Originally Posted by Kurosawa
The absence of the Kents allows Superman to grow up, keeping them around keeps him eternally Superboy. Even Byrne admits that getting rid of Superboy was a mistake, and Siegel intended Superboy to be part of his history from practically the beginning.
The Kents do not need to be absent for Superman to grow up. Alfred is Batman's parental figure, and keeping him around does not keep Batman eternally Batboy.
John Byrne has not said he regrets getting rid of Superboy. In fact, Byrne says,
"One of the central points of my "back to the basics" approach to the Superman reboot was that he began his career as an adult -- so no Superboy."
He said that he wanted to do stories of Superman "learning the ropes." A Superman who is "new to the job." Byrne said, "I wanted to drop Superboy because he was not part of the original mythos." Byrne said, "The choice to leave him out of the canon was mine. But, as noted many times, that choice was made with the assurance from the Powers That Were that I would be able to do a Superman who was still learning the ropes. Then, after the contracts were signed, they reneged on that promise."
DC did not publish the version of Superboy that Jerry Siegel had created. Jerry Siegel envisioned Superboy as a super-prankster rather than as a crime-fighter.
I hate that Richie Cunningham crap with Ma and Pa fawning over Clark and him being so "aw shux" about it...saccharine as hell, and it's no wonder people saw that and perceived Superman as some sort of lilywhite dork and Batman as a badass who had actually suffered in life.
Caring, loving parents do tend to fawn over their sons and daughters. Jonathan and Martha Kent fawning over him like parents, showing care and concerned, and Clark being respectful to them is charming and likable. Alfred also fawns over Bruce and acts like an overprotective, concerned parent, they definitely have a father and son relationship, they even live together. Alfred is much more than just an English butler, Alfred is Batman's parental figure, like both a father and mother, as Jonathan and Martha Kent are for Superman.