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#563725 - 01/02/10 01:08 PM Superman as American Icon by Gary Groth
Charles Reece Offline
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Registered: 08/18/99
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Ran across this bit of fun:

Quote:
Superman is an American Symbol, though; notwithstanding his humble beginnings at the hands of Siegel and Shuster, Superman was sold to the American public by a company who couldn't care less for "courage and humility," and stands as the successful marketing of pop mythology, and like a political candidate who offers image, bombast, and demagoguery over substance and ideals, Superman has come to stand for values he never consistently realized as a creation. He's the ultimate America icon -- he can be sold, marketed, and merchandised, whose image can be replicated on everything from pillowcases to beach balls to underwear.

The rest of the essay.
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#563733 - 01/02/10 04:13 PM Re: Superman as American Icon by Gary Groth [Re: Charles Reece]
Allen Montgomery Online   content
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Registered: 05/08/00
Posts: 7082
One thing I keep meaning to look up, and never have, is who came up with the Superman emblem they use now? I don't believe it was Joe Shuster.


We had a guest speaker in a high school art class once. He was a commercial artist of some variety (I don't quite remember). We were about to embark on a few assignments of calligraphy, creating logos and the like. So this guy was supposed to enlighten the kids on what that was all about.

Before he showed a short film he asked us, "What's the most recognized logo in the world?" I said Superman, somebody else said Coca-Cola. He said, "No, the Playboy bunny." The argument being that the bunny is a symbol without English words attached to it and therefore transcends language barriers. Then he showed his film. In it, there were several examples of ripoffs of the Superman logo, even in other languages.

Granted, I had the advantage because I was a comics reader and studied emblems and logos all the time. But I mean, really.
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#563740 - 01/02/10 06:28 PM Re: Superman as American Icon by Gary Groth [Re: Allen Montgomery]
Charles Reece Offline
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Registered: 08/18/99
Posts: 10013
Loc: us of fuckin' a
I don't imagine Playboy has made it to as many places as Coke or Superman.
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#563744 - 01/02/10 08:32 PM Re: Superman as American Icon by Gary Groth [Re: Charles Reece]
madget Offline
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Registered: 05/11/01
Posts: 4870
I was always impressed with McDonald's level of penetration myself, with their simple golden arches.

K

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#563751 - 01/03/10 12:03 PM Re: Superman as American Icon by Gary Groth [Re: madget]
ChrisW Offline
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Registered: 11/25/00
Posts: 10034
Loc: Lincoln, Nebraska USA
Madget, stop that, you know what you do to me when you use words like "penetration" and "arches".

Groth's essay, attack on Ellison and all, reminds me of why I stopped reading TCJ. Here's a much more positive view of Superman.
http://www.cerebusfangirl.com/artists/nftp/108.php

Note that DC lists 29 February 1988 as Superman's 50th birthday, which is odd since 1938 wasn't a leap year.


Edited by ChrisW (01/03/10 12:04 PM)
Edit Reason: edited by Julius Schwartz
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#563753 - 01/03/10 12:59 PM Re: Superman as American Icon by Gary Groth [Re: ChrisW]
Charles Reece Offline
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Registered: 08/18/99
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A real trip back to the 80s. Thanks for reminding me why I stopped reading Sim. Nevertheless, he doesn't much disagree with Groth over the important stuff.
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#563754 - 01/03/10 01:10 PM Re: Superman as American Icon by Gary Groth [Re: Charles Reece]
shjonescrk Offline
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Registered: 10/31/03
Posts: 1351
Loc: Airdrie, Scotland
Both Groth and Sim should lighten up. Humourless fools.

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#563756 - 01/03/10 06:43 PM Re: Superman as American Icon by Gary Groth [Re: shjonescrk]
Lawson Offline
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Registered: 11/11/02
Posts: 11978
Loc: Lexington, Ky.
Gary Groth: My only interest in Superman, marginal at that, stems from his continuing presence as a symbol of banality and infantilism in the history of the American comic book.

Wotta humorless asshole. I like some of the interviews in The Comics Journal, but lord, those people take themselves way, way, way too seriously. And is it just me, or does Groth have a pattern of dismissing something as of interest only to fools right before he launches into a long rant about it? Either you care or you don't care, Gary. Sounds to me like you care.

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#563760 - 01/03/10 08:31 PM Re: Superman as American Icon by Gary Groth [Re: Lawson]
IvanJim Offline
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Registered: 06/16/01
Posts: 2865
Loc: Los Angeles
From what I know of Groth he's an incredibly opinionated SOB but far from humorless. He's quite smart, intellectually challenging and possessed by a wonderfully funny dark streak, but it's also true that he's fairly arrogant.

I enjoy reading his arguments with other people, but I didn't find his opinions on (what I consider to be) minor comic book creators holding my interest or my agreement, so I stopped my TCJ subscription almost a decade ago. So while it's not unfair to consider him an asshole, my sense is that it's inaccurate to describe him as a humorless asshole.

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#563762 - 01/03/10 10:07 PM Re: Superman as American Icon by Gary Groth [Re: IvanJim]
Ted Kilvington Offline
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Registered: 05/10/99
Posts: 1080
Loc: Mason, MI, USA
Asshole or not, he seemed to feel that since comics could be serious literature, all comics should be judged by serious literature standards. Which is ludicrous since most comics don't aspire to be anything more than entertaining fluff. Does anyone seriously think that Image Comics should be analyzed and discussed in the same manner as Nabokov or even Love and Rockets?
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