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Old July 24 2012, 08:21 PM   #4693
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Location: North America
Re: Superman (casting, rumors, pix till release)

Christopher wrote: View Post
CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
Yeah, thanks, that's what I was thinking, although, additionally, my emphasis was on how comic books were perceived and regarded from the mainstream perspective. There's no question that, in the 1970's, comic books were regarded as anything but a literary medium by the public at large. Even while the eyes of comic book readers were opened in the following years, mainstream public appreciation for the serious potential of the medium still lagged behind.
Yeah, but what I'm saying is, at the time the movie was made in 1977, the perception of comics as a largely fanciful and lighthearted medium was still not far from the truth. They'd gained some more intelligence, character depth, and sincerity thanks to folks like Stan Lee and Dennis O'Neill, but a lot of the really wild, fanciful, cartoony, silly stuff was still very much a part of them, especially of DC comics at the time. So what Donner created was actually pretty authentic to the Superman comics of the period: a movie that treated its protagonist characters with a fair degree of sincerity but immersed them in a fantasy world.

(And I've heard it argued, persuasively, that Superman III is actually the purest screen depiction of the Silver Age Superman we've ever gotten.)

Today we look back on things like the Adam West Batman and the Richard Lester Superman and see them as a consequence of the "mainstream" not understanding what comics were really like and making fun of them instead. But if you actually look at the comics of the era leading up to those productions, the comics that would've been their referents, they actually were a lot like what we saw onscreen. Our modern perception of superhero comics as this ultra-serious medium is mainly an aftereffect of The Dark Knight Returns and Watchmen and the lasting influence they had on comics -- but what we forget is that what was so distinctive about those two works is that their dark, serious tone was profoundly different from what superhero comics had been like until then. They were specifically meant to be radical departures and deconstructions.
You say, "we," and I may be in the minority, but I was certainly aware that the Batman show was not untrue to the comics. But that was because I had read reprints of Batman from every decade. Even if one hadn't, the theme animation, the narration, and the insertion of POW! etc. during the fight scenes were clues.

So the tone of the '66 Batman and the '70s Superman wasn't a result of the "mainstream" misunderstanding or trivializing comics. It was a sincere and at least somewhat authentic depiction of the actual tone and flavor of the comics that these film and TV producers had available as referents.
Christopher wrote: View Post
Shakaar wrote: View Post
That said, the one thing that REALLY dates the movie for me was the characterization of Lex Luthor. I guess that was a valid portrayal of the character from some of the comics, but it wasn't my preferred version. Here is supposedly one of the smartest people on Earth and he surrounds himself with the two dumbest people he could possibly find. He seemed more like a used car salesman than a villain in a superhero film. He never seemed much of a match for Superman.
Actually that was nothing like the Lex Luthor from the comics of the era. That Luthor was a brilliant criminal scientist and inventor, driven by anger and resentment toward Superman and the world, and he generally worked alone. Here's a look at how he was portrayed in the '70s. I really have no idea where the screenwriters got the idea for their version of Luthor.
And here is where the mainstream expectation, of how a comic book universe should be, may have been what trumped the actual contemporary comic book portrayal, to determine the structure of the film adaptation. As far as I know, and unless I'm mistaken, Otis and Miss Teschmacher were created for the film.

By the way, while thinking about this, I realized (belatedly, I know) the parallel between Zod, Ursa, and Non on one hand and Luthor, Eve, and Otis on the other: strong male leader, beautiful female subordinate, and idiot male subordinate. Additionally, from

Originally, there was a fourth Kryptonian villain imprisoned in the Phantom Zone with General Zod, an "evil prankster" named "Jak-El" (apparently a pun on the word jackal). Lex Luthor also had a second henchman in addition to Otis in this incarnation of the story, a German man named "Albert." Both of these characters appeared in the July, 1976 draft of the script by Mario Puzo (which can be found here:, but were dropped in subsequent drafts.
“A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP” — Leonard Nimoy (1931-2015)
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