badficwriter: Flying saucer-I WANT TO BELIEVE (Default)
[personal profile] badficwriter posting in [community profile] scans_daily
Been meaning to post this for a while. Felt inspired by ComicsAlliance essay on 'Grounded.' About 5 pages from a 17 page story.

The short story in this issue is sort of a prequel to Superman's introduction to Destiny of the Endless that I posted earlier here. That story is part of the transformation of Superman in the 1980s, from DemiGod who can push around planets and turn back time, to being merely superhuman--despite his powers and abilities, he is still as much a bug to them as any human. At the same time, the story is about the balance of being too 'above' and too much involved in the affairs of a race that were so beneath him as to be like pets.

Elliot S! Maggin's first story was called "Must There Be A Superman?" I first read of it in Maggin's introduction to Kingdom Come. Kingdom Come isn't kind to those ignorant of it's characters; it was a long time before I finally was familiar enough with them to actually get through the book. Once done, however, it blew me away. Superman 247, vol. 1, 1972, became the first book I sent away for. It was cheap enough since I didn't care about condition, just wanted to read it.

The Guardians of the Galaxy have asked Superman to save some galaxy or other, in the course of which, Superman is injured. He spends some time healing on Oa and after, the Guardians ask if he'd like a tour. The Guardians also gossip sneakily amongst each other--they intend to plant an idea in Superman's subconscious! (The Guardians were always evil. Always.)

They show him his adventure on another planet where Superman lectured the natives about the need to change their ways because it was their own polluting tendencies that had caused the crisis, and intergalactic heroes would not always be available.

Superman angrily asks why the rest of the group did nothing to help the boy. No one answers.

Superman takes the boy for a walk. The boy tells his story about seeking a better life, but Superman finds himself thinking of his own background as an immigrant. Clearly, he identifies with the boy and his courage.

At the boy's house, people overwhelm Superman with requests. He tells them what he's going to do.

Suddenly! An earthquake shakes the ground! Roofs fall in! Superman leaps to act immediately, mucking about underground.

Muhaha. They're rubbing their hands under those robes, you just know it.

A longtime comic book writer (the text I can't find right now) has stated that reaching out and helping people is how Superman feels like part of the world. It is the human values of good neighbors and giving back to the community that he was raised with. Restraining himself is literally alienating to him.

And from Gary Engle's essay, "What Makes Superman So Darned American?":

Like the peoples of the nation whose values he defends, Superman is an alien, but not just any alien. He’s the consummate and totally uncompromised alien, an immigrant whose visible difference from the norm is underscored by his decision to wear a costume of bold primary colors so tight as to be his very skin. ... .... ... Superman’s powers–strength, mobility, x-ray vision and the like –are the comic-book equivalents of ethnic characteristics, and they protect and preserve the vitality of the foster community in which he lives in the same way that immigrant ethnicity has sustained American culture linguistically, artistically, economically, politically, and spiritually. The myth of Superman asserts with total confidence and a childlike innocence the value of the immigrant in American culture.

The story is posted elsewhere in it's entirety online, but I can't find a legal right for them to do so so I'm not linking.

Not a popular story, despite it's importance. The focus on philosophy, the criticism of Superman...I also imagine most people disliked the subtext that they were depending on others/God to the point of letting those others/God control their lives to their detriment. (The epitome of this theme would probably be the Church of Superman.) My main disappointment is that though the cover and first splash page hint at a dramatic TRIAL! never shows up.

Date: 2011-01-31 10:30 am (UTC)
icon_uk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] icon_uk
1 "Living beyond your means" isn't a reference to investment, it's a standard term indicating that you are spending more than you earn.

2 No, "Humanity" is a closed system (at least until an alien society is discovered), human societies are not, as the plethora of countries and power blocs in our world prove. Politics is about relative power levels.

3 Not in principle, no. Taking down the big boss does nothing for the individual within themselves, it simply removes the big boss from the equation.

6 If you're stability is based on money you owe to someone else, it's not really stability per se, as the person you owe the money too has influence and power over your stability.

9 That's the point, if someone is doing everything for you, you'll have no incentive to develop your character, it's encouraging a dependent personality.

10 There isn't actually a "shouldn't" in that one, there's a "should", so, no tautology.

Date: 2011-01-31 10:37 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] arilou_skiff
1. Yes, and that is pretty much a prerequisite for most investment of any scale. (See. Credit markets, italian banking, mercantile revolution, the dutch, etc.)

If it was not phrased as an absolute (eg. "Living above your means is not guaranteed to bring prosperity") that's a different ball-game.

LOTS of people who have ended up filthy rich started out indebted over their ears.

2. Yes, that was my point: Power is a zero-sum game. (unlike say, prosperty or material goods or other stuff like that) If someone gathers more power, someone else becomes more powerless.

3. As mentioned, that depends on what the problem is. Sometimes the big boss IS the problem itself. Again, if the statement would have been qualified with "Not neccessarly" or some such there'd have been no issue, but the statements are absolute.

9. That depends on your convictions in the first place, no?

10. Yes, it's the same thing. You can parse the sentence into "You shouldn't do things that shouldn't be done."

Date: 2011-01-31 10:58 am (UTC)
icon_uk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] icon_uk
1 Except these are the precepts for dealing with "the little guy" not the one in power. Not the power brokers, but the power brokees.

2 But if someone loses power, the person beneath them doesn't actually GAIN power, usually that goes to the person who did the toppling.

9 IMHO Not really, no. :)

10 Fair point, but the point still stands and is the one most applicable to the OP. Fixing everyone's problems for them does not encourage them to do anything for themselves. It's overprotective parenting more than anything.

Date: 2011-01-31 11:01 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] arilou_skiff
1. If so then it's just meaningless: The powerless are just that, powerless.
2. That's true. Again, the problems with this little conservative screed could have been easily fixed by a few "not neccessarily".


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