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I haven’t posted anything in the political or social realm on this blog in a while. I became aware that sort of content was costing me readers, both here and probably with my stories. It’s even possible (and likely) that publishers considering my short story submissions have given me a hard pass because they looked me up on twitter and Facebook. I guess the dictionary definition of “inclusive” isn’t being considered.
But then on twitter, I read an article tweeted by Bounding into Comics called Superman’s New Enemy Is Fake News, YouTube’s Yellow Flash Shares His Thoughts.
For those of you who don’t know, Clark Kent and Lois Lane married in the comic books and (amazingly considering Clark is from another planet) had a son. He was named Jonathan after Clark’s (adopted) Dad, which is totally cool. The readers were given a good look at the Kents as parents and wow, what a great set of parents. However, the writers at DC Comics decided they had plans for little Jon and couldn’t wait years for him to grow up the old fashioned way. So they trapped him in another universe and he grew into a teenager just like that.
Meanwhile, Clark/Superman needed to go off into space and left the protection of Earth to his son, who I call “Superman 2.0,” and thereby hangs a tale.
Jon is basically young Superman for the 21st century, and particularly the left 21st century.
First of all he’s bi and has a male partner. Actually, I’m totally okay with that because Jon is a new and unique character. He can be whatever the writers want him to be without screwing around with the history of decades old and beloved characters. This is far more acceptable and normal than retconning superheroes previously established as straight into LGBTQ+
But he’s also a climate activist, really to the point of ignoring his actual superhero responsibilities.
You’d think Superman would do something super about the environment rather than just march and carry a sign because anyone can do that (or maybe the point is, “Hey, look at me, I’m carrying sign so I’m a superhero” No you’re not).
A number of people who are paying attention say that with Clark/Superman away and Jon/Superman carrying the mantle, that the comic book is losing readers even though the comic book’s writer Tom Taylor has gone on record denying this (and his denial doesn’t seem to hold proverbial water according to sources).
There’s even been some talk of killing Clark/Superman again, this time permanently (you may recall he died for a while in the 1990s, which was what drew me back to reading comic books, to my children actually, again). Of course, DC denies this but I’ve been lied to before.
That leads me to the article 10 Reasons Jon Kent Should Be The Only Superman. The writer David Harth, whose twitter profile describes him as “I write about comics at http://CBR.com and http://youdontreadcomics.com. He/Him. BLM, Ally, and all around SJW, doesn’t come right out and say he wants Clark dead, but it’s heavily implied.
Here’s the link to his article again. Open it up in a separate tab to read his ten reasons and toggle back to this blog to see my responses below. For more on Harth, go here.
10: Having Jon As Superman Means Changing The Roles Of Lois And Clark
Clark and Lois have been a couple one way or another since 1938. That’s over 80 years and you’ve got to believe that finding new ways of keeping them interesting must be getting harder. Having Jon be THE Superman and retiring (or killing) Clark means they’d finally be allowed to get older which would be a natural and expected consequence (I thought it worked well for Tom Welling). On the other hand, The CW’s current Superman show and the possibility of a new Superman movie using Henry Cavill both depict Superman as Clark and not Jon. The general American and worldwide audience still seems to see Superman as Clark. Most of us grew up with that Superman. My personal childhood Superman was George Reeves although I think many, many people related more to Christopher Reeve (who was amazing in the part).
But comic books are different. They can appeal to a more narrow audience (I guess). Movies and TV have to draw in a much bigger and more diverse crowd in order to make money. Maybe DC Comics and Tom Taylor haven’t figured that out.
9: Building His Own Supporting Cast Will Lead To New Story Potential
I agree. I mean, who isn’t getting tired of Perry and Jimmy by now? I know other supporting characters have been added over the years, but like the roles of Clark and Lois, the recycling is getting pretty dull. I’m okay with this point.
8: Seeing Him Play Off Familiar Characters Will Be A Lot Of Fun
I guess that’s like “Who the heck are you?” That’s not quite fair. According to other points in the original article, the kid grew up around all the old school heroes, so everyone knows him. But not everyone knows him as Superman. I can only imagine as the kid of a super (pun intended) famous and powerful Dad, he’s got some pretty big boots to fill. Like many kids of famous people, they don’t always live up to their parent’s legend. There’s no reason to believe that Jon will be a better Superman than Clark or even as good. Face it, he was created to “woke” the Superman franchise, which means Taylor will make him always be better. It’s just projection.
7: Seeing How His Powers Evolve Will Be Interesting
Actually, that would interest me, too. Clark’s powers have been changed and experimented with over the years just to keep things spiced up. But at the end of the day, we still want him to fly, be invulnerable, be strong, and win. I talked about projection a moment ago, but that’s what we do as fans of Superman. He’s not just our hero, he’s our ideal. His powers are part of him. They’re familiar, like a comfortable pair of shoes. We don’t want them to change permanently. All bets are off with Jon/Superman.
6: Seeing Him Face Villains Old And New Is Worth The Price Of Admission
Maybe. I remember watching the Batman Beyond animated series years ago, and when Terry/Batman faced a (sort of) reincarnation of the original Joker, he beat him because he didn’t act like Bruce/Batman. Of course, all by himself and even with his “team,” Terry and the costume would be nothing without old Bruce to back him up. I thought that once Bruce finally died, there was no way Terry could carry on. There is only one “world’s greatest detective.” Terry’s got heart, I’ll give him that. But without Bruce talking in his ear all the time, he’s just a kid in a high-tech costume.
So yes, Jon might have an advantage over Clark’s old foes just because he’d react differently, but without Dad to back him up, they’d eat him alive. I mean, can you imagine Jon facing Doomsday? The fight would be over in five minutes and Doomsday would then lay waste to everything in his path.
5: Jon On The Justice League Is Money
From the old school JLA’s perspective, Jon would literally be the new kid on the block, emphasis on “kid.” He’d fit in better with the Teen Titans since Jon is actually a teenager. But then the Justice League (we’ll take the “A” off the end because in 21st century comic books, America sucks) would get a revamp as well, so more old guard heroes would be retired or killed because they’re…you know, heroes.
4: He Deserves To Be Superman More Than Any Other Replacement Superman
I’m calling total BS on this one. Just because Daddy is famous and strong doesn’t mean kiddo will be able to fill his shoes. Ask any adult child who had a very famous Dad or Mom how it was growing up in their shadow and with all of those expectations on their shoulders. Sure, Michael Douglas is a terrific actor and he was raised by Kirk Douglas, another terrific actor. But how about his other sons Eric, Joel, and Peter. Ever hear of them?
The Biblical Moses is considered the greatest prophet ever by the Jewish people, and by Christians, not too far behind Jesus. Moses had two sons. They’re mentioned a few times but fade into obscurity quickly. Why did Joshua take Moses’ place when the great prophet died rather than one of his sons? They weren’t even contenders. Just because you’re Clark Kent’s son doesn’t mean you’re going to be the best replacement Superman.
3: His History Has Groomed Him For The Job
Groomed is one thing, but capable and credible is something else entirely. There’s the expectation, but follow through is a b*tch. See comments above.
2: There Are Differences Between Him And Clark
Duh! Of course there are differences, but that’s Harth’s major point really. He wants Jon to be whatever generation is current, new, fresh, and woke. He wasn’t kidding in his twitter profile. The showrunner for Star Trek: Discovery season 4 Michelle Paradise has been very forthcoming when she says that the major, major component of STD is “representation.” Yes, Roddenberry also broke the mold when he put black people and Asian people on the bridge of the Enterprise, but he also tried to give the audience, adventure, excitement, and fun. He didn’t sacrifice good writing (okay, some episodes are pretty dumb) for “representation.” STD, and I’ll argue, the current Superman, is all about representation. Do we even have superheroes anymore, well written or otherwise?
1: Change Is Good
Calling major BS on that one. We all want to believe change is good, but at the end of the day, even when a change is positive and desirable, people hate change. Also Harth thinks change is good because Clark/Superman is a full on grown up, a man, straight, white (although he’s an alien), loves women and children, loves his adopted nation, stands for “Truth, Justice and the American Way” without flinching, and, being raised by farmers in Kansas, was probably brought up to be at least somewhat conservative, Christian, and identifies with blue collar workers.
Yes, any franchise that’s over eight decades old has got to change with the times, and Superman has over the years. Clark was not exactly the same in 1938 as he was in 1968 as he was in 1998. But there are things that need to stay the same for Clark in order for him to remain Superman. Number one on the list is that he’s Superman. His costume has been changed a tad over the years, but that only goes so far because, like the character, his look is iconic and part of his identity.
Even the old Jim Croce song says, “You don’t tug on Superman’s cape…
I don’t read modern comic books (I still have a stash from years gone by) and pretty much everything I said above is why. I am close to my three grandchildren, two of whom are of comic book reading age. I show them my comics and TV shows from the 1960s (my 6-year-old granddaughter has loved watching the 1964 Jonny Quest since she was about 2 1/2). I want my heroes to be their heroes for the same reasons. Because they’re heroic and fun.
Yes, the world will always need Superman. The world also needs Clark Kent. Every time I see the Jon Kent version, he always seems to be a…sidekick. Your mileage may vary.
4 thoughts on “10 Reasons Why Clark Kent is the Only Superman”
In order for superheroes to fulfill the mission of heroes rather than anti-heroes, they must save mankind from as many ills as possible. They cannot foster misanthropy; it is their enemies who are the misanthropes. By definition, then, all the “wokeness” is characteristic of their misanthropic enemies. Their energies must be directed to fostering that which is healthy for the human species to continue, which includes heterosexuality and healthy family structure and behavior that educates subsequent offspring likewise in the skills and attitudes which foster survival and continuity.
Hence a “woke” or LGBTQ superhero is a contradiction in terms, the antithesis of a superhero, the enemy of humankind. A true superhero would use his or her extraordinary abilities to fight this generation’s social aberrations, along with any physical dangers from falling asteroids or space debris, solar flares, climatic extremes, tyrannical governments, and other threats against human survival and well-being.
Let’s see someone invent some new characters with new abilities tailored to addressing these problems. At least one that I perceive to be needed is an “X-man” mutant with psychotropic powers to adjust human minds to eliminate harmful behaviors, attitudes, and political or social motivations. His or her secret identity might be as a mental health worker, with access to prison systems, politicians, hospitals, sanitariums, and the like. I can envision a number of suspenseful scenarios wherein disaster could be averted by subtle psych manipulation, nuanced to avoid being too obvious or creating subsequent chaos or personality disorders in the minds of affected people in a given social situation.
Some other useful abilities have been envisioned before, such as instantaneous passage through time, space, or alternate realities, or adjustment of physical quantities like temperature, pressure, weather, EM and gravity fields, and more. Some consideration should probably be given to whether to place a story within a secular superhero milieu, or a quasi-religious magical environment where wizards are the problem solvers as well as the enemies.
As I recall, Professor X of the X-Men could alter the perceptions of people, even making them forget that certain events happened. I’m guessing he’d have thought it was unethical to actually adjust human minds, even to eliminate, for instance, anti-mutant hate or hate of any kind. I suppose it would be like the Almighty controlling us and preventing us from sinning or even being tempted. He could do it, but then free will and the choice to love Hashem would go out the window. There’d be no heroism because we’d just be programmed to do heroic or good things. People would be bio-mechanical widgets. Also, if you did that for the whole world, while the planet would probably be better off, a lot of exciting stories about battling evil would go down the drain.
Superman has historically been criticized for being too powerful and simply overwhelming problems with his strength. If heroes have no challenges, they risk nothing by being heroic.
As far as LGBTQ and “wokeness,” with representation being very important and popular in entertainment these days, I don’t see that being represented as heroic going away any time soon. According to the UCLA Law School Williams Institute, only 3.8% of the U.S. population is LBGT, so the representation we see seems to be overcompensating relative to the actual data (although I don’t know what percentage of fictional characters overall are LGBTQ). There are probably some indie comic book creators who identify with “comicsgate” who might create a superhero who changed/reformed gay and trans characters, but they probably wouldn’t sell very well. That said, in my blog post, I did mention that the current Superman 2.0 isn’t selling very well either, so maybe comic book readers overall agree with you.
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Unlike God Who is Omnipresent, superheroes have always had to address only the most exceptional threats. They can’t be everywhere to resolve all problems, but only the most egregious ones of which they become aware. These days, that’s little more likely to be effective than was the little Dutch boy with his finger plugging a hole in a dike to prevent the leak from worsening and collapsing the entire structure. So there would not likely ever be any shortage of challenges for ordinary humans to overcome, no matter how powerful a superhero may sometimes be available.
I thought of Professor Xavier’s mental abilities, too. But they always seemed to me to produce temporary effects rather than corrective psycho-cybernetic adjustments in one or more individuals. As for the impact upon free will, or the enslavement of hearts and minds rendering people as mere “bio-mechanical widgets”, consider the results any time one person convinces another to change their opinions. Extend that to the work of mental health professionals or evangelists who work at it as a life’s vocation. A superhero of this sort is merely an exaggeration of this sort of correction, presumably to aid individuals and the society around them to resolve a dangerous problem that is beyond their own abilities — not unlike the superhero who can catch a falling meteor or cool an erupting volcano or stop a tsunami.
The more serious challenge facing a superhero, that is perhaps only rarely considered, is the one of knowing how to use his or her abilities to do good and not unintended harm. The problem of unintended collateral consequences is often the result of politicians who react to some situation by establishing a program that is ill-considered — and then are unable or unwilling to end the program or alter it or defund it. Similarly, a superhero who attempts to save people from one obvious problem but creates another one is not likely to be much appreciated.
Reading the Dilbert comic strip this morning, I found it suggesting ideas similar to some of yours: https://dilbert.com/strip/2022-03-27?utm_source=dilbert.com/