Batman. Where Batman is the real person, while “playboy billionaire Brice Wayne” is the facade used to blend in.
    I have heard it,doesn't mean it's right or that i buy it. Also, there are two precrisis supermen. Goldenage guy is clark kent who is called superman by the people. Silverage guy is largely kal el .The fake persona was to hide their strength as john or Jonathan (depending on the version) asked them to.Why? They were alien with powers. So, they played weakling and wimps(i don't buy that it's an imitation of a human). Used their reporter status to get rid of any new regarding the mysterious superman .why? Humanity would fear both precrisis supermen, they needed to help and they couldn't stand by while evil triumphed . Goldenage guy was also a true vigilante on top of that. So, fear isn't exactly unfounded.

    Why should i care if superman contrasts batman?batman is irrelevant to the discussion. Superman existed before batman.Furthmore,i fail to see how that makes the postcrisis characters more complex?
    Last edited by manwhohaseverything; 05-12-2020 at 01:12 PM.

  14. #14
    Astonishing Member Yoda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by manwhohaseverything View Post
    Okay, you haven't provided why that is morally complex ? What the later supermen does, i mean. Its what a morally decent person would do. A plan with limitations regarding the success rate and low risk rate. It's a safe choice, keeping your own moral integrity intact. I wouldn't call it complex at all.
    It's more complex because it recognizes and deals with the actual complexities of a problem. It doesn't imagine a simple solution to a complex problem by ignoring the complexities.

    In my view. Inside the story, people would only become homeless if superman just allows that to happen. Superman can steal, threaten.. Etc do all sorts of tricks to get safer housing from the owners.
    You're literally rewriting the story to make it more complex to address the shortcomings.

    The morality of whatever superman does is left to the readers,means actually morally complex .
    Huh? His actions in the GA stories weren't being presented as morally complex, they were simple right and wrong. You're making up complexities that don't exist in the stories, which is what the black and white comment you posted means. The stories don't deal with any complexities, they are simple morality tales.
    Also, he is recklessness means he is flawed and complex, with high risk and higb reward kinda thing. That can have disasterous outcomes. So situation is more complex as well.
    That's not how any of that time period is presented. Nor is it what the morality criticisms in the page you posted is. You're retroactively making it more complex by imagining all these scenarios. It wasn't presented as complex, it was simple. They identified a problem, they presented a solution that he could punch to fix, and it worked. There's no complexity because the stories were simple one offs.
    Last edited by Yoda; 05-12-2020 at 01:24 PM.

  15. #15
    Extraordinary Member SiegePerilous02's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    I actually think pre-Crisis/Bronze Age Superman is far more complex than the standard post-Crisis version.

    The narratives were simpler back in pre-Crisis and didn't delve into the complexity of someone's actions the way modern writing does. But Clark himself was far more complex a person.

    Hell even his diet in pre-Crisis was more complex.
    Yeah, I think this nails. Maybe the stories were simpler, but as a character/person I think he was a great deal more nuanced than what came after.

    The "Superman is what I do, Clark Kent is who I am" that we see pop up in a lot of post-Crisis narratives and really took hold in that era just makes him less weird and more boring as a result.

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