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Pulling Authority & Other Genres


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Why is it wrong if Authority-like team decides to take over ?

 

In every other genre heroes are ruthless killers.

 

a) Fantasy: The Simbul wants destroy the nation of Thay and

Elminster in The Shadow of the Avatar Trilogy considered destroying entire realms of men.

b)Horror: Not a lot heroes, but Abramah van Helsing DID kill.

c) Space Opera: Entire worlds are destroyed. Dr.Who happily destroyed the Dalek fleet.

d) Military & police: Use lethal force when necessary.

e) Pulp,Noir,Modern Action: Same goes here.James Bond and Jack Bauer are ruthless killers.

 

Even in soap operas lethal force has been used and main characters, "heroes" or not don´t mind bucking the system and opposing authorities.

 

Here is article about this subject: (http://www.killallthewhiteman.com/)

 

 

The Pacifying Protagonist:

Serial Media and the Birth of a New Hero Archetype

 

OR

 

Why Doesn’t Spidey Smoke Them Bitches? OK, first, to totally destroy any mystery, or for those of you who just want easy answers, most superheroes don’t kill simply because it would be really bad for business if the characters kept killing off their best foils. That’s a big part of why this new type of hero IS so new, dating, at the absolute earliest, to the late nineteenth century. But I am getting ahead of myself, the Pacifying Protagonist is not yet born.

First, if we’re going to establish that the Pacifying Protagonist is new, we have to cover what hero used to mean. Fortunately, Dictionary.com is like 90 years out of date as a dictionary (seriously, it’s using an old dictionary that’s fallen into public domain), we can use it to get a good idea of what Hero meant in Days of Yore.

1. a man of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities.

2. a person who, in the opinion of others, has heroic qualities or has performed a heroic act and is regarded as a model or ideal: He was a local hero when he saved the drowning child.

3. the principal male character in a story, play, film, etc.

4. Classical Mythology.

a. a being of godlike prowess and beneficence who often came to be honored as a divinity.

b. (in the Homeric period) a warrior-chieftain of special strength, courage, or ability.

c. (in later antiquity) an immortal being; demigod.

Most of these Heroes are known far less for what they saved than for what they changed, destroyed, or achieved. A Hero was someone who killed evil (and not so evil) kings, stole treasure, incited riots, lead rebel armies, and generally did the things that would be made the domain of a comic book villain. Now, retroactively, we’re going to call these heroes Disruptive Heroes.

  • Hercules, son of a God, forced to live as a common human who achieved Godhood through a series of trials that largely consisted of seeking out monsters to kill or trap, and stealing
  • Genji, a boy of noble birth, forced to live as a common human who, becomes a military officer, works his way upward socially, and sleeps with pretty much everyone
  • Jesus, the son of a god, brought up the son of a carpenter, who successfully alters the entire course of historyEven
  • King Arthur, famous far more than most heroes as a hero of peace, is the son of a king, forced to live as a commoner*, who assembles an army of the greatest warriors in the world (read: England) who wage a bunch of amazing feats, and then it all falls apart.

Heroes, all across the world, with varying degrees of historical verisimilitude, have always been people who went out and changed things, radically. They changed their lives, they changed the world around them, they nailed all the fly hunnies, they stole shit, and sometimes they tore down existing governments. Now how many of these apply to say, Superman? Something very fundamental about what makes a hero a hero has changed. Why?

The Industrial Revolution and the birth of the middle class. Suddenly, books are not nearly so rarefied an item. Reading is something people are doing for fun in huge numbers, and all new heroes are being created, for the first time, as recurring characters in on-going projects. Sherlock Holmes, Captain Nemo, Alan Quatermain**, Zorro, Tom Sawyer and others.

But we’re not quite there, these characters are recurring, but they tended to go on isolated adventures and had the occasional reoccurring nemesis, but for the most part they fit with the classic Disruptive Hero ideal. Even Superman, our measure of the modern hero, was far from the “big blue boyscout” we see him as now. Hell, the first issue of Action Comics has him smashing up some guy’s car just to scare the dude. Not exactly the peak of nobility.

It was the start of the change though. More and more writers realized that for a hero to have a long life in the extremely speedy worlds of Radio, Pulp magazines, and comics, the villains had to live. As a result, the heroes were moved from the role of the adventurer who sought out his enemies and took on a reactive role, a defender of the establishment.

After all of this, I’m left wondering: did the hero become an agent of the status quo SOLELY because of the difficulty of keeping an active adventure character compelling after hundreds or thousands of serialized stories, or are there other reasons, social influences, that might have changed our concept of a hero from an agent of change and upheaval to a force for stasis and maintenance? What does that say about us? What does it say that when Warren Ellis writes The Authority, about a team of Superheroes who actually stop wars, remove dictators and feed the hungry, that the reaction is a mixture of acclaim and fear, after all, who put them in charge? Who elected them hero?

*There is a theme here. Maybe you have caught it at this point. In order to avoid making the average person believe they too had a right to engage in this disruptive activity, heroes tend to have some kind of special birth, meaning that while it’s possible to relate to their circumstances, by no means are you expected to cause a ruckus like this guy did.

**All three of the proceeding characters are in Alan Moore’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. This is because Alan Moore is a genius.

 

 

Even Superman was killer originally.

 

 

 

Mark Waid :"I thought I knew everything about Superman. Then I read the stories reprinted in this volume, many of them for the first time, and my eyes widened with every page-turn. If I expected to glean here the adventures of a calm, well-reasoned guardian of The System, I was clearly flipping through the wrong book. Within these pages I met a head-bashing Superman who took no prisoners, who made his own law and enforced it with his fists, who gleefully intimidated his foes with a wicked grin and a baleful glare. A Superman who reveled in his strength, who clearly enjoyed raising a little hell and who didn't care who got in his way as he bounded through Metropolis meting out his own brand of justice. Was I surprised? When I see bullets bouncing off Superman's chest, I don't expect them to be coming from the guns of policemen. Whoever this was in the red cape, he was no super-cop. He was a super-anarchist. How could he have started out so different?".

 

There was an article Superhumans pulling an Authority.Lots of people considered Authority to be nothing but sociopaths.

I disagree.

 

Ultimately all superheroes and even all superbeings must be criminals.

 

PhoneniXforce: Just being a super powered individual would get you into so many law breaking situations you would quickly be labeled a 'Super Villian' without even really trying.

 

The simple act of Flight would be enough for you to violate so many laws that the goverment would want you put away. Think about the no fly zones that you would constantly be flying in. City streets are the most obvious but we could get into the details like the legality of flying under ones own power and if it requires a liscense to do so.

 

Then let's go to things like Super Strength. Unless you are exceptionally careful and vigilant you would destroy things without even trying. You could cripple someone you where simply trying to be intimate with, a hug could crush a rib cage.

 

Telepathy you could never use since it would very well be a violation of privacy.

 

 

These are just a few of the powers that are not even seriously offensive (Like Strike and Blast). In a real world things would spiral very quickly for a super human. So quickly that unless they had the patience of a saint they might quickly go the whole Magneto route and simply not accept societies rule of law.

Conclusion:

 

1.If Authority are villains since they break the law so are Jla-members.

2: It would be better to get rid of Comics Code

3. Rule of law is for Joe Normals, not demigods who should be by definition too much for mortal authorities to handle

4. Difference between heroism and villainy should be moral rather than legal and independent of human society and the existence of planet Earth.

 

My solution to Marvel Civil War would have been:

 

1.Anti-regs overthrow government

2. Captain America and Avengers create their own nation

 

 

By the way, i have read comments written by wanderer and robertliguori and for most part i agree with them.

 

 

 

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Re: Pulling Authority & Other Genres

 

No, he's right. The Authority ought to take over.

Me: "Midnighter, could I please rezone this lot to mixed-use/residential R4?"

Midnighter: "I'll get back to you when I've finished reviewing the new international civil aviation safety protocols. Hmm, what grade plastic do you think seat/life preservers need to be made of?"

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First of all, please understand I'm not accusing anyone of anything here, just airing my own thoughts on this.

 

One objection I can see to all this is, "Okay, Super-Altruist Man overthrows the evil gummint and takes over. He ends all tax cuts, legalizes all 'consensual crime', does whatever you want to see done, etc. because no one has the power to stop him and he doesn't respect any laws made by an immoral and corrupt authority, etc."

 

"Then Doctor Fascist comes along, kills S-A Man, takes over. He kills all the 'deviants' who supported the last guy, puts all our GNP into expanding the military, sticks telepathic robot sentries on every street corner, and turns America into a prison camp. And because he's more powerful than any other super, no one can defeat him. The End."

 

Bascially, my problem with these scenarios is, everyone seems to assume that come the revolution, it'll be someone who supports their ideas who takes power. What if it's someone who's personal attitudes are a complete 180 from yours? If you're a liberal, what if the guys who take over are total far-right fascists? If you're a conservative, what if the new leadership thinks that Pol Pot's sole failing is that he didn't go far enough?

 

America (or whatever country) has its problems, yes, but turning it or any other country into a modern-day Rome at its worst (when whichever general who had the larger army could and usually did become Emperor) sounds like a lousy answer. And if it becomes a case of 'the toughest superhuman rules', all you've got is a dictatorship -- which will last until someone can kill him, and then make themselves the new tyrannos.

 

And guess what he'll do to any metahuman, any at all, who might one day have the power to serve him as he served the last emperor? He'll have to kill them, to preserve his own life if nothing else.

 

I'll have to go home and read my book on superheroes and philosophy for more on this, but right now I guess my answer boils down to, "Because not even superhumans would want to exist in such a world."

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destroyed. Dr.Who happily destroyed the Dalek fleet.
Sorry to pick a nit on a secondary issue' date=' but this isn't quite true. The Doctor (and that [i']is[/i] the name of the title character on Doctor Who) did destroy the dalek fleet, but "happily" would hardly be the word for it.

 

That hardly obviates your main point, though. The rest of your examples are quite true; and even going back to The Doctor, he's killed many a foe with little mercy and few regrets.

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Bascially, my problem with these scenarios is, everyone seems to assume that come the revolution, it'll be someone who supports their ideas who takes power.

 

No, my point was:

 

1. Beings capable of dealing with extraterrestial spacefleets would not be stopped by US military.

2. This genre can work without reducing superbeings into status quo-revering boy scouts.

3. Original Superman was an anarchist before that dumb Comics Code.

 

I do not support or object to any real world political philosophy.

It´s just that in a world with powerful supers; Joe Average would be a second-class citizen, supers would be aristocrats and Joe Average a serf(this is not support for monarchism either).

 

Check out Mutants and masterminds official boards.

There are lots of arguments by Wanderer and Robertliguori which have supers to reduce normals to second-rate status

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Brock Samson: Don't you have anything else to do but harp on Dr. Venture? Why haven't you tried the World Domination thing, you afraid of the big leagues?

The Monarch: Please. How stupid do I look to you? World Domination. Pfft. I'll leave that to the religious nuts and the Republicans, thank you.

 

Superheroes don't do the world-domination thing 'cause it's a crazy idea. What sane person would want it? Only supervillains are into it because they are, by definition, insane. ;)

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No, my point was:

 

1. Beings capable of dealing with extraterrestial spacefleets would not be stopped by US military.

2. This genre can work without reducing superbeings into status quo-revering boy scouts.

3. Original Superman was an anarchist before that dumb Comics Code.

 

I do not support or object to any real world political philosophy.

It´s just that in a world with powerful supers; Joe Average would be a second-class citizen, supers would be aristocrats and Joe Average a serf(this is not support for monarchism either).

 

Check out Mutants and masterminds official boards.

There are lots of arguments by Wanderer and Robertliguori which have supers to reduce normals to second-rate status

 

To me, the fact that this doesn't happen in most comics is exactly why I find traditional non-murderous, system-supporting superheroes so appealing. They're true products of the democratic, humanist ideals of the American society that spawned them and their fictional adventures. These are extraordinary beings, gifted with power beyond what most people could dream of, who hold to the belief that that power does not make them fundamentally better than anyone else, and that less gifted individuals are still worthy of respect. They're often acutely aware of the temptations of their power, the ability to get away with almost anything without repercussions, and yet they choose to submit themselves to the laws of a system that most of them see as basically just and fair. They could take any action they deem to be for the greater good, regardless of whether governments or even the majority of people support that action, but they accept that they must be held accountable to the people for the consequences of their acts.

 

These are very difficult choices which often cost superheroes dearly, but they stand by their ideals. That is what makes them examples of the best of our society, and role models to aspire to emulate, even if most of us would fall short.

 

In most comic-book worlds the flipside of superheroes' respect for society and its laws, and willingness to support them, is that society implicitly respects and rewards them for it. Supers who are known to act in the public interest aren't fined for flying over public areas, are allowed to maintain secret identities, are often extended special police or security status and powers. The exceptional nature of the superhuman is accomodated and integrated into the overall social structure in ways that benefit supers and society.

 

Is all of this realistic? Given real-world human nature, probably not. But supers comics aren't about reflecting reality. They're about creating their own world, which is usually and for most of the more successful heroic characters more colorful, more intense, and more idealized than reality, where justice is common, courage and honor matter, and individuals can make a real difference. And maybe if enough of us believe that the real world should be more like that, we can move a little closer to it.

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the fact that this doesn't happen in most comics is exactly why I find traditional non-murderous, system-supporting superheroes so appealing. They're true products of the democratic, humanist ideals of the American society that spawned them and their fictional adventures.

 

Real reason is that the owners of comic book companies believe that traditional comics sell better, which may be true.

 

they choose to submit themselves to the laws of a system that most of them see as basically just and fair.

 

X-men do not:"Maybe Magneto is right after all, let´s conquer world and enslave humanity.

 

Namor,Hulk and Silver Surfer mostly despise humans.

 

Human Torch:"Why we spend so much time saving the world? So many of them do everything to ruin it."

 

Hercules and Thor:"Mortals do not deserve our protection anymore".

 

society implicitly respects and rewards them for it.

 

Pre-Crisis DC Universe did.Marvel US Government is corrupt and untrustworthy and civilians are hate-filled ingrates.

 

Marvels limited series #4:Reason for humanity's apparent disregard for its heroes, courtesy of Jameson - a mixture of jealousy and insecurity, knowledge that everyday, average humans cannot compete with the selfless heroism and nobility displayed by the Marvels.

 

Wildstorm is even more corrupt;government once destroyed an alternate Earth just to test their experiment.

 

Post-Crisis DC is not as corrupt; but villains are becoming more Iron Agish and heroes´ attachment to Silver Age-morals makes them look like impotent fools.

 

The exceptional nature of the superhuman is accomodated and integrated into the overall social structure in ways that benefit supers and society.

 

Which either means your campaign-style resembles Pre-Crisis DC

or you are ignoring lots of facts.

 

where justice is common, courage and honor matter, and individuals can make a real difference

 

Nobody publishes comics like that anymore. Post-crisis Batman

is insane.Supes believes in unworkable ideals(which DID work in Pre-Crisis universe).

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Check out Mutants and masterminds official boards.

There are lots of arguments by Wanderer and Robertliguori which have supers to reduce normals to second-rate status

 

Somehow I'm not surprised Wanderer's name turned up in this discussion ;)

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Real reason is that the owners of comic book companies believe that traditional comics sell better' date=' which may be true.[/quote']

 

Perhaps. Which makes one wonder why people buy more of that kind of comic. :sneaky:

 

X-men do not:"Maybe Magneto is right after all, let´s conquer world and enslave humanity.

 

Namor,Hulk and Silver Surfer mostly despise humans.

 

Human Torch:"Why we spend so much time saving the world? So many of them do everything to ruin it."

 

Hercules and Thor:"Mortals do not deserve our protection anymore".

 

At various times over their long publication history, these characters did say things like that. And yet when push comes to shove they act to protect the world and beyond, even if the world seems ungrateful. Because despite how hard it may be, they believe it's the right thing to do.

 

Pre-Crisis DC Universe did.Marvel US Government is corrupt and untrustworthy and civilians are hate-filled ingrates.

 

Marvels limited series #4:Reason for humanity's apparent disregard for its heroes, courtesy of Jameson - a mixture of jealousy and insecurity, knowledge that everyday, average humans cannot compete with the selfless heroism and nobility displayed by the Marvels.

 

Wildstorm is even more corrupt;government once destroyed an alternate Earth just to test their experiment.

 

Post-Crisis DC is not as corrupt; but villains are becoming more Iron Agish and heroes´ attachment to Silver Age-morals makes them look like impotent fools.

 

As I said in my previous post, it's the more traditional non-Iron Age comics and characters that appeal to me. I admit that that's a personal preference which other people have a right to disagree with. I should also clarify for debate purposes that I don't necessarily consider the way something is currently, or how it was at some point in the past, as the basis for what I believe it should be.

 

Nobody publishes comics like that anymore. Post-crisis Batman is insane.Supes believes in unworkable ideals(which DID work in Pre-Crisis universe).

 

From all reports comics sales figures are generally shrinking and have been for some time, and while it could be coincidental I have to wonder whether some of the trends in their subject matter, such as you describe, have something to do with that.

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While the people in his examples have killed there is a difference between willing to use lethal force if required and being a "ruthless killer" Using lethal force doesn't make you not a hero, its the reasons and situations where you employ it that makes you a hero.

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Killing bad guys is legitimate, especially in war. IIRC, the Authority pretty much just appointed themselves gods and proceeded from there. To me it mostly seemed like an abject lesson in exactly why heroes aren't supposed to act like that. They're not supposed to be worse than the evils they're supposedly fighting.

 

In any case, that kind of behavior (even by the so-called heroes) destroys much of the point of comics: escapism. Who wants to roleplay in a world with bigger problems than exist in the real one?

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Superheroes don't do the world-domination thing 'cause it's a crazy idea. What sane person would want it? Only supervillains are into it because they are, by definition, insane. ;)

I think teh bunneh has hit the nail right on the head. Fictional or role-playing characters (or their players) who want to rule the world are crazy. Nobody in The Authority was truly sane, if you think about it. I kinda thought that was the whole point of the story. I'm not even certain The Authority wasn't really more of a protest against Iron Age-ism than it was an Iron Age saga. Seriously, who would've wanted to be any of them?

 

If you read The Lord of the Rings and only thought how cool it'd have been to be Sauron, you've got a serious problem. ;)

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This discussion comes up sometimes and it almost always boils down to if you like Mark Millar and heroes who are really villains like Magnum Force, this is your style. If you like heroes who stand for something (despite recent stuff to make you shudder), then it isn't.

 

The Authority are so great as heroes but they don't make their world better and in some cases make it worse because the writer is de-dee-dee.

CES

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Idea there was:

 

1.In other genres protagonists are killers.Supers were killers before Comics Code

2.In other genres they want to change world if they have power.

Simbul and Elminster would change world to their image.Rebels in Star Wars also wanted to create their own Alliance of Free Planets.

3. In real world nearly every nation was founded upon conquest.Including United States and Israel.

 

Main reason that standards are different in this genre is publishers and editors were worried about reactions from politicians and angry parents.

 

As far as i see , Comics Code is overrated.

 

Miracleman forced his "good intentions" on a society, whether they want it or not.

 

"Forcing 'good intentions' on society." Well, that's what we

humans do. That's power. I mean, only by society's own forced

good intentions do we get that stealing, killing, etc. is wrong.

There is no REAL right and wrong. There is no REAL good and

evil. Just as there are no REAL unalienable rights to anything...

except maybe death. For now. We all act selflishly by what we

perceive as right. So, if someone had God-like powers, and he

thought society would benefit by forcing his intentions on it, I

couldn't really say that's a "corruption" of power. It's just the

natural employment of power.

 

In Dark Knight Strikes Again, Superman rejects humanity and its laws: "Ma. Pa. You were wrong. . . . I am not one of them. I am not human.""It took my own daughter and my darkest rival – my despised opponent – to teach me – I am not human." "And I am no man's servant. I am no man's slave. I will not be ruled by the laws of men.""I am no man. I am Superman."

 

Green Lantern also accepted the "shadow" side of superherodom that Batman represents. Green Lantern says that Batman was right: "Of course we're criminals. We've always been criminals. On this planet we have to be criminals." In other words, the superheroes cannot cooperate with human government; they must stand in opposition to it.

 

 

Face the facts, in other genres th Authority would be considered heroic.

 

1.Millar, Ellis and their kind are right.

2.Comics Code is dumb.It should never have existed.

 

It´s time to go back to original Superman who opposed cops,killed dictators and demolished buildings.

 

Further:

 

In other genres heroes kill,destroy and interfere with politics(if they can, Jack Bauer even kidnapped President).As do villains.Hero is just a slightly nicer villain.

In supers genre difference between heroes and villains is that of restraint.Don´t kill,do not change world.

 

Joe: You know Superman.If you and Luthor were in another, abandoned planet, you could kill him there.No laws and American public would never know.

Superman: I would.

Joe:That is difference between you and him.You restrain yourselves and your enemies benefit from it.

 

Are superheroes lawful stupid ?

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Face the facts' date=' in other genres th Authority would be considered heroic.[/quote']

You know, I've tried a half-dozen times now to respond to this post, but always went back and erased it because my examples would have Godwinized the thread immediately (even without using Nazis or Hitler). I've come to the conclusion that there's no way I can think of to state a polite rebuttal without touching off a firestorm. At least no way that occurs to me that I have the time and inclination to try and write without igniting that powderkeg.

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You know' date=' I've tried a half-dozen times now to respond to this post, but always went back and erased it because my examples would have Godwinized the thread immediately (even without using Nazis or Hitler). I've come to the conclusion that there's no way I can think of to state a polite rebuttal without touching off a firestorm. At least no way that occurs to me that I have the time and inclination to try and write without igniting that powderkeg.[/quote']

 

More or less my conclusion, as well.

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I collected the Authority for almost the entire run. I'll give my two cents.

1) Naming yourself the boss of all you survey and that you'll kill anyone who disagrees with you is the bread and butter of master supervillains. Not heroes. The Authority started out as a "Watch Yourselves, cause we're watching you." Then they simply wasted everyone that disagreed with them.

2) The Earth of the Authority was a vile cesspool of feces in human form. None of the citizens, governments, costumed heroes or criminals was what I would call a "Good person" this was done to make the Authority seem more sympathetic. It just served to make me thing Millar was a pathetic writer. This has not changed. I enjoyed the first 12 issues well enough. But I've noticed that aside from Planetary, I've not owned anything else by Ellis either.

 

To be brief. I disagree.

But I'll grant you that your view was well documented and presented.

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Re: Pulling Authority & Other Genres

 

Nobody has so far answered to my comment.

 

Why should the STARDARD for heroism in supers genre be different than every other genre ?

 

Real world US military afterall nuked Hiroshima and destroyed Dresden.

 

I suppose they are villains too.

 

Authority ARE villains if you use Silver Age Comics Code-standard.

 

But when this genre was invented in Action Comics #1, Superman was violent anarchist.

 

In the first 2-3 years of Superman comic books and comic strips, the Man of Steel was a far cry from the character we know today. Described by co-creator Jerry Siegel as "a thorn in the side of the establishment", this Superman's tagline was not, "Truth, Justice, and the American Way," but rather "Champion of the Oppressed." Instead of super-villians and space aliens, he used direct action to fight slumlords, munitions manufacturers and their lackeys in government, warmongering heads of state, and the execution of innocent people. Within three years, DC had seized control of the character and began transforming him into the toothless symbol of status quo "justice" we've known for decades.

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