OK. So I've seen topics like this for individual characters (specifically Batman and Superman.), so now I've decided to take the concept one step further and ask you how you'd write an entire era if given the chance.
Everyone knows that the Golden Age was an important time for comics in general, as that was when the most iconic characters came into being and the two big companies we know today, Marvel and DC, found their fame. It was also around this time that the first ever Comic Book super team, The Justice Society of America was created. Even after the 40s, continuity was still added to the era with aspects such as the All-Star Squadron, Amazing Man, Steel, etc. Some of the more obscure characters from that time would later become the inspiration for more recognisable ones that we still love today. (for example, Dan Garrett inspiring the creation of Ted Kord and Jaime Reyes and and Star Spangled Kid inspiring Stargirl.) Now the New 52 neglected the existence of the Golden Age entirely, but lets say there was a company wide reboot and you were in charge of rewriting that era as you thought it should be.
What aspects of the characters would you change?
Would Batman or Superman be part of it in anyway and How?
What decade would you set it in?
Would you alter or tweak or alter any characters' costumes, origins, or powers and if so, how?
Would there be any major events?
How would you structure and create the teams in universe?
How would you handle the villains?
How would events play out
How would the Golden Age End?
Here's hoping for some creative ideas from you all. I look forward to seeing what everyone comes up with. :)
@2099man: That's an excellent pitch for a Mythical Superman take.
One thing I forgot to add is that I'd make Krhptonite deadly to anything. It'd break the Law of Conservation of Mass and Energy by emitting absurd amounts of energy (ergo, radiation) without ever changjng its mass and it'd kill any living being in close proximity, with only Kryptonians surviving for a short while. I'd take the Little Chunks of Death idea as far as I could.
Thanks for the kind words. If you've got any other comments you'd like to make, be they criticisms or otherwise, I'd love to hear them. :) I've made some minor edits as well if you'd care to look. Just to tidy things up.
Also, just as an add on. Here are the many faces of my take on Superman's original greatest foe, as I would have him appear.
I'd probably take a radically traditional yet different direction with my take on Superman. First of all, I'd have him be allot older than he actually looks like say over a century, complete with the grey hair around the sides like Kal-L once had. In other words like the image below.
Of course I'd have him debut in 1939 at the age of 24, as well as entertain the idea that Kryptonians grow more powerful as they get older under a yellow sun. Kyrpton in this case would be a combination of the versions found in the Golden Age, the 2003 series Superman: Secret Origins, the novel The Last Days of Krypton and the Smallville series/1978 Movie in terms of How Jor-L would kinda look as well as how Clark got the fortress. Clark would be more of a vigilante in his early years as was in the Golden Age, taking on social problems and evils as well as lawful ones with words, kidnapping, and aggression and sometimes putting others at risk with a tendency to take a softer approach when it came to children. Eventually, he'd end up toning himself down during the war out of shame towards his more ''illegal'' actions, becoming more of a public servant and model citizen with a somewhat smug attitude yet a non nonsense approach to crime and evil. Although he'd still have moments of relapse.
Jon Kent (born in 1953) from Rebirth would be his son and Clark himself would be semi retired, the main focus being on his son and grandson (who in my take would be Conner born in 1990,) and their supporting casts, except for the stories that take place from 1939 to 1983. Metropolis itself would start off as more of a cleaner and ever so slightly smaller version of New York, before becoming a lot more futuristic thanks to the actions of Brainiac, literally becoming a ''City of the Future'' with science fiction-esc aspects such as robots, sliding doors with key cards, flying cars and a very futuristic monorail system and designs like oddly shaped buildings, similar to the Metropolis seen in the Animated Series. (to the point where even Suicide Slums looks like something out of Radford's 1984 mixed with the 1st RoboCop.) In other words, it'd be more of a tribute to Fritz Lang's and Rintaro's Metropolis', (minus the more dystopian aspects) as well as taking cues from the DCAU version.
The Ultra-Humanite would still be the Superman Family's greatest foe, (along with Mxyzptlk and Zod) with Luthor and his descendants taking up a sort of Baron Zemo type role in events. The original Luthor, Lex, (the fat, bald mad scientist version with the purple jumpsuit,) would have died in combat with Superman in 1969 during a plot by Luthor to sabotage the moon landing in order to turn the Moon into a death star-esc satellite in order to take over the world. His current descendant would be an enemy of Conner's, be a female and probably be running a LexCorp type business as a cover. Supposedly wanting to ''Cleanse herself of her family's past.'' She would also be a puppet for the Humanite.
Most of the original Superman's foes would be ones from the Golden Age and Early Silver Age with the more recent additions going to Jon and HIS son, although all three would have their own Bizarro. Most of these villains would mostly be unchanged from what we know them as today with some minor alterations such as Metallo being pretty much immortal, changing cosmetically over time as he was upgraded. The editors of the Daily Planet would be George Taylor, then Perry White, then Clark Kent, then James Olson (who would Marry Lana Lang once she moved on from Clark.) and finally Morgan Edge who would, in time, completely change the Planet's format from paper to digital. Lois would be long dead and seen only in stories in the 53 year time scale previously mentioned.
Jimmy would also be dead, but would have died a few years after Lois. Jon and Martha Kent would not have died before Clark moved to Metropolis, but via an alien attack on the Kent farm 13 years into their son's tenure.
Supergirl would be the same character of course, only she would come to Earth as a pre-teen rather than a teen in the 1950s, and would grow up in time to become Super Woman. Her origins would be a combo of the original Silver Age ones as well as the version from 2003. Power Girl would be slightly different in that she would be Kara's daughter. The rest of the other Superman esc characters like Cyborg Superman, Steel and Eradicator would appear during the Jon Era. (and it would subsequently be Jon's Superman who would be involved in the ''Death of Superman'' story line.) The Superboy Mythos would be that Clark would have been the original Superboy in the late 1920s, with Jon and later Conner taking up the mantle before becoming Superman as adults. All three Superboys would protect Smallville as ordained by family tradition.
In terms of Hideouts, Superman would have two. His original Secret Citadel up in the Mountains above Metropolis, which would become Jon's and then Conner's HQ and the Fortress of Solitude up in the arctic which would be where Clark would set up shop at 1st as a Trophy room/intergalactic zoo and finally as a place of residence/Base of Operations once his loved ones started to die off from old age. Kara would live there too following the death of her husband and both would take care of each other during their Autumnal years.
Outwardly it would have the design of the New 52 Fortress, but would have all the trappings of the original Silver Age Version with holograms and memory crystals like the Smallville take and robots like the ones seen in Superman:Earth One. (I'm sure Conner and Jon would find a way to link it up to the internet somehow as well.) It would also be a retirement home for the original Super-pets, who would also keep the two company. Krypto in particular, since he'd been Kal's companion since his days as Superboy.
As for Clark Kent, I.E. the Clark everyone knew as a slightly bumbling reporter and later a firm, wise but fair and kind editor for the planet, he would be believed by most of the world to be dead from old age as, after the Death of Lois, Kal-L would have decided to retire that identity for good. As a result, his personality would be allot different. He'd be a pleasant old gentleman to be sure. No nonsense, gentle, polite, wise, optimistic for a large part and have remnants of his socialist ''Champion of the Oppressed'' personality which would make him very openly critical of the actions and attitudes of the rich and corrupt given his own history of dealing with them, and would be more sympathetic to the little guy. However he'd also be more...tired, sad and bitter due to his old age and loss of loved ones over the years, as well as slightly apathetic. He'd still want to do good and help people of course, but it'd be more scaled back to simpler things like rescuing kittens from trees and stopping organised crime, all of which would be done in the shadows, while leaving the major problems like protecting and saving lives, disasters, major crime, super villainy, putting out fires, assisting over seas, general public services and world threatening events such as alien invasions and attacks from Apokolips (as well as the majority of kitten saving and crime busting.) to Jon, Conner and Power Girl.
As superman Jon would be more of the idealist boy scout we know from post crisis and rebirth, whereas Conner, both as Superboy and Superman, would take up more after his grandfather circa 1939, acting as a champion of the oppressed. His main target of interest being the ills of society (among the rest of his duties) and not being unwilling to bend or go above/against the law in order to fight corruption and evil as Kal-L had done early into his own tenure. He'd be allot more aggressive towards criminals than his father and in some cases grandfather. He wouldn't kill, mind, plus he'd be a generally kind and realistically nice guy to those who he felt deserved it, but would drop that attitude towards those he felt deserved nothing less than his worst.
In terms of power, I'd let him retain his minor telekinetic abilities as well. In universe, Conner would be considered the most powerful Superman of all because of it, making him him loved by many, but distrusted and feared by a lot. This in turn would act as a comedic bit of embarrassment and humility for his grandfather, who would by no means remember his more ''vigilante'' style days with much pride as well as acting as a more serious concern for Jon "Pa" Kent, both of whom would try to cool down their angry descendant. Also, both Jon and Conner would have their own costumes as Superman. Both fitting their respective time periods very well all things considered.
Also in terms of Power, the 3 would be mostly the same, except for Conner's telekinesis, However, they would all start off with limited powers before they matured fully at the age of 27. Clark for example when he 1st started his career, would be able to lift steel beams over his head, leap one eighth of a mile at a time, have a strong lung capacity, outrun a speeding train and as Action Comics #1 put it. ''Nothing short of a bursting shell could pierce his skin.'' Plus he'd also have x-ray vision. By the time they hit 27 however, they would transform from citywide heroes to planetary ones, complete with heat vision, flight, nigh invulnerability to all but magic and kryptonite, ice breath, super hearing, telescopic vision, even better super speed, the ability to breath in the vacuum of space and advanced Super Strength. Finally, the younger Supermen would carry on the ''catchphrase habit'' traditions of ''Grandpa'' Kent. "This looks like a job for Superman." Up, Up, and away!" and of course "Great Scott!" Why? Because why not? It's fun. :)
As everyone else said, the big question is if, with Superman to fall back on, Jack Kirby and Stan Lee would have felt the need to create the Fantastic Four. Even before that, though, we get Stan Lee writing Superman for at least the 50's, the time where most of his mythos was established, so he'd be a REALLY different character now. And, considering Lee was the one who insisted on the interconnected universe, the Marvel Universe would at least be a very tonally different place.
As for Cap, he'd be part of the JSA, tank after WW2 ended and come back on Earth 2 once the Silver Age started. The only question being, what kind of character would DC create to compete with Superman? Or would they simply promote the hell out of Green Lantern and Flash, in which case we may not even have Barry Allen and the Green Lantern Corps?
I personally believe that DC would try to push Cap any way they could. Having a Cap on Earth two that came about during the war and another that came afterwards on Earth two would fix that issue. Of course to fit in more with the new setting, the Earth One Cap would probably have to be less of a soldier and more of, say, a cop. Or, on the other hand, you could do what Atlas did in the 50s and make him a teacher.
However, it's the parts of your comment that i've highlighted in bold that interest me the most. I'd really be interested to hear your take on what would have happened to both Superman and The MU as a whole if he'd gone to Timely. Hope this message reaches you. :)
@tomkatie: Would you mind explaining how? Keep in mind as I said before, there's no guarantee the two characters would have developed the same way had they been switched. Let's assume for the moment that Cap became the extremely powerful, planet saving boy scout and Supes kept his original socialist ''Champion of the Oppressed'' persona that Siegel and Shuster intended for him. (albeit toned down a bit so that he wasn't kidnapping or endangering people every issue.)
@jumpstart55: Yes but for all we know, Marvel could have put Superman on ice like they did with Cap, While still inventing the other characters we know and love, only instead of Jack Kirby collaborating with Stan Lee to make them, it probably would have been Joe Shuster.
Knowing Marvel and how they run things, Superman would most likely be nowhere near as powerful as he is today and probably wouldn't be able to fly either, instead just being able to leap say 1/4 of a mile as opposed to the eighth of a mile he started off travelling. As for Cap, DC would most likely have had him become more powerful as time went on, giving him flight, super strength, heat vision, etc. Eventually there'd probably be a Cap for Earth two and a Cap for Earth one. The Earth Two Cap looking exactly like he did when the character started, triangular shield and all and being created to fight Nazis, the other with a cowl and a round shield that was created to protect america from general evils, in order to preserve relevance in the post war world. Both would probably have their own Bucky.
But that's just my opinion. If there's one thing DC is known for and was even then it's keeping their characters alive through hard times. It's all about how the characters were handled. That's what determines that fate of the two companies. In this case I definitely see a City scale hero Superman and a Planetary/Universal Captain America and Bucky coming out of both sides.
Ok. So this is inspired by the ''What if Spider-Man was a DC Character thread. My question is, what if Siegel and Shuster had taken Superman to Timely in 1939 and Kirby and Simon took Cap to DC a year later? (as opposed to 1941.) How would the characters and the Creators have been treated as opposed to how things went IRL and how would their inclusions effect the respective universes as a whole? No missing characters, though a few character switches such as the rouges galleries for the two switching companies, as well as The Original Vision going to DC and The Spectre going to Marvel.
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