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Old November 19 2008, 12:59 AM   #46
Silvercrest
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Re: The Death of Superman: 16 Years Later

Mr. Adventure wrote: View Post
I may have to check them out sometime, I've never read the story because at that point I was really fed up with comic gimmicks and I never thought this was anything more than a really blatant one.
I knew it was a gimmick at the time I read it. But it took a few years of re-reading for me to realize how much of a gimmick.

Despite the fact that it was VERY obvious he was going to be back, I agree with some other posters that "Funeral for a Friend" was the best part of the saga. It was enormously respectful to the character.

As for the marketing gimmick, the best part of that was the fact that they suspended publication for three months in between Death and Return. THAT is something you don't see every day.

theenglish wrote: View Post
These were the only post-crisis comics I read up until a couple of years ago. I bought Superman for about a year following the return of Superman (until Luthor destroyed Metropolis) and then felt that they seriously went downhill and became boring, dull, and poorly written again.
Preach it, brother. "The Death Of Clark Kent"? Please. That was the last issue I ever bought.

My biggest problem with the wonder Death, Funeral, and Return of Superman story is that Superman should have disappeared from the scene for at least a half a year longer or so. The other Supermen really needed more time to be developed.
If you look at the timeline, it appears the "Reign of the Supermen" took place over just a few days. There was barely any time to miss the big guy before he was back. And revealing the Cyborg as a villain was a "surprise" that fell flat. The character claimed to be Superman rebuilt, but they never spent any time explaining how this was supposed to have happened or who did it. He was nothing but a cipher. I guess we were supposed to be shocked when he turned coat, it being out of character and all -- but how can it be, for someone with no characterization?

Although I have to admit, the way they re-introduced the real Superman into the storyline was pretty clever.
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Old November 19 2008, 01:59 AM   #47
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Re: The Death of Superman: 16 Years Later

I agree completely Silvercrest. I remember thinking that the Cyborg Superman was bad right from the beginning, simply because the Eradicator was too obvious and the other characters had fairly well defined origins. It did surprise me when the Cyborg kneeled before Mongul though.

Trent, I am sorry but Superman was never designed as a Christ-figure. There may be moments of that along the way, but no more so than various other fictional figures. And the truth is that these motifs, on an unconscious archetypal level, do extend much further than you are suggestion; limiting Superman to having a single religious/mythic inspiration as you are suggesting is simply a) incorrect and b)unfounded. (For further reading, look to Joseph Campbell but please don't come back and debate it with me because it has been well over 16 years since I read The Hero with a Thousand Faces.)
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Old November 19 2008, 02:09 AM   #48
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Re: The Death of Superman: 16 Years Later

I was a seasoned comic reader and regular reader of the Superman titles at the time, so it was very obviously a temporary gimmick to me. But I appreciated that they took the time to explore the ramifications of his death...the sort of thing that had only previously been explored briefly in one- or two-issue stories.

Misfit Toy wrote: View Post
My view is that The Death of Superman was just a lead-in to the REAL story, which was Funeral For a Friend. That story is the one with the emotional impact and excellent character work.
Agreed. FFAF made the gimmicky storylines bookending it worthwhile.

broberfett wrote: View Post
Superman was made by two Jewish guys. I doubt they would have based it on Jesus in anyway.
In fact, I thought it was pretty well-known that they deliberately evoked the story of Moses in his origin. The Christ/savior angle was mainly supplied by Donner many years later.

Trent Roman wrote: View Post
Superman does correspond to a broad heroic archetype, particularly since (to keep this vaguely on topic) he has also undergone death and rebirth, but he is also more specifically an archetype of Christ within that broader category.
The death and rebirth angle was introduced decades after his creation by different writers and artists...it says nothing about the intentions/inspirations of his original creators, Siegel and Shuster.

Silvercrest wrote: View Post
As for the marketing gimmick, the best part of that was the fact that they suspended publication for three months in between Death and Return. THAT is something you don't see every day.
Agreed, I always thought that was a nice touch, and pretty daring.

And revealing the Cyborg as a villain was a "surprise" that fell flat. The character claimed to be Superman rebuilt, but they never spent any time explaining how this was supposed to have happened or who did it.
As a regular reader of the Supes titles for the entire post-Byrne period at that point, I correctly guessed a few issues into the arc that the Cyborg was really Hank Henshaw...and I went on record with that at my LCS at the time!

I also guessed that the one with the goggles was the Eradicator in possession of Superman's body...which wasn't exactly how it turned out, but pretty close.

Although I have to admit, the way they re-introduced the real Superman into the storyline was pretty clever.
Do you mean by that the way that, when we first saw the revived Superman at the Fortress, we didn't even notice because we were misdirected to believe that it was the Eradicator version of Superman in a different outfit?

An historical tidbit for those who've only read this in reprint...having the Clintons speaking at Superman's funeral was jumping the gun a bit, as the issue came out during the transition period when Clinton was still President-elect.
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Last edited by The Old Mixer; November 19 2008 at 01:25 PM.
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Old November 19 2008, 05:23 AM   #49
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Re: The Death of Superman: 16 Years Later

theenglish wrote: View Post
Trent, I am sorry but Superman was never designed as a Christ-figure.
Intentional design is not required. This is the mythic mantle the character has taken on. Unless one feels that wasn't a natural evolution for the character from the potential of his origins, Christ is clearly a progenitor.

And the truth is that these motifs, on an unconscious archetypal level, do extend much further than you are suggestion; limiting Superman to having a single religious/mythic inspiration as you are suggesting is simply a) incorrect and b)unfounded.
Limiting, I'm perfectly willing to accept. Characters that long-lived, particularly in comic books, acquire a multitude of resonances. But incorrect and unfounded? Come on - the Returns trailer couldn't have been more obvious in pointing to the parallel if Bryan Singer had stepped in front of the screen and screamed: "It's a Christian metaphor!"

posted by The Old Mixer
In fact, I thought it was pretty well-known that they deliberately evoked the story of Moses in his origin. The Christ/savior angle was mainly supplied by Donner many years later. The death and rebirth angle was introduced decades after his creation by different writers and artists...it says nothing about the intentions/inspirations of his original creators, Siegel and Shuster.
As I said before, I don't see intent as being required to tap into the cultural mythic reservoir that it did. If Superman wasn't a Christ-like character at birth, then the potential was clearly there in the character's construction; you don't see Batman ever becoming an archetype for Christ, do you? Of course, part of the problem here is how over-determining the Christ narrative has become, making it hard to escape either in genesis or in subsequent interpretations: after all, while one commonly hears "Moses prefigures Christ" being bandied about, rarely will you hear "Christ is a Moses-like figure".

Fictitiously yours, Trent Roman
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Old November 19 2008, 06:06 AM   #50
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Re: The Death of Superman: 16 Years Later

Well agreeing to disagree on this point, I would like to turn the conversation back to the thread at hand.

One of the excellent things about Byrne's Superman was that he made Supes a real character and Clark Kent much more than just window dressing for that character. I really thought it did a lot for the character that Ma and Pa Kent were returned to life.

The issue where Superman returned was an excellent story about Pa Kent saving Superman's soul. I remember thinking that Steel was the recipient of part of Superman's spirit in his origin story but nothing much came of that.

What did everybody else think about the actual return of Superman issue, and the idea that there was very little follow up to it?
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Old November 19 2008, 08:00 AM   #51
A beaker full of death
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Re: The Death of Superman: 16 Years Later

theenglish wrote: View Post
One of the excellent things about Byrne's Superman was that he made Supes a real character and Clark Kent much more than just window dressing for that character.
It was an awful idea. The end of the character.


theenglish wrote: View Post
I really thought it did a lot for the character that Ma and Pa Kent were returned to life.
An early nail in the coffin. The final one was the marriage.

Rather than being a hero to aspire to -- as he was for 45 years!! - Superman has become a big blue pussy.



The world is full of pussies. I needed a hero.
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Old November 19 2008, 08:12 AM   #52
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Re: The Death of Superman: 16 Years Later

I was only 6 at the time and didn't read comics, though I found the documentary about the death of Superman on the Superman Doomsday DVD very interesting. It's easily one of the best bonus features I've ever seen on a DVD.
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Old November 19 2008, 08:14 AM   #53
Spaceman Spiff
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Re: The Death of Superman: 16 Years Later

A beaker full of death wrote: View Post
The world is full of pussies. I needed a hero.
You need a new record, too.
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Old November 19 2008, 08:26 AM   #54
Skywalker
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Re: The Death of Superman: 16 Years Later

Or at least a new horse.
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Old November 19 2008, 08:31 AM   #55
A beaker full of death
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Re: The Death of Superman: 16 Years Later

Spaceman Spiff wrote: View Post

You need a new record, too.
Hey, if we're going to keep having the same threads, I'm going to have the same responses. My opinion on Byrne's Supes hasn't changed, any more than that of those who like it and feel compelled to tell us why... again.

Last edited by A beaker full of death; November 19 2008 at 09:29 AM.
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Old November 19 2008, 08:34 AM   #56
A beaker full of death
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Re: The Death of Superman: 16 Years Later

Skywalker wrote: View Post
Or at least a new horse.
I'd take the one you rode in on, but I see you're keeping it occupied.
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Old November 19 2008, 08:52 AM   #57
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Re: The Death of Superman: 16 Years Later

Indeed. Besides, it's far too high for me to get off of. I might hurt myself.
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Old November 19 2008, 01:33 PM   #58
The Old Mixer
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Re: The Death of Superman: 16 Years Later

Trent Roman wrote: View Post
As I said before, I don't see intent as being required to tap into the cultural mythic reservoir that it did. If Superman wasn't a Christ-like character at birth, then the potential was clearly there in the character's construction; you don't see Batman ever becoming an archetype for Christ, do you? Of course, part of the problem here is how over-determining the Christ narrative has become, making it hard to escape either in genesis or in subsequent interpretations: after all, while one commonly hears "Moses prefigures Christ" being bandied about, rarely will you hear "Christ is a Moses-like figure".
Well, you're the one that shot down somebody else comparing Superman to Hercules because they weren't similar enough....

Trent Roman wrote: View Post
^ Not really. Apart from the 'only/last son' thing (and Zeus, as we all know, knocking up anything with a pulse), Superman is presented as a moral paragon whereas Herakles was... rather not.
In fact, Hercules was deliberately referenced in the early Siegel/Shuster tales, and that early Superman--the two-fisted, wisecracking, sometimes bloodthirsty social crusader who took the law into his own hands--was a lot more Herculean than Christ-like. That others have chosen to portray Superman as a messiah figure over many years of mythical evolution isn't in question...but by design, Superman was meant to evoke Moses and Hercules.

And the original point being refuted by myself and others, which you had previously defended, was...
GalaxyX wrote: View Post
(I guess the fact that his character was based on the story of Jesus has to do partly with that )
There's a big difference between saying that the character was based on Jesus and saying that he's taken on Christ-like qualities.
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Old November 19 2008, 02:37 PM   #59
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Re: The Death of Superman: 16 Years Later

The actual death part of the story is totally throwaway, apart from a couple of really iconic images (the actual part where he dies is extremely well-written); the aftermath was generally pretty well-done. No doubt the story has resonance beyond the actual story, though; it was an event.
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Old November 19 2008, 04:01 PM   #60
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Re: The Death of Superman: 16 Years Later

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