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  1. #61
    Ultimate Member SiegePerilous02's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Agent Z View Post
    Parents are barely emphasized in superhero stories. They're either dead or completely irrelevant. That you listed two characters whose parents are non-entities easily proves this.
    But parents not getting emphasis in superhero stories as a whole doesn't mean it's up to the Super mythos to pick up the slack, when it was designed with dead Kents in mind since even before we had a superhero genre as we know it. The Kents in the present actually kind of are non-entities anyway, so what is the point of keeping them alive?

    It comes off as more championing an idea/trend than actual characters (because as characters they are two dimensional/stretched thin once we get past the origin. After all this time, the two of them combined are not even as interesting as Aunt May on her better written days).

    Quote Originally Posted by Agent Z View Post
    Really, every time this conversation comes up I just feel like it's people scapegoating the Kents for what they perceive to be issues with Superman. The Kents were dead for the entirety of the New 52 and the Superman comic was awful for the most part. Arguably worse than most anything that came out of post-crisis and yes I'm including Grounded in that category.
    But isn't this kind of scapegoating the idea of the Kents being dead for perceived issued with the New 52 era? Any problems the New 52 featured arguably had little to do with the Kents being there or not. The main issues were the costume, the marriage being gone and the romance with Wonder Woman, all of which would have still gotten negative reactions even if the Kents had been around. Pa Kent was even dead before Flashpoint hit.

    I don't know if New 52 had anything as singularly terrible as Grounded, that seems like hyperbole IMO. And we still had 50 years of the Super mythos where the Kents were dead before Byrne came along, and there weren't any issues. Superman was not a tragic (Modern) Batman-like character when that was the case, so where is this belief that he becomes too tragic coming from?

    Quote Originally Posted by Adekis View Post
    I don't think they need to be alive. I don't think they necessarily need to be dead. There are certainly good stories with each take.

    I do think they get more emphasis than they should. You know who should be a big part of Superman's adult life? Jimmy.
    Yeah we need more championing of Jimmy. And in general, more people for Clark to interact with in his adult life than just Lois and his parents and JL teammates outside of his franchise.
    Last edited by SiegePerilous02; 06-20-2021 at 11:43 AM.

  2. #62
    (formerly "Superman") JAK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adekis View Post
    I had this thought too. There's been very few Kent stories since Reborn that justify their inclusion in my book. Then again I'm pretty sympathetic to the idea that writers should leave toys in the toy box and avoid retcons wherever possible. But, well... it's just weird to have them alive but absent. Makes more sense for them to be dead, from a narrative perspective, if they don't have a role in Clark's life.
    Not really, imo. Superman is busier than your average guy, and we're generally just shown the most interesting parts of his day, not every second. Sometimes they're a part of that most interesting part, sometimes they aren't. That just makes sense to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by SiegePerilous02 View Post
    Yeah we need more championing of Jimmy. And in general, more people for Clark to interact with in his adult life than just Lois and his parents and JL teammates outside of his franchise.
    Seconded!
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  3. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by SiegePerilous02 View Post
    But parents not getting emphasis in superhero stories as a whole doesn't mean it's up to the Super mythos to pick up the slack, when it was designed with dead Kents in mind since even before we had a superhero genre as we know it.
    The Superman mythos doesn't have to keep the Kents alive but it doesn't have to kill them off either.

    It comes off as more championing an idea/trend than actual characters (because as characters they are two dimensional/stretched thin once we get past the origin. After all this time, the two of them combined are not even as interesting as Aunt May on her better written days).
    I'd say the number of times Aunt May has been written as an interesting character vs the Kents can be counted on one hand. For most of her history, she didn't even know Peter was Spider-Man meaning she arguably brought less to the table than the Kents.

    But isn't this kind of scapegoating the idea of the Kents being dead for perceived issued with the New 52 era? Any problems the New 52 featured arguably had little to do with the Kents being there or not. The main issues were the costume, the marriage being gone and the romance with Wonder Woman, all of which would have still gotten negative reactions even if the Kents had been around. Pa Kent was even dead before Flashpoint hit.
    I'm not saying said that the Kents being dead was the reason the New 52 Superman books were bad. My point was that people keep blaming them for bad Superman stories when they have little to nothing to do with the actual problems of the stories. It just feels like an overreaction.
    Last edited by Agent Z; 06-22-2021 at 06:02 AM.

  4. #64
    Ultimate Member SiegePerilous02's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Agent Z View Post
    The Superman mythos doesn't have to keep the Kents alive but it doesn't have to kill them off either. If writers are interested in using them go for it. If fans don't want to read about them, there are plenty of comics where they don't appear. Either way, it's no skin off anyone's nose. There are plenty of things Superman was designed with that have been changed or removed.
    And the debate is that if those changes or removals are worth it.

    Some just feel the Kents being alive in the present alters Clark's character. Just because you don't see it as a big deal doesn't mean others don't, and we don't have to be said to be "scapegoating" anything by expressing our opinion.


    Quote Originally Posted by Agent Z View Post
    I could have said the same thing about Jimmy Olsen in the past several decades and would have likely been crucified for it.
    You wouldn't deserve to be crucified for it, but I don't see how Jimmy has ever been a less distinct character and more of a non-entity than the Kents even when he's faded into the background.


    Quote Originally Posted by Agent Z View Post
    The number of times Aunt May has been written as an actual character vs the Kents can be counted on one hand. For most of her history, she didn't even know Peter was Spider-Man meaning she brought less to the table than the Kents.
    Depends on how you look at it. Even without being confirmed to know the secret ID, I feel that May was more of a distinct character when written by DeMatteis, Stern, DeFalco and Michelinie than the Kents have managed to be even while knowing Clark's secret, and that's before the JMS run redeemed her for a lot of fans


    Quote Originally Posted by Agent Z View Post
    There were bad Superman stories before Byrne too.
    Most of the bad stuff pre-Bryne is forgettable fluff that is easy to ignore, nothing as singularly bad as Grounded or the rut of the early 2000s.

    Byrne gets called out because he rebooted the mythos and made changes, and YMMV on if any of it was necessary or for the better.


    Quote Originally Posted by Agent Z View Post
    Probably from the same people who claim post-crisis Superman had it too easy because he didn't remember Krypton and had living biological parents and insist that Superman is and must be an isolated figure. There is a pretty big overlap between those types of people and those who hate Superman having a family.
    This is hyperbole. Superman being an isolated figure and struggling with that loneliness is a key part of his character. But it doesn't mean people don't want him to have a family or overcome those flaws. It's more of an issue that those flaws are excised or downplayed altogether, giving fuel to the belief that he's a flawless paragon with a perfect life and isn't relateable. It creates the problem it set out to solve, and the living Kents are one of the things that contribute to Clark being so vanilla in modern writings (along with the whole Superboy-less backstory Byrne envisioned, among other things).

    He eventually will build a family with Lois, he has Kara and Krypto, sometimes Kon, and the rest of his inner circle with Perry and Jimmy, Lana, etc. It's more interesting if he has a period without the Kents before overcoming his (largely self inflicted) loneliness and builds a new family.

    Quote Originally Posted by Agent Z View Post
    I apologize for sounding unnecessarily antagonistic here but this thing with the Kents just feels like the Superman fandom making a mountain out of a mole hill. The OP of this thread in particular has gone on multiple screeds about how poisonous the Kents are to Superman.
    I do agree that a whole new thread for this is a bit much (yet here I am lol) after the World brings it up a lot, even if I agree with their stance 99% of the time.

  5. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by JAK View Post
    Yeah... don't get attached to any character named "The Flash" - history tells us it's not healthy. lol
    Now that you mention it, I wonder what this person--who told The World the Kents had to be around in Clark's adult life, because it would be too much tragedy otherwise--has to say about Barry Allen?

    It seems like the publisher just mixes and matches scraps from different origins, to shake things up.

    It used to be that Barry had the better life over Clark. He grew up in a small town, with loving parents, then moved to the big city for his job. Then he got the super-powers. He got married to the woman he loved and his parents were at his wedding. And because of all that, the Flash was the more upbeat character. One read his comics to feel good about life and not be dragged down by too much tragedy.

    With the Byrne reboot, it's Clark who gets that nice life. He doesn't even have to suffer for having lost his biological parents, because he doesn't remember them. And he gets to grow up in the small town, without being burdened by his powers until later on when he's a senior at high school. His parents get to come to his wedding to the woman he loved.
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  6. #66
    Astonishing Member DochaDocha's Avatar
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    I think there's an overlap between people who don't like the Kents alive and people who don't like Superman's having a family, but there's no conspiracy theory here. I mean, that pretty much the Pre-Crisis model.

  7. #67
    (formerly "Superman") JAK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Kelly View Post
    Now that you mention it, I wonder what this person--who told The World the Kents had to be around in Clark's adult life, because it would be too much tragedy otherwise--has to say about Barry Allen?

    It seems like the publisher just mixes and matches scraps from different origins, to shake things up.

    It used to be that Barry had the better life over Clark. He grew up in a small town, with loving parents, then moved to the big city for his job. Then he got the super-powers. He got married to the woman he loved and his parents were at his wedding. And because of all that, the Flash was the more upbeat character. One read his comics to feel good about life and not be dragged down by too much tragedy.

    With the Byrne reboot, it's Clark who gets that nice life. He doesn't even have to suffer for having lost his biological parents, because he doesn't remember them. And he gets to grow up in the small town, without being burdened by his powers until later on when he's a senior at high school. His parents get to come to his wedding to the woman he loved.
    That's a good point! Several, actually! And with Barry being gone at the time, Clark could take those aspects over and it wouldn't be as noticed. Interesting!

    Quote Originally Posted by DochaDocha View Post
    I think there's an overlap between people who don't like the Kents alive and people who don't like Superman's having a family, but there's no conspiracy theory here. I mean, that pretty much the Pre-Crisis model.
    I'd say that's pretty accurate, overall. And I can certainly see the appeal, even if it's not my preference.
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  8. #68
    Ultimate Member Sacred Knight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DochaDocha View Post
    I think there's an overlap between people who don't like the Kents alive and people who don't like Superman's having a family, but there's no conspiracy theory here. I mean, that pretty much the Pre-Crisis model.
    Yeah, my reasonings for my opinion on both ideas tend to compromise of the same bullet points.
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  9. #69
    The Man Who Cannot Die manwhohaseverything's Avatar
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    I don't care if superman has a family or not.In fact,superman should have huge family with all kinds of people....
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  10. #70
    Astonishing Member Johnny Thunders!'s Avatar
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    I just don’t find the regular people in Clarks life that interesting. I like the Daily Planet and I like Smallville but I much prefer reading about Superboy and the Legion or Superman and the League. That’s why I can live without the Kents. Plus, I like Superman being first with some ideas. Batman loses his parents after Superman just like other heroes travel through time after him. Superman’s legend is so big, he’s like the Simpsons. To do something new you have to pretend what came before didn’t happen. Anyways keeping the Kent’s alive just merges Superboy with Superman in my mind and for me it ended up feeling like Peter and Aunt May.

  11. #71
    Ultimate Member Vordan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DochaDocha View Post
    I think there's an overlap between people who don't like the Kents alive and people who don't like Superman's having a family, but there's no conspiracy theory here. I mean, that pretty much the Pre-Crisis model.
    I like Supes having a family but prefer the Kents being dead so I fall outside the overlap
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  12. #72
    Ultimate Member SiegePerilous02's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vordan View Post
    I like Supes having a family but prefer the Kents being dead so I fall outside the overlap
    Same. I mostly want the period of Superman's early adult life where he periodically struggles with loneliness before opening up to Lois to be canon, but it almost never is. Pre-COIE had dead Kents and the best take on Clark and the mythos, and of course it concluded with Clark getting married to Lois but only as an epilogue. Post-COIE had the marriage but living Kents, and we've had a weird back and forth ever since.

    In my ideal Super canon, we'd have pre-Crisis Superman with the Kents being dead who eventually marries Lois and they have Jon while Clark is still an active superhero. Though the latter I'd be fine with being an infant/young child for a while in the present day stories rather than going right to 13 years old or what we have currently.

  13. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vordan View Post
    I like Supes having a family but prefer the Kents being dead so I fall outside the overlap
    Count me as the third outlier. I prefer the idea that Clark has had ups and downs in his life.

    Pre-Crisis there was a clear line in Superman's history. Reasonably happy care-free life in Smallville on one side and more solitary life as Superman on the other. Superman/Clark moved on and built new relationships (Bruce, Lois, Jimmy ...) but he also knew on a certain level that he couldn't really go home to the Smallville he'd grown up in.

    Post Crisis there didn't seem to be the same idea. Clark might have chosen to leave the farm, but it was always there with Ma and Pa just waiting for him to come home anytime he wanted. The door was never fully closed and the decison to return or not was always in his hands.

    Most people have that in their lives- something that they lost and can't recreate. Might be a deceased relative. Might be some relationship that ended badly. Might be someplace you spent your "youth" that closed or was torn down. Something that resonates with the "you can't go home again" vibe. And for me the Pre-Crisis Clark had that and the Post-Crisis one didn't.

  14. #74
    Fantastic Member magha_regulus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bored at 3:00AM View Post
    I think good stories have certainly been told with them both dead and alive. That said, the thematic and dramatic hook of Clark losing Pa Kent when he's on the cusp of adulthood vastly outweighs the handful of cute moments with the living Kents that have been published during the decades following the decision to bring them back.

    The current creative team is back to ignoring them, so they might as well be dead again.

    If there were a single story with a living Pa Kent that was even close to what Seigel accomplished by killing him off, I'd probably feel differently, but no one has really managed to make a compelling reason for Jonathan Kent being alive yet in the comics.
    I absolutely agree with this. The Kents really don't have a compelling role in the stories outside of the occasional flashback highlighting a lesson from Superman's childhood.

  15. #75
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    What age and appearance do y'all prefer for Jonathan and Martha?

    I remember as a little kid in school--only about eight years old--we each had to stand up in front of the class and talk about where we'd be in twenty years. I stood up and said that I would have white hair and glasses and run my own general store, where kids could come in and get a free piece of candy. I imagined myself as Johathan Kent. But white hair in twenty years, when I would be 28? I remember all the kids staring at me like I was some freak. Even the teacher didn't seem too impressed.
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