At the end of one of my comments in the Secret Identities thread, I posted, "I never understood why they made CK into a crusading hero in his reporter guise. That just seems so wrong. But then, so does marrying Lois, and they did that, too."


To which Lee Houston Junior replied: 

Mister SA:

I was going to comment on the subject of secret identities until I read the last line of your comment.

Are you saying it was a mistake for Clark to marry Lois? If you are talking the Silver Age versions of the characters, then yes, I do agree with you. But if you are referring to the golden or present age versions, then I most humbly have to disagree.

The Golden Age Lois had a lot going for her, even if society was not quite prepared to deal with an independent woman. As portrayed up until the end of World War 2 (thankfully, I have seen a few reprints, so I can at least comment on the subject), Lois was a more than capable reporter in her own right. If she wasn't, then that era's Miss Lane would never have gotten out of the clerical pool at the Daily Star/Planet. Their marriage in the 40th anniversary issue of Action Comics was a milestone within the Superman mythos and lasted until the destruction of Earth 2 at the end of the original Crisis on Infinite Earths.

As for the Silver Age Lois, I have absolutely no idea what the powers that were at DC then were thinking. If it wasn't for Superman's last second rescues (and granted, there were times when she needed rescuing because of the Kryptonian), Lois would have never made it out of the 1960s alive. If they did ever get married and it wasn't a hoax or an imaginary tale, then they quickly would have gotten a divorce within a couple of years.

But thankfully she did survive, because the Lois of today not only harkens back to the confident female reporter of the Golden Age, but has blossomed and matured into the lady that the character is today, and has truly not only earned her reporter's status at the Daily Planet, but her role in the Superman family today.

Unfortunately, it's only been within the last couple of decades (reading wise) that the character has had any serious creative developmental work. I just hope that someday, some future power that be doesn't want to take Lois back to her Silver Age roots in their version of "One More Day/Brand New Day". 

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I think it is more important to be fair to real people who feel under-represented and lacking in strong role models than fictional people who live in universes where 11 impossible things happen before breakfast every day, anyway.


I get what you are saying about internal consistency, but there are lots of concessions to illogic in DC comics to make for better stories.  Why doesn't the Batmobile get clamped or towed more often?  Another bit of illogic is a small price to pay in my book for making their universe look more inclusive and as if it understands that its not just a certain narrow group of people that these comics can be about or for.


(Some of those arguing weren't talking about internal consistency either, but about being nice to a fictional character because she's had a tough (fictional) life!)


It's not that there has to be a disabled person in the DCU (who looks like the kind of disabled person we see in the real world - not a cyborg), but rather that in Oracle, DC have acheived something pretty much by accident that is valuable and rare in popular entertainment and it shouldn't be thrown out on a whim.

I will still have to humbly and respectfully disagree with you.

No prob, that's not a bad thing. If we all agreed, these threads would be much shorter and duller.

But, likewise, I want to respectfully propose that the reason you want them to be married is that you're bored with Superman. You've read years' worth of stories about the Supes-Clark-Lois triangle and you wanted to move on to see the third act.

I can understand that, but I think the answer is to stop reading Superman or read the Elseworlds stories about him, not to expect Superman to move to this third act and wind up happily ever after. There's nowhere to go from there, and the notion that they're going to revert him to single indicates that. They hit a brick wall and want to tell those earlier stories. And unlike death, marriage is irrevocable in comics. 

It's natural to want to see how a story "turns out." But a serial adventure character like Superman isn't designed to reach that point. The writers strain against that, because they want growth and resolution. But if it happens, it dilutes or ends the interest in the character. (Or, at least mine).

There are several mystery series--Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe and Lee Childs' Jack Reacher, that I know of off the top of my head--where the books can be read in any order, as there is NO growth or outside, recurring characters who enter and grow.

That's great for the reader, I can read any Wolfe novel when I find it and not worry it's going to tip me to something that happened in an earlier one. But it also can be unsatisfying to find every character in the exact same spot when the book ends except for having solved one more puzzle. But Wolfe books are classics, and I don't think that would have happened if Archie Goodwin had gotten married and left.

I think the two characters work better in the long run as a married couple than being singles again.

I absolutely disagree with that exact wording. I think it's intrinsic to the appeal of Superman--to his popularity "in the long run"--that he's two parts of a romantic triangle. As Kurt Busiek says in that Seven Reasons argument I linked to, there *are* good stories to tell of a married Superman, but what has to be sacrificed, in the long run, to tell those stories makes them better stories to tell with another character. No other character has Superman's situation.

Besides, one thing I'm not sure was brought up in the original discussion on this thread: would Bruce Wayne be a better man if he found the right soul mate?

He'd be a better man, but is that what we want? He'd no doubt be mellower, less intense, more worried about his wife, she'd be worried about him, etc. Again, there are interesting stories to be told there, but to marry Batman and only be able to tell those stories from now on would be a huge loss.

Sherlock Holmes would have been a better man if he'd gotten married to his soul mate. But he would no longer be a Sherlock Holmes we wanted to read.

The right couple together makes a better life for both people. I'm sure all the married couples in this website's audience will agree with that.

Sure, but as was noted, the point is that we don't WANT them to have a "better life." We want them to struggle, we want them unsure, angry, scared, and ultimately to win. When I'm content they have a better life ahead of them, I stop reading.

I was certain that Clark and Lois wouldn't marry until the final episode of Smallville, because that's the end of the story. It turned out, they didn't marry until seven years AFTER the final episode--and we never really saw that, either, so it's not a certainty.

Superman ultimately is the story of Lois and Clark. Once they work that out, reveal the secrets and commit to their future, it's over. There are stories to be told there, but they fall into the "They Lived Happily Ever After" stage, and who wants to read those? 

CK said: Keeping Barbara Gordon in the wheelchair continues the Women In Refrigerators syndrome.

Au contraire, Pierre, I thought turning Babs into Oracle was one of the best moves DC ever made. It took was a gratuitous moment in a one-shot comic that could've been declared out of continuity and turned her into a character who was nearly essential to the DCU. She turned that refrigerator into a pretty formidable weapon, and that's a heckuva story.

Returning her to being Batgirl is pretty unoriginal and seems to play to really old readers, much like reviving Barry Allen. Although I disagree that it's aimed at people 30 years old. That's the TYPICAL reader today. You have to be about 40 to remember Babs as Batgirl.

I think it's s shame if they stick Babs back in the Bat-suit and eliminate Oracle. That's a waste for two characters at once. It also eliminates one of the few disabled characters in the DCU, which was a nice touch.

The former Batgirl being Oracle is a great idea. Barbara Gordon as Batgirl, after so many other Batgirls, is pretty bland.

-- MSA

The fact that we're discussing such matters to the extent we are proves that some creators over the years have done their jobs well.

When Superman was presumed dead, I believed it. The fact that our medical instruments just could not take reliable readings through his thick Kryptonian skin was believable.

I totally thought Bruce Wayne was done for when Bane broke his back. For him to miraculously come back, even in a comic book, stretched credibility too far for me to take.

Barbara Gordon was no less a character or a woman before The Killing Joke. She could have just as easily drifted off into the background and risk becoming a minor supporting character. The fact that John Ostrander and Kim Yale, as well as Gail Simone, would not allow that is something I applaud.

Depending upon what happens, I have mixed feelings about the upcoming Batgirl title, despite my faith in Simone as a writer. We have yet to see HOW DC will reestablish Babs as Batgirl. Will it be a simple reset to a pre-Killing Joke position in her life or some miraculous come back?

If it's the latter, I will not continue the title past the first issue.

We'll see what happens come September.


And as for my strong feelings towards Mister and Mrs. Kent that started this whole thread to begin with, too many people I knew in high school are already on their third, if not FOURTH marriage. So being a hopeless romantic at heart, is it any wonder why I always root for "happily forever after"?

When Superman was presumed dead, I believed it.

That's really a suspension of disbelief! If not then, certainly since then, comics has proven that death means nothing, especially for major characters. The only way they can make it work is to make the story about the ramifications to the superhero world interesting to read. Because we know the death won't last (although, to be fair, sometimes we have to wait 25 years to see the revival).

I can't imagine any comics fan saying, "Oh no! BLANK is being killed! They can't kill him!" We saw that when we found out Johnny Storm was being killed. It was less about him and more about which one it would be and when he'd be back. It has to be a really good story to make a death worthwhile.

If nothing else, we think less of the heroes for spending so much time weeping their eyes out when the dead guy may be home watching TV when they get back from the funeral. The dopes.

Depending upon what happens, I have mixed feelings about the upcoming Batgirl title, despite my faith in Simone as a writer.

I think all of the new books depend entirely on execution. The concept and creators can spur interest, but everything depends on whether they can tell good stories with an allegedly blank slate--if that's what it is (and do it on time, but that's another story). There are creators I have more faith in than others, to the point that I often follow writers more than characters.

It's like all those articles that list all the movies coming out for the summer. The ones that sound good often aren't the ones I end up going to see. Although GL would have to be pretty bad for me not to go...

So being a hopeless romantic at heart, is it any wonder why I always root for "happily forever after"?

Ah, but I *root* for a happily forever after--and I have no doubt that Clark and Lois will ultimately get there. But "happily forever after" is a destination, and I want to enjoy their journey to get there. The anticipation is often better than the gift. The words "happily ever after" typically are followed by: The End. 

-- MSA

Mr. Silver Age said:

CK said: Keeping Barbara Gordon in the wheelchair continues the Women In Refrigerators syndrome.

Au contraire, Pierre, I thought turning Babs into Oracle was one of the best moves DC ever made. It took was a gratuitous moment in a one-shot comic that could've been declared out of continuity and turned her into a character who was nearly essential to the DCU. She turned that refrigerator into a pretty formidable weapon, and that's a heckuva story.

I think we're both right on this score.

Yes, John Ostrander and Kim Yale, and Gail Simone, turned that sow's ear into a silk purse. Yes, Barbara Gordon is a more powerful, more interesting and more essential part of the DC Universe for their efforts. However, as long as she's in the wheelchair, she's in the refrigerator. There's no two ways about that.

However, as long as she's in the wheelchair, she's in the refrigerator. There's no two ways about that.

I agree it was pretty gratuitous in the story, and I was surprised at how quickly it was embraced as canon. I also think it was unfortunate that the person that made this dramatic transformation had to be one of the few strong female (non)super-heroes. But I think it's much more than a typical female in jeopardy storyline represented by the "refrigerator" analogy.

I do wonder WHY it happened. Did Moore or the editors think a Bat-family was embarrassing, so they wanted to get rid of the extraneous bat-person who was hard to suspend disbelief for? I hope it wasn't simply to make the Joker look like a bad guy. And considering the number of Bat-girls and -women who appeared since then, the notion that this would wipe out the "bat-girl" stuff is a pretty sad misunderstanding of the power of marketing muscle.

But now, suspending my disbelief to make Babara Gordon into a Bat-"Girl" is going to take some doing.

-- MSA

Yes, I think Alan Moore simply needed to make The Joker look like a bad guy, and Barbara Gordon was sacrificed to show that the stakes were higher this time than ever before. Why other writers embraced that shooting and paralysis as permanent, I have no answer for. I recall one story where some doctor stated that the physical damage from this wound was too extensive to be repaired, with the statement that "part of her spine was shot away" -- this, I expect, to quiet those readers who would argue that if death isn't permanent in the DC Universe, mere paralysis can't be either. Still, this is comics. Any one of us could cite a half-dozen ways to give Barbara Gordon her mobility.


For my part, I don't and have never believed that getting Barbara Gordon out of the wheelchair has to mean the end of Oracle, but that option never seems to be on the table. And given how Chuck Dixon and Gail Simone and other writers have developed the character of Barbara Gordon, I too find it hard to swallow that she would even want to be Bat-"Girl".

I never understood how curing Barbara could be more complicated than...


"Hey, Zee, do a girl a solid?"*


"Sure thing, BG!  Arabrab, eb delaeh!"


"Thanks, I owe you for that one!"





*Or however the kids would say it these days.

It's not the case that the marriage between Superman and Lois means there can no longer be any inner identity/outer identity conflict in the stories. In The Incredibles Mr. Incredible had to deal with the frustrations of living a normal life and not having an outlet in which he could use his powers. In a Silver Age imaginary story Lois had to deal with the frustrations of not being able to tell the world her husband was Superman.


In the Golden Age, Lois commonly got involved in Superman's adventures. The marriage makes it natural for her to be involved in his adventures despite her lack of superpowers, and for their relationship to be at the heart of the feature.


The Tarzan series didn't end when Tarzan married Jane.

Doc Beechler (mod-MD) said:
Talking about how to do a superhero movie series...   If what Ryan Reynolds has been saying in interviews comes to pass, we may see Hal pass off the ring to John or Kyle after three films, allowing the Earth or Sector 2814 Lantern to have his or her trilogy and move on with the series as "Our Lantern and the Corps" essentially.  You can build up, through the comics and TV series, other Lantern characters and really have no end in sight as long as people like the Corps films. 
...If the GL series/francise takes off , I'd like a side series - film , anyway - about Alan Scott !
  I know the Golden Age GA has been explained in the comic's continuity as ' a side Power Ring that somehow made it to Earth without the Guardians' knowledge " , I believe . ( Though there was that " I will bring Death !/Life !/Power ! " thing in the original ALL-AMERICAN COMICS #1 origin...Actually , I seem to remember of DC either publishing or planning a modern version of Alan Scott'sthe original GL origin , was it ever publiehed ??????? ) That could be brought into the movie continuity as well .


In regards to your post, Zatanna arranged for a girl's night out between herself, Wonder Woman, and Barbara Gordon in Brave and Bold #33 (June, 2010) that just happened to be the night before events in The Killing Joke because she knew what was about to happen.

I always wondered, if Zee knew was about to happen, why she either didn't do something to prevent it or else heal Babs afterwards. But if either was within her capabilities, one would think she would have done so already.

Of course, Booster Gold has tried to change the outcome of TKJ in his own title with disastrous results.


And Luke:

I totally agree with your comments above. Mr. SA uses the journey analogy in his posts on this thread. My one complaint is that DC either can't or won't let the journey continue on to the next logical step: children. Even if that's not in the cards right now, the issue can always be discussed to the point that the Kents decide not to have any offspring at the present time; and then move on to other events; thus also using another of Mr. SA's analogies: change without change.

ClarkKent_DC said:

I was an intern at the Baltimore News American when the Hearst Company put it up for sale. For a year, it sought a buyer, but one deal after another fell through, and after the third time, Hearst shut the paper down. The main sports columnist, city columnist and about a dozen or so reporters and editors landed at either the Baltimore Sun or the Baltimore Evening Sun. As described above, Hearst arranged a job fair to place the rest of the staff. (I distinctly recall one reporter lamenting that he'd never had to write a resume before; he'd worked at the News American his entire adult life, starting fresh out of high school.) Several people went to the Philadelphia Inquirer. I landed in Syracuse, N.Y., at the Post-Standard and Herald-Journal.


To add insult to injury, the day after the News American shut down for good, the Sun announced it had been sold to the Times Mirror Company, parent of the Los Angeles Times and Newsday! Times Mirror could have bought the News American, but chose to buy the stronger paper, not the weaker one -- and now owned it with no daily newspaper rival to contend with. 




...My late father worked for a Hearst paper , the SAN ANTONIO LIGHT .

  Years after he had left , IIRC , Hearst bought their competition - which had a non-unioncontract - and shut down the union Light , I believe it's the SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS now . 

  At the time I came here to San Francisco THE SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE was owned a a family corporartion of a family known as the De Youngs and THE SANFRANCISCO EXAMINER was owned by Hearst , and the two papers had had a Joint Operation Agreement since the 60s , sharing printing presses and the classified ads section and publishing a combined Sunday , with different papers handling , seperately , different parts of the paper .

  Around the turn of the millenium , this changed , in a complicated manner that led to , now:

  The Chronicle owned by Hearst .

  The Examiner a tabloid-sized giveaway that pats itself on the back as being part of the " new media " , and is owned by Philip Anschetz(??) (the man whose company made the " Narnia " movies)...and does not carry comic strips !!!!!!!!! Boo hoo hoo .

  I actually did , recently , write them a letter suggesting they bring comics back , and specifically suggested the DICK TRACY and THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN strip , for all that it is worth - So , I was socilly-minded enough to do it anyway .

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