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Old 12-19-2011, 09:42 PM   #79
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Default Re: What was Mark Waid's issues with the 1986 retelling?

Originally Posted by theMan-Bat View Post
John Byrne wasn't saying he made a mistake removing Superboy, he's just sulking and venting about the Powers That Were at DC "double-crossing" him by "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." Removing Superboy was John Byrne's idea, he didn't want to use Superboy, and he says "One of the central points of my "back to the basics" approach to the Superman reboot to the Superman reboot was that he began his career as an adult -- so no Superboy". John Byrne said, "there's really nothing about the retroactive introduction of Superboy into the mythos that works. Aside from the contradiction of established continuity -- not a concern in those days -- the first issue presents us with Clark Kent in Smallville with Ma and Pa and a supporting cast all in place. No consideration was given to the fact that for this to work he would have had to have his "secret identity" before he became Superboy. He would have had to have adopted the "mild mannered", glasses-wearing, posture-altered persona for Clark before he became Superboy."
More cherrypicking, as usual. His initial idea was to get rid of Superboy, but after the reboot was not a full reboot, he realized and even admitted his mistake, and said "I WISH I had Superboy to fill that role." It doesn't get much more clear than that.

"The deathbed scene, wherein Pa Kent, before dieing, cautioned Clark that he must only use his great powers for the good of Mankind, when Clark had already been doing just what his father bid him to do. Superboy's adventures had made the deathbed scene not only unnecessary, but actually insulting. Pa Kent should be confident enough in the moral upbringing he and Martha had given Clark that he would have no need for that "reinforcement". I decided to go back to Seigel and Shuster and eliminate Superboy from my version -- but keeping certain elements by retaining Ma and Pa Kent as viable characters."
I disagree with Byrne, and seeing that a big part of his alleged 'back to basics' approach was to turn the core conceit of Superman completely around-that under the nerdy veneer of Clark Kent was the true identity of the powerful Superman-I have no use for his judgements of Superman. The deathbed scene, which was first written by Bill Finger, was doing what parents do, no matter if it is redundant or not. My dad still restates things to me at age 86 that he did years ago. And when written by Superman's best ever writer, Elliot S. Maggin, the scene is even more revealing as to the greatness of Jonathan Kent:

Originally Posted by From Elliot S. Maggin's Last Son of Krypton
The Kents were well past child-rearing age when they found that rocket ship near the old farm. On a vacation they both contracted a rare virus over which even their son had no power. They died within a week of each other, Martha Kent first. Jonathan Kent, on the last day of his life and without his wife for the first time in twoscore years, asked his son to stand next to his bed.

Superboy long ago had learned the story of his origin. His power of total recall accounted for most of the story. He was able to fill in most of the blanks by flying at many times the speed of light through space and overtaking the light rays that left Krypton the day it exploded. In this way he actually saw the drama of his infancy reenacted. He knew that he was Kal-El of Krypton, the son of Jor-El, and possibly the finest specimen of humanity in the galaxy. He had broken the time barrier, he could speak every known language on Earth, living and dead. He had been born among the stars and could live among them now if he so chose. He had more knowledge in his mind and more diverse experience to his credit than any Earthman alive could ever aspire to.

Yet he stood at the deathbed of this elderly, generous man whose last Earthly concern was his adopted son's happiness. Superboy listened, because he believed Jonathan Kent to be wiser than he.

Enough of this clowning around in the circus costume, Jonathan Kent told his son. A man is someone who assumes responsibility. To help people in need is right. To grab at every short-lived wisp of glory that tumbles by is wrong.

"No man on Earth has the amazing powers you have," Jonathan Kent told the mightiest creature on the planet. "You can use them to become a powerful force for good.

"There are evil men in this world, criminals and outlaws who prey on decent folk. You must fight them in cooperation with the law.

"To fight those criminals best you must hide your true identity. They must never know that Clark Kent is a superman. Remember, because that's what you are, a superman."

And the old man died.

The sale of the business left Clark Kent with enough money to study journalism at Metropolis University, and to pay the taxes on the house in Smallville. Superman could not bear to sell it, so he boarded it up.

People would still call him Superboy for a while. Gradually, though, they would realize that he no longer scooted across the sky giggling as he flew into a hail of bullets. He no longer thought battles of wits with criminals were a fun way to spend the afternoon. Superboy would not be back.
I am aware that originally Alfred was a silly bumbling butler Bruce Wayne hired to clean and cook and that he was originally overweight until Detective Comics #83 (January, 1944) "Accidentally on Purpose" when Alfred's look was remodeled after thin actor William Austin, who portrayed Alfred in the Batman movie serial from 1943. I feel Frank Miller greatly enhanced Batman's cast by making Alfred a living father figure that raised Bruce, rather than just a silly butler Bruce Wayne hired to clean and cook.
Alfred actually became a character of more depth by the Bronze Age, IMO, but Miller's retcon with him is not one of his worse ones like what he did to Selina Kyle.

I would have rather Siegel's own version of Superboy had been published, as conceived by Siegel himself. Instead they published a Superboy by Don Cameron, without the input or approval of Jerry Siegel.

Story was written by Siegel, most likely it was his pitch script, art was by the Shuster studio. Gerard Jones also mentioned in his book Men of Tomorrow that the script was almost certainly Siegel's work. They did run the story without Jerry's knowledge or input, and there was no Siegel and Shuster credit given, typical of how Harry Donenfeld and Jack Liebowitz exploited creators that they could exploit.

Originally Posted by Evil Twin View Post
You said "Superman was a bigger seller in the '50s, Batman was a bigger seller in the '60s."

Which is wrong. From the period 1960 to 1969, Superman sold millions more than Batman. Even if we're just restricting it to Superman magazine vs. Batman magazine. We toss in all the related titles and it's even more lopsided in favor of Superman.

1966 to 1967 don't make up "the '60s". Nor, did you specify that you weren't talking about Superman titles in their entirety vs. Batman titles in their entirety, which certainly is a relevant barometer of popularity.

If you want to say that at one point in the 1960s, one Batman magazine outsold Superman's namesake title for a short period, then fine, but by all reasonable standards Superman dominated the superhero marketplace of the decade. And it wasn't even close. That clearly was the peak of Superman's comic book commercial appeal and it's relevant to try to understand why that was.
Exactly. To say Batman outsold Superman in the 60's is misleading.

Originally Posted by theMan-Bat View Post
Again, you are ignoring Superman's commercial appeal and success in comic books and merchandise in the 1950s. There was no Batmania in the '50s. Batman never outsold Superman in the '50s. And you obviously misunderstood what I meant by Batman's success in the '60s. Sorry I didn't clarify in more detail originally what I meant, but I didn't think I had to be so anal-retentively specific. 1966 and 1967 do make up two years in the decade of the '60s, which Batman comic books did outsell Superman. Again, I didn't say, nor was I intending to claim, that Batman constantly outsold Superman throughout the decade of the '60s.
I never said Superman didn't sell well in the 50's, which had many similar elements to the 60's, just that he sold even more in the 60's, maybe in terms of copies sold, but no doubt he sold more in terms of market share, as the Dell books declined in the mid-60's.

Originally Posted by CConn View Post
It seems like a dumb point to argue altogether.
I think it's mostly an attempt to undermine the importance of the Silver Age comics and thus bolster the legitimacy of Byrne and Miller's take on Superman.

Last edited by Kurosawa; 12-19-2011 at 09:59 PM.
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