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  1. #31

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    I suspect something like this will be done someday. whether or not it's in a specific year who knows.

  2. #32
    Extraordinary Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SiegePerilous02 View Post
    To be fair, none of those would ever do as good as a Superman move in the first place. As many hits as the IP has taken, it's still vastly bigger and going to draw more interest than any of those.
    True that.

    Superman is no longer inherently tied to that era,
    I don't think he ever was tied to that era. Remember, Superman's biggest period of active readership was the '50s and the '60s, not the '40s. The really big influential Superman movie came in the '70s. The biggest Superman story of all time, "The Death of Superman" came in the '90s. The only fully realized dramatic animation series of Superman -- also '90s. Live-Action Superman shows -- Lois and Clark ('90s) and Smallville (2000s).

    This concept of Superman being tied to the '40s is really bizarre. It's based on the Fleischer cartoons and yeah those cartoons are awesome and great but aside from it being the last decade animated shorts would ever get that kind of budget, there's nothing inherently '40s to those cartoons (except for the WW2-propaganda sanctioned racism of course).

    There was a recent article by CBR (https://www.cbr.com/superman-the-ani...ifferent-look/) about Bruce Timm talking about how Alex Toth had such a bizarre fixation on Superman being set in the '40s, that's a good example of how misplaced nostalgia has hampered the character.

    If Shazam was such a good success, then it stands to reason that there's nothing barring Superman. Shazam is far more intrinsically tied to the '40s than Superman in terms of comics but if his movie can be set in the present, no reason for it not to.

    ...but I think a series of Superman movies set in the 30s-40s but with the high concept visuals from the later eras would at least stand out from the flood of superhero movies in terms of atmosphere. Or maybe not go all in, but do what Batman 1989 did and set in an ambiguous time period that evokes that era (cars and clothes) along with contemporary stuff in and not-so-realistic elements. Instead of Gothic Hellish Gotham, do Fritz Lang meets Shirow Masamune for Metropolis. Superman could shake things up by inhabiting a fantastical but rich world instead of doing the "it's just where we live, unless they visit another planet" stuff almost everyone else is doing.
    Well, obviously you need to create a particularly distinct look and visual style, that's true. At the same time, I think people need a wider range of references.

    Superman wasn't exceptional. Every comic book of the Golden Age drew its ideas from the movies. Dick Tracy was based on gangster movies of the 30s, Will Eisner was a devotee of Citizen Kane, Bill Finger and Jerry Robinson were big silent film aficionados and Batman comics and rogues were based on The Bat Whispers, The Man Who Laughs, and other silent films. So if Batman can transcend his '30s origins, no reason for Superman not to. The original Superman by Siegel and Shuster drew its ideas and influences from 1930s culture as well as 1920s movies. The entire Clark Kent look, with the glasses and so on, is based on the silent comedian Harold Lloyd. The name is also a tip of the hat to Clark Gable who in It Happened One Night, played a reporter there. Lois Lane is based partly on Jerry Siegel's future wife, but also on the many reporter comedies of the '30s which had tough talking brassy dames in the newsroom. Dana Delany modeled her Lois in STAS on Rosalind Russell from His Girl Friday (which debuted after Superman's debut in comics but is more famous as a realization than the '30s movies that came before). The fact that people want Superman set in the '40s makes zero sense, because culturally in terms of references and influences, it isn't a product of '40s culture.

  3. #33
    Savior of the Universe Flash Gordon's Avatar
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    I love THE ROCKETEER and stuff akin, but I'd like to really see Superman move forward.

    I'd honestly like something very modern that reimagines the character for 2020. Somewhat lower budget (more Shazam! than Infinity War), with a real vision. Redefine the aesthetics and update the characters, while staying true to the thematic nature of Superman and his world.

    Lean harder into the Silver and Bronze Age for concepts and ideas. Go hard sci fi with Superman.

  4. #34

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    A period piece take on Superman would interest me the most. But I rather see a more genuine/nuanced take on the past rather than fond out-of-place nostalgia. After all, when you write about the past, you write about the present so lets see Supes really deal with living in the 40s/50s.

    The best place scenario would be a Life Story style take dealing with Superman from 1938-2038 (maybe that might be better for his 100th anniversary?)

  5. #35
    Courage looks like this Powerboy's Avatar
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    As someone said, I don't think Superman is locked into an era though certain core elements developed in certain eras. But it may be different for different people.

    I said I thought Superman may be locked into the Silver Age at the core but that may just be me because that was the first version I read when I was at a very impressionable age.

    I currently like the early Golden Age best. But it may not be just because it was 1938 but because his personality and actions were what I'd want from him in any era.
    This is what courage looks like.

  6. #36
    Ultimate Member Ascended's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    This concept of Superman being tied to the '40s is really bizarre.
    Nobody is saying Clark is "tied" to the 40's. We're saying it'd be a interesting and quality setting for a film (or show, at least in my case). You're reading more into it than there is.

    Clark isn't dated and putting him in a period piece film isn't about nostalgia, it's about providing a interesting place to tell a story that has narrative and optic advantages.

    Believe me, I'm all about Superman moving forward and not being chained by the past. But the 40's would still be a fun place to set a Superman film.
    "We all know the truth: more connects us than separates us. But in times of crisis the wise build bridges, while the foolish build barriers. We must find a way to look after one another, as if we were one single tribe."

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  7. #37
    Ultimate Member SiegePerilous02's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    Superman wasn't exceptional. Every comic book of the Golden Age drew its ideas from the movies. Dick Tracy was based on gangster movies of the 30s, Will Eisner was a devotee of Citizen Kane, Bill Finger and Jerry Robinson were big silent film aficionados and Batman comics and rogues were based on The Bat Whispers, The Man Who Laughs, and other silent films. So if Batman can transcend his '30s origins, no reason for Superman not to. The original Superman by Siegel and Shuster drew its ideas and influences from 1930s culture as well as 1920s movies. The entire Clark Kent look, with the glasses and so on, is based on the silent comedian Harold Lloyd. The name is also a tip of the hat to Clark Gable who in It Happened One Night, played a reporter there. Lois Lane is based partly on Jerry Siegel's future wife, but also on the many reporter comedies of the '30s which had tough talking brassy dames in the newsroom. Dana Delany modeled her Lois in STAS on Rosalind Russell from His Girl Friday (which debuted after Superman's debut in comics but is more famous as a realization than the '30s movies that came before). The fact that people want Superman set in the '40s makes zero sense, because culturally in terms of references and influences, it isn't a product of '40s culture.
    Has Batman entirely transcended his 30s roots though? We do after all have the Burton films which aren't set in that era, but borrowed a lot of aesthetics to the point where it was an ambiguous time period. This carried over the original BTAS as well. The likes of the Joker and Two-Face dressed like gimmicky gangsters from that era and those looks still carry over to the comics occasionally.

    Like Ascended said, I think you're overthinking this a bit. Nobody really has a "fixation" for this, we just think it could be a cool and different idea in a deluge of CBMs. A good Superman movie can be a good Superman movie no matter what time period it takes place in. Wonder Woman took place even further back in WWI, which has no precedent in the comics or media before that, and she did fine. People won't think of him as outdated for being set there, you don't have to tell a story set in that time period the same way it was told back then. I also don't think nostalgia for that era is the specific nostalgia that is currently holding him back. Some of those core ideas and energy that went into the original comics are still relevant today. Either by actually setting it in 1938 or transplanting the ideas/attitude to the modern day in something like New 52 All Star, you could shake up the image people are nostalgic for that's holding the character back (Donner/Reevs, Byrne, STAS). And hopefully get them on board for something different so we can move away from those takes and onto something true to the spirit of the original while being fresh.

    And man, some of Timm's quotes in that article you posted really drive home the fact that he was not the best person to be in charge of that cartoon. "He's been around for so long and doesn't make sense in the modern day, so we were happy to make him old fashioned." Like dude, Batman's been around almost as long and arguably makes less sense in the modern day. That self defeating outlook on the character is not helping.

  8. #38
    Extraordinary Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    Clark isn't dated and putting him in a period piece film isn't about nostalgia, it's about providing a interesting place to tell a story that has narrative and optic advantages.
    I really don't see the narrative and optic advantages. Quite the opposite in fact (on which more below).

    Believe me, I'm all about Superman moving forward and not being chained by the past. But the 40's would still be a fun place to set a Superman film.
    If you are doing a feature movie about Superman in the '40s you are going to have to run into issues like what was Superman doing when the Holocaust was going on, what was he doing about the Gulag, what was he doing about the Japanese internment camps, about the Tuskegee University human testing on African-Americans, about Hiroshima and Nagasaki, about the British Empire and so on.*

    If you are doing a feature live-action film that's what audiences would want to know and see.

    You can't do a Superman movie set in the '40s and have him fight racist characters of the Japanese as he did in the actual 40s comics and cartoons. You can't have him be in a '40s Superman film and have Superman do nothing when he hears about Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In the real world, the political and military establishment of both parties and so on justified that action out of pragmatism but the fact is if Superman existed in the real world he absolutely would have stopped those bombs from dropping. If he existed then he absolutely would have freed the camps all by himself.

    There's no good story there. Short of Superman unilaterally taking everyone out and become world dictator in the '40s (where he would be sorta justified against the Brits, the Nazis, the USSR, Imperial Japan), there's no worthwhile way to do it. What people would ideally want from a Superman in the '40s movie is Inglourious Basters the Superhero movie, and while Tarantino's over-the-top bad taste was his way of getting away with that bizarre premise, you can't get away with that approach with Superman.


    *Captain America First Avenger also had to skirt these problems and their solution was Red Skull and HYDRA took up all of Cap's time. Cap is also not as all powerful as Superman, so it's also believable, but you cannot get past that with Superman and his skillset, even downgraded to 1938 levels.

  9. #39
    Extraordinary Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SiegePerilous02 View Post
    Has Batman entirely transcended his 30s roots though?
    Adam West's Batman show, a defining adaptation of the character for many decades, was set in the '60s and is very much a '60s cultural artifact. The Batman Arkham games, the Chris Nolan movies, the Joker 2019 movie, the current Harley Quinn show, even LEGO Batman. All of them are set closer to the present with an aesthetic that's late 20th Century to early 21st Century. So Batman has had many adaptations that transcend totally his '30s origins.

    We do after all have the Burton films which aren't set in that era, but borrowed a lot of aesthetics to the point where it was an ambiguous time period.
    Burton's movie also had a soundtrack by Prince, had references to '60s avant-garde painters like Francis Bacon and made Joker a kind of Evil Andy Warhol type. Not all of its references is exclusively that of the '30s. Burton's Batman is a melange of different stuff, a mix of the '30s with a bit of the '60s and a bit of the '80s. It's far more violent than any movie in the '30s, so it's not some nostalgic recreation.

    This carried over the original BTAS as well. The likes of the Joker and Two-Face dressed like gimmicky gangsters from that era and those looks still carry over to the comics occasionally.
    Not exactly. Harvey Dent's outfit was modeled on Al Pacino's Scarface, a '80s movie (or to be specific, this poster here: https://www.kinopoisk.ru/picture/714560/or/1/).

    There was a strong period influence on BTAS definitely but it's references and ideas covered stuff well outside the period and more importantly technology wise it wasn't tied to that era specifically. And the later DCAU stuff, moved away from that retro attitude.

  10. #40
    Ultimate Member Ascended's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    I really don't see the narrative and optic advantages. Quite the opposite in fact (on which more below).
    And the rest of us do. >shrug< I listed several myself earlier in the thread.

    If you are doing a feature live-action film that's what audiences would want to know and see.
    If you set the thing during the war, yeah they would. Set before it, which I think is what most of us are thinking, and it doesn't really impact the film's story. We'd be dealing with a far less powerful Superman who already has his hands full dealing with a recent/still-in-progress Depression, in a time before America really started paying close attention to the conflict in Europe. It's really not a big hurdle to jump. And that's assuming you even try to avoid these things, you could easily lean into it and have Clark engage the issues directly.

    You can't do a Superman movie set in the '40s and have him fight racist characters of the Japanese as he did in the actual 40s comics and cartoons.
    And nobody is asking for that. Gods, who would?

    There's no good story there.
    The multitude of excellent stories either set in the Golden Age or heavily influenced by it says otherwise. More precisely, there's no story there that *you* want to see. And that's cool of course, but saying there's no good story here when Smashes the Klan is, right this minute, selling really damn well in trade (top ten two months running or something?) tells us that yeah, there are good stories there and there is an audience for it.
    Last edited by Ascended; 09-23-2020 at 07:14 PM.
    "We all know the truth: more connects us than separates us. But in times of crisis the wise build bridges, while the foolish build barriers. We must find a way to look after one another, as if we were one single tribe."

    ~ Black Panther.

  11. #41
    Extraordinary Member manwhohaseverything's Avatar
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    It's easier to write an origin and conceptually say what superman is without people going "lame" in 1930's, in my opinion. If he is to adapted as this.

    I could easily write the story of an alien orphan from space who became a strongman who protected the weak from corrupt. What does the s stand for? Superman or strongman. Why does he wear the suit? Cause who he is. What's the emblem for? To piss off the corrupt policemen. Why does he fight? Because he is working class man who fights for truth and justice. As one of the people , he knows and have felt oppression by the corrupt strong so he chooses to do the only right thing. He sees the miseries of the depression era and expresses his strong opinions on things.Yet,he is a strange visitor from an alien planet so his fight isn't about himself or personal . He Fights for those who can't fight for themselves because its the right thing to do.why is the glasses a good disguise? I don't know, and it can be a joke if you find it funny.

    Now, i could do this in the modern era. But, clark won't be the hero. This guy would be.

    He is a working class guy giving his all and everything to make his neighbourhood better.
    Last edited by manwhohaseverything; 09-23-2020 at 07:26 PM.

  12. #42
    Ultimate Member SiegePerilous02's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    Adam West's Batman show, a defining adaptation of the character for many decades, was set in the '60s and is very much a '60s cultural artifact. The Batman Arkham games, the Chris Nolan movies, the Joker 2019 movie, the current Harley Quinn show, even LEGO Batman. All of them are set closer to the present with an aesthetic that's late 20th Century to early 21st Century. So Batman has had many adaptations that transcend totally his '30s origins.
    He has, but much like Superman, they could also set it in an earlier time period and it could work fine. These characters are versatile enough that stories can be told about them in the time period they were invented in or the present day or any period in between and they remain the same at their core. And every setting provides different presentations and content possibilities.



    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    Burton's movie also had a soundtrack by Prince, had references to '60s avant-garde painters like Francis Bacon and made Joker a kind of Evil Andy Warhol type. Not all of its references is exclusively that of the '30s. Burton's Batman is a melange of different stuff, a mix of the '30s with a bit of the '60s and a bit of the '80s. It's far more violent than any movie in the '30s, so it's not some nostalgic recreation.


    Not exactly. Harvey Dent's outfit was modeled on Al Pacino's Scarface, a '80s movie (or to be specific, this poster here: https://www.kinopoisk.ru/picture/714560/or/1/).

    There was a strong period influence on BTAS definitely but it's references and ideas covered stuff well outside the period and more importantly technology wise it wasn't tied to that era specifically. And the later DCAU stuff, moved away from that retro attitude.
    That's basically what I proposed earlier for a Superman movie, a fantastical fusion of retro, modern and out-there sci-fi which is what I prefer than doing any one time period. All these years later, Anton Furst's Gotham is still the best looking setting in a comic book movie because of its gothic atmosphere and bizarre mix of time periods. Something like that for Superman (or Batman again) would be a breath of fresh air considering superhero movies haven't done much else with making their everyday world look interesting.

    It's true the later DCAU stuff moved away from the retro aesthetics. IMO, that was kind of a mistake and I wish they went though with it for STAS. The art style in everything after BTAS is rather dull to look at in comparison.

    But I have to agree with Ascended again, stuff like Smashes the Klan is proving that Superman in that time period can work fine. Again, nobody is saying we HAVE to set it then, just that it can be a potentially neat option. And personally, I'd love to see a Superman movie dealing with the injustices of the Japanese internment camps among other things.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    The multitude of excellent stories either set in the Golden Age or heavily influenced by it says otherwise. More precisely, there's no story there that *you* want to see. And that's cool of course, but saying there's no good story here when Smashes the Klan is, right this minute, selling really damn well in trade (top ten two months running or something?) tells us that yeah, there are good stories there and there is an audience for it.
    Morrison's first arc in Action is tailor made for a new movie introducing a new Superman to audiences. It's basic plot could work in 1938, or they could have it set in modern day and be heavily influenced like you say. But either way, they need to look at the core ideas that went into the creation of the character. And it isn't reinforcing Apple Pie, flag waving nostalgia. It's "the world sucks right now, we need a champion" stuff we need and that adaptations since Donner haven't really been able to capture.
    Last edited by SiegePerilous02; 09-23-2020 at 07:29 PM.

  13. #43
    Extraordinary Member manwhohaseverything's Avatar
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    Not to mention, superman would be living in a world of slavery, colonisation, racism, sexism,famine, depression ... Etc. The need for superman would be actually felt. Right now, i don't think metropolis actually needs superman as a figure. He is just there.Clark could be like luffy and punch racists or dictators without people calling foul or worse.

  14. #44
    Extraordinary Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    If you set the thing during the war, yeah they would. Set before it, which I think is what most of us are thinking, and it doesn't really impact the film's story.
    World War II began in 1939 and continued until 1945, a Superman movie set in the '40s is by default a WorldWar II story.

    There's no period in the 1940s that's before World War II.

    And nobody is asking for that. Gods, who would?
    Well your next sentence says...

    The multitude of excellent stories either set in the Golden Age or heavily influenced by it says otherwise.
    The Golden Age stories you cite was an era coterminous with racist world war 2 propaganda. Max Fleischer's cartoons which are great and which people love, that's also a show with cartoons that had racist propaganda elements.

    So I don't see how you can extricate Golden Age nostalgia of the good stuff without addressing the period in which it was originally made for, and the audience it targeted.

    More precisely, there's no story there that *you* want to see.
    If I want a movie set in the '40s dealing with the flawed society of the time, and film-makers are splurging cash for the period detail, I'd rather they put make an actual human interest movie dealing with that. If you are going to put Superman there and he battles Luthor in a robot suit in a '40s background, then you are just wasting money. Superman can fight Luthor in a robot suit in a screensaver today. A live-action film with Superman in a period setting has to be a commentary and reflection on that period. No ways out. It can't be some nostalgic idyll about how the '40s was a good time to be Superman, because the audience of today is just not going to accept that not when the darker aspects of that society and the "Greatest Generation" and so on is so widely known and in the news today.

    And that's cool of course, but saying there's no good story here when Smashes the Klan is, right this minute, selling really damn well in trade...
    And, how does that prove your point? In fact, it proves mine. The title of the story "Smashes the Klan" reflects the fact that nobody wants to do a Superman story set in the 40s without Superman actually addressing the failings of that period of history. There's no audience for the kind of straightforward period idyll you are suggesting. If you were to go ahead and do an actual Superman movie set in the '40s, people are gonna ask "Has he closed Auschwitz yet?" right from the get-go.

  15. #45
    Extraordinary Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SiegePerilous02 View Post
    He has, but much like Superman, they could also set it in an earlier time period and it could work fine.
    The point is again, why? There's really nothing to be gained from doing a take just for that reason. These characters were never intended to fit in a single period.

    That's basically what I proposed earlier for a Superman movie, a fantastical fusion of retro, modern and out-there sci-fi which is what I prefer than doing any one time period.
    That's a bit fairer of an ask

    It's true the later DCAU stuff moved away from the retro aesthetics. IMO, that was kind of a mistake and I wish they went though with it for STAS.
    I disagree completely. The art style for Superman TAS was colorful, bright, sun-shiny exactly the contrast you needed from BTAS. It would never have worked for the DCAU as a whole because it expanded to include groups like Justice League and characters like The Flash and Green Lantern whose versions we see here were created well after the '40s.

    The art style in everything after BTAS is rather dull to look at in comparison.
    Hard disagree.

    And personally, I'd love to see a Superman movie dealing with the injustices of the Japanese internment camps among other things.
    The only logical way for Superman to deal with that is, a) release them from the camps, b) take on Uncle Sam and the US Govt, c) be reviled by the American media and American society for being a commie, d) fight the US Army who are armed with Kryptonite, e) Lead a revolution that ultimately topples the government.

    The Japanese Internment system was quite popular in its time and had mainstream support, and while there was some murmurs and complaints about it post-war, America never apologized for that officially until the '80s. If you do a story where Superman fights and opposes that as it was happening, the story can't have Superman end the story as an all-American hero. That's the biggest issue dealing with this.

    Superman is supposed to be in-universe a beloved, popular hero embraced by American society. That's fine if you do a story with personal takes and genre trappings (i.e. the kind where Superman battles robots and Luthor and Brainiacs i.e. the usual comics stuff). But if you set that against history, you run into a problem, Superman can't be the universally loving and heroic champion of the oppressed and be embraced by mainstream America in the '40s to '60s. This was the entire point of Watchmen, real-life beloved celebrities of that time across entertainment and sports had racist and LGBT views of that time and were embraced by mainstream America in that time. The ones who spoke against that, were condemned.

    It's "the world sucks right now, we need a champion" stuff we need and that adaptations since Donner haven't really been able to capture.
    I don't know, that to me was never the appeal of Superman.

    Quote Originally Posted by manwhohaseverything View Post
    Not to mention, superman would be living in a world of slavery, colonisation, racism, sexism,famine, depression ... Etc. The need for superman would be actually felt. Right now, i don't think metropolis actually needs superman as a figure. He is just there.Clark could be like luffy and punch racists or dictators without people calling foul or worse.
    People act as if Superman became big for this reason and this reason alone. The answer is he didn't. Superman's primary audience in the 30s, the '40s, and the '50s were small children who knew nothing about politics, about history, or anything. To young kids they wouldn't think of their time as "the 40s" (mostly because the concept of the decade hadn't caught on yet), they'd see it as the present. Today the main introduction of characters to young children is merchandise...toys, stickers, and so on. Children know who Superman is from seeing that, and they know him and recognize his logo long before they ever find out he was created in the 30s by two Jewish guys who got swindled by First National. That's the real audience of Superman the IP, remember that always, and that has nothing to do with history, period, setting.

    Superman in the '40s and '50s was embraced and became the biggest hero in comics but in that time his comics had many racist stories and elements. The Fleischer cartoons had racist elements. In the '50s, there was a time travel story where Superman swindled the original land of Metropolis from the native tribes who lived there...our hero folks!! And that's the beloved SA era of comics. And don't get me started on foolishness like Lois Lane changing her skin and so on that came later.

    The ideal version of Superman that people have was never the reality of the character in the actual period published. If it was, Superman would never have been embraced the way he was in the America of the '40s and '50s. The mainstream of that era was racist and any successful mainstream work in that era has an asterisk mark next to it for that reason.
    Last edited by Revolutionary_Jack; 09-23-2020 at 08:07 PM.

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