The Death of Superman: 16 Years Later

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Superman, Nov 17, 2008.

  1. msbae

    msbae Commodore

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    Superman = modern-day version of Hercules.
     
  2. Trent Roman

    Trent Roman Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ^ 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.

    Fictitiously yours, Trent Roman
     
  3. Spaceman Spiff

    Spaceman Spiff Abuse of Power Administrator

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    But they're both strong, Trent. They're both strong.
     
  4. Misfit Toy

    Misfit Toy Caped Trek Mod Admiral

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    ^But I've seen them fight each other.
     
  5. A beaker full of death

    A beaker full of death Vice Admiral Admiral

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    You can really start feeling old when 16 years seems like a very short period of time.
     
  6. Silvercrest

    Silvercrest Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    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.

    Preach it, brother. "The Death Of Clark Kent"? Please. That was the last issue I ever bought.

    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.
     
  7. theenglish

    theenglish Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    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.)
     
  8. The Old Mixer

    The Old Mixer Clean Old Mod Moderator

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    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.

    Agreed. FFAF made the gimmicky storylines bookending it worthwhile.

    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.

    Agreed, I always thought that was a nice touch, and pretty daring.

    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.

    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.
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2008
  9. Trent Roman

    Trent Roman Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    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.

    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!"

    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
     
  10. theenglish

    theenglish Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    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?
     
  11. A beaker full of death

    A beaker full of death Vice Admiral Admiral

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    It was an awful idea. The end of the character.


    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.

    [​IMG]

    The world is full of pussies. I needed a hero.
     
  12. Kaijufan

    Kaijufan Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    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.
     
  13. Spaceman Spiff

    Spaceman Spiff Abuse of Power Administrator

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    You need a new record, too. :p
     
  14. Skywalker

    Skywalker Admiral Admiral

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    Or at least a new horse. ;)
     
  15. A beaker full of death

    A beaker full of death Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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: Nov 19, 2008
  16. A beaker full of death

    A beaker full of death Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I'd take the one you rode in on, but I see you're keeping it occupied.
     
  17. Skywalker

    Skywalker Admiral Admiral

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    Indeed. Besides, it's far too high for me to get off of. I might hurt myself. :D
     
  18. The Old Mixer

    The Old Mixer Clean Old Mod Moderator

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    Well, you're the one that shot down somebody else comparing Superman to Hercules because they weren't similar enough....

    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...
    There's a big difference between saying that the character was based on Jesus and saying that he's taken on Christ-like qualities.
     
  19. CaptainCanada

    CaptainCanada Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  20. Kryton

    Kryton Admiral Admiral

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