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Sunday, March 13, 2016 

Neal Adams interview in LA Times

Last February, Neal Adams was interviewed by the LA Times, where he spoke about his book called "The Coming of the Supermen", and it begins with:
Neal Adams doesn't want Superman to continue in his godlike incarnations, and he's going to do something about it.
I thought Superman hadn't been portrayed as god-like for years now, and the most recent tales certainly had his power drastically reduced, yet at the same time, his weakness to kryptonite was all but omitted. And it didn't lead to any good stories either. Certainly not with nonsense like this being foisted on the Man of Steel. Adams later says:
You've mentioned that you think Superman is drifting away from his original characterization. How so?

I'm a fan of Superman as created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. Remember that Jerry and Joe created a character that was the biggest superhero of all. Practically the next hero created was Batman, who had no super powers.

Everybody in comic books lie pretty much in between these two characters. Now, I've done Batman and I've done characters that were in between — that alpha and omega end of the scale — and I think it's time for me to do Superman.

But I don't want to do a god. I don't think you could evolve a god on a planet — it doesn't make any sense. You can't fly into the sun. You can't put your hands on the side of a planet and move it. In fact, if you were a real Superman and you wanted to move a ship out to sea, you couldn't do it by pushing it because your hands are only about six inches long. What would happen if you pushed is that [the hands] would just embed into the ship and you would pretty much fly through the ship. In other sequences, Superman will fly through a ship. Why does he not fly through a ship in this sequence and fly through a ship in the next sequence? Because we're really not thinking of Superman; we're thinking of a god who can use his abilities at the whim of his mind.
Like I said before, that's hardly been the case of recent, so he's inexplicably oblivious to the recent storylines, though I doubt it has anything to do with the politics. He's actually right in a sense that Supes has been pushed away from the original characterization. It's all part of the obsession with making superheroes less heroic, if at all. And forcing Lois Lane to the curb does no favors either. Trouble is, he doesn't seem to be making the same cases I have.

However, I may faintly recall one story from 2003 where, in a manner of speaking, Supes did fly into the sun, wearing some kind of suit that theoretically would shield him from the sun's rays (he was put there by a supervillain, to be more precise). But, I'll agree that even that's teetering on the absurd, and being a comics story doesn't make it good. But then, neither does forced metaphors for leftist politics as seen today.
I would rather see a Superman who, if he's going to move a ship, he doesn't embed himself into the ship. He should be a character who figures things out for himself and how he conducts himself on a planet where everybody else is much, much weaker than he is. All of these things seems to me have been ignored in many ways, and it's just, 'Well, we'll do a god thing.'

I think that we want to believe in Superman. We want him to be handsome. We want women to fall in love with him. We want him to go out and exercise and build up his muscles — we want to see his muscles. And we want to believe that he really cares about himself and that he makes himself into what he is. He isn't just some schlub who just happens to inherit all of these super powers. He is a man, and he thinks like we do; it's just that he has super powers.

For me, Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster's character was Superman. It got a little fluffy and powdery along the way and got a little godlike at the same time, and I think that we want to get back to being a man that you fall in love with and you like as a buddy. ... I don't like the magic, you know what I mean?
I hope he doesn't mean magical energy weapons as seen during the Silver/Bronze Age. If he wants weapons against Supes portrayed more seriously, that's okay. But to suggest magic's an invalid form of challenge is ridiculous. And if they want women to dig Supes, they have to assure them the writers will be allowed to use Lois, if they want to.

Now, here's where he alludes to a diversity story he'd brought up a few months ago:
There's a spotlight on diversity in the comics world — on the page and with the creators — that seems to be throughout entertainment in general. Did that influence you at all, especially in the creation of a pivotal character — a little boy and his dog — who show up in the Middle East?

To a greater or lesser extent. Remember, I created the first black super hero, John Stewart, who was both college-educated and had a profession. He wasn't a gangbanger who suddenly got some power and turned into a hero. He wasn't an African tribal chief — who we can all relate to. Well, I can't. He is a college-educated professional man. That's the kind of character we want to see, and that's what every black American I've met wants to see. They don't like gangbangers, no matter what anyone says.

I want to see an Arab kid, and I want to see a Puerto Rican adult and all this stuff happening because that's the world I live in. I understand it very differently from segmented people who don't get exposed to a lot. I live in New York and California, and I get to travel. The next guy who comes to my booth could be an Arab or from South America — it's a world community now, and that's where we should be dealing.

I do have a certain place in this industry. People will look and say, 'Hey, maybe that's a good idea.' If it brings the next Arab or people from the Middle East into comics — great. If it brings in people from India — great. People don't know that one of the most popular comic books in India is Archie comics.

We're soon going to have Russia and Red China involved in our comic book industry. Should we let them in? Of course. But [in terms of storytelling], is he just an Arab kid? Is that dog just a dog? I don't think so.
If it's just an Arab kid, that's fine. But if he's written adhering to Islam, as his earlier notes indicated, then that's not only going a cliched route, it's also pushing the worst kind of propaganda, even as it features an idea that hardcore Islamists abhor - that being the notion of a pet dog - around (and since wolves are also canines, you can be sure they'd be considered haram [taboo] as well). While folks of Arabic descent are welcome in comicdom (I'd sure like to see somebody like Brigitte Gabriel and Walid Shoebat give it a try), having Islamists involved in any medium only guarantees that propaganda is likely to follow, and it actually does a disfavor to the Arabic community. If Adams sees nothing wrong with Islamofascists potentially plying their trade in showbiz, that's disturbing. And he's certainly giving telling hints when he refers to Red China, and even Russia, which is already moving back to a communist situation. As if it weren't bad enough the 3rd Iron Man movie pandered to China's commies with special footage.

Man, it's a real shame that Adams is going out of his way to be such a dismay. I've admired him for years as an artist, and there's plenty he did in the past I thought was splendid. But now he's really letting down from a political viewpoint, hinting he has no problem with commie-style reps working in entertainment. He can't even say he'd like to see Ghanian, Chilean and Armenian kids in these stories and visiting him at the conventions booths, and if he doesn't have what it takes to bring them up as well, then he's only sticking to a very narrow, predictable angle.

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"I see it very differently from segmented people who don't get exposed to a lot. I live in New York and California, and I get to travel."

But I bet Adams doesn't travel to anywhere west of Park Avenue and east of Beverly Hills. So he doesn't meet any of those "segmented people" in flyover country.

I'm reminded of Obama's snarky remarks about Americans "clinging to guns and religion." And the New Yorker magazine cover, "View From 9th Avenue," showing everything west of the Hudson River as a vast empty desert.

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