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Friday, August 21, 2020 

Chuck Dixon explains why today's writers can't do Superman justice

In this "Ask Chuck Dixon" video via Bounding Into Comics, he tells why feels the current writers assigned to Superman can't tell good stories, or more to the point, aren't:
[...] “Star Trek pretty much ruined for me the last few years. And Superman, long ago ruined. Basically when the classic guys, for me, the last classic guys, Jurgens and Ordway and Roger Stern and Butch Guice. When they left the Superman franchise it was over. I didn’t care anymore. Because they loved the character.”

Dixon then went on to detail why current creators are unable to tell good Superman stories, “The problem that Superman has, and it’s not really a problem. It’s a problem for the creators. It’s a problem for the writers. They don’t know how to write good stories about a guy who is a Boy Scout. A guy who has a moral spine, a code of behavior. He’s a gentleman. He’s a paragon of virtue. They simply do not how to write that kind of character and make it interesting.”

Dixon continued, “And yet the road map is drawn. Even though that seems like a very tight set of restrictions, it’s not. There’s a lot of room in there to tell great stories.”

Dixon then detailed that he’s struggled writing Superman in the past, but he would find ways to work it out, “And I’ve been backed into a corner on Superman stories myself with the Mort Weisinger process of what if Superman did this? Then you are like, ‘How’s he going to do this?’ Well, it’s my job to figure out how it’s going to work.”

He continued, “And I’ve been in that corner and it was tough and it was challenging, but I did it. I didn’t whine and cry and change the rules just to write my version of Superman or somehow alter Superman to my quote on quote vision.”

Dixon then states, “So, will he ever return to greatness? No. We are just going to have to remember the way he was until some other generation brings him up and takes him back to his former glory.”

“But in the minds of the general public, the people just walking around, Superman remains the same. Superman is not altered by all of these different, especially comic book version of him. Because most of the public isn’t even aware of those changes,” he adds.
And that's because Bendis, the latest pretender to the throne, would rather it remain a secret, so he could carry out his dismal approach that doesn't lead anywhere and adds nothing to Superman and his co-stars. The writers up until the early 2000s may have loved the Man of Steel, but most of their successors don't. Especially damaging, however, has been when Jurgens, who supposedly loved Superman, exploited him for a political tool pandering to - what else? - social justice propaganda. For all the pluses Jurgens may have in his resume in 40-plus years of working as an artist and writer, he also has a lot of moments where you have to take it with a grain of salt, and his most recent work, based on the politics he catered to, is particularly reprehensible. If memory serves, he was the one who really set Infinity Inc's Obsidian on the path to being depicted as homosexual in 1994, which became particularly blatant in the mid-2000s. Some "conservative" Jurgens supposedly is. Surely ironic is that he was an early example of a writer making forced and contrived changes to an established character instead of introducing new ones to fill the roles he had in mind.

But back to the main subject, if Dixon could've chosen to write Superman proper on a more regular basis (he only has a handful of Superman-related stories in his resume), and not just as a special guest in a Batbook, would he have done this? Arguably, the best way to make a difference is to practice for starters in developing the best story templates, and then auditioning to realize them as an actual published story by getting the series assignment. IMO, if Dixon had made an effort to work on as many books with an optimistic vision as he did with a darker vision like Batman, it's possible we could've seen considerably better quality as the years went by. Now, it certainly isn't possible, so long as DC and Marvel are both corporate properties. As a result, it's not just a generational problem. It's also a gatekeeping problem, when you have slimy, selfish know-it-alls imposing editorial mandates under the confidence the higher echelons will provide cover for their activities. Is it any wonder then that Batman's become the overabundant emphasis while Superman falls into serious neglect?

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The other big problem writing for Superman is that he is way too powerful. Drama depends on danger and Superman is never really ever in danger. He is great as an ideal of what we all wish we were, but Batman seems far more human and limited- like us. So it is hard to RELATE to Superman.

Superman appeals more to the weak, because he is the wish fullfillment of power- so kids love him. He was most popular when comics were read mostly by kids. But adults already have power and are attracted more to characters- such as Batman- that show the limits of power and how to deal with these limits.

Batman has to think to survive, Superman doesn't. Batman reflects the adult world more. The adult world is also seedy (reality) and few go through it for long and remain a "boy scout".

Batman just relates more to adult readers on all levels (plus he has better villains). Its not about a hate of Superman. People love Superman in abstract, they just don't relate to him or his life.

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I don't think either Dixon or you guys really get Superman either.

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