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  1. #1
    Mighty Member witchboy's Avatar
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    Default Superman, Amazing Grace, Big Barda and exploitation

    As I'm re-reading the early post-COIE Superman comics, I was struck by a couple of incidents that happen close together - Amazing Grace seducing an amnesiac Superman

    https://dc.fandom.com/wiki/Adventure...rman_Vol_1_426

    and fairly soon after that, Superman is under mind control to make porn movies with Barba. He's rescued by Mr Miracle before anything goes on between them, although she had been exploited for weeks before Superman was also captured. The story is left with Superman and Barda losing memory of the experience and they don't even know that nothing happened between them.

    https://dc.fandom.com/wiki/Action_Comics_Vol_1_593


    I know that the Barda story had a lot of ugliness of Byrne's feud with Kirby, and it feels like degrading Barda was the point, which gets pretty dark when you consider that Kirby's wife was the model for Barda. That is a really bad moment for the books (and I am generally a big fan of this era so I hate that it has to be tainted like this).

    I've never heard any talk for what that means for Superman, how these experiences were traumatic, or how people perceive especially the Amazing Grace situation. Do people consider that this was sexual assault? With amnesia, him being mentally manipulated and lied to, I don't think he could have genuinely consented to the sex that they clearly had. It makes me wonder why Darkseid wasn't feeding her fertility drugs to get a Kryptonian/Apokalyptian hybrid.

    This does bring up a question to me, has the post Crisis Superman been shown to have had a sexual relationship before Grace? He doesn't seem likely to have been sexually active in high school, he was sort of platonically dating Lana, but his feelings for her don't seem to be romantic. Her presence in his life would suggest that he wouldn't have been involved with anyone else. Then the next relationship I know of is Lori in his senior year in college, but that wouldn't have likely gone far since she was hiding that she was a mermaid.

    I can't help but think of the Lois and Clark tv series, which was heavily inspired by the post Crisis Superman, where Clark talks about being a virgin and saving himself for marriage to Lois - while she is more worldly and experiences. That was a pretty unusual situation to discuss so frankly on 90s tv, and to subvert expectations, as an adult male virgin wasn't something you saw on tv, much less treated with dignity. I'm not sure if I think the comic version of Clark was as chaste or not. He did reject Cat's advances to rush into a sexual relationship and instead dated her slowly while pining for Lois.

  2. #2
    Astonishing Member marhawkman's Avatar
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    Well I think you hit the reason why that story got magic-reset-buttoned....

  3. #3
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    Just a minor correction. On “Lois and Clark” Clark reveals he was a virgin but only says he was waiting for the right person that he felt truly comfortable with given his heritage and background etc. He never actually says he was waiting for marriage and, in fact, they don’t seem to feel like they have to wait to be married as they almost have sex a number of times before their actual marriage and are interrupted. It’s very likely ABC wanted the show to wait until marriage because it was the 90’s and talking about sex as frankly as “Lois and Clark” did was still fairly groundbreaking at the time/not common. But Clark himself doesn’t specify he was waiting to be married—only that he only wanted to be intimate with the right person he trusted. I do agree it was rare to see frank discussion of male virginity and female sexuality on prime time and I still give the show credit for that.

    It’s also worth noting that it was so controversial to talk frankly about sex on a show like LnC that the network wouldn’t even let them use the word condom. In season 4, there is a whole arc where Lois and Clark have impulsive love making and forget to use birth control but the network wouldn’t let them say the words so they had to say they didn’t use “precautions.” It happens at the end of the episode when Clark stops their love making again to suggest they use birth control.

    As for sexual assault, Smallville was notorious for subjecting Clark to extremely violating and horrible sexual situations where women outright tried to rape him and it was never given the weight it deserved even when Clark himself was shown to be traumatized. It’s one of the aspects of the show that doesn’t hold up well.

    Personally I don’t think Superman media supports Clark waiting until marriage. It supports him being monogamous for sure and intimate only when he’s truly in love but he has sex in Superman 2 obviously outside of wedlock, fathers a son outside of wedlock etc. Lois and Clark live together unmarried in season 10 of Smallville. And the original pre-crisis canon for Hoechlin’s Clark was that Lois was pregnant with Jon before they got married. Monogamous, yes. Needing to wait for marriage? Canon doesn’t support that.
    Last edited by Nelliebly; 10-25-2021 at 12:42 PM.

  4. #4
    Extraordinary Member superduperman's Avatar
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    I know it's not the most popular version but the Earth One Superman books kind of go into this. In a flashback between him and Pa, they basically said they don't know if he can have sex with a human woman. They even (kind of) reference the whole "women of Kleenex" thing. And Byrne has kind of a chip on his shoulder with everyone. How much of a dick do you have to be to make an enemy of Jack Kirby?
    Greenlight the Smallville animated series, WB!

  5. #5
    Obsessed & Compelled Bored at 3:00AM's Avatar
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    John Byrne had a feud with Jack Kirby? When did this happen? I though Byrne worshipped Kirby

  6. #6
    Astonishing Member marhawkman's Avatar
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    There was also that semi-canon thing in DCAU with Superman and Lashina. That incident gave Superman a long list of things to wish he could forget. Sleeping with Lashina probably was probably pretty low on the list.

  7. #7
    Beyond Good. Beyond Evil. Gaius's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bored at 3:00AM View Post
    John Byrne had a feud with Jack Kirby? When did this happen? I though Byrne worshipped Kirby
    When Kirby started speaking out in the 80s about the lack of credit and compensation he was giving for his Marvel creations, Byrne I think was one of the more notable figures who said Kirby had knew the deals he signed and had no right to complain.

    Kirby then, with Steve Gerber, included a parody of Byrne in one of Gerber's Destroyer Duck series.

  8. #8
    Phantom Zone Escapee manofsteel1979's Avatar
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    Never knew the Barda story from the early Byrne Action was meant to be an "f--k you" to Kirby. I thought it was John Byrne being a weird perv. Now I know he was a petty jerk even back in 1987.
    When it comes to comics,one person's "fan-service" is another persons personal cannon. So by definition it's ALL fan service. Aren't we ALL fans?
    SUPERMAN is the greatest fictional character ever created.

  9. #9
    Obsessed & Compelled Bored at 3:00AM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gaius View Post
    When Kirby started speaking out in the 80s about the lack of credit and compensation he was giving for his Marvel creations, Byrne I think was one of the more notable figures who said Kirby had knew the deals he signed and had no right to complain.

    Kirby then, with Steve Gerber, included a parody of Byrne in one of Gerber's Destroyer Duck series.
    Wow. Byrne never ceases to surprise me when it comes to the depths of his assholery.

  10. #10
    Beyond Good. Beyond Evil. Gaius's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bored at 3:00AM View Post
    Wow. Byrne never ceases to surprise me when it comes to the depths of his assholery.
    He’s an odd one. That’s to be sure.


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