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  1. #1
    Obsessed & Compelled Bored at 3:00AM's Avatar
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    Default What are the main sticking points within Superman fandom?

    Discussions among Superman fans tend to come down to disagreements over a handful of key issues.

    Political vs Apolitical

    Should Superman be an agent of change actively working to fix the problems of human society or should be super-powered 911 there to help when we get in trouble. I think there's decent arguments to be made on both sides of this debate, and I think this conflict should be a major part of the character.

    His relationship with Lois Lane


    Does she know he's Superman? Doesn't she know? Are they married? Honestly, I think you can tell great stories with any of these status quos, and I'd like to see more variety in this regard.

    The portrayal of Clark Kent

    Is he a bumbling nerd or simply Superman with glasses? This really comes down to Reeves vs Reeve. I tend to favor the idea that Clark is more of an exaggerated persona because it's very funny to me, but I understand that some readers want to see Clark treated more seriously. Both versions work just fine, but one feels like wasted potential. The Clark Kent of George Reeves, Dean Cain and Henry Cavill are indistinguishable from Superman. I'd rather they have more fun with it.

    Superboy vs Superman

    I think history has shown that if you want to have a Legion of Super-Heroes, you can't remove Superboy from his history, but I very much appreciate the thinking that Superman's arrival into the public eye should not be preceded by the exact same thing, only younger. I think the best way to handle this is making his adventures as a kid a clandestine thing and keep his costumed adventures as Superboy in the 30th Century.

    Meeting Lex in Smallville or Metropolis

    There's pretty good arguments to be made on both sides of this one, too. However, I think the current idea of having Lex in Smallville, but not as a friend of Clark's is a complete waste. Why bother having him in Smallville if you aren't going to have them be friends. What is the value to having them share a hometown?

    Ma & Pa Kent's survival

    While I can respect those that want the Kents around for Clark to head back to whenever he needs advice or apple pie, I think they are largely redundant once he becomes Superman and reveals his identity to Lois, who then becomes his primary confidant. I think they should have split the difference and kept Ma alive with Pa dead, but I'm curious to see if any worthwhile stories come out of their latest resurrection.

    The destruction of Krypton and who survived

    I prefer the ultimate cause of Krypton's demise to be the result of hubris, rather than malice, but I don't really care what the cause is as long as Krypton is dead and the number of survivors is limited to Superman, Supergirl, Krypto, the Phantom Zone Criminals, and whatever the population is in the Bottled City of Kandor. They tried limiting it to only Superman post-Crisis and all it led to was convoluted nonsense that satisfied no one.

    Anything else I missed?

  2. #2
    Astonishing Member Robanker's Avatar
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    You missed the most petty of all concerns: the trunks.

    Killing is likely another one. Many fans believe he'll do it if absolutely necessary and others see him as hardline as Batman on the matter.

    Main two off the top of my head. Some are less common, such as "should he still be a reporter" and "secret ID or open ID?"

    But they're not things I hear outside of dedicated Superman fans.

  3. #3
    Astonishing Member manwhohaseverything's Avatar
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    I also, think a preference to how the world treats him and his own standing in it with organisations such as police, military, government officials... Etc should be a subject of discussion as well. He is an alien and a vigilante. Dancing around that subject is nonsense.

  4. #4
    Astonishing Member Vordan's Avatar
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    Power level
    A classic. Should he be lifting infinite books and be as strong as he needs to be, or should they set hard limits on what he can and can’t do, and “ground” him by limiting his ability to survive without food, water, oxygen, etc.

    Legion Roots
    Should he have been a member as a kid or should they be kept out of his life.

    Intelligence
    Does he have super intelligence, is he smart but not super smart, or he just a simple farmboy who punches hard and gets by on raw power and luck.

  5. #5
    Astonishing Member manwhohaseverything's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vordan View Post
    Power level
    A classic. Should he be lifting infinite books and be as strong as he needs to be, or should they set hard limits on what he can and can’t do, and “ground” him by limiting his ability to survive without food, water, oxygen, etc.
    Power levels for these guys will naturally escalate. That's a non issue for me. It's writer preference. I am more concerned with stupid plot device weaknesses and strengths. They just rob the character of from self-reliance, sense of accomplishment through effort(for readers) and competence. They need to change how kryptonite works. It should be more like poison and metallic in nature, k-metalish.Keep and expand the bioelectric aura. Diversify how it works,make it sort of like nen or speed force or lantern spectrum . Get rid of the sun dipping nonsense. Instead go for voluntary and cosmic approach. It doesn't make any sense that sun provides that kind of energy. Besides the problem is that, it feels like it takes away any sort of need for physical effort from the character. Superman doesn't get stronger because he overcomes an obstacle. He does by sitting around.Superman should be breaking limits and chains.

    Just stop making superman lame and actually make him inspirational.
    Last edited by manwhohaseverything; 07-01-2020 at 11:21 PM.

  6. #6
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    Relatability: Should superman be "one of us with powers" or a unique individual who lives up to his own moral code.

    Nobody is perfect but with Superman we seem to get fans who think Superman should be a goal to strive for (better than "us") and other fans who feel that if Superman isn't as morally confused as most people he isn't relatable, Elliot Maggin showed us a Superman guided by "There is a right and wrong in the universe and the value judgement isn't hard to make". More recent examples have been Clark Kent from Smallville who has great power but no more insight into right and wrong than any other person. To me I'd rather have a Superman who always gives me something to aspire to rather than one is just a flawed guy trying to do better. I want to believe a man can fly, not watch how many times he falls trying to fly.

    A variation on the Clark/Superman question.

    Pre-Crisis Supwerman was who the character wanted to be. Hos powers were an innate part of his identity. In the 1950's series you didn't see George Reeves' character longing to be a human being. But the second Chris Reeve movie planted the seed that Superman might give up his powers willingly in order to be with Lois. The Byrne origin had his powers develop later so that outside of a few childhood instances Clark grew up as a human being and largely even after learning the truth thought of himself as a human being (albeit one with powers). The 1993 TV series Lois & Clark coined the "Clark is who I am and Superman is what I can do" as if his powers were something separate from him. And a decade later Smallville gave us a Clark who seemed at points to resent his abilities and long to just be a "normal" teen-ager. Superman Returns gave us a character burdened by hearing all the world's cries for help. Man of Steel showed us Clark's struggles to find a place for himself in the world.

    To me that is a divide in the fanbase. Is Superman's life and powers something he embraces? Or a burden he has to bear? Is he an outsider trying to show us a larger world, who sometimes feels alone for lack of equals? Or the guy always trying to fit in and destined to always be burdened by responsibilities and not seeing things from our perspective? I think many fans answer those questions differently, especially based on what they read coming in to the character.

  7. #7
    Obsessed & Compelled Bored at 3:00AM's Avatar
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    Can't believe I forgot about Jon "Superboy" Kent, his age, and his very existence

  8. #8
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    Just how much of a role Jor-El should play.

    What Krypton was like before it was destroyed.

  9. #9
    Incredible Member Gaius's Avatar
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    The other romantic pairings he's had besides Lois, such as Lana Lang and Wonder Woman.

  10. #10
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    All those things that keep him from being the sole Kryptonian, such as the bottled city of Kandor, Supergirl, Krypto, Zod and the other Phantom Zone folks, etc.

  11. #11
    Astonishing Member superduperman's Avatar
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    I would say your list is pretty good but there are other, smaller, sticking points. I would replace Superboy with his origin in general. This would include things like what age he got his powers, who all knew his secret in Smallville, what Krypton looked like, etc. All these things fall into the general category of his origin. You could conceivably do a Legion that is still inspired by him without him being a member. As the DCAU did. All of these things are also sticking points among fans.

    I would include his relationship to Batman. They seem to have a real thing about having them be "frienemies".

    His power levels, of course. This is what killed my interest in the DCAU version.

    His relationship with Wonder Woman. Thanks to the New 52, this is now on the table as an option for something that actually happened. I know that during the New 52 era, this was huge thing among some fans.

    Whether or not he should have kids. As others mentioned up top.

    I'm sure there's others I'm forgetting right now. His relationship with Lana? Does she still pine for him or has she moved on?
    Now listen to me, Clark! This great strength of yours--you've got to hide it from people or they'll be scared of you!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robanker View Post
    You missed the most petty of all concerns: the trunks.
    This may seem petty to some...but comics is a visual medium.

    If I cannot stand to look at a character, then I cannot enjoy her/his adventures.

    I really dislike the red underoos; they should have left 30 years ago.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vordan View Post
    Power level
    A classic. Should he be lifting infinite books and be as strong as he needs to be, or should they set hard limits on what he can and can’t do, and “ground” him by limiting his ability to survive without food, water, oxygen, etc.
    Some fans demand he be a living demigod; I think it's childishly ridiculous the he always must be 'bestest' at everything.

    I feel sorry for anyone trying to write a story for him; challenging Superman must be nightmare (unless it's with Kryptonite or magic...again...and again).

    Don't try to convince that Toyman or Puzzler or Prankster could ever be real threats to Kal.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vordan View Post
    Intelligence
    Does he have super intelligence, is he smart but not super smart, or he just a simple farmboy who punches hard and gets by on raw power and luck.
    Well he's not dumb and he has superspeed and supersenses...so he should be abel to figure almost anything out quickly. This may also help make him overpowered.

  13. #13
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    I don't think there really is such a thing as overpowered. Superman should always be Can Do

  14. #14
    Incredible Member Lvenger's Avatar
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    Yeah I certainly don't mind a powerfully written Superman. He doesn't have to be Silver Age levels of power but moving planets and flying faster than light shouldn't be outside his limits. You can still use much less powerful villains in an interesting way like the Prankster or Toyman with the right writer and story.

  15. #15
    Ultimate Member Sacred Knight's Avatar
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    Potential differences in all the particular aspects is why you can have two versions of Kal-El whom at face value seem so similar as to there not being worth having two versions to begin with. But when you dig deeper it creates significant differences in nuance. Its the basis of my argument of why DC should go back to an Earth One and Two like set up and give us a younger Kal-El at least heavily inspired by what the New 52 did. Those subtle nuances all mixed together can create a meaningfully different character although it doesn't appear so much on the face of it.
    "They can be a great people Kal-El, they wish to be. They only lack the light to show the way. For this reason above all, their capacity for good, I have sent them you. My only son." - Jor-El

    "“Your boos mean nothing, I’ve seen what makes you cheer!”

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