"What can Superman say to the starving?"

JoeM's picture
Submitted by JoeM on Wed, 2006-03-01 00:16

Comic book artist Alex Ross, who created the KINGDOM COME and MARVELS graphic novels, is currently doing a miniseries called JUSTICE, based on the old Superfriends cartoon. But this is a serious take on a goofy cartoon, and highlights the struggle between the Justice League and the Legion of Doom to struggles of politics and ethics. Issue 4 of 6 recently came out, and it's a doozy:

Lex Luthor has gathered all of the supervillians in a common goal: to save mankind. Huh? Apparently, Superman, et. al have not used their powers for the good of mankind, meaning they haven't been altruistic enough. Past 3 issues have seen supercriminals doing "good deeds" for the downtrodden, such as creating life in deserts, things of that nature. In this issue, Luthor presents a "Bizarro Galt" speech to the world that outlines his agenda. A snippet of his address :

"We know you're wondering where the Justice League of America is right now. And so are WE. But we're also wondering why they never tried to do what WE'VE been doing. Why they mever attempted to use their powers and abilities to make this world a better place. I believe that their inaction is as criminial as those felonies we went to prison for. Preserving the world and not daring to change it means keeping FOOD from the hungry. Keeping the crippled in wheelchairs. Bowing to the STATUS QUO of human suffering.

"And still, they call US villians."

"Someone had to stand up to the so-called STANDARDS OF VIRTUE."

It gets better.

"Sure, the Justice League may save us all from a giant alien starfish...from time to time...But they save us only to send us BACK to our old lives...Back to our bills, back to our useless jobs, back to our suffering. If they were really the heroes they claim to be, they'd save us from those same lives as well."

This one's a real kick:

"What can Superman say to the starving? That things will get better if the poor work a little harder? Please. Let it not be THAT. Let us not be chastised with bootstrap arguments. Let us not be rebuked by social naivete." Luthor goes on, promising cities of gold to the sick and the poor to begin with. "Those who are ttired of doing it themselves, those who are weary of the day-by day-struggle to LIVE, these cities are for you. They are your reward."

Of course, the artwork is simply stunning, as usual, but the story? Ross has a mix of heroism and altruism in his work, but usually in a conflict of good-versus good. He refers to Superman as a "failed Christ symbol." The outcome of this story may einvolve the heroes taking a greater burden, but judging by some of his other stories, it may also emphasize the role of the hero as role model for self-responsibility. Regardless, the real importance of this miniseries is that the altruistic Marxist speech has finally been put in the mouths of it's true archetypal characters, the villians.

( categories: )

Michael Fasher

michael fasher's picture

Michael Fasher

I'll be happy

Landon Erp's picture

The day I see a new Objectivist story written that isn't just a rehash of the Fountainhead. I think a lot of Ditko's work applies but it does border on didactic.

I think once it Objectivist fiction/art grows some true independance we'll see a lot of great work that might have the side effect of putting Objectivism in a good light.

Sadly I'm kind of straight in the middle I can see how it can go wrong, but I also see the potential.


Inking is sexy.



JoeM's picture

"I think its already starting to 'gel' from this thread a little but SOLO is providing an interesting place where Objectivist ideas for creative fiction (and other forms of creative expression) can be brainstormed and eventually put together. If nothing else, I'd rather have SOLOists influence any Ayn Rand movie adaptations (i.e. Brangelina's Atlas...) and any other Objectivist creative projects, than anyone else."

I'd just be wary about such projects becoming didactic at the expense of the art.


Spaceplayer Sight and Sound

SOLOFiction or SOLOCreative...?

mvardoulis's picture

I think its already starting to 'gel' from this thread a little but SOLO is providing an interesting place where Objectivist ideas for creative fiction (and other forms of creative expression) can be brainstormed and eventually put together. If nothing else, I'd rather have SOLOists influence any Ayn Rand movie adaptations (i.e. Brangelina's Atlas...) and any other Objectivist creative projects, than anyone else.

Just thinking ahead and thinking positive... not holding my breath either...! Smiling


Landon Erp's picture

Just not too probable. I'd like to see it too but I try not to hold my breath.


Inking is sexy.


You'll forgive me, then Joe and Landon

mvardoulis's picture

...if I still hold out hope that a good enough story will bypass the two (really three) primary weaknesses you mention, Landon.

However I agree naturally about the Dark Horse opportunity, and otherwise would never want characters a good Objectivist such as Landon created be 'controlled' by anyone else.

I am a pathetic 'wishful thinker' in that even with Marvel's more 'lefty' leanings, I'd hope there is still a way to produce a provocative Objectivist and/or libertarian kind of story within their framework.

Took the words out of my mouth

Landon Erp's picture

And the ideas off my drawing board. The down side with the "Big Two" (Marvel and DC) is

1) Really hard to get work there to begin with
2) In spite of how it's seemed recently, they're not too keen on people rethinking the core of their characters and they do have a kind of "lowest common denominator" morality they have to adhere to.

Other than a very short period of time when I'd just decided I wanted to work in comics I've pretty much always seen self-publishing as the only way to go. I will qualify that statement by saying if I could get on at Dark Horse (home of Sin City, 300, Grendel, The American, Hellboy and others...) I'd take it in a second. But I like the idea that if I have an idea I want my story based around if I take the responsibility to publish it I get to control it.

And I don't have to worry about two of my best creations turned into a Jimmy Stuart level altruist or a Zen Budhist.

Inking is sexy.


"I still wonder if, in the

JoeM's picture

"I still wonder if, in the ensuing aftermath of the events in Marvel's Civil War crossover, there isn't some way to present a libertarian/Objectivist "spin" with at least a few well written stories."

There's always the possibility...but I wouldn't hold my breath. Marvel has always been on the liberal side of things. And Superhero morality has always been tied up with a secular Judeo-Christianity. The Punisher is a psychotic in the Marvel universe. Heros for Hire weren't taken too seriously (Superheros weren't allowed to do it for pay.) Landon, et. al could pitch stories, but because of the entrenched politics, it would be better to do it independently with original characters.


Spaceplayer Sight and Sound


mvardoulis's picture

...having discovered an 'extra' ability, beyond that of normal humans, TO THINK FOR ONESELF! An extra-ordinary power indeed!

Though I don't think we should expect Linz to shave his head and confine himself to a wheelchair any time soon! Smiling (Or Mitch to start wearing ruby quartz glasses, etc...)

I still wonder if, in the ensuing aftermath of the events in Marvel's Civil War crossover, there isn't some way to present a libertarian/Objectivist "spin" with at least a few well written stories. Seems like the potential is there for something like that as this is the most deeply 'socio-political' I've ever seen a 'mainstream' comics title (let alone its entire *set* of titles) go. I don't see any reason why, in the current creative climate, why Objectivists like yourself, Landon, myself and some of the other SOLOists can't brainstorm up a story or two worth pitching to Marvel. In honor of Mr. Ditko if nothing else...

I've been picking Landon's brain already "off-line" since he's already in the trenches of the creative medium.

Mutants Shrugged

JoeM's picture

" their 'mutant titles' - did 'shrug' off involvement during the 'Civil War' among the mostly non-mutant heroes."

And we Objectivists are nothing less than mutants in the civil war of D's and M's Eye


Spaceplayer Sight and Sound

Disturbing "Civil War" quote, Joe

mvardoulis's picture

Indeed, yet the subject of most of the 90's (eventually ridiculous enough to get me to stop collecting) Marvel crossovers - their 'mutant titles' - did 'shrug' off involvement during the 'Civil War' among the mostly non-mutant heroes.

I was always a fan of the mutant books most of all, at least until the stories started to deteriorate with Marvel's finances.

With the Civil War crossover, even Iron Man's being cast as a semi-villain (and I'd say 'fascist' more than 'capitalist' but naturally that's arguable), he's redeemably human and sympathetic to the point where his 'wrongness' is almost forgivable if not understandable. The fallout from this storyline is intentionally far-reaching for the Marvel Universe, and if one can stomach the business machinations of Marvel Comics, I'd dare say there is room for a story (or several) with an Objectivist/libertarian slant arising from the aftermath of the original storyline. But then, I'm an overly-positive, greedy capitalist a la Johnny Storm... Smiling

And I agree Johnny has, particularly in the recent movie (which I've only seen the first 20 minutes of so warn me of any spoilers!! Smiling ), been the representative of all things good about 'American capitalism' complete with the ridiculously positive outlook that you'll never find in Peter Parker/Spider Man. It is clearly Johnny's capitalism that allows the Fantastic Four to function at their highest potential (naturally).

And thanks for contacting me off-line, Landon, I tend to like to do that if I think I'm at risk of thread-hijacking!

Few more things

Landon Erp's picture

Saw FF and I REALLY liked it. I'll admit it might just be the positive feeling I left the theater with after seeing FF compared to the bored mild disgust and frustration I felt after leaving Spider-Man 3 but all in all I loved the new movie and ESPECIALLY Johnny.

I loved the line where he straight up said to his "idealistic" sister "What do you have against capitalism?" Which seems kind of apt since it seems like his wheeling and dealing seemed like the only thing that allowed Reed to keep experimenting and the group to be able to focus entirely on research and being super-heroes.

Also I got back to you Michael and I'll try to continue our conversation next chance I get.


Also, sorry for bursting everyone's bubble on Millar. I much prefer his treatment of Stark in "the Ultimates." But another good though at times depressingly left wing and "interventionalist" is "the Authority"

Inking is sexy.


Capitalism in comics

JoeM's picture

Michael, you might be disgusted to know that in the beginning of CIVIL WAR, as the heroes are discussing options, one comes right out and says, with no debate allowed, "shrugging is not an option."

Landon: "who's finally managed to turn Iron Man, who up until now possibly the most Objectivst character not created by Ditko (though he did design the prototype for what became the "classic" armor design), into a big evil capitalist."

I just saw Fantastic Four 2, and just rewatched the first one, and thought I'd mention in this context the treatment of Johnny Storm as a selfish, greedy capitalist (he's self proclaimed.) He's everything Spiderman isn't: a character who revels in his abililty and not ashamed. He's supposed to be the typical all American jerk, but guess what? At the end of the movie, the audience cheered (it's really not a great movie, but good for a fun summer flick.) Compared to Spiderman, which is done much better artistically, yet WHO wants to be Peter Parker? And no one cheered at the end of the third movie.


Spaceplayer Sight and Sound

a few more thougths

mvardoulis's picture

...and then, Landon, I'll recommend taking our discussion 'offline' because I'm not wanting to hijack the thread but I think we're really on to a good discussion which would ideally lead to a great tool to extend Objectivism in the world of modern mythology (in a way Ditko would approve).

Jean-Paul Barbier is Northstar's secret identity, and his twin sister Aurora had a similar first name which I believe was Jean-Marie. Scary that I remember this kind of stuff. Smiling

Quite frankly, Landon, I think we need to promote you into helping WRITE the scripts for the wildly successful 'Heroes' TV show...!

And as far as the Civil War crossover in Marvel, I didn't know Millar was so far to the left - that is a disappointment. It explains why Tony Stark/Iron Man has gone from self-made hero whom I agree was the closest thing to an Objectivist character in Marvel to a neo-fascist villain. Millar's politics aside, I'm very impressed that Marvel dealt with the issues raised in this crossover, it brought me back into comics somewhat after a fifteen year absence and it to me it marks another 'leap forward' in the maturity of the genre akin to the change from golden to silver age, etc.

Again, the potential to be a 'new Ditko' in this world seems promising, with the new level of sophistication now prevailing.

Lotta stuff to keep track of

Landon Erp's picture

And not necessarily a lot of time to do it. (At the moment anyway).

First off I'm mildly stumped on Northstar's Secret identity name. I do remember that he had a twin sister named Aurora who had the same power though. She was used in a kind of under-appreciated Weapon X book from a couple years ago. It was kind of the mutant "clean-up" book, where editorial dumped characters that weren't currently in use from the X-books (Such as Marrow, Sauron, Wildchild, Mesmero) and had some interesting plotlines to it (including a mutant "Final Solution" where much despised 90's X-man Maggot met a tragic and poignant end).

But most of what you covered are all things that have kind of inspired me along the way.

I loved Unbreakable and still do. And I have a love/hate relationship with heroes because the longer I stagnate the more of my character ideas they seem to use. For instance by about 2003/2004 I had created the following for my own story:

* A "big guy" (super strong, super fast, invulnerable) character who was a blonde haired/blue eyed "Prom Queen" type
* An asian character who is the heir to a vast financial empire
* A black character with phasing powers
* TWO conflicts between siblings
* A villain who steals the powers of others
and a few other ideas that seem to keep showing up on Heroes. Like the show a lot, but it keeps me from being objective from time to time.

As to my take on Civil War. I really like the premise and it brings up a lot of issues that have never been formally been dealt with before, like where is the accountability for people acting as police but wearing masks, and does the government have the ability to regulate these people. Sadly I think the execution leaves a sour taste in my mouth because Mark Millar is an avowed left-winger and borderline communist who's finally managed to turn Iron Man, who up until now possibly the most Objectivst character not created by Ditko (though he did design the prototype for what became the "classic" armor design), into a big evil capitalist.

As to my own story I ran it past a few people who were Rand/comic oriented after I got my first inkling of it. Most notably Joe who recommended that I remember that this is a story that has been told in some ways before, in such stories as Kingdom Come, The Dark Knight Returns/Strikes Again, Watchmen, The Incredibles, and most Recently Civil War... And thus I better have something of my own to say if I'm going to say it.

Also I was kind of inspired by something Frank Miller said in Eisner/Miller (a book anyone following this thread should read). He basically said that comics were being held back and even destroyed by a sense of nostalgia. And it got me to thinking about all the conventions of the super-hero genre and why they developed. Costumes came because a big point of reference was vaudville and the circus at the time, Sidekicks came around because they were a good way to soften stories and launch new books with a tested brand... and so forth. But the idea is to examine all the cliches and see which ones work, and which ones are being held onto for the wrong reasons.

To do this I'm involving my sculpting character from earlier since she has kind of a "real world perspective" even though she has powers. She's always ragging on the leader of her group for being immature about what she does and the new group is an interesting contrast. The best way to describe her perspective is a scene I'm planing where all the people on her side mention the reasons (sentimental and functional) they assembled the costumes the way they did in response to the new group mentioning how they all bought theirs from costume shops and just ramped them up on their own.

On her side themes are: this helps me move, I can use this as a weapon, this belonged to someone I cared about who died.

On the new side their themes are: This gets my theme accross, this is scary looking, this makes me look magestic...

Jen's response to why she's wearing a dance leotard and a simple mask is an embarassed "I just don't want anyone to recognize me."

But I'm also kind of taking a different approach. I was originally going to contrast differnt types of Anarchism (Rothbardian and Chomskeyist) with my groups. But as I moved on I kind of realized the new group is more hedonisticly individualistic, while the old group is more rationally individualistic.

When a perp crosses teritories in the new group the options are either to help the person in pursuit or stay out of the way (depending on the context) whereas every territory cross in the new group leads to a fight between vigilantes while they forget the perp. It's more about establishing common rules of engagement and treating something serious in a grown up manner than collectivism.

But as for real world powers in general. It's an idea that really intriegues me and I like the idea of people starting businesses with powers.

But I also like the ideas of what cultural factors would change. Like what would happen if everything the Weekly World News (the newspaper that does bigfoot/alien/Elvis alive type stories) ever reported turned out to be true. What would that do to the news industry... would giants like Gannett and Murdoch collapse overnight for missing so many important stories. And also what if a person used genuine telepathy to solve a murder, before going on trial insisted on claiming the JREF million dollar prize so they'd have all the experts who verified their powers to testify at their trial.

Rambling still but having a ball. I've been thinking about this stuff for years and I'm just really starting to get a handle on it, and thouroughly enjoying discussing it.


Inking is sexy.


Rambling or not, Landon...

mvardoulis's picture

I'm really appreciating the ideas you're putting together!

And I didn't want to seem like I was 'complaining' about the emergence of gay characters in comics (which began with Northstar - extra credit if you can get his 'secret identity' name without consulting any resources which you no doubt have at your immediate disposal); I think it began as somewhat of a "PC" move but has evolved into simply adding additional dimension to the characters in the comics, which leads to better stories.

I look forward to reading your take on the genre, no matter how long it takes your ideas to come to fruition. I, for one, think you are really on to something! I've always felt (as Ditko embodies) the 'romanticism' of the classic comic book genre was not unlike or at least had the potential to be like the romanticism that Rand spoke of.

I was a Marvel Comics junkie as a teenager, and only recently rediscovered the even-more 'mature' storytelling currently in comics when I saw the "Civil War" crossover storyline Marvel Comics has recently finished. The 'turf war' between 'heroes' you're describing is reminiscent of that story line where (in my interpretation) the more 'statist' heroes led by Iron Man are in open conflict with the
more 'libertarian' heroes led by Captain America. I'm curious to hear your take on that story line, and if that had any influence on your far more complex idea of the militaristic vigilance heroes in conflict with the freewheeling individualistic heroes.

I've always been intrigued with the idea of (like in the movie "Unbreakable" I think it was... and the "Heroes" TV series) what would happen if people IN THE REAL WORLD actually discovered they had some kind of extra-ordinary 'power'... like you said, Landon, why would a *fight* have to come out of that?

Good stuff, but then perhaps I'm rambling as well!

I'll delve

Landon Erp's picture

I'm kind of running the risk of over-self promotion here since a lot of my ideas on the subject come from stories I'm working on. I'm mainly speaking in terms of the fact that I've been dreadful about keeping self imposed deadlines and making tangible progress. I got pages and pages of notes and scripts but little publishable artwork and finished story pages. As such any more, I'm hesitant to promote work that I'm not going to be finishing in a timely manner.

With that being said onto Northstar. I was familair with the character and the fact that he was the first gay mainstream character outed, but I did not know about the skier angle. I believe since then Marvel specifically has dealt with the issue by developing sports leagues specifically for metahumans. For instance there was a wrestling/fighting promotion (I never could tell if the matches held were supposed to be fixed/worked or real/shoots) which hired only metahumans (most notably Ben Grimm the Thing). I suppose if a normal human were exceptionally skilled he could join (much like a female golfer joining the male pro tour) but the key factor is that no one involved would have to hold back and you'd be watching a legitimate competition with more than one potential outcome.

As a side note, I don't think his (Northstar's) power would disqualify him if he was simply a downhill skier and not a jumper. The same way Dash or the Flash shouldn't be disqualified if either were to become say a powerlifter.

Long story short I'd compare it to the current situation in the real sports world where women and men don't compete in the same leagues (nor do individuals in wheelchairs compete with individuals who still have use of their whole bodies). If you apply the metaphor beyond sports (say to business) it becomes totally evil, but sports actually ARE about competition (unlike business in which it's merely a side product).

But as Elastigirl says in the film "Your identity is your most important possession" and as such you should utilize whatever means necessary to protect it.

But it kind of brings me to another point that I explore in my comic. Why is it that every time someone gets powers their first instinct is to get in a fight. They either want to rob someone or stop a robbery.
And any time they want to do something else (Spider-man wanted to be a wrestler/stuntman) it's treated like they're being totally "selfishly evil." I like the idea of a world where, once people with powers show up, not all of them decide to take up force. Maybe they take up industry or the arts. For instance in my comic I have a character named Jen with magnetic manipulation powers who uses them to work as a metalurgist and sculptor, and only acts with force when absolutely necessary (she's part of a "minute-man" styled vigilance committee) but doesn't try to deny herself use of her powers in her daily life.

As to the gay thing. Kind of barking up the wrong tree. I'm straight but that character I just described is part of the couple that's the romantic core of the early part of my story and they're a lesbian couple. I think it is getting a little PC anymore but there is a lot of potential to tell great stories. For instance in the story I'm working on right now there are two main plots, a murder mystery and a love story. Each plot has a a character who stands as the moral standard for my world within this story, both are atheists and Jen is one of them. One of the primary reasons for this is to contrast people who are traditionally deemed "immoral" (sometimes even by themselves as they leave morality in the hands of their enemies) against people who are traditionally deemed moral by our current culture's standards (many of which religious). It's a great way to drive home the idea of a different view of morality than what usually stands (ESPECIALLY in Super-Hero stories)

Once again I think I've rambled and I'm tempted to mention my idea for a good Objectivist standard for a new idea for a story that hasn't really be done before and I think it would really take an Objectivist to do. As such I'll state it simply and just finish my post.

The problem everyone has been noticing is that the Super-Hero story leaves the hero not as the protaganist but as someone reacting to the real protaganist, the villain. But what if we're looking at a situation where the driving force wasn't a specific villain, but the protaganist's personal value of civilization. I've talked to Joe about a story idea contrasting Libertarianist Anarchocapatilism/ and Minarchy/State Capitalism through the lense of a highly efficient millitary styled vigilance committee and a bunch of freewheeling individuals who get into turf wars more than fight crime. The core movement of the plot would ultimately be the establishment of law and order upon a situation which has never existed before. The idea wouldn't be This hero vs this villain but would apply the standard of civilization of a new frontier of science and evolution.

Another good example of ideas like this are the Fantastic Four. Scientists who come into dozens of ethical dillemas through their experimentation and discoveries. Sometimes it seems like they alone can truly be called Heroes by the classic standard. They more the story forward through action rather than reaction.

Hope I covered everything and didn't ramble anyone too much.

Any thoughts?


Inking is sexy.


Essays/rules of engagement

Landon Erp's picture

As far as his essays go A lot of the prose ones are in Mr. A stories
("Right to Kill" has a good one at the begining for instance) as well as his other self-owned projects like "Avenging World". Beyond that he usually wrote essays for the fanzine "The Comics" and the best way to find out about that is to write Robin Snyder @ RScomics@aol.com. As for the self-published Ditko stuff I'd just scour E-bay, there's usually a few for sale there pretty cheap.

As to the rules of engagement he doesn't have them explicitly written out but they're things like people come to the door of his office all the time and he'll talk patiently in the doorway with them for a long time, but you're not going to be allowed in. If you send personal correspondence he'll usually write you a sincere reply, but if it's for some formal business arrangement (like an interview to be published) he'll flat turn you down. But the key thing is he doesn't seem to like people putting words in his mouth. Long story short if you respect personal privacy and property rights he'll probably be cool with you. (Edited to Add that I've mainly picked these things up from lots of different articles on Ditko and different people's personal accounts)

As to the "A" in Mr. A. It's been stated explicitly in some Mr. A publications that it stands for "A is A."


Inking is sexy.


Landon, at risk of delving into the obscure reference

mvardoulis's picture

Your take on Dash's 'throwing the race' at the end of the Incredible is an interesting one that I'd love to see further explored. I'm relatively certain you would familiar with (and here's where it gets a little obscure) the character Northstar of Alpha Flight (X-Men) fame? The character was first introduced in the mid 1970's 'new X-Men' revival of the title. Northstar was a French Canadian professional skier (and I believe a gold medalist) considered the one of world's best when he was 'outed' as a mutant with the ability to fly, thereby disqualifying him in a scandal. Sounds like a similar theme to your analysis of Dash at the end of the Incredible movie.

On a side note, he was one of the first comic book characters of the super hero genre to be 'outed' as gay, a somewhat PC-trend that is much more commonplace in today's more older-audienced comics.

Question seeking an A

Stuart Hayashi's picture

Once I told a libertarian friend of mine about The Question and Mr. A, and he asked me, "Does the 'A' stand for 'Answer'?"

The only non-comic-formatted essay of Ditko's I know about is the one about intellectual property. I've never heard of Ditko's rules of engagement. Could you please tell me what they are? Are they online?

I think that Mr. Ditko's air of mystery makes him even more exciting to talk about.

Spider-Man 3

Landon Erp's picture

I think if Ditko is following the films he's going to feel really vindicated for not having ever supported it. It was a mess and an altruistic one at that.

Side note how many people here have ever heard Ditko's actual "rules of engagement" and the things people have not understood him taking offense to?

I start to notice over time that I've never heard of an Objectivist who made contact with him who had such complaints and from the standard of the complaints of those who did, I can see why.


Inking is sexy.


Mr. Sandman, Give Me a Dream

Stuart Hayashi's picture

If I were Ditko, I would probably have to let go of Spider-Man, too. I can't believe the latest movie's twaddle about "mercy"; it was the exact opposite of Mr. A.

I was quite amused by this article's interpretation of Ditko and Objectivism:

"Ditko prefers to be known only through his work. What else would we expect from an Objectivist who believes, along with Ayn Rand's Howard Roark, that 'We are poisoned by the superstition of the ego... we must destroy the ego first.' "

Hahahahaha; and that author meant that as a compliment.

been following the thread

Landon Erp's picture

It's brought up quite a few points, so many that I almost don't know where to star,t but here goes.


I've followed just about everything I could find that he's said that somehow made it into publication. Including why he doesn't do interviews and doesn't like to accept "help" from well meaning people who don't want him misrepresented. His main contention is that any time he does an interview or makes a statement it gets passed through a non-Objectivist (often times hostile to Objectivism) filter of journalists, editors, and public opinion that must be kowtowed. As a result if he did try to "Scream in order to protect The Question" the press would make him seem like a fool or a fascist so he doesn't help them anymore. This is kind of the stance he takes with Spider-Man as well, that it's "not his character anymore."

Altruism/Marxism in the super-hero genre:

As to Marxism in relation to the topic. I think most of you are right and that's simply owed to the eclectic ideas held by the writers and or artists. Super-hero stories by and large are based on a morality that doesn't have to be defined and in reality is one most people agree on and in the minds of the creative teams EVERYONE agrees on. In that sense I'm refering to some murky, greeting card sounding, undefined form of altruism. This is often because of a few factors

A) Most people on creative in comics either don't want to be or aren't sufficently qualified to be moral philosophers. Sadly few fancy themselves as such and I think they tend to be the worst offenders.

B) Altruism is a cheap way to set up conflict, someone is "hurting" someone else and the altrusitic hero steps in. And since under altruism a lot more things qualify as hurting someone that just iniations of force or fraud you have plenty of ways to keep it interesting (if not necessarily moral).

(I don't know if this took place in this thread but I'll address it anyway)

The Incredibles:

I still love the movie. At the time I saw it I responded to the egalitarianism in Syndrome's dialogue as well as his sacrifically altruistic nature in general (I'm killing the Supers for the benefit of EVERYONE). I can see the eugenecist angle and I think if I ever have kids and watch this with them I'll have to qualify that point, but I'll take that over "with great power comes...according to his need" any day.

Side note on the film I want to discuss one point that always comes up when Objectivists discuss this film.

Dash throws the race at the end:

For the past six years I've been developing a comic project which has teenage children in it, and I wanted to use that device before I even saw the movie. There are many reasons behind it and I'll list just a few.

Dash is technically a different spiecies than the other children, a race between him and his classmates is akin to racing a cheetah and a tortoise the result will be the same every time. So with that in mind Dash must be hoping to get something other than just wins, titles and world records from the event.

One thing would be improving his acting skills. He's in a situation where he could show off the one thing that could give away his SECRET. With this in mind expecting Dash to not hold back is akin to expecting James Bond to show off his biggest gadgets and most complicated spy training as a party trick at a summer barbecue.

If Dash gives it his all every time they get an unbeaten record... which draws press. He wins championships... which draws press. HE SETS WORLD RECORDS!... which draws A LOT of press. How long will it honestly be before someone notices the guy on the front page of the sports section and the front page of the newspaper look an awful lot alike. But if he gets a chance test his skills out in a way to where he doesn't draw much attention to himself and if he does it's the kind that would disqualify people from thinking he was one of the Incredibles, that would be an interesting and useful task to undertake.

Another good example of this is how Clark destroys suspicion of being Superman with a few postures, mannerisms and a clumsy "mistake" in the most recent Superman film.

I have a few other points but I think that's enough for now.


Inking is sexy.


Yeah, but I wonder where

JoeM's picture

Yeah, but I wonder where Pross got it from...


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Linz in tights

Chris Cathcart's picture

Linz in tights?

JoeM's picture

No problem, Linz, I have a hard time picturing you in tights. Eye Not that I have the build for spandex myself.

Close, Dean Cain. And Tom Welling.


Spaceplayer Sight and Sound

Sounds as though ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

... you're onto it Joe. SuperSOLO!

Can't say I'm hugely into the genre. Most of the discussion here is a foreign language to me. Used to adore Dean Kain (sp?) in tights, though. And as for that yummy lead in Smallville ...


JoeM's picture

"Helpers who could fly and shoot lightning out their nose would make valuable allies."

We'll enlist the aid of Kass Perigo, the hero from the planet Lanza, who power derives from the secret weapon of Nessa Dorma...

And the villians, oh the possibilities! Nanny State, with her dominatrix whip and gargoyle stare...

evildoers and (caterwaulers) beware! Perigo means danger to the nanny state!

It could be a whole Superfriends...Cresswell Organon, with his legion of Valkyries...valliant Valliant, Prosecutor Supreme...Princess Diana (this one's too easy, being that Wonder Woman's alter ego is Diana Prince)...we need a good name for Marcus, crusader against pseudoscience and the voodoo arts (maybe he'll be like Jean Grey and not get a cool code name until he turns evil and embraces global warming and religion, like Jean Grey to the fiery Phoenix.) And of course, Prima Donna with her Guilded Trident (she'd wield it better than that useless Aquaman!).


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JoeM's picture

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Valuable allies

Rick Giles's picture

With a Judeo-Christian mentality, the colorful villians steal the show, and the heroes exist simply to stop the villians. The villains are the ones with goals and purpose, while the heroes fly around waiting to react. Kinda like Linz's nanny state.

Goes with the genra doesn't it? Everyone's just waiting in their watchtower like the Thunderbirds waiting for someone to dial emergency services and request ambulence, fire department, police, or costumed can of wop-ass. It only even works if the challanges keep on comming. When the music stops what's to tell.
Taking your cape to the drycleaners?

choing FDR's State of the Union address about "economic rights," Luthor is saying that the superheroes don't go far enough. They shouldn't just be policemen or firefighters. They also have to free you from material want and from the laws of ontological reality.
Not exactly. People are hungry for economic reasons, for political reasons, for moral reasons. Its not a cure for material reality, for metaphysical fact, that is sought here. Why shouldn't a Superman or Wonderwoman be a libertarian activist?

If you've taken on the commitment to catch people who slip off roof-tops and to thwart criminal masterminds why not this? Promote a bit of free speech, raise money for giving away Atlas Shrugged copies, sneek papmphlets into North Korea, Help private enterprise smash through unconstitutional barriers. Scuttle the Green Peace fleet with lazer-vision. Catch political staff in the act of being corrupt.

Surely that's what all good Objectivists seek to do, come the revolution. Helpers who could fly and shoot lightning out their nose would make valuable allies.

Lois Lane

JoeM's picture

She needs something, alright...

On Lois Lane: There's a character who overly relies on Superman as savior. She was already a risk taker, I suppose, but the scrapes she gets herself into, knowing that Superman will save the day...well, it was amusing to see her get hers at Niagra Falls Eye . A real journalist who goes to any lengths for the story does so without that kind of backup ( brings to mind Saturday Night Lives's Nora Dunn in THREE KINGS when she ventures into Iraqi territory as a journalist...or Courtney Cox as a journalist in SCREAM. She would have been a good Lois...sadly, it also invokes real life tragedy of reporter Daniel Perlman.)


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Stuart Hayashi's picture

Thanks for telling me about this. Smiling

Superman should scold the Iraqis who squawk about U.S. soldiers not doing enough to defend them from insurgents. If anybody should defend Iraqis from sectarian violence, it's Iraqis.

So you know how everyone talks about how Lois Lane can't recognize Superman as Clark Kent if he doesn't wear glasses? I've come up with a solution to that.

Lois Lane is the one who needs glasses.

A tale of two Luthors

JoeM's picture

"Gods are selfish beings who fly around in little red capes and don't share their power with mankind."

Contrast this with the twist from JUSTICE, and you see a lot of tension at work in the idea of Lex Luthor. On one hand, you have the original evil scientist, the evil businessman, etc. You have the jealous man who wants want Superman has (in a way, he's like Spiderman's J. Jonah Jameson, as depicted in Alex Ross's other opus, MARVELS. In that story, we see the motivation for J. J.'s persistant persectution of Spiderman: "What if it's true, these "Marvels"? What does that make the rest of us?" You see a hatred of the good for being the good at work. And yet, in JUSTICE, you see a Luthor who acknowledges that pandering to the lowest common denominator ultimately weakens the species. It's just that Luthor, like Wynand, wants to rule, and resents competition. But complicating it is Luthor's idea that brains should triumph over brawn (hence the scientist versus the man of steel whose powers are alien in origin...kinda like Christ.) Luthor is DEFINATELY more Nietzschean in this respect.

I should add here that Alex Ross is not the sole writer on these stories, that he is primarily the artist. But he does have a lot of say in the stories, and the fact that his father is a minister plays a large part in the stories. But I sense in Ross and the stories a repressed or burgeoning relation to Objectivism, he's too smart and too perceptive not to see the failings in his heroes, referring to Superman as a "failed Christ symbol." In a way, it reminds me of Rand's depiction of Hugo the artist overwhelming Hugo the thinker. Or Rod Serling, who Rand called a Naturalist writer, except that he wrote the most eloquently romantic stories...I can see a struggle in Ross's work to reconcile these opposites.


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Must there Be a Superman?

JoeM's picture

Stuart, your allusion to Superman Returns (Why the World Doesn't Need A Superman): you might be aware already, but it was probably a direct reference to the story "Must There Be A Superman? (check out the full issue online!). In this story, another alien race has been observing Superman and accuse him of playing "big brother," holding back humanity by solving all its problems for it. Superman goes back to Earth with this in mind, and realizes that...they were right, and even procedes to chastise a group whose village he saved during a natural disaster when they ask him for MORE, while holding up a child who was the only brave person to stand up to a group of thugs while everyone else stood by. The story ends on this note, with the aliens watching in approval. This story is an anomoly, sadly, but it did have some influence on Alex Ross's KINGDOM COME, which takes that theme in a different direction, where Superman psuedo shrugs...

RE The Question: he certainly has been misinterpreted. It's a shame Ditko lost control of him. But then, Ditko doesn't do interviews and is something of a recluse, to the detriment of his work. I wish he would stand up and SCREAM in defense of his character, especially with all the attention Spiderman is getting lately. You'd think he was dead, given his silence. (He takes the attitude that his work speaks for itself. Those who get it don't need his convincing, I suppose is the attitude....Bob? Landon?)


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I want my cut

Stuart Hayashi's picture

It's too bad that Superman Returns was so anticlimactic and silly, because I liked these two lines from Luthor:

"Gods are selfish beings who fly around in little red capes and don't share their power with mankind."

"Prometheus was a god who stole the power of fire from the other gods and gave control of it to the mortals. In essence, he gave us technology, he gave us power. . . . I just want to bring fire to the people. And . . . I want my cut."

The latter quotation describes the mindset of the world's greatest heroes -- which definitely doesn't include Rachel Carson.

Why the World Doesn't Need Superman

Stuart Hayashi's picture

That was a really amusing speech from Luthor. I'm glad I didn't have to read the whole series because I also would have been disappointed that nobody really rebuts Luthor's points.

That reminded me of the best part of Dan Brown's Angels & Demons (the best part sure wasn't the characterization; Dan Brown's characters are the most one-dimensional I have ever come aross; Dilbert has much more depth than Dr. Robert Langdon). It was riveting when the villainous priest delivered an articulate speech (over the radio, no less) repeating all of the popular bromides about the failures of science, reason, and the Industrial Revolution, and the need for faith. And yet, because Brown is a subjectivist Skeptic "liberal Catholic," none of the secularist characters ever provides a rebuttal to it.

That Luthor speech is interesting because, if superheroes represent the State, then Luthor is highlighting the debate over what should exactly be the role of the State.

Throughout most of his career -- even during the Great Depression -- Superman was mostly a sort of Lockean character. He defends you and your private property from violence. (An exception is Superman IV, where the character became a Warren Buffett-type anti-nukes do-gooder.)

Echoing FDR's State of the Union address about "economic rights," Luthor is saying that the superheroes don't go far enough. They shouldn't just be policemen or firefighters. They also have to free you from material want and from the laws of ontological reality.

Given that people like Steve Ditko are a minority in the comics community, it's no surprise that a comic-book writer would ask those same philosphical questions that Luthor does -- "What can Superman say to the starving?" but not come up with an answer in defense of Superman's neglect of providing for other people's material sustenance.

By the way, I'm not a huge fan of Bruce Timm's Justice League Unlimited. I can't believe how pretentious Timm has gotten.

I recall reading a blog by a libertarian saying he loved it when The Question said in the program, "A is A and Luthor is Luthor." But that line was written for the precise purpose of sounding cheesy. It was a gesture of cynical postmodernism; the viewer was supposed to laugh in recognition of the allusion while retaining the pompous assumption that "everybody knows" Ditko's worldview doesn't deserve serious consideration or respect.

Anything Alan Moore disapproves of is somehow "fascism."

Well, the full story

JoeM's picture

Well, the full story involves nuclear missles and Brainiac's attempt to destroy the Earth with his Uranium PU-36 Explosive Space Modulator (Earth was probably blocking his view of Venus or something...). Luthor turned against Brainiac when he learned his true plans to destroy the Earth, although everything would have worked out fine, if it hadn't been for those meddling kids...

In all honesty, I found the heroes to be besides the point in all this, and they offer no real rebuttal to Luthor's arguments other than "you're mad, you're a criminal," etc. The conflict with the JLA is that their existence is being called into justification. I've discussed this with Landon before, that the closer one gets to Objectivism, the altruistic version of superheroes as "messiahs" or "servants of the greater good" becomes harder to swallow, and like much fiction, the villians begin to steal the show. Peter David wrote an essay about this, that in older classics, the heroes were the protaganists, and the villians there as an obstacle to overcome. With a Judeo-Christian mentality, the colorful villians steal the show, and the heroes exist simply to stop the villians. The villains are the ones with goals and purpose, while the heroes fly around waiting to react. Kinda like Linz's nanny state.

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Rick Giles's picture

Sounds like a Hitch-Hikers Guide rip then. Three ships set to leave Earth, starting with the launch of the twits. You twits blast off first, the rest of use will be right behind you! Not!

Hard to see what the conflict is with the JLA then. If you want to exchange your pathetic life to join a space android's bionic drone army and leave the planet then good luck to you, citizens! Lex Luthor's picking up the tab. Sweet deal, everybody wins.

Rick, I agree with your main

JoeM's picture

Rick, I agree with your main thrust here, but the other side of it is that the people "being plucked off" in this situation are VOLUNTEERING, almost demanding it. The masses are not being forced into camps, they're buying into a utopian promise similar to Marxism. The character of Brainiac may be a bit more forceful, but in this instance, notice that Luthor is not "initiating force," but merely "selling" a point of view, one view to those who live by altruism. Almost the way people willingly voted themselves into a Nazi Germany, or the way that Americans today are voting, in droves, towards nationalized medicine. If Hillary or Obama is elected, for example, they're doing it by the same standard in Luthor's "Bizarro Galt" speech.

Wouldn't it be a wierd twist if it turned out that Hillary WAS feeding a parasitical mass to an alien being? Alas, only in the comic books.


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No, never too late. If man

Rick Giles's picture

No, never too late.

If man has free will then he can always change his habits and re-craft his character. Even bad upbringing can be overcome and one of our great cultural attributes is the celebration of those whose rise is a defiance against fate (whereas other cultures embrace fate as metaphysical fact.)

You and I may not always be able to see it in any given individual, of course. But everyone with potential must have the capacity to bloom and it's only justice to treat them this way. Likewise, it can never be acceptable that someone abdicate moral responsibility for their actions. Perhaps one is not to blame, but one remains responsible for their own life- not "men" or bad parents or "capitalism" or anything else.

Were this not the case then I guess it really would be okay for androids to pick off loosers and farm them in outer space.


JoeM's picture

"Sounds like Nietzsche to me. In my philosophy man has one nature, it is the same for everyone and it's never too late to actualise that potential (a task for the individual, not Nietzsche's superman or Superman's Brainiac.)"

Is it never too late? I think of Peter Keating's failed attempt to reclaim his ambition as a painter...and there are probably many real life examples of such. But I agree that it IS a task for the individual, not for "superior aliens" to solve. (Nice turn of phrase, btw.)

That's one thing that intrigued me about Rand's stories, maybe even disturbs me: The tendency of her "could have been characters" to suicide, i.e., Wynand and Andre. Although, having just read Les Miserables (WARNING SPOILER ALERT), I can see where she got it from with Javert doing the same in the name of his own values.


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"Brainiac was only going to

Rick Giles's picture

"Brainiac was only going to take those who wanted a free lunch. The Lazy, the Sick. The Undisciplined. Those who looked to OTHERS to save them."

Sounds like Nietzsche to me. In my philosophy man has one nature, it is the same for everyone and it's never too late to actualise that potential (a task for the individual, not Nietzsche's superman or Superman's Brainiac.)

The twist ending to JUSTICE

JoeM's picture

Ok, so it's been a year and the final issue of the miniseries JUSTICE, the serious take on "The Super Friends" by Alex Ross. We talked about how Lex Luthor took a somewhat "Marxist" stance against Superman and friends, in a "Bizarro Galt" speech that went like this:
"What can Superman say to the starving? That things will get better if the poor work a little harder? Please. Let it not be THAT. Let us not be chastised with bootstrap arguments. Let us not be rebuked by social naivete." Luthor goes on, promising cities of gold to the sick and the poor to begin with. "Those who are ttired of doing it themselves, those who are weary of the day-by day-struggle to LIVE, these cities are for you. They are your reward."

In the final issue, we learn that the android Brainiac is behind the altruistic "healing" of the world's sick and disabled, and that his "miracle cure" is actually nanotechnology that not only heals, but turns humans into mechanical beings like him, along with the benefit to him of wiping out the organic humanity he hates so much. Brainiac debates Superman as an alien equal in potential, but condemns Superman for working to defend "fragile flesh."

"Where you adopted a new race as your own, and condescended to live among them, I am RAISING mine..." When Superman objects that he's killing people, Brainiac objects that "in their actual form, they're useless," that what he's doing, in a type of eugenics, is making them better.

Getting back to Lex Luthor, we learn that Luthor agreed to aid Brainiac for a similar purpose: by pandering to the weak by promoting Brainiac's plan, he would be ridding the world of lesser humanity, leaving only the strongest who don't want to be coddled. Of course, Luthor is the megalomaniac (and it's tempting here for critics of Rand to jump on this) who Superman refers to as his greatest enemy, "not because of his wealth, not because of the weaponry he creates. Not because of his greed, not even because of evil. But because he cannot be HUMBLED."

Luthor defends himself for his part in the plan by saying that he was trying to "save humanity." Brainiac would take the weak for his purposes away from Earth, allowing the world to "grow and prosper and become all it COULD become....Brainiac was only going to take those who wanted a free lunch. The Lazy, the Sick. The Undisciplined. Those who looked to OTHERS to save them. The Humanity that remained here on Earth would have been capable of anything." He appeals to the heroes to see the logic of the benefits to themselves: "Don't you see? Man could have been freed from its disposition to care for its weaker element. It would no longer be measured according to the lowest common denominator...Think of what our world might be like if the criminal element ALONE, those whose want for what other people have earned, was gone."

All I can say is, wow. I wouldn't call this Objectivist, maybe more Nietszschean in spirit. I don't know if Luthor is still intended to be a villian or not. (Though it artfully highlights the tension between the morality of Superman and Luthor in a way that Rand's work challenged conventional morality.) But it's hard to deny the parallels between Luthor's words and the Objectivist view of "what might be." Originally, I wrote : "Regardless, the real importance of this miniseries is that the altruistic Marxist speech has finally been put in the mouths of it's true archetypal characters, the villians." Luthor originally claimed to the "starving" people to be "saving" humanity, little did those who bought his appeal realize that he meant to save it from THEM.
Maybe a paraphrase from WE THE LIVING is appropriate: " I loathe your methods. I admire your goals."


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What could he say...

Melissa Lepley's picture

He could say:

"What would you be doing if I had never existed? What would you be doing if I were a regular guy? You'd be fixing your problems yourself. You can't sit around waiting for someone to save you...not your superheroes, not your governments, and not your gods. This is your life. These are your decisions. These are the consequences of your actions. Why are you blaming me for not cleaning up your messes? Take responsibility for your lives, earthlings, and stop waiting for someone else, real or imaginary, to fix them. Cease these innane wails of self-pity and DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.

Until you prove that you are willing to solve your small problems...why should I solve the big ones? Why should I battle every day to save weaklings and whiners? What have you done lately for those who you can help? Why should I fight to help those who won't help themselves?

Before you demand that I solve all of humanity's problems, as if I'm some sort of genie to wish upon...remember this: I don't have to be Superman. I have no obligation to help you out of the problems you've created. I help as much as I can, because I choose to, to show humanity a better way to live. Life without terror, without violent crime...where personal property and human rights are inviolate. I can help you fight the bad things in life...but you have to attain the good for yourself.

Grow up, earthlings."


"Shiny. Let's be bad guys."

Thanks Bob

Landon Erp's picture

This a new volume to reprint his non-Captain Atom charlton work?

Who the hell am I kidding I'll probably buy it no matter what.


Inking is sexy.


Ditko News!!!

Bob Palin's picture

I gave up on this comic after the first couple of issues.

On a positive note, some of Ditko's best and most Objectivist work from the sixties is getting the archives treatment form DC Comics: http://www.ditko.comics.org/ditko/newACT2.html.

True but I'm a little aware

Landon Erp's picture

True but I'm a little aware of who's working on it. Alas the paradox.


It all basically comes back to fight or flight.

"John I think you picked up

JoeM's picture

"John I think you picked up on where the writers SHOULD have gone. I don't think there's anyone brave enough or who thinks along the lines to write something like that."

To be fair, Landon, the story isn't over yet, several more issues to go. Thought whether or not the author DOES go in that direction or into some middle of the road wishywash remains to be seen...

Rowlf: "P.S: Would such a

JoeM's picture

Rowlf: "P.S: Would such a question be asked of a 'fireman'...on a vacation...whilst burning buildings are occurring in his hometown (nm 'the globe')? --- Methinks the very psychological source of the question implies a sicko perspective on those who show effort-applied-to-ability (real or imaginary): "Don't really care what you done; why haven't you done 'X' yet, show-off?"

Don't know about Firemen, but I think we here just that with doctors?

John I think you picked up

Landon Erp's picture

John I think you picked up on where the writers SHOULD have gone. I don't think there's anyone brave enough or who thinks along the lines to write something like that.


It all basically comes back to fight or flight.

"What can Superman [et al] say to the 'starving'?

Rowlf's picture

~~ I regret that I haven't kept up on the last decade or two of the 'superhero-comix' genre, ergo, on the latest sociological 'challenge' implied by this...subject title.

~~ But, this very subject-concern prompts me to respond.

~~ I see this whole Question as a 'challenge' to the actual worth of the very idea of 'super-heroes' (whether 'super' implies abilities beyond normal mankind (Supe, Flash, Green Lantern, Black Widow, etc), or merely the high-IQ/athletic/economic-means extreme [a la Batman/Ironman] of humankind's abilities). The very attitude implied by the question seems to be "You 'super'-people (Wonder Woman included) haven't taken care of us least-unfortunates: so, what's so supposedly great about you guys? You haven't given the homeless homes; you haven't outdone the Salvation Army (or Africa's govt's) in feeding the starving; you haven't done X, Y, or Z. What's YOUR answer to this?"

~~ If *I* was Supe (or, fill in your preferred blank [excepting Hulk, of course]), I'd say:

~~ "I'm not here, nor advertised my presence, for that...stuff. My purposes aren't to fill your random self-caused or otherwise need/want-of-the-moment. I try to do what I can to help whoever in whatever lethal-emergencies-of-the-moment they are in which I'm aware of when I can. --- How about you trying to do what *you* can about your self-called needs, before thinking that all you have to do is 'take a ticket' for me to say 'Next'? People like you...are worse than Lex. Lex is a manipulator/controller wannabee; but he's not a self-advertising leech. Some of you, I must leave to your self-caused just desserts; the others: I can't be in two places at the same time...regardless that I'm Superman. Even Superman has limits (not to mention: my own life!)"


P.S: Would such a question be asked of a 'fireman'...on a vacation...whilst burning buildings are occurring in his hometown (nm 'the globe')? --- Methinks the very psychological source of the question implies a sicko perspective on those who show effort-applied-to-ability (real or imaginary): "Don't really care what you done; why haven't you done 'X' yet, show-off?"


Lanza Morio's picture


Globalism is a bad idea whose time has come. The only way to stop it would be for a country to make a principled stand and I don't see that happening.

Populace and Principles

JoeM's picture

Lance, seems that the populace is actually agreeing with Luthor (in real life; you know the horror stories), since he's only telling them what they want to hear, promising them something for nothing! Yes, the comic is written by an American and set in the here and now, but the key, as addressed by Wonder Woman in a speech in the same issue, is globalism. "I am only one member of the Justice League-A league that seeks more thatn the good of America-but of all peoples and all nations. It is for each of us to do out part to make each other strong." (This played out on the Justice League cartoon as well, only in Superman's words.) With the rise of the global economy, the altruism of comics has shifted accordingly. So in a sense, you can see how the "heroes", by embracing godlike roles in the comics as vigiliantes, Supermen, and world protectors, have contributed to a situation of mortal dependence on superheroes to take care of them, and the villians are only taking it to it's conclusion. Lex Luthor is really the voice of the people who have grown to want more and more from the Man of Steel.

Joe, I've never been a

Lanza Morio's picture

Joe, I've never been a comics guy but something about this strikes me as an accurate reflection of the times. Remember when Mr. Incredible was sued for saving some guy's life and forced to go underground? And remember that all the superheroes were forced underground? A buddy of mine talks about how dark and isolating it is to be a hero (not that we shouldn't be heroes--just that this is the price you pay for it) and that the development of the American superhero in comics (Batman illustrates this best I think) is an artistic representation of that. It's interesting to me that these comics were developed in America (right?) in the first half of the 20th century (right?).

Lex Luthor's speech there is a brilliant twist on things. If the populace had any principles they'd tell Lex Luthor to shut the hell up and go away. But no, they hear him out and compromise with him. Or use him as entertainment. That smacks of real life.

I replied to this over at

Landon Erp's picture

I replied to this over at RoR, butI'm always complaining that I kind of like this site better but the other gets more traffic. I guess I'll reply here too.

It doesn't particularly suprise me. Over the past couple decades I've seen the level of sophistication and quality increase in comics. I've seen that almost uniformly the people behind these changes were hardcore liberal.

Alan Moore has criticized Ditko and Rand to the point of treating Objectivism like a Mental illness in his most popular work. Grant Morrison has pulled mysticism to deeper levels than I'd ever seen possible (the man has tried to infiltrate the fictional world of one of his stories... as in actually enter it... for real) as well as push a hardcore green agenda in many of his early successes.

Objectivists have Ditko... who's mostly retired. And Frank Miller... who many Objectivists can't even agree on claiming.

And I agree if we're seeing statements like this, the world is headed downhill.


It all basically comes back to fight or flight.

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