badficwriter: Flying saucer-I WANT TO BELIEVE (Default)
badficwriter ([personal profile] badficwriter) wrote in [community profile] scans_daily2011-01-30 02:03 pm

The Return of Super Hombre!

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.

[personal profile] psychopathicus_rex 2011-02-02 12:47 am (UTC)(link)
You're quite right, I DON'T have any evidence to show it was legal. I was simply trying to give Maggin the benefit of the doubt, that's all.
Another possibility that I just thought of - perhaps Supes didn't haul him away because he knew the charges wouldn't stick. I mean, there has always been a fair amount of prejudice against migratory workers, and if Harley's their boss, he may be a fairly powerful man in the community - perhaps by 'I know my rights', he's basically saying 'don't waste your time trying to put me in jail - I'll be out in five minutes'.
valtyr: (cartoon cap grimace)

[personal profile] valtyr 2011-02-02 12:51 am (UTC)(link)
As I said several comments ago, Manuel has a pretty powerful and influential eyewitness right there, and Clark Kent could certainly draw media attention to the case. Surely championing the victim of assault in a court case, and reporting on it, would be better than an inspiring speech and flying off?

Even if the charges were dropped or the case lost, that would still be a story about corruption, and I'm sure Superman could be available for interview on this miscarriage of justice.

[personal profile] psychopathicus_rex 2011-02-02 01:04 am (UTC)(link)
Well, look at it this way - we have no proof that Superman DIDN'T ultimately do this. He does say 'we'll keep in touch' to Manuel, and threatens Harley with the law - one could read between the lines a bit and infer that, although for the moment he was in a 'hands off' mode, the better to encourage the workers' self-sufficiency, he was planning to come back later and see that Harley got what was coming to him. It's just a theory, of course, but...
valtyr: (Black Bolt)

[personal profile] valtyr 2011-02-02 01:21 am (UTC)(link)
We have no proof Superman didn't go back and kill them all, ffs. You can IMAGINE whatever you like. Go post it on Don't present it to me and pretend it's some kind of argument.

You said Superman couldn't arrest the guy because he wasn't breaking the law. I pointed out this wasn't the case. I then spent far too long explaining to you that punching people in the face wasn't legal in the Seventies, because you are, as usual, clinging desperately to your poorly-formed and inaccurate ideas. Having finally gotten you to concede that maybe, actually, assault laws didn't spring into being in 1980, I don't feel like hearing your elaborate made-up saga of How Superman Did Some Really Important Stuff But The Author Didn't Tell Us About It.

[personal profile] psychopathicus_rex 2011-02-02 01:29 am (UTC)(link)
Look, I SAID it was only a theory. I wasn't trying to say 'well, it's OK 'cause he obviously flew back and saved everybody afterwards', it was just a theory of what MIGHT have happened, not a replacement for what did.
Can we wrap this up now, please? I'm tired of arguing about it, and frankly, at this stage of the argument, I don't CARE who's right.
valtyr: (Burn)

[personal profile] valtyr 2011-02-02 01:32 am (UTC)(link)
Perhaps if you stopped trying to uphold ridiculous positions, you wouldn't get so tired of it?

and frankly, at this stage of the argument, I don't CARE who's right.

I'm kind of horrified that you still can't tell.

Can we wrap this up now, please?

Well, sure, do I have to call someone and tell them to stop forcing you to reply to me?

[personal profile] psychopathicus_rex 2011-02-02 01:44 am (UTC)(link)
I've kept replying to you because I was trying to wrap this up amicably. It's clearly not working, so fine, it's done, it's over with. End of argument.
valtyr: (wear an eyepatch and smoke a cigar)

[personal profile] valtyr 2011-02-02 01:47 am (UTC)(link)
It's not going to end amicably as long as you keep being wrong and defending that wrongness. You will have to settle for acrimoniously.

[personal profile] psychopathicus_rex 2011-02-02 02:14 am (UTC)(link)
Whichever. Enough, already. It's over. There's nothing more to say.
valtyr: (unicorn)

[personal profile] valtyr 2011-02-02 02:23 am (UTC)(link)
Whichever. Enough, already. It's over. There's nothing more to say.

Well, if you say so. Bye!