Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Why do stupid people hate on Superman?

It's a pretty simple question.

I promised you guys that I was going to dedicate a blog to responses posted here by Jordan on behalf of one of his friends. It became apparent to me as I read the lackluster commentary he supplied and the completely ineffective points he tried to raise that he loathes Superman.  I'm fine with that, of course.  Different strokes for different folks, and all that, but I was intrigued enough by his contempt (erroneous as his points were) to do some web browsing and I found a number of bloggers who shared his opinions on Superman.  So I did what anybody interested in other people's opinions on a topic should do; I read the blogs.

Here's what I learned; people who hate Superman are stupid.

That's it.  There's no deeply hidden secret wisdom to be found anywhere in this topic.  Just an observation that the single most defining trait of these people is an apparent lack of intelligence and the inability to represent Superman with anything better than the shallowest of understandings of the character.  I can't tell you why stupid people feel compelled to hate on him.  I can't tell you why stupid people are driven to share their stupidity and boast about their ignorance of the character.

I can only tell you that they do it, and reading their arguments makes me lament for the educational system.

Now that that is out of my system.......how about we start punching holes in what was a very poorly thought out assault on the brilliant tutorial I gave all of you on how to hate Spider-Man.  And before any of you say it.........


 We're going to start by taking this argument apart as we work our way through it.  I have not edited this argument in any way. Where would be the fun in that?

"Im not necessarily defending Spiderman by your point of view, just simply having a debate. You say that spiderman is motivated by guilt and on this note I do agree; however, what motivates many of our other comic book characters? Batman= obsession (possibly mental derangement), Punisher = vengeance (another psychopath), The X-man= basically ethnic struggles (nothing heroic they are just trying to fit in. Even if they got rid of the segregation they would still naturally segregate the way people of different ethnicity do now.) Captain America= he is simply a soldier. He is possibly the most heroic but basically hes just a man following orders. Maybe if he made these decisions on his own I would say he was a super hero but hes simply the same sort of hero any firefighter or police officer is. Hes doing his job."

Wow. We jump right out of the gate and go straight for some of the most uninformed arguments I've ever seen.

Batman: I'm okay with the argument that Batman is suffering from obsession, although I think that's a very surface level view that doesn't fully encompass the motivation of the character.  Batman is also seeking justice, not just for himself, but for everyone.  Which IS heroic.

Punisher: After that start though, we lose ground quickly and I have to ask....who groups Punisher in with heroes?  Anyone who reads that book knows that the guy isn't a hero.....he's a serial killer. Lumping him into this argument suggests that you don't even have a full grasp on what we're debating.

X-Men: There's nothing heroic about ethnic struggles?  So Rosa Parks wasn't heroic for what she did?  Dr. King wasn't demonstrating heroic leadership in the face of terrible adversity? Civil rights leaders didn't show great personal sacrifice and heroism in pursuit of what was morally right? Suggesting that there is nothing heroic in ethnic struggles for equality all but eliminated you from being allowed to express your opinion here in the future. That was a colossally ignorant statement.

Captain America:  Simply a soldier? Just following orders?  Do you even read Captain America?  There is almost no basis for you to make that argument, and just to clear it up for those people who don't read Cap on a regular basis.....he doesn't follow orders because he's NOT in the military anymore.  In fact Cap was the person who rebelled against the United States government and defended personal liberty and freedom during the Civil War.  Your understanding of that character is grossly flawed.  Cap is very heroic.  He is a time-lost solider who has returned to a world that has left his values behind.  Instead of submitting himself to the modern ideal, he holds to values and virtues society has left behind and he fights for them at great personal cost.

Firefights & Police Officers: Can be and often are heroes as well.  Like Super Heroes, what motivates everyday people determines whether or not what they do is heroic.

In summation.....after rereading your opening sortie a number of times..........I'm still looking for a valid point.  Spider-Man is still the biggest loser ever, and his motivation for action remains the most selfish.  He's a douchebag.

Now, on to more of your argument....

"And finally to what i would assume is you favorite: superman. Dude.... hes an alien.... Nothing "Super" about that. Hes the same as a green man from mars with a little ray gun. ANYWAY... he has super powers... ok. Lets look at them. He has: Super strength, flight, freeze breath, eye beams, invincible, super speed, apparently he thinks faster than a normal human, and he comes back to life just about any time he dies. Whats s hard about saving the earth at that point. And ok you make a good point. Supe has a very iconic villa. Hell probably one of my favorites. I mean whats not to like about your basic average human being taking on a GOD. But hey, lets even talk about his iconic villain (who isnt named after an insect, but actually a wrestler). Ok what is superman's weakness... A frikn rock (weak). But moving on this rarity of mineral is apparently fragments from Superman's home world, which apparently is supposed to make him "mortal" again yet somehow always makes him wallow in his own self pity. Again to my real point about this rock. It is fragments from a planet which blew up. Now if this rock is from light years away How in the world can you explain that every villain seems to have pieces of it; more so How does Lex Luther seem to be able to shit bricks of this crap out anytime hes facing superman? I mean come on in one issue he had Kryptonian steroids :S."

Ah, the attack on Superman.  How original, and utterly uninspired. Apparently now we're embracing racism at its highest level, because you can't be "super" unless you were born on Earth.  I guess that would explain why there was nothing heroic about the X-Men fighting for equality for all peoples. Superman's place of origin has absolutely ZERO bearing on whether or not his actions or motivations are heroic, which is why Adam Strange, Hawkman, Martian Manhunter, Thor, Silver Surfer and a host of other non-humans also qualify as heroes. This was a truly ridiculous statement, and I'm done with it.

I'd be interested to know where you got your summation of his powers, and what reference you used to determine that Clark Kent thinks faster than a normal human does. I'm not saying that it isn't true, but it certainly doesn't show up that way in any of the comics I've read.  My understanding is that he simply reacts faster because of his superspeed.  That isn't the power description I take actual exception to though.  It's the suggestion that he comes back to life "just about any time he dies." This exposes the motive behind your anti-Superman rhetoric and thankfully you are now just a statistic in my review of people who hate Superman; you don't know shit about him.  You clearly don't read him, and you've never read any one of the number of brilliantly written Superman stories told by some of the finest authors to grace comics.  It's called a PREJUDICE because you prejudge without gathering facts.

For those of you keeping score at home, Superman has 'technically' never died.  But to make things simple and easy for everyone who stays 9 miles from Superman stories and only reads the hype, we'll credit him with one actual death and resurrection.  Sound like anyone else you know?  Nick Fury? Steve Rogers? Hal Jordan? Barry Allen? Jean Grey? Professor Xavier? Frank Castle? How long a list of people with this apparent super-power do I need to make before the stupidity of that comment becomes glaringly evident?

What's hard about saving the earth? Is that supposed to be a serious comment? Casting aside the obvious answer that super heroes are confronted with super villains every day, or that nobody could be everywhere at once, smart writers manage to remind us every day that for somebody who holds himself up a living example of how to do the right thing, he is constantly faced with numerous challenges that aren't resolved with simple displays of power.  Like anyone dealing with our fractured world he struggles with politics, government policy and the law and how it relates to doing what is right. He struggles with emotions, and intellectual conundrums which are at the heart of all good conflicts as well.  All of this you might know if you ever cracked open a Superman book and pulled your head out of your ass. What's hard about saving the earth?  Well for starters......there's all these stupid people on it who are constantly making things worse.

Lex Luthor fun fact #1: he wasn't named after a wrestler and that's the most retarded comment I've read yet.  Which wrestler who was around in the 1940's exactly are we talking about?  Moving on....

You refer to Luthor as a basic, average human being taking on a god. Lex Luthor fun fact #2: he is not an average human being, and nothing about his is basic.  The man is a scientific genius on a level that surpasses Bruce Wayne, has access to the kind of financial backing that rivals Batman and manages to work in the kinds of shadows that are not Clark's forte at exposing. That doesn't sound like me.  Or my neighbor. Or anyone who lives in my town come to think of it, which I suppose would then mean that he's nowhere near average. He is, in fact, the perfect foil for Superman because he relies on his cunning and unscrupulous brilliance to stand down Superman's other-worldly power.

I'm not going to spend a lot of time defending the Kryptonite argument because it's as shallow an assessment as anything else you've brought up.  I'm not going to get into the explanation of why radioactive isotopes might adversely affect a man who is effectively just a solar battery, because I've already seen the puddle deep thinking you're capable of and I don't want to risk you having an aneurysm trying to keep up. Suffice it to say that I don't mind if you hate that aspect of his story, but I do mind that you think it's his only weakness.  Just another sign that you have no idea what you're talking about.  The wallow in self-pity line only underscores your desperation to join the 'Stupid people hate Superman' club. You're lashing out and making things up as you do it, and for what purpose?  You could have just written, 'I hate Superman' and moved on.

Oh, and yes some of the less talented writers who have gotten their hands on the character over the years have left people with the impression that there is an abundance of Kryptonite on earth.  Is that the character's shortcoming, or just bad writing? For the record, most villains do not use Kryptonite, so we'll just add that to the list of thing's you're completely wrong about.  Bringing us to a grand sum total of......everything.

Before we kill this evisceration of the worst argument ever put forward, I'd like to draw everyone's attention to a small, yet fun fact.  Your review of characters was meant to challenge the motivation of them in comparison to Spider-Crap, yet when you got to Superman you changed gears. Why?  Well that's obvious.

Because of all of the heroes he has the most noble motivation.

He does it because it's the RIGHT thing to do.


I'm not even half way through and I'm a full blog into revealing highlighting your raging idiocy to the world.  I can't reveal it, because you took care of that when you wrote this inane response. Looks like we'll be back for more kicking of your opinion's ass soon.

Until then......I'm right.........and Spider-Man still sucks.


Nyarlathotep said...

I disagree with the notion that Spider-Man is a hero for selfish reasons. If anything the opposite is true. The guy sacrifices his entire life, his happiness and his future to help people because he has the power to do so. He gains nothing from being Spider-Man other than the sense that he is doing the right thing (the same reason you stated for Superman). True, his initial motivation was guilt over his Uncle's death that stemmed from a selfish act, but all that shows is that the character grew as a person. His origin actually has a character arc which many superhero origins lack. On top of that it teaches a moral lesson.

As for Superman, I personally have never cared for the character. I don't hate the guy, but I'm just not interested. Primarily because he's too powerful. Technically he should be able to wipe out 90% of the threats against him from orbit. Good writers can keep things interesting for Supes, but for every Grant Morrison there are about 30 Rob Leifields.

Another thing that bugs me is his name. He's called Superman. "What's your power?" "I'm SUPER!" Hes like that ass Mr. Fantastic. Even if you are Super or Fantastic you don't call yourself that unless you're some ego maniacal douchebag.

The 4th Man said...

Your defense of Spider-Man is flawed and I refer to my original blog on why he's a loser for all of my answers relating to him. He's a selfish prick who got his uncle killed.

He didn't grow as a character either. He's still lying to Aunt May (is she alive or dead this month?) and doing what he can to try and overcome his personal shortcomings. To grow he would have to unmask and own his guilt, which he doesn't do.

Plus he sucks.

Rob Liefeld isn't a writer. He's barely an artist. As for your dislike for Superman because he's too powerful......that's fine. Your call to make. I mean I don't see how that's any different than Batman (who is clearly HEAD and SHOULDERS above 90% of the people he faces) or Thor (same situation.) The value of a hero as a story-telling medium isn't tied to his powers, its tied to the writer understanding what truly makes a story work.

Once again we get to see somebody attributing things they think make them clever or smart incorrectly. Superman didn't name himself. Lois Lane named him that and it caught on with the public long before he gave his first interview. He simply chose not to dwell on it because he's NOT superficial like Mr. Fantastic (seriously.....that guy's a jerk!)

Nyarlathotep said...

I find your attack far more flawed than my defense. You see him as being a selfish prick who can't own his guilt. I see him as being a selfless hero who sacrifices his entire life to help people. Opinions.

Liefield has written comics. Horrible, horrible comics. But that was my point. There are more writers like him out there than there are skilled writers.

The argument I had about Superman's powers can in no way be also attributed to Batman. Batman is a man. For all his gadgets, fighting skills and genius a random bullet could kill him at any moment. Bullets bounce off Superman. Batman uses his skills to infiltrate a location, gather info and fight off defenses. Superman could just look through the walls from a hundred miles away. Batman's limitations keep a story interesting. Superman's lack of limitations make things too easy for him and therefore dull.

I don't know much about Thor, but even he isn't on the level of Superman's abilities. From what I know he can't even fly without the Hammer.

Defending against this point you echoed my statement about good writing keeping things interesting for Superman, but what you said:

The value of a hero as a story-telling medium isn't tied to his powers, its tied to the writer understanding what truly makes a story work.

...isn't completely true for comic books. Character is essential to any story, and in the super-hero genre, powers are tied to the character. What you've said makes sense if you're writing one story or a small series that has a definitive beginning, middle and end. But comics never end. Superman's powers become more of a hindrance for every successive story because they leave little room for new challenges.

But I'll confess, my knowledge of the character is limited to the common knowledge that's out there. Based on that I have little to no desire to find out more by reading his books. Recommend something to me. What are the classic Superman stories that epitomize everything you love about the character? Let these stories convince me he isn't as dull as he appears.

The 4th Man said...

Clearly you don't read Superman, or you wouldn't be able to talk about his lack of limitations. Clark has as many limitations as Bruce does, they just aren't the same ones.

Your suggestion that Batman can be killed by a bullet and they bounce off Superman only shows that you are insisting on comparing apples and oranges. So let me join in; Kryptonite doesn't do anything to Batman. Damn! He has it easy. Batman isn't drawn into conflict with people like Orion either (cause he'd be dead.) Batman is very much head and shoulders above his opponents in terms of physical abilities. He has very, very few opponents who are actually a match for him, which is much like Superman.

I find your assessment of Clark as a character very cursory and lacking any real analytical depth beyond what you might pick up because you saw a Superman movie once.

Thor is very much on Clark's level, which is why they were paired off against one another in JLA/Avengers. He's light years ahead of the rest of the Avengers in power, much like Superman is. The restrictions built into his powers come and go depending on when you're reading the book though. At his root though, Thor himself is a Norse GOD. Yes his power rivals Superman's.

"Character is essential to any story, and in the super-hero genre, powers are tied to the character."

Really? Then check this out. I'm strong, just like everyone else, but I......get this 'cause it's really awesome.....stick to walls!! Wait. That didn't sound as cool out loud as it did in my head. Maybe that's because if powers are tied to my value as a character......I suck balls.

"What you've said makes sense if you're writing one story or a small series that has a definitive beginning, middle and end. But comics never end."

True, but story arcs do. And as writers come and go off of books, the only thing that generally continues is the numbering sequence. Usually editorial has them wrap up their hanging threads. So in many ways comics, while numbered sequentially, are a series of smaller stories, all about the same character.

The only person hindered by the power of the character he's writing about is the unoriginal bastard who has no business being a writer. James Robinson, Greg Rucka, Geoff Johns and others have all managed to make sensational Superman books that lasted a year or longer. Good writers understand how much the book is about Clark, and not just about Superman. Clark is a much more prominent character in Action Comics than Bruce is in Batman. His supporting cast isn't a bunch of people who want to be him, it's real people who deal with the nightmares of life near Superman. It's a very compelling series when written by talented authors.

The 4th Man said...

As for my favorite moments for the character?

1. Whatever Happened To The Man Of Tomorrow? - Alan Moore (Moore, it is reported, actually grabbed the editor by the throat and threatened him if he considered letting anyone else write the two issues. DC was cleaning up their continuity with Crisis, so Moore wrote the two issue arc as though it really was the very last Superman story ever. It brings in a lot of Silver Age elements of the character that don't exist anymore, and....well.....Moore is Moore.)

2. Birthright - Mark Waid (a 12 issue limited series that officially replaced John Byrne's Man Of Steel as the origin of Superman. It has its flaws, but does an excellent job of really focusing on the elements of Clark and his upbringing that make Kal-El the right person to be Superman.)

3. Secret Origins - Geoff Johns (Currently going on, with elements which appear ready to supplant some of the Birthright material. Still, Johns is talented and the look into his past is always a great way of gaining perspective on Superman. Likewise and for similar reasons I liked Secret Identity.)

4. World of New Krypton - James Robinson (All part of the current Superman storyline, which I could include in this as well. A world of Kryptonians at odds with the Earth and Clark stuck in the middle. Tackles the issue of nurture v nature and underscores many of the elements that work for the Man of Steel.)

5. Outside of those four, there are plenty of other ones. The Death/Funeral/Return arc is largely seen as a media hype event, but within it are some nuggets of Superman that work. Is it great? No. But issues mixed into the story are. As are some of the elseworld re-imaginings of the character, including the version in which he lands in Russia. Red Son is terrific. I also like the ones that recognize what the world of heroes would be without him. JLA: The Nail comes to mind.