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PinkiePie writes...

Hey greg what’s up I just want to make some commentaries about superman and your opinion of them.

I consider you an amazing writer and I am a big fan of your shows. I specially think that your main strength is creating interesting plot with complex 3 dimensional characters and some of the best villains I have ever seen.
That being said I would like to comment on your portrayal of superman. I am aware that a mayor theme on young Justice is grey areas. You as a great writer have to give flaws to each character. Even goliath from gargoyles had flaws that made him relatable.

However I feel a bit uncomfortable with your portrayal of superman. You aren’t portraying him as some kind of perfect that is always right pure good person. He needs to be flawed to be believable as a character. I also understand the fact that you want to give conflict to superboy by giving him a reason to angst.

That being said I think is a bit odd you choose exactly his relationship with superboy as his flaw. Without entering into the debate of whether or not Superman should parent him as batman suggests (he could have at least talk to him as a friend or as a mentor). His attitude towards superboy has been a bit “un-supermanly”. Not because flaws are unexpected from superman but because this is exactly the flaw I wouldn’t expect from superman (maybe from batman, captain marvel or whatever but not from superman).

As you may know in modern superman mythos, father son relationships have been a pretty big deal on the story of superman.

“The son becomes the father and the father becomes the son” that phrase coined by superman’s franchise sum up that fact. Superman is pretty much and orphan and a stray like superboy . We know that he is a good person thanks to his parent. I think Jorel from smallville summed it best:

Jor-El: We have been down our long road, Kal-El -- one paved with difficult trials. Those trials are behind you now. Any father can only hope that he is one day humbled by the feats of his son. But it is your soul, Kal-El, of which I am most proud. You -- and you alone -- possess the courage, the determination, and the compassion that will be required of you to life the darkness from the Earth. (returns the superman suit to Clark) I ask you to remember one thing. Your abilities may be of my blood, but it is your time in Smallville(Superman was much ore accepting of Conner in that continuity in fact), with Jonathan and Martha Kent and all the people there, that made you a hero, Kal-El.

I also couldn’t help to notice the fact that Goliath from gargoyles that as opposed to superman doesn’t have our idea of parenting was more accepting of his EVIL clone thailog than Superman is from (as far as he is aware) good clone Superboy
We superman fans admire him because he is a good person not just because of his powers. In fact that’s what makes him different from other “flying brick” characters like captain marvel, the sentry Thor or whatever and the reason this specific flaw doesn’t feel right with superman.

Nevertheless in my eyes you are a great writer, this superman dilema has brought a big debate with my friends. This is a testament that you even your subplots leave a lot to talk about

Thanks for yout time

Greg responds...

Okay... mostly, we'll just have to agree to disagree here.

But (a) Superman, or rather Clark Kent is NOT an orphan. He has no memory of being an orphan. He intellectually gets that he was one. But he was raised first by Jor-El and Lara and then by the Kents. He never knew life without parents.

(b) "The son becomes the father and the father becomes the son" comes from movies. I loved the first movie. Haven't cared for any of the others. But either way, I see no particular reason to make THAT a defining characteristic of Superman. I mean, what about his two mothers? Don't they carry equal weight?

(c) I loved the pilot to Smallville, but quickly lost interest after that. I'd tune in occasionally when a promo piqued my interest - but I'm not going to base our version of Superman on anything at all from Smallville. I can't. I didn't see most of it.

I'm trying to go to the CORE of the character, as I know him from years and years of reading, writing and thinking about the character. And, I agree the core of Superman is good. But it's not flawless. And I just don't feel like you're focusing on how TRULY DISTURBING Superboy's mere existence would be to him - on all sorts of levels. I also think that you're not focusing on how little time has passed. Also, he's convinced himself that Superboy is better off NOT being in his shadow. You may disagree. I may disagree. But it's a legitimate POV, and for now he's hanging his hat on that.

And generally, I still think you're looking at the entire issue in very black and white terms, allowing for no shades of grey. Which is EASY to do in our series because we're almost exclusively seeing the problem from SuperBOY's POV. And we're not seeing SuperMAN work through it.

But you know all this already, because I've said all this already. So, like I said - let's just agree to disagree.

Response recorded on February 06, 2012