Should a character be retconned to a different gender/race/sexual orientation/etc.?
Yes, let's make it representative.
28.3% (26)
28.3% (26)
No, leave those characters as originally created and make new ones.
57.6% (53)
57.6% (53)
No, don't change a thing.
12% (11)
12% (11)
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Poll: Retconned to be Gay

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Seanchaidh:

Helmholtz Watson:
I get what you're generally saying, but then how do you explain comic book characters as popular as Superman? The guy hardly fits the idea of a member of a persecuted minority given the fact that practically physically and morally perfect.

You kidding? Superman is quite literally in the closet about the fact that he is Superman. He has to hide something about who he is.

He's in the closet about something people love him for. When he's out as Superman, he's saving people from begin attacked, not being attacked for it (supervillains excepted).

thaluikhain:

Seanchaidh:

Helmholtz Watson:
I get what you're generally saying, but then how do you explain comic book characters as popular as Superman? The guy hardly fits the idea of a member of a persecuted minority given the fact that practically physically and morally perfect.

You kidding? Superman is quite literally in the closet about the fact that he is Superman. He has to hide something about who he is.

He's in the closet about something people love him for. When he's out as Superman, he's saving people from begin attacked, not being attacked for it (supervillains excepted).

Clark Kent is an alien from another planet and, for that reason, fears being captured and dissected in a lab (or whatever) if people find out that he's Superman. He keeps his identity on the down low.

w9496:
Correct me if I'm wrong here, but don't comic book writers have different universes already in place to do these kinds of things? I remember Ultimate Spiderman being one of them.

If they have alternate universes, then just change the way they are in that one rather than retconning them in an already existing and fleshed out character.

It wasn't a retcon, it was character development. And it wasn't a fleshed out character. It was Prodigy, an incredibly minor X-Men character who was created in 2003 and nobody's ever heard of.

TekMoney:

w9496:
Correct me if I'm wrong here, but don't comic book writers have different universes already in place to do these kinds of things? I remember Ultimate Spiderman being one of them.

If they have alternate universes, then just change the way they are in that one rather than retconning them in an already existing and fleshed out character.

It wasn't a retcon, it was character development. And it wasn't a fleshed out character. It was Prodigy, an incredibly minor X-Men character who was created in 2003 and nobody's ever heard of.

I stand corrected then. I generally know jack shit about comics anyway, so it shows what I know.

I'm not familiar with comic books - but from what I learned from MovieBob and other sources, comics in the West have a proud and long tradition of different writers altering the past and altering the characters to fit with whatever story they wanted to tell. We've had "universe" shifts, memory wipes, alternate dimensions, complete series re-boots - the "canon" is so thoroughly twisted and broken that you can't even really expect any consistency for long periods of time.

So, yeah, change the characters if you want. It's happened before. If you value canon and consistency, I'd have imagined you would have stopped reading DC or Marvel decades ago.

Seanchaidh:

thaluikhain:

Seanchaidh:

You kidding? Superman is quite literally in the closet about the fact that he is Superman. He has to hide something about who he is.

He's in the closet about something people love him for. When he's out as Superman, he's saving people from begin attacked, not being attacked for it (supervillains excepted).

Clark Kent is an alien from another planet and, for that reason, fears being captured and dissected in a lab (or whatever) if people find out that he's Superman. He keeps his identity on the down low.

I don't see how Clark can fear being "captured and dissected in a lab", or any such similar thing that would include hostility or ignorance of his feelings, when, as has been said, people love him for being Superman because he's all-powerful and saves people from super-villains. The only reason he hides his identity is to protect his loved ones, such as Lois Lane.

Same goes for Peter Parker, but to a lesser extent. Yeah, J. Jonah Jameson dislikes Spider-Man and a bunch of other people probably do too because he's a vigilante, but he's still a white, middle-class, heterosexual teenage boy, and the "persecuted for being a nerd" thing just isn't as socially relevant today, where nerd-dom has been pretty much accepted into the mainstream or otherwise commercialised, as it was back in the 1960s, where comics were still thought as being "just for kids" and the main nerd stereotype was the glasses-wearing bookworm (not to say that stereotype doesn't still exist, but it's been supplemented by a host of other nerd stereotypes, like the "handsome nerd" and the overweight middle-aged nerd living in his mum's basement).

Seanchaidh:

Helmholtz Watson:
I get what you're generally saying, but then how do you explain comic book characters as popular as Superman? The guy hardly fits the idea of a member of a persecuted minority given the fact that practically physically and morally perfect.

You kidding? Superman is quite literally in the closet about the fact that he is Superman. He has to hide something about who he is.

Ok...but he doesn't represent some minority group in America.

thaluikhain:
He's in the closet about something people love him for. When he's out as Superman, he's saving people from begin attacked, not being attacked for it (supervillains excepted).

I doubt Man of Steel was the first time the "American Military vs. Benevolent Superhero" bit was used with Superman.

I'm ambivalent on the matter of retconning characters into alternate sexualities/races. While it's usually presented in a way that's gimmicky and lame, the lack of diversity in some established canons is also lame and sometimes immersion breaking. Combined with the difficulty of having new characters come to prominence against so much competition from existing characters, it's quite the conundrum. However, it's not like it's exactly unheard of for people to come out as gay later in life after years of of living double lives.

It's worth noting that in the latest universe-wide reboot a few years back Superman's origin story specifically had him originally being feared and attacked by the military, at one point being captured by them.

Helmholtz Watson:
Ok...but he doesn't represent some minority group in America.

No. Originally, he stood up for the the poor, weak and oppressed against criminals, corrupt businessmen and politicians, rather than represented any minorities.

Mind you, as far as I can tell, the poor, weak and oppressed of 1930s Superman were all whites. Presumably civil rights were beyond his remit.

He had his moments

image

He was also a supporter of welfare:

image

Although we all know the best Superman:

image

I don't mind if they change old characters, but I don't actively demand they do.

However, if we're talking a separate continuity, I especially don't see what the rage is aboot.

Agema:
Mind you, as far as I can tell, the poor, weak and oppressed of 1930s Superman were all whites. Presumably civil rights were beyond his remit.

Given the time period of his creation, why shouldn't the idea of treating all White Americans the same be associated with civil rights? Looking back at American's history, its not as if all White people were all treated/viewed in a equal manner, especially when it came to religious beliefs.

Helmholtz Watson:

Given the time period of his creation, why shouldn't the idea of treating all White Americans the same be associated with civil rights?

I presume you are missing the obvious implication deliberately. So I shouldn't need to supply the hint that not everyone in the USA is white.

Agema:

Helmholtz Watson:

Given the time period of his creation, why shouldn't the idea of treating all White Americans the same be associated with civil rights?

I presume you are missing the obvious implication deliberately. So I shouldn't need to supply the hint that not everyone in the USA is white.

You're dodging the question.
Why shouldn't the idea that being Catholic, German, or an European immigrant should have nothing to do with how you are treated and thus be considered a civil right achievement? I'm not saying that everybody in the US is or was White, just that you seem to want to ignore the time period that Superman was created in and willfully overlook the fact that the relationship that White Americans have with each other today isn't representative of the relationship that White Americans had with each other during the 1930s.

As for just who exactly Superman defended, it seems like he was more caring than you give him credit for.

Helmholtz Watson:
As for just who exactly Superman defended, it seems like he was more caring than you give him credit for.

Was that from the 1930s?

You're dodging the question.

In a way. It's more that I don't really care because I don't consider it relevant.

I was making wry commentary on the limitations of progressive ideals: what is an admirable advance in human rights one generation can be considered hopelessly backward a generation or two later. Superman's ideals are nothing but the idealism of its writers at the time based on the ideals of the era.

I stress that I do not hold this against the 1930s writers of Superman - we're all products of our time. Let's face it, the founders of their country declared all men equal blah blah blah 150 years previously, and then left a substantial chunk of their population in slavery and disenfranchisement.

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