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  1. #46
    Infâme et fier de l'ętre Auguste Dupin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Frozen Reptile View Post
    1. John Byrne may have born in the UK, but I believe he grew up in Canada and now has American citizenship from when he was married; maybe he was expressing a bit of satire...

    2. I believe that Pre-Crisis, the Kents sold the farm and bought the store when Clark began school; that is when Lana became the girl next door, would make him more a small-townee than a farmer...

    3. Although a valid opinion, being Anti-American is a waste of time, especially if you like anything that their culture has brought us, (like Superman...). You can hate the ideology, but don't hate the people.

    4. I just like making lists...
    1: Or he just had a case of being "more patriotic than the patriots". It's a phenomenom actually relatively common amongst immigrants that managed to get integrated, and who turn out to be just as tribalist than people who are actually from said tribe. From the few I've "heard" from Byrne, he semmed to be very much "America, right or wrong", despite being born an Englishman.

    2:That's correct, the Kent owned a store Pre-Crisis, although they still had this farmer background.

    3: To be fair, most anti-american (well, most anti-american I know) are opposed to some parts of the ideology, most notably the country's attitude in the internationnal scene, and not so much against the american people.
    4: Lists are cool.
    "I'm going to paraphrase Nietzsche, when you judge a work, the work judges you."

  2. #47
    Veteran Member Retro315's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sacred Knight View Post
    Extremely myopic. He IS a farmboy, nor is there anything wrong with that, but "simply"? That implies that's all there is to him. Growing up in a rural farmland is only a part of the whole that makes Kal-El/Clark Kent. To pick and choose that aspect of him, sweep away all the rest and say this is what he truly at heart, well, that doesn't really fly. At heart he's many things.
    Very nicely put.

    Just by the nature of his being Superman and having the life and wealth of stories we've learned about, there's nothing "simple" about him. As a passing statement to reiterate to people where his values come from, the statement stands and points people in the right direction. But it's not altogether concise or accurate.

    If he was a simple farmboy, he'd have stayed on the farm. Clark grew up with blue collar/working man/farmer values (ironic since his arrival meant chores would be that much easier and less "hard work", but I'm sure Pa Kent found things for him to do). But he eventually saw things like class inequality, particularly the scary places below the poverty line, was interested in reading and writing, went to college to be a journalist and moved to the "biggest city" so that he could understand as many different kinds of humanity as possible and influence them.
    "Everything hs changed. ‘Dark’ entertainment now looks like hysterical, adolescent, ‘Zibarro’ crap." - Morrison, 2008.
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  3. #48
    I'm a Junior Member! Kilgore Trout's Avatar
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    In the Silver -Age the Kent's left the farm when Superboy was around 5 years of age. He actually grew up at their General Store and NOT on the 'farm'...

    So shouldn't he be a Storeboy?
    I live in America. It's not a country, it's a business.

  4. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro315 View Post
    Very nicely put.

    Just by the nature of his being Superman and having the life and wealth of stories we've learned about, there's nothing "simple" about him. As a passing statement to reiterate to people where his values come from, the statement stands and points people in the right direction. But it's not altogether concise or accurate.

    If he was a simple farmboy, he'd have stayed on the farm. Clark grew up with blue collar/working man/farmer values (ironic since his arrival meant chores would be that much easier and less "hard work", but I'm sure Pa Kent found things for him to do). But he eventually saw things like class inequality, particularly the scary places below the poverty line, was interested in reading and writing, went to college to be a journalist and moved to the "biggest city" so that he could understand as many different kinds of humanity as possible and influence them.
    Agree with you completely.

    In fact, for a long time, I have believed in the 'Three Identities' theory for Superman (first proposed by Mark Waid I think?)-that he's 'really' Clark Kent, 'born' Kal-El, who in turn assumes the identities of the 'reporter Clark Kent' and Superman. Of these, I'd like to believe that the 'public' or 'reporter' Clark Kent is actually what the 'real' Clark would have grown to become if not for his alien heritage and super-powers; a small-town farmer's son turned sophisticated reporter dedicated to fighting for justice with the pen!

  5. #50
    Veteran Member Fate's Faith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NotSuper View Post
    That's not true. Sorry, but if you read Byrne's interviews from the time he makes it clear that he wanted Krypton to be "anathema" to Superman, to completely divorce him from anything to do with that culture. There's strong elements of xenophobia in the work, particularly in regards to the Cold War. Krypton is basically intended to be Space Russia with Earth as America (and the Kents even originally think that Clark MUST be a Russian experiment--wonder why they didn't think he was an American one?). Furthermore, the idea to make Clark stereotypically American--football hero, Casanova with the ladies, being a gigantic yuppie, ect.--all support this. The idea that emerges by reading the text and the interviews is that DC wanted to make Superman less of "the Other" in order for people to be able to read him while keeping their biases against foreigners. I think this kind of tribalism is pretty terrible and served to hurt and diminish the character.

    I don't think we should encourage or enable tribalism in people as I feel it's one of the most destructive attitudes human beings have.
    I haven't read the interviews. Sure, maybe that's what Bryne was meaning to say (if that was his intention it definitely didn't translate to his writing for me). But that's not what I got from the stories themselves. In essence, he made Superman more tied to humanity than Krypton at his very origins. He was 'born' on Earth and knew very little of Krypton and what little he did know showed him a world very much unlike his own. While Earth gave him a home and parents capable of showing love, Krypton didn't offer that. And, stereotypical or not, I think all people would like to feel good about themselves growing up. For me, it strengthened the character since I didn't come away from reading a story knowing if Krypton still exist Superman would have been long gone once he discovered he could return home.

    And I don't think America has that big a problem with the idea of foreigners. I think we have a problem with non-white foreigners. Tribalism would actually be an improvement over the problems we seem to continually have with racism. At least then we'd be able to accept all our own citizens. Then we could work on the rest.

  6. #51
    Paladin Kurosawa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NotSuper View Post
    That's not true. Sorry, but if you read Byrne's interviews from the time he makes it clear that he wanted Krypton to be "anathema" to Superman, to completely divorce him from anything to do with that culture. There's strong elements of xenophobia in the work, particularly in regards to the Cold War. Krypton is basically intended to be Space Russia with Earth as America (and the Kents even originally think that Clark MUST be a Russian experiment--wonder why they didn't think he was an American one?). Furthermore, the idea to make Clark stereotypically American--football hero, Casanova with the ladies, being a gigantic yuppie, ect.--all support this. The idea that emerges by reading the text and the interviews is that DC wanted to make Superman less of "the Other" in order for people to be able to read him while keeping their biases against foreigners. I think this kind of tribalism is pretty terrible and served to hurt and diminish the character.

    I don't think we should encourage or enable tribalism in people as I feel it's one of the most destructive attitudes human beings have.
    And another thing is that Byrne himself isn't an American, so he did not understand how Superman being an immigrant was part of why he IS such an American icon. And as he isn't Jewish, he failed to understand how Krypton is a metaphor for Jews, and how Superman assumed another identity to hide his foreign and alien heritage.

  7. #52
    Paladin Kurosawa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kilgore Trout View Post
    In the Silver -Age the Kent's left the farm when Superboy was around 5 years of age. He actually grew up at their General Store and NOT on the 'farm'...

    So shouldn't he be a Storeboy?
    Pretty much. Until Byrne got ahold of him, Clark Kent was more or less a product of smalltown America, not a Lil Abner with superpowers character.

  8. #53

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kurosawa View Post
    And another thing is that Byrne himself isn't an American, so he did not understand how Superman being an immigrant was part of why he IS such an American icon. And as he isn't Jewish, he failed to understand how Krypton is a metaphor for Jews, and how Superman assumed another identity to hide his foreign and alien heritage.
    Indeed. Krypton did seem to represent the Jewish heritage of Siegel and Shuster, which makes shunning it in favor of the new country extremely problematic. I remember reading a few Siegel written scenes showing Jor-El and Lara telling Kal-El to "keep his heritage in his heart" and "be worthy of it." So clearly the loss of Krypton is very much supposed to be heart-breaking for Superman and he's supposed to have pride in it. That doesn't mean he can't be an American or citizen of the world too, though. American Jews and those of Mexican Americans are also proud of their heritage, in addition to being proud Americans.

  9. #54

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    Quote Originally Posted by Auguste Dupin View Post
    1: Or he just had a case of being "more patriotic than the patriots". It's a phenomenom actually relatively common amongst immigrants that managed to get integrated, and who turn out to be just as tribalist than people who are actually from said tribe. From the few I've "heard" from Byrne, he semmed to be very much "America, right or wrong", despite being born an Englishman.
    This is true, Byrne doesn't really consider himself to be a displaced Englishman (and he's said this), but an American. I think it's definitely a case of "more patriotic than the patriots."

    Just goes to show how pervasive and adaptive tribalism is.

  10. #55

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kilgore Trout View Post
    In the Silver -Age the Kent's left the farm when Superboy was around 5 years of age. He actually grew up at their General Store and NOT on the 'farm'...

    So shouldn't he be a Storeboy?
    Silver Age, yes.

    The Golden Age is more difficult--sometimes he's shown being raised in Metropolis, other times on a farm.

    But I imagine the idea of Superman growing up on a farm had more to do with the Donner film than Byrne. Byrne wasn't even the one to come up with putting Smallville in Kansas--that was also Donner. He also didn't create LexCorp or the idea of Lex Luthor having a legitimate company--those came from Maggin.

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  12. #57
    I'm Right, You're Wrong King Krypton's Avatar
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    The farmboy aspect is one piece of him. The minute you make it the entirety of him, you diminish him as a character. And for a lot of the 1986-2004 period, that's what happened.

    Superman needs to be a son of both Earth and Krypton in equal measure. If one takes priority over the other, the character becomes unbalanced.

  13. #58
    S.P.E.C.T.R.E. destro's Avatar
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    I think the farmboy idea started during the motion picture (aside from the basic idea of him crash landing on a farm as a child before they started the store) and was really solidified by Byrne's run.

    I much prefer the general store idea. Too much has been made of the farmboy aspect, and I don't really enjoy seeing Superman being portrayed as naive.
    Life looks better in black and white.

  14. #59
    Paladin Kurosawa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by destro View Post
    I think the farmboy idea started during the motion picture (aside from the basic idea of him crash landing on a farm as a child before they started the store) and was really solidified by Byrne's run.

    I much prefer the general store idea. Too much has been made of the farmboy aspect, and I don't really enjoy seeing Superman being portrayed as naive.
    Me either, it really hurts the character and betrays what Siegel and Shuster wanted Clark Kent to be. Clark is supposed to be a nerd, not a hulking Lennie Small type character. It's like turning Woody Allen into Jethro Bodine. Even Lois' "Smallville" nickname for Clark basically said, "You're a farmer boy hick", and that is different from her seeing Clark as a nerd. Clark must be a nebbish or he just doesn't work. When he is a physically imposing (even as Clark) farm boy, he is no nerd, and that takes Jerry and Joe out of Clark.

  15. #60
    Senior Member MFitzH2O's Avatar
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    There is not much 'simple' about this 'farm-boy'...
    A robotic journey toward the American Dream: MADE in USA.

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