Posted by Peter W. Schramm
Rich Policz on Green Lanterns, Superman, and other American things.
Hey what about me? The original? duh?
Seriously, I always wondered about those Wondertwins (a creation of the late 70s TV justice league show). What gives? Brother/Sister Act? One becomes a inanimate object the other one of the elements? And a talking chinp sidekick to boot.
Zan and Jayna are indeed brother & sister from the planet Exor. Zan could transform into any form of water and Jayna into any kind of animal. Gleek was a "space monkey: and he couldnt talk, but rather made "gleek" monkey sounds.
I really like your distinction between Superman and Hitlers superman. This recalls an argument Ive made many times: that the hero of Superman is not Superman but Jonathan and Martha Kent.
Kal-el could easily have become Hitlers superman (imagine if he had found his way into Lex Luthors family), but he was raised by two decent, hard working, middle American farmers. Instead of using his nearly limitless power for self-interest, Kal-el was instead tought responsibility and decency, not to mention truth, justice, and the American way.
Instead, of acting out of self-interest, Kal-el chose to become Superman, a defender of the great American values personified by Ma and Pa Kent, and in turn by all decent, hardworking, average Americans.
Rich, thanks for a very thoughtful and fun piece.
Let us not forget; "Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows!" Great link to this forgotten american hero who helped many to take their minds off of the Great Depression. The Shadow
Its worth pointing out that many comics took a cynical turn in the 1980s. To many of the artists and writers in the business today the American Dream is something to be held in sneering contempt. In 2000, in fact, Lex Luthor was elected President of the United States (in the DC universe).
This is something Ive written about before, although not here. Many of the architects of the 80s "grim and gritty" phase are British. The Watchmen, written by Alan Moore, is probably the seminal work that turned comics into its "deconstruction" phase (as the Watchmen literally deconstructed the classic heroes of the old Charleton universe). This turned comics on their head, and waves of European deconstructionists began taking over comic writing. Now younger American writers inspired by Moore and others are entering the fray. Consequently you end up with groups such as the Authority, who are merely superpowered Marxist Facists, complete with a gay Batman/Superman like paring among their memebership...
Although at DC Comics the pendulum seems to be swinging the other way again. Writers like Geoff Johns, Mark Waid, Gail Simone, and others are once again asking what makes a hero a hero. And while situations may be more complex than they were in the golden age of comics, morality does not seem to be seen on a shifting scale...
And let us not forget the X-men. The underlying message in the movies at least has been the fight of a repressed minority to win acceptance with the rest of society. Or am I reading too much into it? Rebecca Romaijn would be pretty much accepted everywhere.
Hurrah for the Punisher
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