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  1. #1
    Leftbrownie Alpha's Avatar
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    Default If Clark was Superboy, why would he ever leave Smallville?

    I haven't read much of the Silver Age Superboy stories. There are many reasons why I dislike the idea of Clark being the public figure of Superboy, but the main problem comes down to this. If there were enough supervillains and problems in Smallvile for Clark to defeat as a teenager, why in the world would he leave that town, since he knew it would suddenly lose the reliable savior it seemed to relly on.

  2. #2
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    Arguably, it doesn't matter where Clark resides. As Superman, he can patrol the entire planet every day and discover those situations that call for his special set of skills. Smallville or Metropolis should not get more attention that any other place. He ought to go to the place where he's most needed.

    In classic continuity, Clark left Smallville after his parents died. He then went to college to study journalism. He then came to Metropolis to work at a big city newspaper, because that was his career ambition. And he probably stayed in Metropolis because he fell in love with Lois Lane.

    The classic Superboy stories had Superboy acting as a global and galactic champion--so he wasn't just Smallville's local hero. Nevertheless, for such a small town, it did seem to attract a lot of bad guys. You would think most crooks would swerve the town where Superboy was most often seen. But there were a lot of aliens who came to Smallville expressly to find the Boy of Steel.
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    I find the idea of superboy appealing because it really empathizes how wholesome Clark is


    This idea that he isnít Superman because of any kind of trauma in his later life.

  4. #4
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    I suppose Pre-Crisis, the loss of his adoptive parents was a factor in him no longer wanting to stick around Smallville as well.

    Honestly, my bigger problem with Superboy as a public figure is the coincidence of Clark Kent and Superman both being from Smallville.

    I mean, think about it. Superboy was the most powerful being on earth and he was from Smallville. Then he moves to Metropolis and becomes Superman. Around the same time, Clark Kent moves from Smallville to Metropolis as well.

    The Daily Planet staff at least should have put two-and-two together before long.

    No one suspects Clark Kent of being Superman because there's no reason to associate a guy from some town in Kansas with the Man of Steel.

    But if the guy happens to be from the same town in Kansas where Superman comes from, then you might start looking at the other coincidences a bit more closely - like the similarity in their builds and their faces. Hell, maybe you'd just start looking past those glasses...

  5. #5
    Traveler of omniverses Thor-Ul's Avatar
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    Those are valid arguments. We can excuse the silver age stories for bein more candid and less inclined to an excesive serious mentallity, and the characteristic absurdity of some of the silver age Superman tales.
    That said, I must I liked the solution given by Johns, that of make Superboy an rural legend , like the bigfoot and give most of the cosmic adventures of SUperboy as training with the Legion.
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  6. #6
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    I think the question is the other way around because there's no reason to believe all the weirdness and danger of Superman's life would start until adulthood. Frankly the reason we keep getting origin story after origin for Superman is because people keep looking for something that could make him into Superman but nothing anyone comes up with really fits. Best origin story he has IS Superboy which shows he had a lot of the traits that defined him as Superman even back when he was a young boy. Nothing really forced him to become Superman, a lot of the elements were always there with the Kents, Smallville, The Legion, etc drawing those qualities out. Besides Superboy dates back to the mid 40's, meaning it's rooted in the golden age and as far as I know was an original aspect of Siegel's pitch to National for Superman.

    I'm not big on Superboy being a public figure though, I'd change it to be Superman's private boyhood adventures that naturally shift to his public and private adult life.

    Superboy is probably the best origin story Superman is going to get.
    Last edited by The World; 06-11-2021 at 04:05 AM.
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  7. #7
    Astonishing Member JackDaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The World View Post
    I think the question is the other way around because there's no reason to believe all the weirdness and danger of Superman's life would start until adulthood. Frankly the reason we keep getting origin story after origin for Superman is because people keep looking for something that could make him into Superman but nothing anyone comes up with really fits. Best origin story he has IS Superboy which shows he had a lot of the traits that defined him as Superman even back when he was a young boy. Nothing really forced him to become Superman, a lot of the elements were always there with the Kents, Smallville, The Legion, etc drawing those qualities out. Besides Superboy dates back to the mid 40's, meaning it's rooted in the golden age and as far as I know was an original aspect of Siegel's pitch to National for Superman.

    I'm not big on Superboy being a public figure though, I'd change it to be Superman's private boyhood adventures that naturally shift to his public and private adult life.

    Superboy is probably the best origin story Superman is going to get.
    Completely agree.

    Surely nobody buys the line that a powered young Clark will wait till he’s 18 plus before using those powers to help people.

    So to write a sensible origin without Superboy adventures it would be necessary to show powers not being present till adult. (Doing that might have some interesting consequences. For example, if it took 20 years of yellow sun before Clark got significant powers, it would stop likes of General Zod landing on Earth and being able to,fight Clark “ten minutes” later.)

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    Extraordinary Member superduperman's Avatar
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    I think if they are going to do it, I would prefer the Smallville route where he operates in secret. He doesn't necessarily need to take on aliens and monsters on the regular but just getting people out of harms way. In the pre-Crisis days, Smallville was a suburb of Metropolis. So EVERYBODY moved to the big city back then. So it wasn't unusual to see a kid like Clark move to Metropolis and have it's most famous citizen do the same. Where I think the pre-Crisis comics stretched credibility was when Lana suspected that Clark was Superboy and then he moves to Metropolis, her and Lois meet, they compare notes and both suspect the same guy is Superman. I mean, at some point you're like "Really, Clark, how stupid do you think we are? We both came to the same conclusion."
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  9. #9
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    I think the idea now is that Superboy was just smaller-scale and "safer" compare to what he faced as an adult Superman in Metropolis, aside from his adventures with the Legion.

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    Of course, pre-Crisis, "Superboy" never actually did leave Smallville until years after Clark moved on--as a Superboy robot stuck around (long after Superman had retired his robots that were malfunctioning due to climate change) as "The Secret Guardian of Smallville," until revealed in SUPERMAN 284 (February 1975)--100 Pages for only 60 cents (an exceptional collection of stories worth every penny).
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  11. #11
    My Face Is Up Here Powerboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alpha View Post
    I haven't read much of the Silver Age Superboy stories. There are many reasons why I dislike the idea of Clark being the public figure of Superboy, but the main problem comes down to this. If there were enough supervillains and problems in Smallvile for Clark to defeat as a teenager, why in the world would he leave that town, since he knew it would suddenly lose the reliable savior it seemed to relly on.
    With his vision, hearing and speed, he could be monitoring Smallville every few minutes and be as aware of problems as if he was living there, and be there within a nano-second.

    Also, I suspect most of Smallville's problems followed him to Metropolis and were mostly in Smallville because he was there.

    As others have said, I really like the idea of Superboy (the adventures of Superman when he was a boy) and he went to Metropolis to pursue a career.
    Power with Girl is better.

  12. #12
    My Face Is Up Here Powerboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bat39 View Post
    I suppose Pre-Crisis, the loss of his adoptive parents was a factor in him no longer wanting to stick around Smallville as well.

    Honestly, my bigger problem with Superboy as a public figure is the coincidence of Clark Kent and Superman both being from Smallville.

    I mean, think about it. Superboy was the most powerful being on earth and he was from Smallville. Then he moves to Metropolis and becomes Superman. Around the same time, Clark Kent moves from Smallville to Metropolis as well.

    The Daily Planet staff at least should have put two-and-two together before long.

    No one suspects Clark Kent of being Superman because there's no reason to associate a guy from some town in Kansas with the Man of Steel.

    But if the guy happens to be from the same town in Kansas where Superman comes from, then you might start looking at the other coincidences a bit more closely - like the similarity in their builds and their faces. Hell, maybe you'd just start looking past those glasses...
    I think the problem there is that it IS a valid criticism in the real world. But, in the world of comics, most secret identities are so unrealistic that it's a moot point.
    Power with Girl is better.

  13. #13
    Astonishing Member Johnny Thunders!'s Avatar
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    I like the idea that Superman is always moving on. When he was a baby he left Krypton, as a teen he leaves Smallville, as an adult, someday I imagine he leaves Metropolis and Earth. Thats probably because I love the Elliot S. Maggin take on Superman!

    As far as secret identity goes, I think its just suspension of belief the best you can. No one ever wondered how Bruce Wayne adopts Dick Grayson former Boy Wonder Acrobat at the same time Batman teams up with Robin, the boy wonder wearing Dick Grayson's circus outfit.

  14. #14
    Fantastic Member llozymandias's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny Thunders! View Post
    I like the idea that Superman is always moving on. When he was a baby he left Krypton, as a teen he leaves Smallville, as an adult, someday I imagine he leaves Metropolis and Earth. Thats probably because I love the Elliot S. Maggin take on Superman!

    As far as secret identity goes, I think its just suspension of belief the best you can. No one ever wondered how Bruce Wayne adopts Dick Grayson former Boy Wonder Acrobat at the same time Batman teams up with Robin, the boy wonder wearing Dick Grayson's circus outfit.


    Many early Superboy stories involved citizens of Smallville, who concluded that Clark was Superboy. Kal/Clark convinced them that they were mistaken. As an adult he makes his Clark & Superman ids look less alike. He uses different voices in each id. His super-voice can fool voice print analysers. Hcompressed his spine & muscles to make Clark shorter & slimmer than Superman.



    In the silver-age Robin was Bruce's hero id as a kid. And the costume was originally Bruce's. Always seemed like the public simply assumed that Robin was Batman's son.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by llozymandias View Post
    Many early Superboy stories involved citizens of Smallville, who concluded that Clark was Superboy. Kal/Clark convinced them that they were mistaken. As an adult he makes his Clark & Superman ids look less alike. He uses different voices in each id. His super-voice can fool voice print analysers. Hcompressed his spine & muscles to make Clark shorter & slimmer than Superman.

    In the silver-age Robin was Bruce's hero id as a kid. And the costume was originally Bruce's. Always seemed like the public simply assumed that Robin was Batman's son.
    I agree that the real answer to a lot of these question is Its comics. And some stuff really doesn't have a better answer than that.

    But comics today, unlike the Silver Age, try to treat their universes with some degree of internal logic. So many contemporary retellings/reboots of superhero origins try to situate their characters in something that, at least to begin with, passes off as the real-world, with some degree of real-world logic, and then come up with explanations for how the superhero mythos and the outlandish stuff fits into the context of that world.

    So, if the Superboy backstory was to be restored as it was in the Silver Age today, it would need to be examined from this contemporary lens. And that includes answering the obvious questions - like why does no one who knows Clark Kent personally at least not suspect that he's Superboy/Superman when he basically follows Superboy/Superman from Smallville to Metropolis?

    Hell, it doesn't even have to be people around him! Clark Kent is a prominent journalist who often covers Superman. If Superman is known to be from Smallville and someone were trying to figure out who he might be, they'd probably look into people the right age who moved from Smallville to Metropolis around the time Superboy made the move as well. And lo and behold, Clark Kent would be at the top of that list!

    Or alternatively, someone trying to figure out who Superman is could take a trip to Smallville to investigate Superboy's history and talk to locals who might have had suspicions. It'll likely be a lot easier to trace Superboy to Clark Kent to Smallville than Superman to Clark Kent in Metropolis.

    Look, the glasses being an effective disguise is a bigger stretch, but there are in-universe explanations for how it works, so you can kinda just roll with it. They'd need a similar in-universe justification for why nobody latches on to the coincidence of Clark Kent and Superman both being from the same small town and moving to Metropolis at the same time.

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