badficwriter: Flying saucer-I WANT TO BELIEVE (Default)
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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!..it never shows up.

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

Well, if you say so. Bye!

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