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Old 07-09-2011, 03:28 PM   #1
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Default Superman/Clark Kent/Kal-El Characterization

A discussion how you want Superman to be written and handled. In what way do you want to see him progress throughout the movie?

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Old 07-09-2011, 03:38 PM   #2
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Default Re: Superman/Clark Kent/Kal-El Characterization

An excerpt on Clark Kent's characterization from the Superman 2000 pitch:

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Clark is the creation of Superman's memory and imagination. His eyes can see through skin and stone and light years; only memory tells him what it was like to simply see and he can only imagine what it would be like to need glasses. Still, Clark is his cherished link back to his human upbringing and the ethical structures forged in the Midwestern dream of Smallville. Without Clark, Superman knows, he might have been inclined towards detachment, aloofness, alienness. As Clark, he can walk among people, meek, quiet, unnoticed, learning all the time. From this perspective, the secret identity becomes something more like the human disguises gods would don or the rags kings would wear when they wanted to walk among the ordinary and the merely human. Without even a hint of condescension, Clark is eternally delighted by humanity. A man whose perceptions so routinely unlock mysteries and secrets genuinely loves to be confronted by the only thing in the universe which can actually surprise him.
And so, Clark is where he goes to sit on seats and drink coffee and watch TV. Sometimes, Clark sits in his apartment listening to alien music and watching sunspot activity with his telescopic vision. Other times, he relaxes simply by observing with reverence the actions of ordinary humans in extraordinary situations. Whatever, he's always busy. Even when he's just sitting still. And Clark allows Superman to do stupid little stuff with his powers, like getting back at Steve Lombard or whatever.
Clark’s also the sob sister of the Daily Planet, if not of all Metropolis. Despite his attempts to keep a low profile, compassion radiates from him, and people pick up on that almost unconsciously. Friends and total strangers alike constantly confess their plights and problems to poor Clark. They don’t want advice. They just want someone to listen, and no one listens better than him. This aspect of his character naturally opens up the occasional avenue to the smaller human-interest story which can be investigated by Clark the reporter and by us the writers.

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Old 07-09-2011, 04:25 PM   #3
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Default Re: Superman/Clark Kent/Kal-El Characterization

Awesome post and that is exactly what Clark should be.

Maggin further explains Clark:

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Originally Posted by Elliot S! Maggin
Clark Kent is Superman's demon—I said that specifically in the second book. I've always thought of him that way. Superman is the real person and Clark is the construct. Clark is a brilliant character and the creation of Superman. My take on Clark is a lot like what Chris Reeve said Clark was when he did the first movie: "Either Superman is a consummate actor or Lois Lane is an idiot. I don't want Lois to be an idiot, so Superman must be a good actor."

Everybody has a demon, everybody has a hobby, a habit that is part of his character and he can't break. Superman's is Clark. Mine is writing, Bill Clinton's is the saxophone, Jimmy Carter had to teach Sunday School, even when he was president. Luthor's demon is Superman. Superman needs Clark the way most of us need dreams.

I think the idea that Clark is the real character and Superman is a device is completely wrong-headed—because at some point, Clark has to die...and probably Superman won't, at least not permanently. I did a prose story for Martin Greenberg, for one of the anthologies he's putting together, that explores the triangle among Clark, Lois and Superman, over the course of about 150 years. Lois lives to be about 125 in my continuity and Luthor lives another 50. Superman tells the story hundreds of years in the future, as a great grey eminence flying through space, looking for a world to live in. It's the Superman/Lois love story...and Clark is an addendum to it. I think that's the way it is. Clark is there to make Superman accessible. Not the other way around.

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Old 07-09-2011, 05:17 PM   #4
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Default Re: Superman/Clark Kent/Kal-El Characterization

I feel that the best characterization is that Clark is a real person. A regular Joe just like you or me but he's a guy who wants to help out in the world. The reporting is for that. To help the average guy on the street who doesn't need saving from General Zod or Brainiac but help from Government corruption and Mobsters. Clark was raised by two average middle America parents. He shouldn't be this guy who disowns his human self because he was raised human not alien. He should be proud of how he was raised. A normal human being. But when he learns he isn't human, it tears him apart. That feeling of being different and not normal is his flaw. I feel as if Superman should hate being kryptonian for years until he finally comes to understand and accept who he is but never to disown his human side but to accept his alien side. Even then whenever he is Superman he should feel torn because he is acting not human but he's saving human's. I think him becoming Superman comes from the fact that even though he wants to be human, he knows that with his great power it would be unhuman to not help people. But he knows that even with all his power that he can't save everybody. Thats a huge flaw with Superman and it bothers him to no end. But he's knows since he can't save everybody that he should be Superman for more than just rescuing people. He uses Superman to be a symbol. A symbol of hope. A hope that makes people want to be better. To want to do better. To be like Superman. And Clark thats in pride. Superman should be incorruptible. He can't do wrong or he loses his symbolism. But you gotta realize is that he isn't the real thing. Clark is. And Clark has weaknesses just like you and me. He isn't perfect. He was raised human and all humans have faults. Clark is no different. I mean a good person. A heroic person even when he isn't Superman. But he has weaknesses and faults just like you and me. To me this makes the character more relatable. Cause you can't relate to Superman and you shouldn't. Superman is the person you strive to be. But Clark is the person, you and I are. He's that good guy that you see on the news helping the old women out of the burning building. Im leaving out a few things since I don't want this to be a two page long essay but this is my thoughts on the Clark/Superman relationship.

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Old 07-09-2011, 07:00 PM   #5
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Default Re: Superman/Clark Kent/Kal-El Characterization

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I feel that the best characterization is that Clark is a real person. A regular Joe just like you or me but he's a guy who wants to help out in the world.
Well, that's obviously your opinion, I have another one. The problem is that your idea is not Superman. It's another character.

But I even don't get why you think your take is equal to a good character. It's basically every other superhero. I admit that the Pre-Crisis Superman's longings for Krypton were a little bit extreme at times, considering that he has lived on Earth most of his life, but I still think it's the better take. "The Man Who Has Everything -- except...". The Post-Crisis Superman is too much of the "The Man Who Has Everything". Everything. Parents. Career. Love. lucky to have escaped his hell-like home world, superpowers. Clark Kent is seen as a stud... I don't see what's so interesting about that.

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Old 07-09-2011, 08:09 PM   #6
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Default Re: Superman/Clark Kent/Kal-El Characterization

I always felt that Clark should lose one of his parents and I feel all those other things come with time. I don't feel Clark should have the best position on Planet at first. He has to earn it. I dont feel that he should find true love with Lois at first. He has to earn it. Over time, those things will come. I don't like Clark should have it all. I also think that Clark should be bullied after he discovers his powers and he can't do any thing about out of fear of hurting someone. That makes him real. That makes him a real guy. Clark shouldn't have it all first. But then eventually those things do come. My take on the character stays true to his essence but makes the whole character more relatable. Superman is still the same symbol of hope he always has been but its his real side thats firmly rooted in reality. I don't like stories where I feel Superman is a god or stories where Superman seems beyond human mind wise. Cause me it doesn't make sense. This is a guy who was raised as human so I dont feel like he should ever put himself above human and I dont feel his power should ever be where he is a physical god in sense where he could move planets and do things that well true gods do. The Byre version had the right idea and I loved it ever since I read it. I feel like my Superman is very much Superman in the ways of Post crisis Superman. I just don't see where SuperGod can come in and exist. This guy was raised as human in Kansas in a rural small town. While I really loved ALL-Star Superman for its great story, I truly don't like that Superman. I mean can accept it but it isn't what I prefer. I prefer the LnC, The Superman:TAS, and hell even the George Reeve Clark. I prefer a Superman that is a true hero but I want Clark to be the real guy and a guy who I can relate to.

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Old 07-09-2011, 08:16 PM   #7
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Default Re: Superman/Clark Kent/Kal-El Characterization

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Well, that's obviously your opinion, I have another one. The problem is that your idea is not Superman. It's another character.

But I even don't get why you think your take is equal to a good character. It's basically every other superhero. I admit that the Pre-Crisis Superman's longings for Krypton were a little bit extreme at times, considering that he has lived on Earth most of his life, but I still think it's the better take. "The Man Who Has Everything -- except...". The Post-Crisis Superman is too much of the "The Man Who Has Everything". Everything. Parents. Career. Love. lucky to have escaped his hell-like home world, superpowers. Clark Kent is seen as a stud... I don't see what's so interesting about that.
Exactly. They made Superman's life too good to be true with no pain or pathos. Losing one parent is more of the Gospel According to Dick Donner..I'd rather they just leave them both alive and let him be Superboy if that was the way they wanted to play it.

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Old 07-09-2011, 08:27 PM   #8
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Awesome post and that is exactly what Clark should be.

Maggin further explains Clark:
Thanks for posting this! I hadn't read it before. I really hope we see this characterization in this movie, though I fear we're going to get the "Marvelized," "just an average Joe, grew up on a farm but happens to have Superman, citizen of America though born on Krypton" crap.

Like you, I think that's a take that's been done, proven to be lacking, and which needs to be left behind.

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Old 07-09-2011, 08:30 PM   #9
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Default Re: Superman/Clark Kent/Kal-El Characterization

I agree but I still dont think he needs to lose both parents and I already said mulitple times how you make his life not perfect.

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Old 07-09-2011, 08:31 PM   #10
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Default Re: Superman/Clark Kent/Kal-El Characterization

It's funny, Tim Daly is my favorite Superman, yet I slightly prefer Clark as the disguise. It's more fun that way, like Superman's playing a clever joke on everyone. I like to think that Clark is Superman's form of escapism. So he's not always burdened with saving the world and stuff.

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Old 07-09-2011, 09:05 PM   #11
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Default Re: Superman/Clark Kent/Kal-El Characterization

I wonder how the ratio Pre-Crisis versus Post-Crisis is these days, at least in the comic book reader environment and other close groups. I'd say 70:30 pro Clark-Kent-The-Ture-Man. But I think the general audience might have, Smallville and L&C and STAS aside, still have largely the old take in their mind.

So no matter what they'll do a part of the Superman fandom will be alienated.

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Old 07-09-2011, 09:07 PM   #12
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I can accept Superman being the real persona. I don't like it but I accept it. What I don't what is any other silver age ********.

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Old 07-09-2011, 09:21 PM   #13
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I can accept Superman being the real persona. I don't like it but I accept it. What I don't what is any other silver age ********.
You should have a little bit more respect for the men of created the stories modern writers still like to rip off and put a "modern spin" on. And Superboy #68 is still better and more emotional than Man of Steel #5.

But don't worry, no one really wants the Silver Age back. I've always felt that comics in the 70s and 80s were on a good way. I mean, just pick up something like "American Flagg" by Chaykin, here was a guy who based his stuff on "real" books and yet he embraced the possibilities comic books offer and all the other media doesn't... But then at some point the lunatics took over the asylum and had to piss on everything that was before. Grimdark stuff everywhere, characters mauled (literally and metaphorically), comics written as "movies"...


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Old 07-09-2011, 09:29 PM   #14
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Default Re: Superman/Clark Kent/Kal-El Characterization

I've always seen Smallville Clark as the real persona because he created the mild mannerd reporter and Superman. He existed first and therefore is the real person If you play the reporter Clark like Cain did then you make The Daily Planet staff look like idiots, because there's not enough of a difference in the two personalities. I would portray reporter Clark a reserved, mild mannerd, slightly nerdy guy. Superman should be somewhat exaggerated because he's the symbol of hope Clark presents to the world, and he should be larger than life. If it was just about using his powers to help people then he could do that in secret, but it's more than that, it about becoming something bigger.

When he's alone in his apartment he not putting on a disguise, and he doesn't have to be a superhero. He's just Clark Kent and his parents' deaths should have nothing to do with that.

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Old 07-09-2011, 09:37 PM   #15
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Thanks for posting this! I hadn't read it before. I really hope we see this characterization in this movie, though I fear we're going to get the "Marvelized," "just an average Joe, grew up on a farm but happens to have Superman, citizen of America though born on Krypton" crap.

Like you, I think that's a take that's been done, proven to be lacking, and which needs to be left behind.
Yeah, it's a proven failure over the course of 25 years. That's a large enough sample size to come to the conclusion that it didn't work.

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I can accept Superman being the real persona. I don't like it but I accept it. What I don't what is any other silver age ********.
I don't think you really know enough about Silver Age Superman or Silver Age comics to make that judgement. I don't want the worst of the Silver Age back, but that could apply to any era. But the Silver Age was by FAR the most successful era of Superman's existence, mostly because they continued to add new concepts and new characters to the series. Bizarro, Krypto, Brainiac, Supergirl, Metallo, the Legion of Super-Heroes, Nightwing and Flamebird, etc. There was an incredible fantasy world with Superman, the greatest super-hero of all time, as the centerpiece.

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Old 07-09-2011, 09:39 PM   #16
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Default Re: Superman/Clark Kent/Kal-El Characterization

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I've always seen Smallville Clark as the real persona because he created the mild mannerd reporter and Superman. He existed first and therefore is the real person If you play the reporter Clark like Cain did then you make The Daily Planet staff look like idiots, because there's not enough of a difference in the two personalities. I would portray reporter Clark a reserved, mild mannerd, slightly nerdy guy. Superman should be somewhat exaggerated because he's the symbol of hope Clark presents to the world, and he should be larger than life. If it was just about using his powers to help people then he could do that in secret, but it's more than that, it about becoming something bigger.

When he's alone in his apartment he not putting on a disguise, and he doesn't have to be a superhero. He's just Clark Kent and his parents' deaths should have nothing to do with that.
That's why the Kent's dying makes Superman work better-because with their death, so too dies the real Clark Kent. Then Superman is more alone, and he's more compelling that way.

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Old 07-09-2011, 09:40 PM   #17
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I've always seen Smallville Clark as the real persona because he created the mild mannerd reporter and Superman. He existed first and therefore is the real person If you play the reporter Clark like Cain did then you make The Daily Planet staff look like idiots, because there's not enough of a difference in the two personalities. I would portray reporter Clark a reserved, mild mannerd, slightly nerdy guy. Superman should be somewhat exaggerated because he's the symbol of hope Clark presents to the world, and he should be larger than life. If it was just about using his powers to help people then he could do that in secret, but it's more than that, it about becoming something bigger.

When he's alone in his apartment he not putting on a disguise, and he doesn't have to be a superhero. He's just Clark Kent and his parents' deaths should have nothing to do with that.
I can accept this.

I hate the silver age. I make no bones about that. It was good in its day I guess but its stupid and very out dated now. I truly don't like my comics to be cartoonish and childish. Im not saying I want gore but I want stories that are mature like Batman:Year One and The Dark Knight Returns or Superman:Birthright.

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Old 07-09-2011, 09:43 PM   #18
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Why does the real Clark Kent have to die? Him losing his humanity isn't compelling. And don't give me that rubbish that him playing Clark Kent is his connection to humanity. Cause then it makes Superman look down upon humanity. NO! Just No! He was raised human so he should always be his human side.

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Old 07-09-2011, 09:51 PM   #19
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That's why the Kent's dying makes Superman work better-because with their death, so too dies the real Clark Kent. Then Superman is more alone, and he's more compelling that way.
I don't see how his parents's death would erase the real Clark. He's not going to be saving the world every minute, and he's not going to be disguised while he's home alone

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Old 07-09-2011, 10:04 PM   #20
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Default Re: Superman/Clark Kent/Kal-El Characterization

Like many posters, I believe that Superman should be broken up into three personas much like Nolan did with Batman:

1. Superman: This would pretty much be the “Real” persona, except dialed up to 11. I think Superman should be more in line with how he was in the Golden and Silver Age: A Man of Action, good and idealistic but not simple and naïve like many post crisis takes on the character. I do believe much of the “boy Scout” qualities should be taken out or lessened. Kids, Teens, and Adults alike should walk out of the theater swaggering out like bullets can bounce off their chest.
2. Clark Kent: I absolutely believe that Reporter Clark Kent should be a brilliant performance by the real persona. Shy, awkward, forgotten by his peers. I feel like the persona would be an entertaining source of humor for movie goers, while showing us another facet of Clark. I also agree with the idea that “Reporter Clark” is like a hobby for the real persona.
3. Kal El: The real persona. The sum of Ma and Pa Kent’s teachings, his knowledge of Krypton and his powers, and the altruism he was born with. This is a man of two worlds, who knows what it like to grow up human and ultimately realizes that he is not. The only reason I’d keep the Kents alive is to showcase this side to Clark’s personality.

To me, doing it the Tim Daly/Dean Cain/John Bryne way is dull and uninteresting, “Oh, Clark is a great writer who is liked by his employees!”…there’s nothing interesting about that. People write thesis papers on the dual nature of Clark and Superman…not Clark “being a real guy while Superman is just a vehicle for his heroism”. It was more interesting the way Siegel and Shuster set it up. I’m not interested in preferring one take because it was introduced in 1986 instead of 1938, I’m interested in whats best for the character. For the most part, Superman should resemble a modernized version of his 1938-1985 self.

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Old 07-09-2011, 10:12 PM   #21
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I completely agree with you on this The Batman.

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Old 07-09-2011, 10:23 PM   #22
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Why does the real Clark Kent have to die? Him losing his humanity isn't compelling. And don't give me that rubbish that him playing Clark Kent is his connection to humanity. Cause then it makes Superman look down upon humanity. NO! Just No! He was raised human so he should always be his human side.
He might have been raised human, but he never was human. Humans do not fly through the sun. Clark is the only way he co-exist with humans at their level. That does not mean that he looks down on humanity. Superman loves humanity and Clark is how is is part of it.

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I don't see how his parents's death would erase the real Clark. He's not going to be saving the world every minute, and he's not going to be disguised while he's home alone
The real Clark Kent needs to die so Superman can be more isolated. No one, be they from Earth or from Krypton has had Superman's life. He is neither fully Kryptonian nor fully human and the only people who really knew his true self was Ma and Pa Kent. With them gone, it adds a certain level of melancholy to Superman that balances out his optimism. It give him a first-hand loss in his life and a lesson that even his great powers cannot stop the inevitable. And just like the Kents, eventually everyone Superman loves-Lois, Lana, Jimmy and Perry, Batman and Lex (because Superman loves Lex) will grow old and die. And that makes Superman a much more compelling character than the Post-Crisis interpretation which just made him a more powerful Spider-Man.

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Old 07-09-2011, 10:26 PM   #23
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Default Re: Superman/Clark Kent/Kal-El Characterization

I'd just ask to please give Superman a personality , spunk, and charm again. The deadwood STAS series and SR versions really do a disservice to the character imo and further the narrative that Superman is dull. The Kirk Alyn , George Reeves, and Chris Reeves versions all had a charm about them and even (gasp) told a joke and even flirted at times with Lois. The great thing about Cavill is that he has alot of charm and hopefully Synder will allow him to bring that out instead of being a cardboard cut out. I could live with the nerdy or the mild mannered versions of Clark, but they really have to work on making Superman more then a dull, mute, boy scout again.

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Old 07-09-2011, 10:39 PM   #24
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Default Re: Superman/Clark Kent/Kal-El Characterization

You still didn't adress what I said Kuro. Clark is still going to have private moments. He's not going to be the superhero all the time, so it has nothing to do with his parents being dead.

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Old 07-09-2011, 10:46 PM   #25
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Default Re: Superman/Clark Kent/Kal-El Characterization

I don't think Clark should be a act but his true self with a little disguise going on. He should be a laid back guy but nervous and sometimes clumsy but not in a slapstick way. His Superman should be his heroic and charmful side and his Clark should be his laid back side. I feel as if you could do a Clark with a real personality with little disguises and have it come off better than Reeve's Clark.


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