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  1. #16
    Astonishing Member Badou's Avatar
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    He needs to be Clark Kent. The way I view it is that Clark is the opposite of Bruce. Where people see Bruce Wayne as the mask that Batman wears I view Superman as a mask Clark chose wear because he has accepted the responsibility to use his powers for good. Of course as Superman he is still very much Clark Kent and doesn't become a completely different person like Bruce/Batman. That is always the way I viewed it. The reason he goes through so much trouble to have an identity, a job, and interact with people in normal setting is because those types of bonds and relationships are important to him. Despite being some powerful alien he is at his heart more human than most, which is a product of how he was raised as Clark Kent. He is a very humble and caring person which is why he is a good hero. Having these things and showing they are important to him makes him more relatable.

    The idea of Clark living as a wondering nomad just seems so counter to the person he wants to be. That is a miserable existence. He was raised in a small town by a loving couple in middle America. He wants to be with others and connect with them. So I also think that him being Superman full time with his identity public would also be a miserable existence for him too. Since just like being a nomad being looked at as a Godlike alien by everyone all the time would be very isolating.

    But this is just the way I've always looked at his character. Now if you don't want him to be a reporter anymore that is a different discussion.

  2. #17
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    I know that early on Jerry Siegel had Superman say he was going to be a reporter so he could get access to the latest news, but I think we're putting a little too much stock in that excuse for him being Clark Kent, mild mannered reporter.

    Primarily, it's for our entertainment that Superman maintains two very different identities (although with some crossover). But even for Superman, within the fiction, his reason for being Clark Kent is probably more psychological than utilitarian. He wants to subject himself to the ignoble existence of an average citizen. For Supermant that's exotic--that's something he can't really be, so he gets a special thrill from doing that role play.

    Whether newspapers are successful or not is hardly important. I did like it when Clark was working for Galaxy and also doing stories for the Planet--that's more how it is nowadays. You'll have a journalist who does live reporting for TV and video streaming, while also writing print columns, blogs and tweets. However--even if Clark is stuck in a dead-end job with no future, in a dying profession, in a dying medium--that's just as good. Because Superman isn't acting as Clark to be a successful journalist. Superman is already successful as Superman--he gets the ticker-tape parades, the pop hit songs, the Superman Museum and the action figures to celebrate his glory. He's not pretending to be Clark for the ego-boost--he's doing it as a kind of sadistic desire to not be extraordinary.

    The job still requires Clark to have some adventures as an investigative reporter. In a lot of other series--comics, radio, TV, movies--the investigator is not successful, either. THE ROCKFORD FILES is a perfect example of this. I imagine today's audience would criticize that show for having Jim Rockford chasing the dollar and never getting very far in life. Nowadays, does every protagonsit have to be the top in his field, making the most money and winning the most prizes?

    It bugs me that some writers don't want Clark to be unhappy. It's like they've invested too much of their own ego in Clark Kent and hate to see him getting a rough deal, because they feel his pain. Being a writer means subjecting your best loved character creations to some real emoitonal pain--that's what makes it good writing. If the writer is too squeamish to give his character heart-ache then there's no dramatic tension. I guess that's why a lot of the drama in Superman has become exterior rather than interior. However, as much as it hurts a reader there's a kind of cathartic thrill in seeing this man, who is Superman in reality, suffering so much humiliation as Clark Kent.
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  3. #18
    Ultimate Member Ascended's Avatar
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    Generally I agree with what you're saying but I think you discount the good that Clark does as a reporter.

    There are some things even Superman cant fix. But Clark Kent can. Clark can bring down the corrupt businessmen and politicians with his journalism, he can shed light on the plights of the oppressed in ways that Superman cant.

    I look at it like this; Superman saves lives in the short term; he diverts the floods, stops the muggings, and defeats the world conqueror. But Clark is the guy who can make quantifiable, lasting social change and make the public care about a topic they otherwise would not have even heard of.
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  4. #19
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    But why does Clark have to work for a succesful industry to be a good investigative reporter? That's counter-intuitive for me. The big corporate news organizations do a lousy job of reporting. It's often the poor schlubs working for dying newspapers who are the real reporters in the field.

    Look at a show like THE NEWSROOM--that'a all about a dying medium and the desperate attempt by those who care about journalism to save it.

    Or look at the reporters in Mexico who are being killed by the drug cartels. Those reporters aren't working for the most successful media.

    The idea that Clark has to be working in the most cutting-edge, most technically progressive, most popular media runs against the idea that he should be rooting out corruption and speaking truth to power.
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  5. #20
    Ultimate Member Ascended's Avatar
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    Oh, I have no problem with Clark working in a dying medium. My issue with the Planet is that its treated like its not dying at all, and to me thats just ignoring a plethora of incredible story telling opportunities. How meta would it be to explore Clark's role in a medium that has lost its impact? I dont even know why DC is ignoring this, except for the fact that such stories are hard, and its easier to just write about Superman punching Metallo in the nose.
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  6. #21
    Astonishing Member misslane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    Oh, I have no problem with Clark working in a dying medium. My issue with the Planet is that its treated like its not dying at all, and to me thats just ignoring a plethora of incredible story telling opportunities. How meta would it be to explore Clark's role in a medium that has lost its impact? I dont even know why DC is ignoring this, except for the fact that such stories are hard, and its easier to just write about Superman punching Metallo in the nose.
    A huge element of the initial run of the New 52 Superman title was the DP's upgrade to PGN in order to pay the bills and keep up with modern media. So DC didn't necessarily ignore this topic. What it did do was start out with an idea that could have been more successfully mined and ultimately abandoned it altogether. Even Clark's aborted attempt at muckraking blogging toyed with the idea momentarily before running away from it.

    Somewhat off-topic, I recently saw the film Spotlight, and it made me even more hungry for one of Superman's titles to integrate investigative journalism done under duress into a significant arc. Homeland weaved an investigative journalism story into its recent season, too. A shift towards more journalism stories that explore the intersection of journalism-related plots and themes with cosmic and heroic ones would be awesome. With the events of "Truth," however, I can't really see how that could be possible any time in the near future unless Lois is allowed some page time. So, yeah, it's a long shot.

  7. #22
    Ultimate Member Sacred Knight's Avatar
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    Indeed, Perez played with it a bit. Even Lobdell to a degree. But yeah, Perez's run I find to be a bit underrated. What it hurt it to me was its rehashed fight scenes from issue to issue. But the themes and shifts it brought about were interesting, fresh ideas for a rebooted Superman. Lobdell didn't play much with the GBS angle but he did play off a consequence, that being Clark and Cat leaving the Planet. Yet another intriguing turn.

    So what do they do with it all? Bring in Geoff Johns, who promptly reverts everything back to his boring status quo then bolts once he's vanilla'd everything.
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  8. #23

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    I think the sentiment here is that Superman can still be Clark Kent. He can still be a reporter as well. I agree with this. I just question whether this false persona of Clark Kent, the bumbling, mild-mannered reporter that hides the identity of Superman, is really necessary anymore. It seems most would agree that this persona needs to be updated at the very least. I think DC is clinging to a persona that just doesn't work in the modern world anymore and hasn't worked for nearly two decades now. He doesn't need to be a reporter to keep up with current events. He just needs a good Twitter feed and an internet connection, something I'm sure the Fortress of Solitude can accommodate.

    But beyond this persona, I don't think that Clark Kent should be a mask anymore. I ask this question because I think it's worth imaging a world where everyone knows that Clark Kent is Superman. They know he was born on another planet, has an alien name, but goes by a human name. And with that name, he can still relate to humanity. He can still be part of humanity. But he'll still be an alien on the outside looking in, which I think is where Superman is often at his best as a character.

    And not being this false persona doesn't mean he can't still write. I think that's a genuine passion of his. And having that kind of passion is hardly outdated. It can just manifest in ways beyond being a reporter for a newspaper. I can imagine a narrative where Clark Kent blogs about the work he does as Superman, the people he meets, and injustice he sees. How powerful would that be to the average person who would never bother actually buying a newspaper? He wants to make a difference and he wants to help people. He can do that by saving the day. He can also do that by raising awareness with his writing. And given that he's Superman, would he really need to advertise such a medium? His exploits alone would generate plenty of interest and he could do so much good with that interest.

    Here's a scenario. He flies into some third-world country that's facing a disaster. Being Superman, he helps save the day. However, the local dictator refuses to let aid enter his country. Superman doesn't have to fight this dictator. He doesn't even have to talk to him. He has the power to expose corruption, abuses, and injustice that would never reach the rest of the world. If he could just blog about that or write about it, then it would raise a lot more awareness than the disaster itself. And if Superman is behind something, then it would be political suicide for someone to oppose that. That sort of dynamic would help a lot of people, lead to positive change, and probably create a whole host of new enemies.

    But that's just one scenario. I think there are so many others and right now, DC is restricting itself by clinging to this outdated model for Superman.
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  9. #24
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    There have been Superman stories where he used his role as Clark Kent to expose criminality. I think he can do either--doesn't have to tip his hand that he's Superman, since that would blow his cover as an investigative reporter.

    Fact is Superman is far too free with information about himself. He shouldn't be telling people he's from annother planet, or revealing the extent of his powers. I can see why in the past the writers did that--because it's a device for telling the story. If Superman tells others like Lois what he can do or where he's from, that's more interesting than a narrative caption or a thought balloon.

    If I were writing it, I'd have Superman trying to keep mum about himself. Maybe some guy like Wilbur J. Wolfingham comes along and makes money out of selling the Superman Story, with a whole trademark line. Most of what Wolfingham tells people is wrong, so Superman has to correct the record to expose the conman. However, Superman only gives away a few facts about himself and keeps the rest under his hat.
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  10. #25
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    I never got the concept of hiding behind a alias as a secret identity because in this day and age, superheroes like in marvel are always one indentity from thier superhero life and civilian life, that shows me superheroes like supes, bats, and spidey really need to integrate thier superhero alias into normal society and ditch the outdated identity double life thing. Maybe pull a page out of invincible, superheroes and regulars live synonymous with each other and integrate.

  11. #26
    Astonishing Member misslane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimishim12 View Post
    I never got the concept of hiding behind a alias as a secret identity because in this day and age, superheroes like in marvel are always one indentity from thier superhero life and civilian life, that shows me superheroes like supes, bats, and spidey really need to integrate thier superhero alias into normal society and ditch the outdated identity double life thing. Maybe pull a page out of invincible, superheroes and regulars live synonymous with each other and integrate.
    Why does Superman need to integrate his two identities? So he can be just like everyone else in the superhero world? What I love about Superman is what makes him distinctive. If all superheroes start living similar lives, then it dilutes the power of these individual characters and their myths. Superman doesn't maintain a secret identity because it makes total sense, because it is convenient, or because it is cool. Superman lives half his life as Clark Kent because it's part of who he is. The part of Superman's life that is important to him -- his friends, his family, and the people he loves -- are integrated into both halves of his life. To me, there's nothing outdated about living a double life. In a world obsessed with celebrity, instant access to information, and a lack of privacy, I can't think of anything more appealing for a superhero than the option to live something as close to a normal life as possible.

  12. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimishim12 View Post
    I never got the concept of hiding behind a alias as a secret identity because in this day and age, superheroes like in marvel are always one indentity from thier superhero life and civilian life, that shows me superheroes like supes, bats, and spidey really need to integrate thier superhero alias into normal society and ditch the outdated identity double life thing. Maybe pull a page out of invincible, superheroes and regulars live synonymous with each other and integrate.
    Some people want to make everything make sense, because for them that's realistic.

    To me, life is strange, people don't make sense--even to themselves. They lead double lives, triple lives, quintuple lives. They do stupid things. And that's where all the excitement comes from. It may be out of date, but human programming is thousands of years old and we haven't changed that much in all that time. The more that characters make sense and act normal, according to the expectations of some readers, then the more boring they become. And really not worth my time.

    But different strokes for different folks, I guess. It takes all kinds to make a world.
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  13. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrHashasheen View Post
    To be perfectly honest, I'm surprised they haven't transitioned Clark to being a cameraman or a freelance reporter of some kind. Dude's got speed, flight, strength, invulnerability. He could pop into Syria for a weekend and do a hard-breaking, in-depth story about the refugee crisis and be sleeping at home every night while he did it. And it keeps him far more anonymous than if he was a guy on a byline or a guy on the TV, simply because unless you're getting an award, almost no one really pays attention to the camera guys.
    They used to do that in the Pre Crisis "The Private Life of Clark Kent"

  14. #29
    Senior Member ManSinha's Avatar
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    I almost want Clark to become a reclusive magnet behind a very successful publishing house. The publishing house of course would be powered by the JL , stories interviews etc - unethical? Maybe but I have often wondered why Karen Starr can be a successful industrialist and Clark cannot?

  15. #30
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    Me personally, I really loved the early issues of Truth over in Action Comics where Pak was introducing a new status quo for Superman in Kentville, merging the two personalities of Clark/Superman into one being and giving us the readers an entirely new dynamic to look forward to. I hope now that Truth is over that Pak can go back and explore this new dynamic and this new life. We really haven't been given enough story with the current writers to decide whether or not Superman can operate without the 9/5 Clark persona or whether the two personalities merging into one can work. I think they can, the same as Steve Rogers and Captain America have become one personality. Superman being out in the open as Clark Kent, living and breathing among the people who either hate or worship him grounds him a new way that we haven't seen before. It could create some truly amazing stories if a writer was given the chance to really explore it.

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