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Old 07-14-2011, 03:53 PM   #99
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Default Re: Superman/Clark Kent/Kal-El Characterization

Originally Posted by The Batman View Post
Clark is an alien, not just a human being who happens to get powers.
Well, there's two inherent problems with this thought process, imho.

1) Being "an alien" doesn't mean anything, unless the writers say it means something. There is no, as far as I know, cause for Superman to think or feel differently than a human, and historically, that means he's a human who 'happens' to be an alien with powers.

2) Traditionally, Superman having an alien mindset has made him unlikeable and uninteresting, while having a human mindset has made him sympathetic, and able approach a wider variety of themes.

Here's my real problem with it though. Kal-El was raised as Clark Kent. Like most (all?) teenagers, he felt there was something different about himself, but couldn't put his finger on it. Meanwhile, he's being picked on, learning from his wise parents, working on the farm. Growing. As a Human grows, physically, emotionally, intellectually and socially. When he finds out he's an alien, those experiences are still 'who he is.' His experience as Kal-El is not who he is. When writers make those experiences who he is, through time travel and such, they estrange us from the character in a way that does not benefit the story, especially for a modern audience.

There are paradigm shifts that happen when you find out you're an alien to be sure. All of a sudden, trying to be normal isn't an achievable goal, really. All of a sudden, your community responsibility grows a few thousand miles. All of a sudden, there's this whole other side of you that used to be mysterious that you can now explore and learn about. But no matter what you learn, no matter what you can do, your formative years, your fondest memories, are always there on the farm. The lessons you hold dearest to you are those taught by Johnathan Kent. That's who you are. Emotionally.

Kal-El is just what you are.

The alternative, that Smallville is in any way expendable, emotionally, is to render it pointless. Why not have a 15 year old Kal-El crash land?

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