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  1. #1
    Mighty Member SecretWarrior's Avatar
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    Default What are the best elements of each re-telling of Superman's origin?


  2. #2
    Obsessed & Compelled Bored at 3:00AM's Avatar
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    Other than the core basics of Seigel & Shuster's origin...

    The idea that Kryptonians gain their powers from Earth's yellow sun and atmosphere. I think this is a wonderful addition to origin that was introduced during the Weisinger era, I believe.

    I like Byrne's idea of Clark's powers developing slowly, rather than having them all right away. I also prefer Lana being in on the secret while Pete isn't.

    I like Johns's explanation for why Clark starts wearing glasses so young. It's very Cyclops, but a good idea is a good idea.

    While I'm not a fan of Superboy being a publicly known hero in Smallville, I think the idea of him having adventures in the far future with the Legion of Super-Heroes is a great one to explain how he became so proficient in his superpowers.

    I'm a fan of the Pa dies of a heart attack while Ma lives version of him leaving Smallville. I think it's a great way of illustrating his journey from boy to man by giving him the most painful reminder of the limits of his amazing powers. The Donner film nails this perfectly.

    Once we're in Metropolis, I think Lois being the one who names him Superman is essential. Not sure where this idea came from though.

    Other than that, I think there's a lot of different flavors and interpretations of the origin I enjoy, but those are the strongest elements to me.

  3. #3
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    I like the idea that Smallville had of Kryptonite being brought by Clark's spaceship. Explains why they're so common on Earth.

  4. #4
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    I know it's controversial, but i actually liked the Byrne bit about the birthing matrix. Combined with the snow storm it removed any of the orphanage and adoption problems from the Silver Age origins. Now it was just taken for granted that Clark was the Kents' natural kid rather than giving one more clue to the dual ID (unrevealed parents).

    Morrison's adding the more rough-and-tumble Action Comics #1 Superman as a stage in Clark's development. Superman starting out as a less law-abiding vigilante and developing into a more civic minded hero works for both meta and story telling reasons.

    The original take of Clark not knowing from day one about Krypton being restored in most post-Crisis origins. His discovery of his true nature whether around puberty (Secret Origin, Man of Steel film, Smallville) or as an adult (Man of Steel 1986 comics' mini-series, Lois and Clark TV show) provides better character moments than the Pre-Crisis where he knew every detail from infancy (or via memory chair as a young Superboy).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Clark View Post
    I know it's controversial, but i actually liked the Byrne bit about the birthing matrix. Combined with the snow storm it removed any of the orphanage and adoption problems from the Silver Age origins. Now it was just taken for granted that Clark was the Kents' natural kid rather than giving one more clue to the dual ID (unrevealed parents).

    Morrison's adding the more rough-and-tumble Action Comics #1 Superman as a stage in Clark's development. Superman starting out as a less law-abiding vigilante and developing into a more civic minded hero works for both meta and story telling reasons.

    The original take of Clark not knowing from day one about Krypton being restored in most post-Crisis origins. His discovery of his true nature whether around puberty (Secret Origin, Man of Steel film, Smallville) or as an adult (Man of Steel 1986 comics' mini-series, Lois and Clark TV show) provides better character moments than the Pre-Crisis where he knew every detail from infancy (or via memory chair as a young Superboy).
    You know, I didn’t think about how dumb it sounded that Superman would just know everything about Krypton even as a baby until you more or less spelled it out.

    I know they’re comic books, but still...

  6. #6
    Father Son Kamehameha < Kuwagaton's Avatar
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    - the birthing matrix allowed to have it both ways: makes him immediately more alien to us than a naturally born child who's been shuttled, but also with the idea of the snowstorm it allows him to pass as a naturally born child.

    - the relatively young Kents seen in Birthright or New 52

    - Clark grows up in Smallville as seen in Secret Origins '86 or Strength

    - travels the world as seen in Birthright and Zero Hour, comes back to the US as seen in World of Metropolis, but begins in Metropolis more like we saw in Man and Superman

    - learns of his origins in a random way, like he did in the Golden age

    - has mind wiped Legion adventures like Johns did
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  7. #7
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    The sci-fi ness and development of Superman power from John Bryne

    The traveling of the world aspect of Brightright

    The lost adventures with Legion from Geoff Johns

    The teenage recklessness from Grant Morisson

    Wondrous origin aspect from the Golden Age

  8. #8
    The Man Who Cannot Die manwhohaseverything's Avatar
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    to the op,Nothing for me.The best origin story of superman is from all star superman.Superman doesn't need any explanation.The writers go back to "retelling" origins cause they can't make the guy as presented interesting.With origin story they could easily give an arc.Even if superman was somehow a flat arc character.These guys have wierd notions flat arc characters is somehow less complex or interesting in general.Sometimes,i really do think superman is better suited for newspaper strips than pure comic books.They should do something like calvin and hobbes with superma.The character works far better without exposition and long melodramatic shlock.Ofcourse,there are decent origins like american alien or waid's origin.But overall,they should give it a rest.Just put back siegel and shuster origin just change the orphanage bit with foster care system and that's that.We all know what superman is.As if the most interesting thing about superman is fluff about how his mom made him an undie suit which he goes out in.The only reason such contrivances exist ('s' is symbol of hope in krypton and undies are made by mom cause "awww!!" ) .Because it ain't 1930's anymore.Yet,we cling to that superman's undies not the story structure,beats,themes,personality of the protagonist...etc. i mean,Batman was beating up crooks/solving crimes in dc#27 and is largely doing the same in dc#1000 except for the guns and "no kill rule".

    As for silverage/bronzeage superman,Humans can't have perfect recall.Superman ain't human.Silverage/bronzeage superman interpretation fit the whole man of tomorrow thing.He is kal el.That golden age arc that byrne and donner brought is entirely taken from tarzan.The difference between modern adaption and original siegel/shuster interpretation is the lack of melodrama around the subject.(Sheesh!these guys make it seem like rocket science or something).He fell from the sky and decided to put on suit, beat up the corrupt and started working in a city.the end.

    having said that,I like some of the scifi stuff and world bulding stuff that byrne did.I like some of the kickass stuff both morrison and waid brought back.That's it. I love superman for all seasons for the sheer humility and depth.I don't like secret origins at all.I like the death of pa and farwell in donner movie.I like that morrison and even max landis made him more Modern
    Last edited by manwhohaseverything; 11-23-2020 at 08:18 AM.

  9. #9
    Father Son Kamehameha < Kuwagaton's Avatar
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    He had a newspaper run from 1939 to periods in the 70s, it can't get more commercial or (imo) better

    Superman gets knocked for his origins, but that's just what people like. Easiest to digest stories and Superman is both the most prolific and adaptable in his class. You can't set crime alley in the distant past or expect to see Midtown as a military academy. Batman Year One is widely known to be the best origin of all time and that doesn't stop them from re examining or rebooting


    Retellings came about because comics weren't just the same old collectors over decades. You can go with something minimal like Batman 66 or All Star Superman but comics have no real budget.
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  10. #10
    Mighty Member Johnny Thunders!'s Avatar
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    I like how JMS has Clark wandering the world to find himself, but he is still a super genius and savant.
    I also love the ending of Birthright. Clarks message at the end, that makes Birthright for me.
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  11. #11
    Fantastic Member magha_regulus's Avatar
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    I liked Morrisson's version of Krypton best. It had everything (except for the Kryptonians having powers on Krypton) that I liked about the original Siegel/Shuster vision of Krypton. I loved his characterization of Jor-El and Lara.

    I liked the way Byrne had Kryptonite killing people on Krypton before the planet blew up. Kryptonite emerging as a precursor to the planet blowing up was brilliant.

    I liked the aesthetics of krypton in Birthright and the idea of hope being such a key aspect of Kryptonian culture. Something about seeing the flashback images of the S symbol throughout important moments in Kryptonian history in that story was amazing to me.

    I like that Johns brought back Clark's career as Superboy and the Legion of Superheroes. I also like his ideas about the Kryptonian guilds, though I do have mixed feelings about his execution of it.
    Last edited by magha_regulus; 11-23-2020 at 12:25 PM.

  12. #12
    Extraordinary Member superduperman's Avatar
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    There are certain elements I want a Superman origin to have.

    An alien looking Krypton. I don't want a Buck Rogers looking Krypton. I want something closer to what Byrne did or the Donner movies.

    Powers from day one. I know this is a controversial position but it's just what I grew up with. I'm not asking for him to come flying out of the ship but having him be at least as strong as a full grown man from day one is kind a of necessity for me.

    Lana learning his secret eventually. If they are dating, it only makes sense he come clean with her.

    I'm not a huge fan of him being a costumed Superboy but I do like the idea of him using his powers to help people around town in secret.

    Recordings from Jor-El in his ship. The idea of using super-memory as his main source of information about Krypton means you're not coming away with a lot of information. How much could an infant/toddler remember?

    The version that I think came the closest to what I am looking for was probably Smallville. It had all the best elements of the pre-and post-Crisis origins.
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  13. #13
    Mighty Member Ra-El's Avatar
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    Doomed planet. Desperate scientists. Last hope. Kindly couple.

    That's all they should use for Superman origin for the next decade or more.

    But, as far as my preferences go:
    I like Krypton to be not a completely shit place like Byrne was, something like Morrison that was full of adventure and crazy sci-fi stuff but less colorful.

    I don't like Superman and Lex as childhood friends, it makes his world small.

    I like the Birthright traveling around the world idea, it's cool and it goes well with Morrison Action Comics Superman that is basically a modern take on the golden age.

    But, again, I hope the next time someone decides to do some Superman special project it's something more on the vein of Last Knight on Earth, White Knight or Smashs the Klan instead of another origin story.

  14. #14
    Extraordinary Member Vordan's Avatar
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    Byrne’s idea of Clark slowly growing into his powers over time. I love that idea. Specifically I want Clark’s childhood until he hits puberty to be as normal as possible. That’s important because it lets him have a baseline that’s relatable to us readers, and also means that Clark can understand what it’s like to be a normal human because for all intents and purposes he was one too.

    Johns having Clark be a member of the Legion of Superheroes as an adolescent. The Legion as Clark’s childhood friends is perfect, instead of getting on bikes and riding through the neighborhood, he went to the future and traveled around the cosmos with them. Having Saturn Girl wipe his memories after each adventure is the perfect way to keep that Silver Age whimsicalness while also still letting Clark have a “normal” childhood, since he wouldn’t remember the adventures each time he returned to the past.

    Waid having Clark & Lex be friends as kids and also having Clark be something of a social outcast/nerd as a kid. The only reason for Lex and Clark to know each other as kids, and have Lex grew up in Smallville, is if the two are friends imo. It shows that Lex was not always an irredeemable monster, and helps justify why Clark might think there’s a chance he could be redeemed that doesn’t feel naive. Otherwise you might as well keep Lex’s origin as a Metropolis kid. Also Clark being a bit of a loner who wants desperately to fit in but is hiding a secret about himself that he’s afraid to share with others, rendering him the “weird kid” is a great way to keep him relatable even as his powers start to showcase.

    I like the idea of a first year Superman having the Golden Age powerset and attitude along with the t-shirt and jeans “outfit” from Morrison. It helps give Clark an arc where he grows into being the “iconic” Superman rather than just being that guy from Day 1. It also gives you a reason to revisit those days, because you can tell stories with a weaker but more aggressive Superman that people wouldn’t accept from the “modern” Superman. Having Superman start off as a “folk” hero and evolve into the first “super” hero is a perfect character arc for a fledgling Superman imo.

    I like the Kents being younger like in Waid and Morrison’s origin rather than having them be in their 70s which is what they look like in the Byrne and Johns origins.

    Clark being poor and living in a crappy apartment in a rough part of Metropolis in Morrison and Wolfman’s origins is great, let’s you show that “Champion of the Oppressed” side of Superman.

    In Wolfman’s origin Clark had to work a bunch of side jobs such as being a janitor before he could get a job at the Planet and I thought that was great. I’ve heard a lot about how hard it is to get a journalist job these days so that felt way more realistic than Clark getting a journalist job from day 1. Maybe you could combine Morrison and Wolfman, have Clark work as a journalist for one of the lesser known papers while also doing a bunch of side jobs to make rent?

    Metallo being Clark’s first real test and having Clark go up against Metropolis’ initial fear and skepticism while also trying to avoid being captured by the US Army from Johns and Morrison’s origins. Love Metallo being the army’s own attempt at a “Man of Steel”, and he’s a great fit for a starter villain imo.

  15. #15
    Obsessed & Compelled Bored at 3:00AM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vordan View Post
    Byrne’s idea of Clark slowly growing into his powers over time. I love that idea. Specifically I want Clark’s childhood until he hits puberty to be as normal as possible. That’s important because it lets him have a baseline that’s relatable to us readers, and also means that Clark can understand what it’s like to be a normal human because for all intents and purposes he was one too.

    Johns having Clark be a member of the Legion of Superheroes as an adolescent. The Legion as Clark’s childhood friends is perfect, instead of getting on bikes and riding through the neighborhood, he went to the future and traveled around the cosmos with them. Having Saturn Girl wipe his memories after each adventure is the perfect way to keep that Silver Age whimsicalness while also still letting Clark have a “normal” childhood, since he wouldn’t remember the adventures each time he returned to the past.

    Waid having Clark & Lex be friends as kids and also having Clark be something of a social outcast/nerd as a kid. The only reason for Lex and Clark to know each other as kids, and have Lex grew up in Smallville, is if the two are friends imo. It shows that Lex was not always an irredeemable monster, and helps justify why Clark might think there’s a chance he could be redeemed that doesn’t feel naive. Otherwise you might as well keep Lex’s origin as a Metropolis kid. Also Clark being a bit of a loner who wants desperately to fit in but is hiding a secret about himself that he’s afraid to share with others, rendering him the “weird kid” is a great way to keep him relatable even as his powers start to showcase.

    I like the idea of a first year Superman having the Golden Age powerset and attitude along with the t-shirt and jeans “outfit” from Morrison. It helps give Clark an arc where he grows into being the “iconic” Superman rather than just being that guy from Day 1. It also gives you a reason to revisit those days, because you can tell stories with a weaker but more aggressive Superman that people wouldn’t accept from the “modern” Superman. Having Superman start off as a “folk” hero and evolve into the first “super” hero is a perfect character arc for a fledgling Superman imo.

    I like the Kents being younger like in Waid and Morrison’s origin rather than having them be in their 70s which is what they look like in the Byrne and Johns origins.

    Clark being poor and living in a crappy apartment in a rough part of Metropolis in Morrison and Wolfman’s origins is great, let’s you show that “Champion of the Oppressed” side of Superman.
    Agreed with all of this, although I think even Byrne established that Clark was developing his powers before puberty. I mean, he was run over by a bull when he was eight years old and didn't have a scratch on him, and was lifting up trucks shortly after that.

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