SEMI-REGULAR MUSINGS FROM THE SEMI-REGULAR MIND OF WRITER J.M. DeMATTEIS
I'm just saying that Bob Dylan may be a key to understanding the roots to grasping golden age Superman, and of course the difference between the types that followed.Both earlier Bob and the GA Clark both have more of a common man touch and a notable desire to point out injustices in the world. Not even just political or major in either case.Also... look, I believe being from an industrialized Midwestern city is something that should be looked at more in the origins of Superman. That alone probably makes up more of a puzzle oiece than prople realize, and YES I am willing to go into detail.However, Siegel and Shuster and Dylan were all from Midwestern cities... sort of. Calling even Duluth (the closest city to Dylan's hometown) is a bit of odd. Certainly smaller than say Chicago or Cleveland.Still, that might be the key to cracking the nut of how Clark changed in personality so quickly.Just a thought.Jack
"Bob Dylan may be a key to understanding the roots to grasping the golden age Superman..." is a statement unique in the history of Superman analysis, Jack—which is why I find it so fascinating. Perhaps you should write a book about the influence of the midwest of Superman in particular and popular culture in general.
Well, in the 70s most of the biggest movers and shakers were from the Midwest.Denny O'Neil, Roy Thomas, and Steve Gerber all came from Missouri.Englehart and Roger Stern both hailed from Indiana.Jim Starlin and Rich Buckler called the Motor City home.Doug Moench was from Chicago.I don't know if it is tradition or some kind of Marvel mandate, but they have short changed themselves by always having characters be in New York.Different regions have different feels to them. Different ways of looking at the world.You are a music guy, think about American music from the 60s and 70s, different regions had clusters of sounds that seemed to belong to them. They may have been enjoyed in many places, but it seemed like they radiated from certain areas.The quickest way to ad variety or shake things up could just be to explore other cities. Granted moving to Chicago temporary is probably a bit more drastic and fan angering than making a deal with the devil.There have been a few attempts, but often it seems like either homework wasn't done wit there being no unique flavor or just relying on stereotypes.Think about it, the Great Lakes Avengers were a joke team. There was no earnest attempt to give a voice to the region.DC has a similar problem. They have made Gotham and Metropolis "basically New York." It is almost worse in that case, because as a fictional city they could have made it an amalgamation of cities across the U.S..Thank about it, do you ever wonder if both Steve Gerber and Denny O'Neil being from St. Louis, and being only a decade apart in age, could explain why they both felt a need to write character driven stories delving into social issues?The real question isn't what did the the Midwest (or Great Lakes region in particular) contribute to society, but rather why is there an effort to erase the cultural contributions of anywhere outside New York or California?You have often said that the 70s had a lot of comics that were no longer superhero stories. IS it possible they were just reflections of what other areas of the country thought of the idea?NO, I am not accusing you of consciously making the choice to ignore the idea, just questioning how pervasive the idea might have become.Did you even know that the Lone Ranger, a legit American icon, was created in Detroit. If not, it is because it was never mentioned.Yet, how New York influenced Stan and Jack is constantly discussed.The Ramones are called the first punk band, but MC5 and the Stooges beat them to it by almost a decade. The term 'Punk Rock' was created to describe MC%. Iggy Pop, the Stooges lead singer, was called a punk singer when he went solo after the Ramones... but despite having the same style is called 'proto-punk' when he was in a band.Certainly much has been said about how 70s New York created the sound.I don't think it is a malicious act, but to ever discuss the ramifications, the question would have to be solved. Otherwise, who would read it?Let me ask you this. I know you were born and raised in New York, so that is your knowledge.But, you are a writer of fiction. How often do you set stories in other place, besides just for variety? For that matter, have you ever or would you ever look into just what the flavor of that area is? Choose a place and try to see if a story grabs you that needs to be told there?Hell, the only reason I think about it is because I find sociological aspects, regions, backgrounds, and how they effect people across ALL things interesting. I never stopped and thought "I wonder what Indiana had an effect on Eglehart." It comes and goes as I think about it, because I choose to actively do it at times.Dylan mentions Minnesota more than a bit. From where I stand (correct me if I am wrong, I am reverent and in awe of Dylan's talent, but not enough of a fan to be a scholar) he seems to have an affection from the area. I am far more interested in Dylan's New YorkJack
Sorry, I had to take this out to make it small enough to publish..."Do the possibilities ever get your writer sense tingling? You love writing people, there are plenty of types of people forged by experiences out side of the Big Apple."Jack
I don't think about writing New York people, I think about writing PEOPLE, whether they're from Brooklyn, Detroit, Mars or Abadazad. I go for the universality. All that said, your point is well taken. One of my favorite Spidey stories that I wrote is THE LOST YEARS, which takes place in Salt Lake City; the different setting gives it a different tone and feeling.
I'm not going to lie Dematteis,I wrote that when I was about to go to sleep. It was originally far higher up as a rhetorical question.You know, mixing in with the general thesis.That having been said, yes universality is the most important thing. However it can only take you so far.You recently wrote a story about an elderly woman in our time meeting a time lost version of herself when she was a member of God's worst creation, a teenager (huh, probably a good thing I am not a father). I think it was called "The Broad in the Creek."As a non-teenager, non-woman, non-60s survivor, I enjoyed the tale.However, My guess is her being written as a teenager and even female than other stories.Placing characters in these places, or making them from them, won't drastically change anything. It does however give some interesting aspect to play with and explore.I do think there is a fair annoyance that writers will often do the opposite of doing universality with spices of unique history. Often places get boiled down to stereotyped views of a a location, that can come off as insulting.How many times is a character from Detroit or Chicago just from the streets? Minnesota or Wisconsin a naive innocent which is too trusting?Even good writers fall into that trap.JAck
Excellent points and I very much agree!
So... it was called "The Broad in the Creek"That was going to drive me nuts, I will tell everyone that is the bookto look for, and now you can expect plenty of royalties from that one. The only question left is...Jack
You know, I've never actually been to New York, but there's a kind of universality to NYC as an idea that I've always appreciated. Before the internet changed everything, NYC was (rightly or wrongly) perceived as the place where people from everywhere congregated. So I think that's maybe why NYC took hold and became, as often noted, as much a character in the Marvel Universe as a setting. If the Marvel Revolution had taken place a bit later, it might have been different, with the emergence of fax machines making long distance work for major companies more feasible. I think it worked out for the best in Marvel's case that NYC became its initial focus, with its paradoxical mixture of skyscrapers and grit. It's a window into universality perceived locally. Just to be clear, I'm not arguing against more regional diversity. I'm all for it! I just think that there is a compelling reason why NYC became the lens through which the MU viewed its universe. --David
Good point, David And you can't ignore the fact that NYC was the world the Marvel creators lived in. Back in those days you HAD to live in the New York area if you wanted to work for Marvel and DC.
I will also say that as a kid I really loved the occasional Marvel inserts in the DALLAS MORNING NEWS. I remember a comic where the Incredible Hulk ran into the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders and the X-Men fought Magneto at the Texas State Fair. --David
The Hulk ran into the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders? And they didn't turn that into a feature film? : )
Well, there's still time! And Spider-Man was in that one, too. I'd be interested to know what other cities were getting. I think we had one or two of those inserts every year in the early 80s between our various newspapers. True story, the Texas State Fair mascot, Big Tex, once kicked Magneto's butt, literally. --David
The Golden Age of Comics.