The Nacireman wrote:
I had this idea in the back of my head a few years ago where it'd be revealed that Kryptonians were actually descended from humans with brought to Krypton by the green Martians to keep them from screwing with their DNA like they did the rest of humanity (from JLA New World Order).
A gentleman by the name of Aaron Diaz did a great article on redesigning Superman:http://dresdencodak.tumblr.com/tagged/superman
What’s Wrong: Since his creation, Superman’s drifted from being a progressive champion for the common man to a patriotic middle-America boyscout who represents the establishment and traditional values. When he was developed in the 30s, Superman was very much a Depression-era hero, mostly going after villains like crooked money lenders and saving people who were being abused by the system. His superpowers came from the fact that he was from a more advanced society, and his morals too were because he was simply a brainier, more sophisticated guy. During and following WW2 and into the Cold War, though, he became an official symbol for American values in particular (it was originally “Truth and Justice,” without “the American Way”). He was now not just an alien, but an alien raised by simple Kansas farmers and his abilities had a more generic “superpower” explanation. This is all fine, really, but I think the original concept is more compelling these days.
The Fix: Two parts Martian Manhunter and Ten parts Fleischer Superman. “Superman: the Man of Tomorrow, Strange Visitor from Another World.” I really want to push that. First off, Kryptonians should actually look like aliens and not white people. Here I have Kal-El from a race of beings whose technology and biology are long since indistinguishable (Clarke-esque space gods, you know the type). They’re strange to our mortal eyes but mean well. I’d keep the “destroyed planet” origin but more heavily emphasize the “non-interference” part of Superman’s mission statement.
If you’ll remember from the 70s movie, his father Jor-El told him he was forbidden to interfere with the course of human history, but when you think about it, that’s kind of vague. What I’ve done is added a Star Trek or Uatu the Watcher kind of prime directive to all advanced species: Kal-El can’t let people know that he’s an alien, nor can he openly interact with them using advanced technology. Still, he’s a compassionate guy and wants to help, so he takes the form of “Superman” to inspire the mortals in a constructive way. Also, the notion that he can take on different forms means that the Clark Kent secret identity need not be as bad as it currently is.
The costume redesign holds to the basic themes but makes it a little more working class. The buttons at the top are meant to invoke overalls, and the sleeves are cut a little higher for someone working with their hands. I’ve removed the spandex and gone with looser fitting slacks, while keeping a short cape and boots, since he’s still an adventurer.
Overall I want to evoke a classic Superman feel while making it a little more modern in its exploration of the sci fi themes. He’s still basically the same guy: an alien from another world looking to fight injustice, but without the overt patriotism and a quirkier execution of the secret identity.
Origin: The Kryptonian civilization once spanned hundreds of worlds, their technology and knowledge unrivaled in their corner of the galaxy. Kryptonians had long since advanced to a point where technology and biology were indistinguishable, making them virtually immortal and omnipotent in the eyes of less developed races. Over time they grew overconfident, and wished to introduce their technology to undeveloped worlds, in direct violation of the most important rule of the galactic community: the Omega Law.
In an attempt to assimilate the natives of the planet Mars, Krypton finally gained the attention of Colu, enforcer of the Omega Law, and was marked for extermination. A Kryptonian Scientist named Jor-El, specializing in passively and remotely observing nearby Earth, witnessed this and rapidly set a plan forward to save his infant son, Kal-El, from their fate. By sending him in a conventional rocket toward the backwater planet Earth, he guaranteed Kal-El’s safety from Colu. The rocket took over a thousand years to reach the planet, and upon reaching the surface, restructured Kal-El’s body so he would appear as a human.
Raised by simple farmers, Kal-El (now called Clark Kent) eventually learned of his heritage when examining a recorded message from his rocket. His father informed him of his fate, and that he must never dominate the planet with his immense power, as it would warp the fate of all life on Earth. Not content to passively observe humanity, though, Clark decides to inspire others through his actions as Superman.
Superman has declared that he fights for those who cannot defend themselves, owing no allegiance to a particular government (though still obeying their laws). He has particularly targeted corporate corruption and the military-industrial complex as enemies of human progress, his most prominent opponent being billionaire industrialist Lex Luther and his company, LexCorp.
Powers: Superman can “shed” his human form and appear as a Kryptonian, though he chooses not to, as to avoid violating the Omega Law. He possesses superhuman durability and strength, as well as the ability to move himself through the air. His senses are also much more sensitive than an average human’s. Being a Kryptonian, he is actually capable of near-godlike feats, but for the safety of the Earth and his mission, Clark deliberately avoided learning of what he is truly capable.
Notes: I wanted to bring Superman back to his depression-era roots, where in the earliest stories he was mostly concerned with social justice more than representing specifically American ideals. It was only after World War 2 that he became a more “boy scout,” authoritarian character. I wanted him to be closer to the Nietzschean “Superman” (the earliest inspiration for the character) whose morality can be independent of traditional ones.
Visually, I wanted to have him look a little more working class, with the buttons suggesting the image of overalls and the sleeves appearing rolled up. With the cape and high boots, though, he still has the appearance of an adventurer. I wanted the overall look to be more of a friendly guy who wants to help people more than a demigod who watches over them. He’s more of a fireman than a police officer.
Also, as an aside, Colu was the original home planet of Braniac, so I used that name for him instead.