Superman's Citizenship

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Re: Superman's Citizenship

Postby KingofMadCows » Sun May 01, 2011 6:30 am UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:
KingofMadCows wrote:Don't ask me, ask the people who write the comics.

I would say they don't agree with you. By virtue of the fact that they are writing superhero comics.

KingofMadCows wrote:DC and Marvel may both subscribe to the whole multiverse idea but that doesn't change the fact that there is a "prime" universe that more or less mirrors our world and that's where most of the comics take place.

Can you point me to this prime universe? Have you never seen comics take potshots at pop culture or current events?

KingofMadCows wrote:As for modification of mythos, you know that actually supports my point don't you?

No, it actually demonstrates how pointless your argument is. There is no central comic line, only countless authors countless interpretations and creative liberties. There are consistencies, sure, but those are often played with too.

Really, what I think this comes down to, is that you don't like keeping up with all the different storylines, like Dauric said. That's fine. That doesn't mean comics are inconsistent or too consistent, too far fetched or not creative enough, it just means the likely narrow range of comics you've read didn't do it for you. Try not to make broad sweeping generalizations about things that you don't have much exposure to.


You're arguing a completely different point now.

Getting back to my original point, I was a bit broad in my generalization. I was mainly talking about well established long running series like Action Comics, JLA, The Avengers, The Incredible Hulk, etc., not being good at dealing with real world politics. These are the comics that hold 60% to 70% of all comic book sales.

There are definitely comics that do deal with real world issues in more reasonable ways but they're not ones that get the kind of media attention that Superman renouncing his citizenship gets. Big comic series like Superman suck at dealing with real world politics.
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Re: Superman's Citizenship

Postby Izawwlgood » Sun May 01, 2011 6:34 am UTC

KingofMadCows wrote:Big comic series like Superman suck at dealing with real world politics.

I still disagree with you, based on the Superman, Hulk, Batman, Punisher, and some X-Men comics I've read. I think at this point, I'm going to simply have to state "You should read more".
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Re: Superman's Citizenship

Postby KingofMadCows » Sun May 01, 2011 6:46 am UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:
KingofMadCows wrote:Big comic series like Superman suck at dealing with real world politics.

I still disagree with you, based on the Superman, Hulk, Batman, Punisher, and some X-Men comics I've read. I think at this point, I'm going to simply have to state "You should read more".


How about giving an example of a story arc done by a big comic that dealt with real world politics like famine in Africa, suppression of free speech in China, US support of repressive regimes, etc., that wasn't retconned or reset and had actual long term consequences.
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Re: Superman's Citizenship

Postby Prefanity » Sun May 01, 2011 7:47 am UTC

KingofMadCows wrote:...that wasn't retconned or reset and had actual long term consequences.


Not to be a pain in the ass, but I can't name anything in comics that meets that criterion.
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Re: Superman's Citizenship

Postby KingofMadCows » Sun May 01, 2011 9:09 am UTC

Prefanity wrote:
KingofMadCows wrote:...that wasn't retconned or reset and had actual long term consequences.


Not to be a pain in the ass, but I can't name anything in comics that meets that criterion.


That's sort of the problem with popular mainstream comics dealing with real life politics. In order to deal with them logically, you'd have to either be in it for the long haul or use their super powers/technology to create some sort of long term solution. They can't just do a short story arc that deals with real world politics without leaving a ton of questions unanswered. If Superman suddenly decides to drop off a million ton of grain in Ethiopia, then the obvious question is going to be, "why doesn't he just end world famine?" Most of the time when they answer these questions, it's in a really half assed way like how certain Star Trek episodes deal with having to follow the Prime Directive's policy of non-interference even when an entire species is threatened with extinction.

Heck, they don't even deal well with their own fictional politics. Take "No Man's Land" for example, even ignoring the ridiculous premise of the arc, the issue where Superman goes to Gotham for one day and decides that he can't help the city with his powers just made no sense.
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Re: Superman's Citizenship

Postby Dream » Sun May 01, 2011 10:10 am UTC

Jesus Christ. Comics deal with issues thematically, not topically. Superman doesn't end famine for the same reason that he doesn't have the National Guard and Batman on speed dial to deal with the other half of whatever impossible dilemma he's faced with this week. The only things that exist in comic story arcs are what the writer puts there. Everything outside the scope just isn't part of reality.
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Re: Superman's Citizenship

Postby KingofMadCows » Sun May 01, 2011 10:26 am UTC

Dream wrote:Jesus Christ. Comics deal with issues thematically, not topically. Superman doesn't end famine for the same reason that he doesn't have the National Guard and Batman on speed dial to deal with the other half of whatever impossible dilemma he's faced with this week. The only things that exist in comic story arcs are what the writer puts there. Everything outside the scope just isn't part of reality.


Then what's the point of bringing these specific issues of real world politics into it? Why not just continue using allegories like they always do? If they're going to have a superhero deal with a realistic depiction of a particular occurrence of a real world issue that is actually written in such a way for the readers to take literally then how could you say that they're not dealing with the issue topically?
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Re: Superman's Citizenship

Postby Oregonaut » Sun May 01, 2011 11:48 am UTC

@ KoMC: "You are and idiot".
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Re: Superman's Citizenship

Postby Christo » Sun May 01, 2011 1:13 pm UTC

Oregonaut wrote:@ KoMC: "You are and idiot".


Are you quoting an ironic statement or making one? I think you mean "an" not "and."

Super heroes dealing with real world issues seems difficult for theodicean reasons. How can you have an almost omnipotent/omniscient character like Superman and have any level of conflict? With their combined might, you'd think super heroes could fix everything. But then, what stories would you tell?
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Re: Superman's Citizenship

Postby Oregonaut » Sun May 01, 2011 1:46 pm UTC

- Ochigo the Earth-Stomper

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Re: Superman's Citizenship

Postby podbaydoor » Sun May 01, 2011 3:11 pm UTC

I believe the trope name is Reed Richards Is Useless.
tvtropes.org wrote:There are several typical motivations for this:

1. To keep the world similar to the real world. This is particularly common in an Urban Fantasy, superhero, or other series whose setting is superficially similar to the real world. Unlike, say, Star Trek or Lord of the Rings, one of the key draws of the series is that it could take place right outside the reader's window, which is lost if you make the fictional world too fantastic in comparison. This is particularly common in comic books, where major modifications to the world are only done to fictional locations, and often only to current levels of technology. Here's a video of late Marvel editor-in-chief Mark Gruenwald explaining the reasons for this in some depth.

2. To ensure that there's some level of drama in the story. If the super science or magic can literally do anything, then the heroes can just use the super science to get them out of any jam. Goodbye potential conflict. Look at the Flash, somebody who can run at super-sonic speed should have absolutely NO problem fighting a normal speed villain who throws boomerangs or wields an ice gun. Even in the case of Star Trek, there were tons of things the replicators and transporters should have been able to do which would have ruined the plot of half the episodes, necessitating a lot of Holding Back the Phlebotinum to maintain drama. As well, it could very easily be that the technology itself has some limitations, as "It can do anything you can imagine" is quite a bold statement for anyone to make. Other times, the Disposable Superhero Maker is disposable in the first place to avoid flooding the setting with superheroes.

3. To avoid trivializing real-life problems. If Mr. Fantastic actually does discover, say, a cure for cancer in the Marvel Universe, there are going to be plenty of real-world sufferers still suffering from it when they finish the comic. It can be considered insensitive to have something that's a heavy burden in real life be casually ignored in fiction. Also, in the interest of representation, physically challenged persons who exist in universes where science (alien or otherwise) should theoretically be able to cure their handicap; the actual curing would often be seen as detracting from the character's potential to be someone that other physically challenged persons could relate to. This is probably why Professor X, after spending much of the mid 1980s on his feet, had to go back to being in a wheelchair during the early 1990s.

4. To keep multiple titles within a Shared Universe consistent with one-another; comic book universes would approach a new level of Continuity Snarl if writers had to keep track of every published book in their universe for which major diseases/blights had been cured by the heroes and which ones weren't.
tenet |ˈtenit|
noun
a principle or belief, esp. one of the main principles of a religion or philosophy : the tenets of classical liberalism.
tenant |ˈtenənt|
noun
a person who occupies land or property rented from a landlord.
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Re: Superman's Citizenship

Postby Izawwlgood » Sun May 01, 2011 3:30 pm UTC

I for one object to anyone aside from the original character creators from working on the storylines, and then only if they stay in a single universe. This revisionism is unconscionable!
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Re: Superman's Citizenship

Postby Christo » Sun May 01, 2011 3:34 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:I for one object to anyone aside from the original character creators from working on the storylines, and then only if they stay in a single universe. This revisionism is unconscionable!


Are you saying only Stan Lee should write the X-Men?
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Re: Superman's Citizenship

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Sun May 01, 2011 3:46 pm UTC

Yes. That's exactly what he's saying.
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Re: Superman's Citizenship

Postby Christo » Sun May 01, 2011 3:49 pm UTC

I don't know. I mean, there is something kind of appealing to that idea. There's something appealing about the finality of it. God knows I don't like the idea of anyone other than Warren Ellis writing Transmetropolitan, but I've been way into Warren Ellis's run on Astonishing X-Men, so I am glad that creators play in one another's sandboxes. Some characters seem to transcend their creators, and that's a pretty cool facet of our culture.
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Re: Superman's Citizenship

Postby Izawwlgood » Sun May 01, 2011 4:31 pm UTC

Christo wrote:Some characters seem to transcend their creators, and that's a pretty cool facet of our culture.

Gee, it's almost like different people's interpretations of how the characters would respond in different situations makes for endless permutations and possibilities! Like... Oh yeah... The comic book industry. And you know... Storytelling in general.
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Re: Superman's Citizenship

Postby KingofMadCows » Sun May 01, 2011 4:39 pm UTC

podbaydoor wrote:I believe the trope name is Reed Richards Is Useless.
tvtropes.org wrote:There are several typical motivations for this:

1. To keep the world similar to the real world. This is particularly common in an Urban Fantasy, superhero, or other series whose setting is superficially similar to the real world. Unlike, say, Star Trek or Lord of the Rings, one of the key draws of the series is that it could take place right outside the reader's window, which is lost if you make the fictional world too fantastic in comparison. This is particularly common in comic books, where major modifications to the world are only done to fictional locations, and often only to current levels of technology. Here's a video of late Marvel editor-in-chief Mark Gruenwald explaining the reasons for this in some depth.

2. To ensure that there's some level of drama in the story. If the super science or magic can literally do anything, then the heroes can just use the super science to get them out of any jam. Goodbye potential conflict. Look at the Flash, somebody who can run at super-sonic speed should have absolutely NO problem fighting a normal speed villain who throws boomerangs or wields an ice gun. Even in the case of Star Trek, there were tons of things the replicators and transporters should have been able to do which would have ruined the plot of half the episodes, necessitating a lot of Holding Back the Phlebotinum to maintain drama. As well, it could very easily be that the technology itself has some limitations, as "It can do anything you can imagine" is quite a bold statement for anyone to make. Other times, the Disposable Superhero Maker is disposable in the first place to avoid flooding the setting with superheroes.

3. To avoid trivializing real-life problems. If Mr. Fantastic actually does discover, say, a cure for cancer in the Marvel Universe, there are going to be plenty of real-world sufferers still suffering from it when they finish the comic. It can be considered insensitive to have something that's a heavy burden in real life be casually ignored in fiction. Also, in the interest of representation, physically challenged persons who exist in universes where science (alien or otherwise) should theoretically be able to cure their handicap; the actual curing would often be seen as detracting from the character's potential to be someone that other physically challenged persons could relate to. This is probably why Professor X, after spending much of the mid 1980s on his feet, had to go back to being in a wheelchair during the early 1990s.

4. To keep multiple titles within a Shared Universe consistent with one-another; comic book universes would approach a new level of Continuity Snarl if writers had to keep track of every published book in their universe for which major diseases/blights had been cured by the heroes and which ones weren't.


Yes, this is precisely why it's so idiotic for mainstream superheroes to deal with real world politics. They just dig up the problems that comics try their hardest to ignore. Those stories inevitably end up being crappy fantastic aesops.
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Re: Superman's Citizenship

Postby Izawwlgood » Sun May 01, 2011 4:44 pm UTC

Yeah, we should never use storytellingor fantasyas a means to make commentariesor observations about the world around us. That'd just be silly. And probably completely devoid of continuity.
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Re: Superman's Citizenship

Postby KingofMadCows » Sun May 01, 2011 4:53 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:Yeah, we should never use storytellingor fantasyas a means to make commentariesor observations about the world around us. That'd just be silly. And probably completely devoid of continuity.


Are you responding to my post?
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Re: Superman's Citizenship

Postby Endless Mike » Sun May 01, 2011 5:35 pm UTC

Oregonaut wrote:Marvel had a whole thing with China developing domestic mutants to counter the US' bevy of them. It would be interesting if they had a similar thing in DC because of Supe's affiliation with the US.

There is, actually. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Ten

As for Superman's citizenship, this is the first I even know of it coming up. In-universe, he's recognized as an alien, and unless citizenship was given to him at some point, I'm not sure how he could be seen as American. Clark Kent's citizenship would have to be separate and is pretty easily hand waved away.
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Re: Superman's Citizenship

Postby Izawwlgood » Sun May 01, 2011 5:44 pm UTC

@KoMC: Yes. I find your claims to be quite ridiculous, and demonstrative of either a lack of depth, or breadth, of your overall comic book reading experiences.

Back OT: I think it's an interesting character development because the Boy Scout is recognizing corruption in the political sphere. This is usually Batman's terrain. It's also interesting because Superman isn't really good at dealing with problems beyond using more force, typically, and every time he does something unique and interesting that breaks the routine, it's... wait for it... unique and interesting.

That's one of the things I rather enjoyed about the newest Superman movie; not only do we see him preventing Louis from smoking, but we see her learning from the experience. Not only do we see her writing essays about 'Why we don't need Superman', but we see her speechless for why we do. Red Sun also tackled that very well.
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Re: Superman's Citizenship

Postby KingofMadCows » Sun May 01, 2011 6:02 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:@KoMC: Yes. I find your claims to be quite ridiculous, and demonstrative of either a lack of depth, or breadth, of your overall comic book reading experiences.


Yet you've failed to provide any actual evidence to support your point.

Your reasoning is completely flawed. You cannot possible compare "The Daily Show" to comic books. Comics purposely ignore real life problems to maintain a suspension of disbelief. The readers are supposed to ignore the fact that Superman can pretty much solve all of the world's problems. What is the point of breaking the suspension of disbelief and having a superhero deal with these problems that they should be able to easily solve? That's like having a physicist in a Michael Bay movie explaining to the audience how cars don't explode when they crash, glass shards cut people up badly, and people don't fly back 500 feet when they get shot in the chest.
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Re: Superman's Citizenship

Postby Dream » Sun May 01, 2011 6:22 pm UTC

KingofMadCows wrote:Yet you've failed to provide any actual evidence to support your point.

Evidence: You think Superman could solve all the world's problems. It is evident from a cursory reading of the character that he couldn't, because humanity's problems come from human weakness. Superman is strong, mentally and physically, but he can't save us from ourselves. This is the entire point of pretty much all of Superman, and you don't understand it. To me, this is evidence that you haven't read much of the universe.
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Re: Superman's Citizenship

Postby KingofMadCows » Sun May 01, 2011 6:34 pm UTC

Dream wrote:
KingofMadCows wrote:Yet you've failed to provide any actual evidence to support your point.

Evidence: You think Superman could solve all the world's problems. It is evident from a cursory reading of the character that he couldn't, because humanity's problems come from human weakness. Superman is strong, mentally and physically, but he can't save us from ourselves. This is the entire point of pretty much all of Superman, and you don't understand it. To me, this is evidence that you haven't read much of the universe.


It's a very convenient explanation when you put it in such vague terms. That's why the comic works when it doesn't deal with the specifics of real world problems. If they did that then it would require a more in-depth analysis of the ramifications of Superman's actions and they would need to find ways that could mitigate negative consequences rather than simply accepting failure. If they actually wanted to deal with real world problems in an effective way, they would first need to define the traits, behaviors, and conditions that lead to what you call "human weakness." They would need to answer specific questions about how this "human weakness" impedes Superman's ability to save humans. They would also need to explore ways in which Superman can attempt to overcome this problem. Is this "human weakness" inherent and immutable? Is it something that is written in our genes? If not then what are the conditions under which humans develop this "weakness?" Why is it impossible for Superman, with all his awesome powers, to change those conditions? Real world problems have specific causes, some of which are extremely complex. If they want superheroes to deal with specific real world problems then they would actually need to investigate the roots of these problems and craft a story in which the superhero utilizes their powers in a reasonable and measured way to influence either the causes of these problems or the association between people and the conditions under which these problems arise.
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Re: Superman's Citizenship

Postby Izawwlgood » Sun May 01, 2011 7:01 pm UTC

KingofMadCows wrote:Yet you've failed to provide any actual evidence to support your point.

Do you mean by pointing you to numerous comics that have been about superheroes tackling real world issues and politics in a convincing and mature manner? Or in addressing and explaining why your assertion that continuity isn't a requirement of storytelling, especially in the comic book industry?

Seriously, have you ever heard of The Punisher? Do you know who he fights? Spoiler alert! It's typically not super villains.

KingofMadCows wrote:They would need to answer specific questions about how this "human weakness" impedes Superman's ability to save humans.

In the most recent Superman movie, this was basically the entire driving message, particularly all of Louis Lane's involvement in the story. If you missed it, I really think you need to read/watch more carefully. Pay attention to the sequences about her smoking, and the scenes about her writing "Why we don't need Superman"

But here, I'm really convinced you simply haven't ever seen this stuff:
KingofMadCows wrote: Why is it impossible for Superman, with all his awesome powers, to change those conditions?

Prefanity, from Red Sun wrote:"Why don't you just put the whole WORLD in a BOTTLE, Superman?"

KoMC, before you continue to make claims about the nature of superheroes, Superman, and comics in general, you need to provide indication that you've done more than read the back of the trading cards.
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Re: Superman's Citizenship

Postby KingofMadCows » Sun May 01, 2011 7:14 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:
KingofMadCows wrote:Yet you've failed to provide any actual evidence to support your point.

Do you mean by pointing you to numerous comics that have been about superheroes tackling real world issues and politics in a convincing and mature manner? Or in addressing and explaining why your assertion that continuity isn't a requirement of storytelling, especially in the comic book industry?


And I conceded the fact that comics as a medium can tackle real world issues and politics in a convincing and mature manner. I also clarified my original argument to include only mainstream comics, of which Superman is a part of.

Also, I never said that continuity was a requirement. It's something that comic book writers maintain. What do you think was the point of the massive reboots like Crisis on Infinite Earths and Infinite Crisis?

Seriously, have you ever heard of The Punisher? Do you know who he fights? Spoiler alert! It's typically not super villains.


Yeah, because the Punisher is really mature and realistic in the way he slaughters criminals by the hundreds.

KingofMadCows wrote:They would need to answer specific questions about how this "human weakness" impedes Superman's ability to save humans.

In the most recent Superman movie, this was basically the entire driving message, particularly all of Louis Lane's involvement in the story. If you missed it, I really think you need to read/watch more carefully. Pay attention to the sequences about her smoking, and the scenes about her writing "Why we don't need Superman"


But Superman isn't even Superman in that movie. He's a date rapist deadbeat dad.

But here, I'm really convinced you simply haven't ever seen this stuff:
KingofMadCows wrote: Why is it impossible for Superman, with all his awesome powers, to change those conditions?

Prefanity, from Red Sun wrote:"Why don't you just put the whole WORLD in a BOTTLE, Superman?"

KoMC, before you continue to make claims about the nature of superheroes, Superman, and comics in general, you need to provide indication that you've done more than read the back of the trading cards.


Yes, please ignore this
KingofMadCows wrote:If they want superheroes to deal with specific real world problems then they would actually need to investigate the roots of these problems and craft a story in which the superhero utilizes their powers in a reasonable and measured way to influence either the causes of these problems or the association between people and the conditions under which these problems arise.
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Re: Superman's Citizenship

Postby Oregonaut » Sun May 01, 2011 7:16 pm UTC

Mature? No. Realistic? I could do what he does. Wouldn't be that hard. I'd just need time and motivation. Punisher handles things from a purely vengeful stance. He's like Cap, only...Vietnam instead of WWII. Almost like the writers at some point decided to "What If" it...in Civil War...
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Re: Superman's Citizenship

Postby Izawwlgood » Sun May 01, 2011 7:23 pm UTC

KingofMadCows wrote:It's something that comic book writers maintain.

Tell me where comic book writers maintain that continuity is a requirement of the medium.

KingofMadCows wrote:I also clarified my original argument to include only mainstream comics, of which Superman is a part of.

Of which you were pointed out at least two Superman comics that deal with real world politics. Which you promptly dismissed as 'but I wasn't talking about that'.

KingofMadCows wrote:But Superman isn't even Superman in that movie. He's a date rapist deadbeat dad.

Er... what?
KingofMadCows wrote:If they want superheroes to deal with specific real world problems then they would actually need to investigate the roots of these problems and craft a story in which the superhero utilizes their powers in a reasonable and measured way to influence either the causes of these problems or the association between people and the conditions under which these problems arise.

No one's ignoring this; we've addressed it.

Here, because we're going in circle; tell us specifically what would be an acceptable use of Supermans powers. I ask, because I'm willing to bet someone has already written in.
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Re: Superman's Citizenship

Postby KingofMadCows » Sun May 01, 2011 8:55 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:
KingofMadCows wrote:It's something that comic book writers maintain.

Tell me where comic book writers maintain that continuity is a requirement of the medium.


I never said that it was a requirement. It's just good for business. A good example is how Alan Moore originally wanted to use DC characters in Watchmen but DC axed that idea because of the long term consequences it would have on their big money makers.

KingofMadCows wrote:I also clarified my original argument to include only mainstream comics, of which Superman is a part of.

Of which you were pointed out at least two Superman comics that deal with real world politics. Which you promptly dismissed as 'but I wasn't talking about that'.


Are you talking about Red Son? That's not part of Superman canon. Elseworld stories are the ones that let writers take more risks since it has no effect on their main cash cows. Also, it didn't deal with real world politics any more than Command and Conquer: Red Alert did.

KingofMadCows wrote:But Superman isn't even Superman in that movie. He's a date rapist deadbeat dad.

Er... what?


Half the problems in that movie caused by Superman. He wasn't very super at all.

KingofMadCows wrote:If they want superheroes to deal with specific real world problems then they would actually need to investigate the roots of these problems and craft a story in which the superhero utilizes their powers in a reasonable and measured way to influence either the causes of these problems or the association between people and the conditions under which these problems arise.

No one's ignoring this; we've addressed it.

Here, because we're going in circle; tell us specifically what would be an acceptable use of Supermans powers. I ask, because I'm willing to bet someone has already written in.


How about one where Superman uses his super brain and his Kryptonian technology to discern the roots of a problem in a political situation, predict the ramifications of his involvement, make preparations for those ramifications, discuss his intentions and potential consequences with other parties to secure a coalition that would help improve the plan and ensure its successful implementation, and regularly monitor the progress of the plan to weed out problems and ensure maximum effectiveness.

For example, if Superman were dealing with a famine then beyond just offering immediate relief, he would have to look into the root causes of the problem. Maybe the famine is a result of years of drought, maybe it's due to the loss of the country's original culture and its people's inability to integrate into the new culture that has led to problems like overpopulation, or maybe it's due in part to previous food aid tanking food prices and driving farmers out of business. Superman would then need to take measures to remedy these root problems. Building schools and helping to educate the populous on everything from birth control to manufacturing would be a good start. It would also be helpful if he organized foreign aid and investments that emphasized building the country's agriculture and economy rather than simply offering food and money. Steps would also need to be taken to successfully integrate the country's old culture with its new culture. Any gaps left by foreign aid can be plugged up by other superheroes or his super advanced Kryptonian robots. He would also need to build detention centers for criminals with the ultimate goal of rehabilitating and mainstreaming them back into society. Measures would also have to be taken to ensure stable relationships with neighboring countries. If those countries suffer from similar problems then similar measures may need to be taken there as well. Of course regular monitoring of the plan by either Superman or a proxy must be done to ensure the plan is making progress.
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Re: Superman's Citizenship

Postby Izawwlgood » Sun May 01, 2011 9:50 pm UTC

A) Superman isn't a super genuis. I think his intelligence is supposed to be between average and 'pretty smart'. His mental capabilities have included accelerated learning, but again, power of plot. No one is handing him a PhD.
B) Last I recalled the only exposure he has to Kryptonian technology is his hackneyed fortress of solitude, which is more a quiet place to think and hear voices than demonstrative of the awesome civilization he left behind.
C) A recurring theme in Superman stories is his desire to help people help themselves, preferring instead to stand back to major human affairs. Hence the interesting commentary that him renouncing his citizenship stands for.

KingofMadCows wrote:Half the problems in that movie caused by Superman. He wasn't very super at all.

Be specific. The presence of Luthor is obvious, but Superman is sort of the king of fighting Supervillains. The film had to do that, as well as have him save a couple of human scale disasters as well, including the opening plane, the cigarette thing, etc.

KingofMadCows wrote:It's just good for business.

Yes, because spin offs and alternative universes are simply confusing for readers, who refuse to read them.

KingofMadCows wrote:Are you talking about Red Son? That's not part of Superman canon. Elseworld stories are the ones that let writers take more risks since it has no effect on their main cash cows. Also, it didn't deal with real world politics any more than Command and Conquer: Red Alert did.

You're being incredibly obtuse in this conversation. Which comic series is the sole canon that we all must adhere to for purposes of this discussion?
Furthermore, C&C Red Alert is a great example of why sandboxing is fun and awesome, and fantasy is cool. If you're going to continually dismiss all evidence to the contrary of your position, and insist that it's either stupid, irrelevant, or non-canon, then I suppose we're done here.
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Re: Superman's Citizenship

Postby SecondTalon » Sun May 01, 2011 10:20 pm UTC

If you're trying to argue a comic character's overarching type, and then discount something that wasn't part of the main narrative.... Where are you stopping that line? Post "Whatever Happened To The Man Of Tomorrow"? Pre-Red/Blue? And why are you trying to argue the overarching type when you're clearly ignoring valid evidence?
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Re: Superman's Citizenship

Postby Endless Mike » Mon May 02, 2011 12:42 am UTC

[Byrne]The only *real* Superman stories are ones written after Crisis, but before Zero Hour. No other interpretations are correct or valid.[/Byrne]
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Re: Superman's Citizenship

Postby KingofMadCows » Mon May 02, 2011 1:46 am UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:A) Superman isn't a super genuis. I think his intelligence is supposed to be between average and 'pretty smart'. His mental capabilities have included accelerated learning, but again, power of plot. No one is handing him a PhD.
B) Last I recalled the only exposure he has to Kryptonian technology is his hackneyed fortress of solitude, which is more a quiet place to think and hear voices than demonstrative of the awesome civilization he left behind.
C) A recurring theme in Superman stories is his desire to help people help themselves, preferring instead to stand back to major human affairs. Hence the interesting commentary that him renouncing his citizenship stands for.


A. Superman has genius level intellect, perfect memory, and he has super speed. I would have thought that such a big comic book fan would know these basic facts about one of the most popular superheroes in the world.
B. He doesn't just have Kryptonian technology in that fortress of his. He's got advanced technology from all over the universe. He's also able to replicate most of that technology. Heck, a lot of that Kryptonian tech can self replicate.
C. That's why Superman shouldn't deal with real world politics. In the real world, people's ability to "help themselves" is a circumstance of birth. If a person is born prematurely to a malnourished parent into a world of poverty where they have no opportunities for education or gainful employment. Heck, just here in America, the average infant born into a middle or upper class family is spoken to four times as often as a child born into a welfare family. Why exactly can't Superman create the conditions under which people are better equipped and capable to "help themselves?"

KingofMadCows wrote:It's just good for business.

Yes, because spin offs and alternative universes are simply confusing for readers, who refuse to read them.


Why do you continue to use strawman against me?

No where did I say or imply any of those things. Alternate universes are so different from our world that they rarely deal with real world politics in a mature and realistic manner. How exactly does a world ruled by Soviet Superman reflect real world political or social problems?

KingofMadCows wrote:Are you talking about Red Son? That's not part of Superman canon. Elseworld stories are the ones that let writers take more risks since it has no effect on their main cash cows. Also, it didn't deal with real world politics any more than Command and Conquer: Red Alert did.

You're being incredibly obtuse in this conversation. Which comic series is the sole canon that we all must adhere to for purposes of this discussion?
Furthermore, C&C Red Alert is a great example of why sandboxing is fun and awesome, and fantasy is cool. If you're going to continually dismiss all evidence to the contrary of your position, and insist that it's either stupid, irrelevant, or non-canon, then I suppose we're done here.


I'm not dismissing evidence against my position, you're completely misinterpreting my position.

I point to the primary continuity because that's the one that is meant to mirror our world. Many of the social and political problems they deal with have direct counterparts in our world. The readers are to assume that those problems are dealt in the comics in a manner similar to the way they're dealt with in the real world. That is why interference by superheroes cause problems. The writers aren't willing to have superheroes make big changes that would significantly diverge their universe with the real world so whenever they make a comic that deals with real world issues they do it half assed and everything gets returned to the status quo.

SecondTalon wrote:If you're trying to argue a comic character's overarching type, and then discount something that wasn't part of the main narrative.... Where are you stopping that line? Post "Whatever Happened To The Man Of Tomorrow"? Pre-Red/Blue? And why are you trying to argue the overarching type when you're clearly ignoring valid evidence?


I'm saying that it's a bad idea to have superheroes deal with real life politics in their "prime" universe, which is supposed to mirror the real life world, because the writers aren't willing to really commit to the premise and end up negating whatever changes they make to return things to the status quo. Think about it, these superheroes have no problem stopping disasters that make real life disasters look like nothing, yet the comics still include these real life disasters. The readers are just supposed to suspend their disbelief about why superheroes didn't clean up the Exxon Valdez, stop the Rwanda Genocide, or force field block the 2004 Indonesian Tsunami. Things become ridiculous if they actually get the superheroes involved in those kinds of real life situations since the writers still end up making the comic universe mirror the real universe anyway. For example, do you think DC/Marvel is bold enough to write a story set in their prime universe in which superheroes get involved in the Libyan uprising, resolve the situation, and then stick with that resolution even if the conflict has a completely different resolution in real life?
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Re: Superman's Citizenship

Postby SecondTalon » Mon May 02, 2011 6:58 am UTC

So you're just repeating the Reed Richards Is Useless trope for some reason. Gotcha.

attention, all of y'all.

This thread is now in Comics, under Books. Please review the rules of High Culture before posting a reply.
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Re: Superman's Citizenship

Postby KingofMadCows » Mon May 02, 2011 7:28 am UTC

SecondTalon wrote:So you're just repeating the Reed Richards Is Useless trope for some reason. Gotcha.

There's a difference between description and explanation. I was explaining why it's a bad idea for writers to bring this trope to the reader's full attention without doing anything to resolve the situation and just letting it hang there. Which is what happens when mainstream comics deal with real life politics. They bring up all the problems associated with the trope, make the readers think that maybe the superhero will make some real world changes, and then just give some lame reason why the trope can't be violated so everything can be returned to the status quo.

It's all part of the old sci-fi rule of no explanation being better than a crappy or nonsensical explanation. Can't think of a reason why the machines keeps humans in a permanent virtual reality world? Leave it a mystery, don't say that humans are being used as batteries. Don't know what the super advanced metal blade is made of? Just say that it's made of an unknown alloy, don't say that it's made of an element between iron and cobalt. Can't explain why all real world problems like poverty, disease, and war still exist in a comic book universe filled with super advanced technology and godlike beings? Just ignore it, don't try to explain it by having superheroes get involved in these problems just to end up giving a crappy explanation for why they shouldn't have gotten involved in the first place.
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Re: Superman's Citizenship

Postby Christo » Thu May 12, 2011 3:57 pm UTC

Hey this is off topic from where the thread has gone, but on topic from where we started. We ended up doing a webcomic about his citizenship. It's here.
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Re: Superman's Citizenship

Postby Izawwlgood » Thu May 12, 2011 3:59 pm UTC

Dahahaha! I dig that.
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Re: Superman's Citizenship

Postby broken_escalator » Thu May 12, 2011 4:02 pm UTC

I approve heartily of that comic! :D
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Re: Superman's Citizenship

Postby SecondTalon » Thu May 12, 2011 6:16 pm UTC

Christo wrote:Hey this is off topic from where the thread has gone, but on topic from where we started. We ended up doing a webcomic about his citizenship. It's here.

There was a nice Robot Chicken bit in which Arnold Schwarzenegger enlisted the help of Superman to remove illegal aliens. Towards the end, the dialog went along the lines of..

Spoiler:
Arnold: "Thank you for your assistance, Superman! ...Now remind me, how exactly did you come to this country again?"
Superman : *comedy beat* *flies through roof*
State Trooper: "Come to think of it, how did you come to this country, Govenor?
*beat*
Arnold: Up up, and away! *flies through roof*


Anyway, on the subject of Comics and Real Life and the differences therein or the realism of such or whatever, now that I have a proper keyboard...

See : Ex Machina, The Authority.

Ex Machina follows the political adventures of Earth's first superhero (I'm presuming, since I don't recall any references to other supes in the book pre-incident) after he's given it up for being silly and runs for (and wins) Mayor of New York City. He spends a lot of time beating himself up because he only stopped the second plane from hitting the WTC.

The Authority is basically Warren Ellis (and later other writers) going on the premise of the Justice League saying "Fuck it, we're taking over" and ... taking over. It's difficult to start a war when Superman flies down and smashes all of your tanks in less time than it takes you to finish the order to go to war.

Ex Machina is easy to relate to because in the book there aren't many superpowered elements. There's our protagonist, an antagonist of sorts and one or two others are the only ones with superpowers. Everyone else is a normal.

The Authority... not so much. It works better when you're familiar with Superhero culture, I think, but on it's own it quickly becomes similar to what I find wrong with the Space comic books - difficult to relate with because the problems and concerns of various fictional space people are... clearly fictional space people. Yeah, you get a couple of token humans in there, but it's still difficult to call someone with a ring that can do whatever they want or space armor that turns them into a god of sorts a "token human". They're almost unrelateable right there.


Now, as for why Superman in the DC Universe doesn't just fix everything forever - throwing out Elseworlds where he does just that and it's terrible (due to the "If People just lived like they do in my fictional world, life would be perfect!" problem) and setting aside the "Gotta keep the Superman's Earth similar enough to Real Earth so people can relate" problem.. though it works with the fact that......

They've written Superman as someone who, while more than happy to do his Job... doesn't want to have to do his job. He's longing for the day that he shows up somewhere and someone not only says "Don't worry, Supes.. we've got this one".. but they mean it. Because they've got it, and Superman's redundant. Swooping in and solving all problems forever - disregarding how difficult it is to solve a crapload of problems - doesn't make Superman redundant, it makes him irreplaceable. And all Superman really wants is to be replaced. He didn't ask to come here, he doesn't think he's better than anyone else, but he knows he has abilities that allow him to do things others can't do, so he does them to help out... but he wants to be the neighbor that you know you can count on to move a couch but you help him move a bed in kind.


Now, we can still look at the various fictional Middle Eastern/Eastern Europeanish countries that DC loves to make up, or Latveria and Wakanda in Marvel to see where they don't mind dicking around with political things, but.. they're fictional. There's also the whole Identity Crisis thing DC did, or Civil War in Marvel where they talk about real-world issues by dressing them up in Spandex (Government Monitoring, Terrorism, etc). But they're hesitant do that in the real world mostly.... because they don't want to piss people off. And it's... very difficult to say what would be different where. I mean, there's a whole genre of fiction devoted to exploring how the world would be if certain historical aspects were slightly different.

So yeah, you could say that American Superhero Comic Writers don't have the stones to make realistic changes to their world (Batman removes Saddam in '91 - Giant Man stops the planes from hitting the World Trade Center, Superman kills Hitler) but... it's more like Comic Writers don't want to deal with the massive massive headaches that are going to come along with differing Comic reality too far from the real world - especially if said comic belongs to a Universe spanning a hundred titles written by a hundred different people.
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Re: Superman's Citizenship

Postby Christo » Fri May 13, 2011 11:04 am UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:Dahahaha! I dig that.

broken_escalator wrote:I approve heartily of that comic! :D


Thanks, guys. It was one of our most successful strips. We pulled in 20,000 yesterday just from reddit.com.
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