Why Superman is seen as lame (and why writers have a hard time writing him)

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IndieKid007

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I've been looking up a lot of comic book history, and realized that people REALLY think Superman is lame. So, I wanted to talk about it...

Superman is the most enduring superhero of all time. With that, he has the most pressure to be consistent; a pressure not shared as extremely by peers Batman and Spider-Man. The reason for this is simple: Superman is DC'S corporate icon. It's the same reason why Mickey Mouse isn't messed with. (If only Disney did that with their classic films).

But wait, isn't Spider-Man Marvel's corporate icon? Why is he able to be messed with? I'll tell you why:

HE HAS AN AMAZING SUPPORTING CAST (pun not intended)

With Spider-Man and Batman, they are great concepts for characters by themselves. One is a teen superhero who deals with relatable troubles, and the other is a rich playboy who is secretly a crime fighting, Bat-dressed ninja with a gadget for every situation. These concepts stand on their own, just like Superman's; but when you add supporting characters and rogue galleries that directly relate to the heroes, you get a complete and engaging world. Superman is missing this for the most part. THAT'S the real reason why we think he's lame.

This is also why writers have such a hard time writing him. With Batman and Spider-Man, there's an established, intimate connection with their supporting cast and rogue's gallery, which makes it easy for writers to come up with fresh and unique stories for them. Superman, again, does not have this.

Imagine if you take 80% of Batman's rogue's gallery and supporting cast away from him, and leave everything else the same. That's what you get with Superman. I mean, yes; you have Martha (WHY DID YOU SAY THAT NAME), Jonathan Kent, Lois, The Daily Planet, Perry White, Jimmy Olsen, Zod, Lex, Bizarro, Brainiac, and Darkseid, but that's pretty much it. Who gives a FLYING FUCK about the Parasite? (Haha, "flying" fuck...Okay, I'll leave now).

Though, Superman doesn't just have an incomplete supporting cast and rogue's gallery that is interesting -- he has an incomplete connection to them. Besides Lois, Lex, his parents, and maybe Zod and Bizarro; where is his intimate connection to the people around him that make them arguably more interesting than him? Like, what is his dynamic with Darkseid other than a good guy versus a bad guy who needs Bosley?

TL;DR: We think Superman is lame because he isn't connected to his supporting cast like Batman and Spider-Man.

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Dextersinister1

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#2  Edited By Dextersinister1

The main argument for Superman being lame is that he is unrelatable.

Spiderman is a normal guy given super powers but not so great that he is above real world problems, he still must deal with rent, job, love life.

Batman is an extraordinary normal human, he is suppose to represent what we as normal humans can potentially do.

Superman when written at his best should be as a man that has been gifted with extraordinary powers and how someone with these god like powers interacts with the normal world. The best character driven stories have always revolved around extraordinary responsibilities, All Star Superman and what's so funny about truth Justice and the American way.

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Ready_4_Madness

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#3  Edited By Ready_4_Madness

Because people perceive him of being what he was back in the 70's. As for his writing he has plenty good stories it's just that you need a really good writer.

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kgb725

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#4  Edited By kgb725

Personally I have a hard time with his solo stories

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Havenless

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His unstoppable nature doesn't really give credence to a world with hundreds of superheroes. and the second thing is kryptonite, a plot device I really dislike.

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ScouterV

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@indiekid007: A lot of this could be said above Batman or Spider-Man man too. And some of this isn't true anymore.

Spider-Man isn't a teenager anymore. You say nobody cares about Parasite, but he'd be a better rogue than The Condiment King, Calendar Man, Signal Man, or Doctor Phosphorus. Not to mention Mysterio or Hydroman. Every hero has fodder in their Rogues. That's hardly a problem.

Not to mention, you forgot Lana, Steel, Cyborg Superman, Jon, Mr. Myx, Superboy, Krypto, The Legion, Toymaster, Super-Man, Eradicator, H'el, Doomsday, and a host of other characters Clark has come into contact with over the years.

There's so much to draw from to work with with a character like Superman, the only issue could be an unimaginative writer.

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TimeLordScience

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#8  Edited By TimeLordScience

Often times when adults give Superman stories a fair shot they will like him.

It's mostly just teens and casual superhero fans that are drawn to Batman because of the seriousness, angst or a "badass" factor, or Spider-Man cause he's a high school kid with a sense of humor.

When a comic book reader gets older and is able to get over their prejudices, they're able to see the appeal of Superman.

A hero less defined by his powers and abilities (the typical critiques detractors try to levy against him) but by his morals, upbringing, as well as his ability to be at once alien and yet decidedly American.