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Why don't you like Superman?

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  • Harry DresdenHarry Dresden Registered User regular
    Solar wrote: »
    Superman in the animated series and in the JL series could be kind of a dick though

    That's why I liked him. He's not above being an ass, occasionally. It makes him appear more human.

  • Oniros25Oniros25 Registered User regular
    People have to accept storytelling in which the protagonist embodies such an ideal for that to work for them, though. That's where the problem lies. Most everyone accepts the idea of the "average joe superhero" that makes up a lot of the Marvel Universe. They fight for themselves and their friends and family. That is an instictively easy thing to grasp. A hero fighting for an ideal though? That only appeals to a certain subset of humanity, much as I wish it were otherwise. The barrier is that much higher with Superman because he is the biggest idealist of them all. If you were ever to have a problem with idealized superheroics, you are gunna have that problem with Superman.

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  • Harry DresdenHarry Dresden Registered User regular
    Oniros25 wrote: »
    People have to accept storytelling in which the protagonist embodies such an ideal for that to work for them, though. That's where the problem lies. Most everyone accepts the idea of the "average joe superhero" that makes up a lot of the Marvel Universe. They fight for themselves and their friends and family. That is an instictively easy thing to grasp. A hero fighting for an ideal though? That only appeals to a certain subset of humanity, much as I wish it were otherwise. The barrier is that much higher with Superman because he is the biggest idealist of them all. If you were ever to have a problem with idealized superheroics, you are gunna have that problem with Superman.

    I haven't noticed Superman's battles being dominated by ideals that much. People understand that he's there to punch Brainiac in the face. That's all they really need. It's Wonder Woman who has a bigger problem fighting over specific ideas, which seems to confuse too many people.

  • Oniros25Oniros25 Registered User regular
    Oniros25 wrote: »
    People have to accept storytelling in which the protagonist embodies such an ideal for that to work for them, though. That's where the problem lies. Most everyone accepts the idea of the "average joe superhero" that makes up a lot of the Marvel Universe. They fight for themselves and their friends and family. That is an instictively easy thing to grasp. A hero fighting for an ideal though? That only appeals to a certain subset of humanity, much as I wish it were otherwise. The barrier is that much higher with Superman because he is the biggest idealist of them all. If you were ever to have a problem with idealized superheroics, you are gunna have that problem with Superman.

    I haven't noticed Superman's battles being dominated by ideals that much. People understand that he's there to punch Brainiac in the face. That's all they really need. It's Wonder Woman who has a bigger problem fighting over specific ideas, which seems to confuse too many people.

    Well, sure, but if you're just there for the punching, there are much more alluring heroes that can sate your punching needs. In that way, I'd say part of the hate stems from people seeing Superman's surface and thinking that's all there is to him or just not caring about the higher minded stuff underneath. I will agree that Wonder Woman suffers from this even worse than Superman, but poor WW has to get a better publicist. I've sucessfully turned a lot of people's opinon of her around with that Bruce Timm produced animated feature they put out a few years ago, but generally she's an even harder sell for people that big blue.

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  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    Superman's ideal is too abstract, and also frequently goes unstated. Lots of the Marvel characters are super idealistic too (I mean, X-Men), but they make it more explicit and ground it in frankly political ways.

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  • KingofMadCowsKingofMadCows Registered User regular
    I think many of the people who don't like Superman not because they don't like a hero who fights for ideals, they simply see Superman's ideals as being self-contradictory. They don't think there are qualities in us that can be considered to be the "best." They see all the qualities of being human as existing on a continuum without any lines between good or bad. For example, Luthor is extremely ambitious and has no problem with hurting others in order to achieve his goals. However, that doesn't mean being ambitious is bad. The desire for power, fame, or wealth can drive people to achieve great things. So who is to say how much ambition is good and how much is bad or when being ambitious is good and when it's bad?

    And what if someone is driven by qualities that we may consider to be bad if they are able to do great things because of that drive? Plenty of artists, philosophers, and scientists did great things for petty reasons. Many of our greatest achievements were built upon spilled blood and broken backs. You can't have a superhero who embodies all that is good in us if what is good about us is also bad and what is bad about us is also good.

    Harry Dresden
  • -Tal-Tal Registered User regular
    Superman's ideal is too abstract, and also frequently goes unstated. Lots of the Marvel characters are super idealistic too (I mean, X-Men), but they make it more explicit and ground it in frankly political ways.

    do good to others and every man can be a superman

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  • Endless_SerpentsEndless_Serpents Registered User regular
    edited January 2013
    I like the guy. But "do good to others and every man can be a superman" is the motto for a purely human hero. He starts super, so the ideal is lost.

    Endless_Serpents on
  • SolarSolar Registered User regular
    You're missing the point! What makes Superman so super, as we all know, isn't his powers but his strongest and truest aspect, his eternal compassion for all his fellow beings. When Superman says "do good to others and every man can be a Superman," he doesn't mean everyone can fly and shoot lasers, he means everyone has the capacity to be as much a hero as he does, if only they can learn to share Superman's empathy and compassion, and if everyone did that the world would be wonderful. It's also his most human aspect, when Bill said that Clark Kent showed how Superman saw humans he was right, but he was wrong when he thinks it means Superman looks down on us. He doesn't at all, because Clark Kent is strong, brave, compassionate, helpful and caring. He's the best of Superman, his very human side.

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  • Dex DynamoDex Dynamo Registered User regular
    Solar wrote: »
    You're missing the point! What makes Superman so super, as we all know, isn't his powers but his strongest and truest aspect, his eternal compassion for all his fellow beings. When Superman says "do good to others and every man can be a Superman," he doesn't mean everyone can fly and shoot lasers, he means everyone has the capacity to be as much a hero as he does, if only they can learn to share Superman's empathy and compassion, and if everyone did that the world would be wonderful. It's also his most human aspect, when Bill said that Clark Kent showed how Superman saw humans he was right, but he was wrong when he thinks it means Superman looks down on us. He doesn't at all, because Clark Kent is strong, brave, compassionate, helpful and caring. He's the best of Superman, his very human side.

    Right. He's saying "what makes me super isn't the flying/lasers/lifting buildings; it's that I saw a chance to do good and took it."

    Or, to put it another way, "Do good unto others."

    Or, to put it a third way, "Be excellent to each other, and party on, dudes."

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  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    yeah I never understood the message as 'every man can be superman,' because it's patently obvious that every man can't be superman.

    Superman's supposed to be an inspirational example: he has no real material needs and could spend his existence doing almost literally anything he wants, but he chooses to spend it protecting Earth. Certainly if he can do that, all of us can do some lesser amount of good for society.

    Superman presents kind of a weird example of altruism though, because he has a hard time really being part of human society (ex: world made of cardboard.) Altruism's ultimately about building the kind of society we all want to live in, but there often isn't a ton of evidence that Superman actually wants to be a part of the society he's protecting.

    NREqxl5.jpg
    it was the smallest on the list but
    Pluto was a planet and I'll never forget
  • Dex DynamoDex Dynamo Registered User regular
    That's why Clark exists, though. He could spend his days floating above, silently watching and ruling over us (which is what people like Luthor thinks he does), but instead he gets up every morning to go to a 9-to-5 job in the city.

    Which is the main reason I don't like Superman to be too alien--because at that point, why bother with the Clark Kent persona if he's going to be so miserable doing it? He should, at his core, fit right in because that's who he is.

    Antimatter-Talchiasaur11
  • SolarSolar Registered User regular
    Well that's the thing

    I think if you asked Superman to choose between Superman and Clark Kent, he'd choose Superman because he'd consider that the moral choice, but he'd be happier as Clark Kent.

    -Talchiasaur11
  • Harry DresdenHarry Dresden Registered User regular
    I like the guy. But "do good to others and every man can be a superman" is the motto for a purely human hero. He starts super, so the ideal is lost.

    Superman being so powerful means he has to do much more to control himself from abusing those powers. That's why he's so amazing at being a super-hero, he makes it look natural when it really isn't. It'd be really easy to exploit his powers or recklessly destroy things when he'd had a bad day. The latest adaptions have been doing more exploring this angle.

    -Tal
  • Harry DresdenHarry Dresden Registered User regular
    edited January 2013
    yeah I never understood the message as 'every man can be superman,' because it's patently obvious that every man can't be superman.

    No-one can be any super-hero, they're all so far above humanity with their powers, training and resources. Including Batman. He's as impossible to duplicate as Superman's powers are in reality. But we can follow their example by helping the vulnerable, help create a better society and be good people.
    Superman's supposed to be an inspirational example: he has no real material needs and could spend his existence doing almost literally anything he wants, but he chooses to spend it protecting Earth.

    Why wouldn't he spend all the time he has protecting Earth? He was raised there and all his friends, family and colleagues are there. Superman can't do anything he wants, either. If he starts committing crimes the government and super-hero community will come after him. Superman has material needs, he isn't a monk or prequel era Jedi. He may get energy from the sun but he enjoys eating and drinking like anyone else does. He isn't that alien IMO.
    Certainly if he can do that, all of us can do some lesser amount of good for society.

    Agreed.
    Superman presents kind of a weird example of altruism though, because he has a hard time really being part of human society (ex: world made of cardboard.) Altruism's ultimately about building the kind of society we all want to live in, but there often isn't a ton of evidence that Superman actually wants to be a part of the society he's protecting.

    Really? o_O

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    -Tal
  • -Tal-Tal Registered User regular
    there's a reason Superman also signs his last will and testament with Clark Kent

    heck even Luthor likes Clark Kent

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  • DelduwathDelduwath Registered User regular
    We've seen like a dozen different interpretations of Superman in this thread

    So

    Maybe he's not so shallow after all, eh?

  • Oniros25Oniros25 Registered User regular
    Without any sort of statement on the shallowness or depth of the Man of Steel (I've already spoken to this a couple of times) I think the different interpretations come from the fact that something about Superman makes him something of a mirror for the reader and our (western and specifically American) culture. It's one of those "When you judge the work, the work judges you." sort of things. People see something in Superman pretty universally. Whether or not they like what they see or not depends on what they bring with them. This is true in pretty much all fiction but it seems to be hyper-amplified in Superman. Often this seems to be to his detriment where popularity contests are concerned these days.

    All a matter of perspective too. It's not like "good" people see him as valuable and "bad" people see him as worthless. Sometimes, I've seen insecurity trip people up. As I once heard it described in a song, people see all their faults reflected in his eyes, ect.

    TLDR; Superman seems to be even more of a cypher than other superheroes.

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  • Oniros25Oniros25 Registered User regular
    Oh, I'd also add that it might actually be a good thing that people are judging Superman more harshly based on those criteria because it could very well mean that more people do not reflexively assume the are the "good guy" all the time and could be challenging the notion of the "good guy" in the first place. That would actually be a net win from my perspective and were Superman non-fictional, I'm inclined to think he'd agree given that it would mean people are more self-aware which tends to lead to being more considerate of those around them, though there does tend to be an awkward growing pains period of horror and disgust over former actions of self and society. Man, I hope that makes any kind of sense...

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  • WiseManTobesWiseManTobes Registered User regular
    edited January 2013
    Was re-watching Young Justice season 2, and there's a really short but sweet Superman scene, that fit him really well.

    When they are fighting the crolations ( no idea how to spell the alien's on the show) , and discover a bomb is set to go off, suddenly Supes just dives into the firefight, taking every shot, and is basically begging the enemy to gather together so he can save them too, and just the desperation in his voice, it shows how much Superman constantly thinks about saving everyone, and is more disappointed than anyone when he can't.

    edit: found it :45 - 2:00 in this video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BbnYpPRwMlA

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