View Single Post
Old 12-16-2011, 11:15 PM   #52
Banned User
Kurosawa's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: 22,300 miles above the Earth
Posts: 9,485
Default Re: What was Mark Waid's issues with the 1986 retelling?

Originally Posted by theMan-Bat View Post
Mark Waid's Superman: Birthright was definitely not truer to the Golden Age Jerry Siegel Superman than John Byrne's The Man of Steel. The Jerry Siegel Golden Age foster father Kent was elderly, described as kind, loving and guided Clark with the foster parents advice to Clark to use his powers to assist humanity. Mark Waid's Jonathan Kent in Superman: Birthright is far younger and blonde (obviously to resemble actor John Schneider on the Smallville TV show), is cold, distant, barely spoke to Clark rather than encouraging and guiding Clark into using his powers to assist humanity. The Jerry Siegel Golden Age Luthor didn't meet Superman until he was an adult and hated him because he powers were a threat. Mark Waid's Lex Luthor in Superman: Birthright is from Smallville and met Clark as a boy and blames Clark for his baldness. Mark Waid's Superman: Birthright was actually closer to the Silver Age, as well as the Smallville TV show, with the House of El on Krypton from the Silver Age, Lex coming from Smallville and having been friends with Clark as in the Silver Age and as on the Smallville TV show, and blaming Clark for his baldness as in the Silver Age, a younger Jonathan and Martha Kent as in the Smallville TV show, etc.
Neither is close to the Golden Age. What is close to the Golden Age is Grant Morrison's great run in the current Action. Waid cribbed a few scenes from the Golden Age, while Byrne knew next to nothing about it...or Superman, period. What Byrne took most from was the Donner movies and the George Reeves TV show.

That snide "Marvelized" remark came about because John Byrne was coming over from Marvel to DC to revamp Superman. He didn't Marvelize the character. He didn't turn Superman into Spider-Man, or Wolverine, or Hulk, or Daredevil, or Thor, and he didn't turn Luthor into Kingpin either. Kingpin is a gigantic mobster and martial artist and carries a laser cane. Kingpin is incredibly strong, most of his body mass is actually muscle that has been built to extraordinary size, much like a sumo wrestler and is an extraordinarily skilled martial artist, especially in sumo wrestling and can beat his foes Spider-Man and Daredevil physically, Byrne's Luthor was much thinner and couldn't do any of the things Kingpin can and wouldn't because he thinks that's beneath him. Instead he matches his brains against Superman's strength by creating something to destroy Superman. Kingpin was always a minor player to Spider-Man, just a weird mobster, while Byrne's Luthor was Superman's arch enemy.
It was a total Marvelization, as Byrne is one of many writers who cannot handle Superman and therefore runs from the challenge by changing him. His Superman was a mix of Spider-Man (with the constant running home to mommy scenes cribbed from Spidey going to Aunt May for advice) and also Colossus, as Superman was turned into a near-moronic farmboy gentle giant type of character. There's also some 'Lil Abner and Lennie Small in there. As for how he turned Luthor into Kingpin, all I have to say is:

Originally Posted by Neil Gaiman
It's a pity Lex Luthor has become a multinationalist; I liked him better as a bald scientist. He was in prison, but they couldn't put his mind in prison. Now he's just a skinny Kingpin.
This is how badly Byrne misunderstands Luthor:

Originally Posted by John Byrne
I never believed the original Luthor. Every story would begin with him breaking out of prison, finding some giant robot in an old lab he hid somewhere, and then he'd be defeated. My view was if he could afford all those labs and giant robots he wouldn't need to rob banks. I also thought later that Luthor should not have super powers. Every other villain had super powers. Luthor's power was his mind. He needed to be smarter than Superman. Superman's powers had to be useless against him because they couldn't physically fight each other and Superman was simply not as smart as Luthor.
Maggin easily wrote the best Luthor ever, a character who was not a "mad scientist" because he was completely sane. Maggin's Luthor is a good man who took a tragic turn-his involvement in crime is a tragedy. Luthor doesn't rob banks, he has billions hidden in secret accounts and under false names. He only stays in prison as long as he wishes to, and he only breaks out to fight Superman. There is nothing else in the world that is worthy of his time or his brilliance. And lastly, Byrne's comment about how Superman is not as smart as Luthor is very ironic, considering that the reason Superman always beat Luthor in Maggin's stories is because Lex underestimated Superman's own intelligence, plus Superman is a genius in his own right, as per the intentions of Jerry Siegel, his creator.

And, actually, Superman's sales were declining before 1986, which is why DC wanted to revamp Superman in 1985 and hired John Byrne in the first place. And John Byrne actually boosted Superman's sales enormously in 1986 with The Man of Steel and John Byrne's run on the ongoing Superman titles. If Superman's sales were declining then DC certainly wouldn't have given Superman a fourth ongoing series in 1991 with Superman: The Man of Steel. The Death of Superman arc also boosted Superman's sales even further in 1992. Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman was a successful television series from 1993 to 1997, which was definitely influenced by John Byrne's run. Superman: The Wedding Album was also an enormous success in 1996. Superman has definitely had success since 1986.
The sales of all DC titles were down in the early 80's. In fact, at one time it was even being tossed around that Marvel might have licensed some of DC's characters, and Byrne actually pitched the same basic thing that he ended up doing in Man of Steel, and Shooter said that if Marvel had licensed Superman, he would have rejected Byrne's pitch (no shock there, as Shooter actually knows his Superman). And none of the Post-Crisis sales matched the sales in terms of units and more importantly, market share, that Superman had in the 60's, which was by far his most successful, iconic and important period.

The Man of Steel is my favorite Superman origin story, including the Luthor stuff in it. I love how Clark is characterized, how his decision to become Superman is fleshed out with his kind foster parents, how his relationship with Lois begins, and how the world is introduced to him.
I think it's pure garbage, but seeing that you do defend Miller and love how Superman was in DKR and DKSA, it all makes sense now. It's a shame that you have such a solid factual knowledge of comics history but, IMO, you just don't get Superman. Most Batman fans don't.

Of course, because unfortunately that is what happened. By 1941 most Superman art was by Jack Burnley, Wayne Boring, Leo Nowak and Paul Cassidy, instead of Joe Shuster himself. Jerry Siegel also left DC by 1945, and Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster sued DC in 1946 over the rights of Superman. Don Cameron, Whitney Ellsworth, Bill Finger and Alvin Schwartz replaced Jerry Siegel. Mort Weisinger became the supervising editor in charge of the Superman books in 1948. Weisinger told the writers what kind of stories they had to write. Weisinger would come up with plots by asking young children what they think should happen in the next issue. Weisinger had Superman's origin majorly revamped with him having learned he was from Krypton while still a boy in Superman #132 (1959) "Superman's Other Life" and having battled crime as a youngster as Superboy, as recalled in Superman #72 (1951) "The Private Life of Perry White." In addition, it was stated that "Because of his super-memory, Superman can recall all the incidences of his childhood!" in Action Comics #288 (1962) "The Man Who Exposed Superman," and others. The complete revamp of Superman's origin was shown in Superman #146 (1961) "The Story of Superman's Life." Weisinger was also friendly with the boss, Jack Liebowitz, which further forced the writers into listening to what Mort told them to write. When financially troubled Jerry Siegel returned to DC in 1959 to 1966, Curt Swan recalled that Mort Weisinger bullied Siegel, simply because Siegel's circumstances made him unlikely to walk off for such mistreatment. Jerry Siegel wrote in a letter to Joe Shuster, "I get a lot of scorn, belittlement and hot-tempered abuse from Weisinger, who says my plotting and scripting is inferior. This is really making a buck the hard way, but it's the only way I can support my family." Curt Swan said that dealing with Weisinger caused himself recurrent headaches and temporarily drove him out of the business altogether in 1951. Otto Binder retired from the business in 1958, mainly to escape from dealing with Weisinger. Alvin Schwartz said, "Like many others, I found Weisinger difficult to deal with. But I endured until one day he insisted that I write a story in which Superman finds some way to transfer his powers to Lois Lane. … I thought such a plot was out of character." Alvin Schwartz wrote the story "The Superwoman of Metropolis" in Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane #8 (1959) against his will, then quit: "I never wrote comics again." Roy Thomas recalled dealing with Weisinger inclined him to leave DC after only 8 days and move to Marvel in 1965.
All of that is true, but Mort treated all his people like crap. Guy was a douche, although he had a lot of personal issues as well. It does piss me off to no end that Siegel had to suffer such treatment, but it was not just Mort who did Siegel wrong-it was all of National. I'd like to see a version of Superman that would have been closer to Siegel intentions: Superboy from basically the beginning (he pitched the idea to DC in 38), and the entire K-Metal scenario would have completely changed Superman very early on.

Just by discovering and preserving K-Metal, Waid did more for Superman than Byrne ever did.

Last edited by Kurosawa; 12-16-2011 at 11:27 PM.
Kurosawa is offline   Reply With Quote