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Why was the Silver Age Superman such a jerk?

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MoonKnight1
Thursday, January 17, 2013 4:06:59 PM
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I recently acquired about a half box of Silver Age comics (mostly beaters) and while going through them I was surprised to discover a disturbing trend. The Silver Age Superman was a vain, misogynistic bully! I mean, I can understand why he could be tired of Jimmy Olsen for constantly getting himself in an impossible situation and then firing off his Superman alert watch (Zee!Zee!Zee!) - and I'm sure that it had to be annoying to always have to fend off the matrimonial zeal of Lois Lane, but does that justify the treatment they get from him? Check out these covers and tell me if Superman is a real a-hole or not.

Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane #135


SGLL #63


Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #30


SPJO #115


SPJO #127


World's Finest Comics #187


WFC #154


I'm sure this can't be all of them. And furthermore, was it just Superman? Or have there been other super-bags?

Howie
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CCComics
Thursday, January 17, 2013 4:48:47 PM
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If you consider the times the whole world was pretty misogynistic. I mean how many movies of the era were women slapped in the face to help them gain their senses. It even crossed over into other areas such as race and ethnicity. I mean just look at the terms people used to use that were socially acceptable at the time and today are just plain awful.

I think you'll get a kick out of this website where it basically shows superheroes being jerks. It's hilarious.

http://superdickery.com/
KingZombie
Thursday, January 17, 2013 6:13:24 PM
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I'm not a big fan of DC Silver Age so I haven't read all that much but I always got the impression that the covers were an exaggeration or misdirection from what actually happens in the story.

I think the covers were just an attempt to grab the reader's attention for shock value.

Peacefuldragon
Thursday, January 17, 2013 7:23:36 PM
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KingZombie wrote:
I'm not a big fan of DC Silver Age so I haven't read all that much but I always got the impression that the covers were an exaggeration or misdirection from what actually happens in the story.

I think the covers were just an attempt to grab the reader's attention for shock value.


This.
Comics around this area were famous for shock covers. What better way to shock readers of the super-clean Superman than to show him being a jerk.
If all you have is a hammer, then everything looks like a nail.
outcast
Thursday, January 17, 2013 7:49:04 PM
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I think there were a couple of things going on there.

1) To an extent, in society as a whole, attitudes toward women before the 1960s were not terribly enlightened. Many of the comics you cite were published after people ought to have known better, which brings us to...

2) Mort Weisinger was editor of all but one of the comics you cited, and he was not only arguably misogynistic, but also broadly regarded as a jerk! Weisinger edited from just after WWII until 1970, and his work shows little sign that he ever believed that women, African-Americans, or young people had any justification for their various protests or activist causes. "Unenlightened" barely scratches the surface in describing him.
MoonKnight1
Saturday, January 19, 2013 4:36:57 PM
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Hey CCComics!
Thanks for the link to superdickery! I can't remember laughing so hard!

It's kind of odd seeing how un-PC people used to be. I've seen some war comics from the 40's and 50's where the Germans are rats and the Japanese have buck teeth - really offensive stuff to be honest. But nobody seemed to notice or care. Now we have kind of the opposite where people can be incredibly sensitive over minor things.

The Wonder Woman bondage covers from the 40's and 50's come to mind. How many times was she tied up or in chains or bound in some fashion? William Marston, who also developed the polygraph test, seemed like he was trying to invent a character who was both feminist, powerful and, I don't know, submissive? What's up with that?
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firecop322
Sunday, January 20, 2013 10:06:37 AM
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This is actually funny as I was talking to the clerk at an out of town store I frequent about this a couple weeks ago. He had just put out a bunch of the silver age Lois Lane and Superman related books and laughed the whole time. I also passed on the superdickery.com web site for him to check out. On the other hand, my wife didn't find it all that funny.
MoonKnight1
Wednesday, May 28, 2014 5:28:56 PM
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Is this child abuse? Laughing Rolling on the Floor Time Out
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evilskip42
Thursday, May 29, 2014 3:08:20 PM
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Definitely. That is way too much cake for a little feller to be eating!Devil
andyborehol
Thursday, May 29, 2014 5:55:56 PM
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MoonKnight1 wrote:
Is this child abuse? Laughing Rolling on the Floor Time Out


Maybe, but it's not as bad as this:


MoonKnight1
Thursday, May 29, 2014 6:15:49 PM
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That...is disturbing. Nailbiting
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andyborehol
Sunday, June 15, 2014 11:21:07 PM
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DC had some dark-minded individuals working for them in the 1960's:

BruceReville
Monday, June 16, 2014 11:20:42 AM
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I loved how pretty much any of the old DC Silver Age tales alot of times would give you 16-18 pages of a stoy and then the last 2 would solve the case/delimma with some totally off the wall BS that would make you go back through the comic to do a Really? WTF?!

Good example is the World's Finest where Superman is setting Batman on fire while tied to the stake. It took place over 2 issues and Batman and Superman at different points were total asses to each other and setting each other up into getting into trouble. Come to find out the last 2 pages you find out they did that because either one at one point was possessed by a demon and they had to scare it out of each other without letting the demon know that is what they were trying to do.

How did they know the other was possessed by a demon? Well because they didn't cast a shadow - that's why. And yes I went back through and checked and well - NO ONE CAST ANY SHADOWS!!!! (at least they were drawn that way) - Really? Eh?
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MoonKnight1
Monday, June 16, 2014 1:00:01 PM
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Batgirl lets Batman and Robin get pummeled because of a run in her tights.


And then there's this backup story in the same issue, not sure what to say about this...

"The Bellringer and the Baffling Bongs" and Ralph Dibny is all twisted up in a ladder. Confused
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BruceReville
Monday, June 16, 2014 1:15:49 PM
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MoonKnight1 wrote:


And then there's this backup story in the same issue, not sure what to say about this...

"The Bellringer and the Baffling Bongs" and Ralph Dibny is all twisted up in a ladder. Confused


Oh and what a POSITION it is Laughing
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BruceReville
Monday, June 16, 2014 1:19:01 PM
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MoonKnight1 wrote:
Batgirl lets Batman and Robin get pummeled because of a run in her tights.


Yeah it was pretty bad, but you learn in the end she did it all on purpose to distract the crooks so Batman and Robin could catch them - Lol
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MoonKnight1
Monday, June 16, 2014 1:53:59 PM
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BruceReville wrote:
MoonKnight1 wrote:
Batgirl lets Batman and Robin get pummeled because of a run in her tights.


Yeah it was pretty bad, but you learn in the end she did it all on purpose to distract the crooks so Batman and Robin could catch them - Lol

So the crooks were distracted by Barbara's gams but Batman and Robin were unaffected. Whistle
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ocphil
Thursday, July 17, 2014 1:47:42 AM
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Because the covers were done first and then given to the writers who then had to write a story.
Besides which they are great covers. Wouldn't you want to know how some of those stories end?
BurningDoom
Thursday, July 17, 2014 11:15:50 AM
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MoonKnight1 wrote:
And then there's this backup story in the same issue, not sure what to say about this...

"The Bellringer and the Baffling Bongs" and Ralph Dibny is all twisted up in a ladder. Confused


That's gonna get messy when his Gingigold formula wears off.
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MoonKnight1
Sunday, April 03, 2016 2:26:38 PM
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Superman is bullying...himself? Confused

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