There is a good chance that when somebody asks you to name a super hero, your going to think of Superman.
He is the one who started it all. In 1938 Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegal created a legend who has outlasted them and most likely us. The strange visitor from another planet. The Man of Steel. The Man of Tomorrow, he inspired us all. Even the other heros he encounters. Why is that? Superman has been called the “the big blue boy scout”. Some would call that a dig on Superman, and it is usually used as a derogatory slam against him. But that is what he is. He does good. With all his power he could rule the earth. He could heat vision your tires off as you drive down the freeway, but instead he devoted himself to saving his adopted world over and over again. You have to respect that. But a pushover he is not.
Outside of comics I think some writers can grasp him, not many, but few. My personal favorite is the 1950s Adventures of Superman TV show. George Reeves was a tough Superman, but his Clark Kent was no mild mannered reporter either! He was a pretty tough cat. The animated show from the 90s did Superman right , as did the first Donner movie in 1977.
The less said about SUPERMAN 3 and 4 the better. And SUPERMAN RETURNS was a good try, but Superman doesn’t have a love child Brian Singer. Bad, bad move. Hopefully the next film do out in 2013 will be a step in the right direction…
Back to comics, one of the best Superman tales is Grant Morrison’s ALL STAR SUPERMAN. This is a must have purchase if you want to read a good Superman story. I will make a list at the end of other Superman stories worth reading.
I personally like Superman when he shows up, handles business and fly’s off. I don’t envision him saving cats and talking to old ladies much. Not that he is stand offish, just a guy with lots of things on his agenda.
For the un-geeked, here is a quick run down on Superman’s origin.
From planet Krypton. Father is a scientist, predicts the demise of their home. Sends infant son in a rocket to Earth where the yellow son will give his sons Kryptonian physiology enhancements. Ship lands in Kansas where Jonathan and Martha Kent find him. They think he is a blessing from God as they are unable to have kids. They raise him with good morals and he grows up to use his powers for the good of mankind. His alter ego is Clark Kent, a mild mannered reporter for the Daily Planet. He works with Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen. He loves Lois, Lois loves Superman and tolerated Clark. Jimmy Olsen is his best pal. Lex Luthor is jealous of Superman’s attention. Brains versus brawn. Other baddies include: Braniac, Metallo, Bizarro, Darkseid, Parasite, Doomsday (who killed him) and many, many more.
Some people wonder why nobody guesses Clark and Superman are the same people, but most people think Superman is always Superman, why would he have a secret identity? He is Superman all of the time. Don’t spend too much time thinking about that. Remember that it is a comic book, and while sometimes explanations are needed, let this go. Wink with us as we all get it, your in on the biggest secret of all time!
To learn more about Superman, check out his wikipedia page here. Remember that FREE COMIC BOOK DAY is this Saturday May 1st! There is a free Superman comic available that day titled SUPERMAN:WAR OF THE SUPERMEN! Come pick one up!