Armchair Editorial: Why Can’t We Just Let Superman be Superman?
“I think the only way Superman works as a character is to throw him in storylines that make him more human and relatable.”
You shut up. Now go sit over there, and I’ll get back to you in a second.
Folks, why can’t we just let Superman be …Superman?
Over the last few months a couple of announcements have come down the pike concerning my favorite superhero, Superman.
Yes, that’s right, I said it. My favorite superhero is Superman.
I know that it isn’t the popular opinion with a lot of people who know from comic books, but hear me out…
Superman is the ideal.
He is hope.
He is something to aspire to.
Native Americans made totems of animals that they aspired to be like. Superman is a totem for humanity. When we see Superman, we see someone who embodies truth. Somebody who doesn’t use the power he has been given for evil. He serves without expectation or entitlement. He has dedicated his life to helping a race of people that he’s not even part of. He’s like a living ‘melting pot’ of all the traits that we could aspire to be.
Now, the ‘real life’ heroes on this planet are people like Fireman, Policeman, Teachers, Mentors… people that are selfless …some even put their self in harm’s way, to save other’s lives.
People that run in …when others run out. We wouldn’t be the society we are without them.
So …if I would say “SUPERhero” I would probably be saying “Things that go beyond human limits.” I want my heroes to be heroes …and my Superheroes to be more than just super-powered flawed human beings. Otherwise, they are just a step up from Jose Canseco.
When we say the phrase “Well, I’m only human.” That is generally our excuse for royally screwing up. We do that quite a bit. We’re human.
I just think that when it comes to escapism, there are 245,543,859 other comic book characters out there that perfectly embody the “only human” idea.
There is definitely a place for them. Who doesn’t love Tony Stark or Batman?
But…BUT… why can’t there be JUST ONE that we can simply look up to… an ideal of something to aspire to be like?
One of the best things about Superman is that he’s not human, dark or gritty. He’s not Batman. Why do you think those two have worked together for decades in comics? It ain’t ’cause they are alike!
WHY do we INSIST on making Superman a more ‘human’ character?
What got me on this rant was a culmination of about 3 or 4 announcements over the last few months…
- Reviews on Captain America are coming in. People are LOVING it. Something that I have read consistently is, that people love Cap as a person in this movie, mostly because of his pure soul and incorruptible character. He is just a normal guy who likes justice and wants to right wrongs. He has a good heart and is someone we should aspire to be. Sound familiar? Superman was once a higher standard to hold ourselves to. Why are we okay with these character attributes with Cap and insist on screwing with Supes? The more I read, the more I don’t understand why Hollywood is so afraid of doing a modern Superman movie correctly. Which leads me to my next point…
- The NEW Superman movie (SUPERMAN: MAN OF STEEL) plot synopsis has recently made the rounds on the internet. The story is supposedly loosely following the Superman: BIRTHRIGHT storyline (in which Clark travels to West Africa as a reporter, tries to solve tribal disputes and questions whether he really wants to be Superman.
Why? WHHHHYYYY? CAN’T WE JUST HAVE A SIMPLE SUPERMAN MOVIE? Why is this so difficult? I want to see Supes battle someone in a gigantic robot, or smash Doomsday so hard the windows in the city shatter. I want to see Superman punched through three buildings with one shot. I want to see him run in-between the raindrops and catch a falling baby or drop a bundle of tied up bad guys at the police department, then pet a police K9 before flying off.
What have we gotten in the modern age of Supes movies? A slow-mo scene of Superman getting shot in the eyeball, and an epic fight with an engineless airplane. WOO HOO!
Oh wait, he DID use his heat vision against some falling glass… and then blew some fire out of manhole covers. GO SUPES!
My heart can’t take this much excitement.
Superman Returns came out a few years ago. Bryan Singer’s attempt to make him ‘more human’ featured him abandoning Earth and humanity without any warning, and have an illegitimate child out of wedlock. YAY for humans!
Before you say “Well he didn’t know she was pregnant when he left.” consider …that a man, who just a few movies ago, scanned the same woman for lung cancer, and told her she was wearing pink underwear. A guy who could hear her heartbeat on the other side of an office building, who could hear her whisper across the city …had NO IDEA that month or two later that she was preggers? Even assuming he DIDN’T know that she was pregnant, he just up and left the woman he loved and the planet he was sworn to protect, without warning?
His attempt to make him more relatable …made him kind of a dick.
And we didn’t even get a cool fight scene out of it! Come on! You know what the best Superman fight scene ever put on film is? Neo vs. Smith in the third Matrix movie. Maybe I should just be happy with that and shut up.
- And finally… the proverbial straw on this camel’s back… the announcement was made recently that the DC Universe is getting completely rebooted. Superman will be rebuilt from the ground up. One comic will feature Superman just jumping (not flying) around Metropolis in jeans, a T-shirt and a cape, (T-shirt and a cape, yes, because that makes sense to… well, nobody.) and another comic, where he has abandoned his famous uniform for a more “future battle armor” type thing.
To quote a USA Today article: “This book promises a younger, brooding outsider version of Superman … Does he wear a skintight ballet suit? No, not today, and I don’t think anyone falls for it,” Writer Grant Morrison says. … “We’ve been given a lot of leeway to change Superman and answer some of those questions that grown-ups ask nowadays.”
Yes, grownups…the people that demand their Superman questions answered.
Another quote: “Part of the creative changes we’ve put behind the mythology is to tell people, ‘Look, you may think you know Superman, but you don’t.”
Great. So after years of passionately introducing people to the incredible story and character that is Superman… I don’t know him. Thanks DC. Enjoy all my cash.
But …here’s where the problem lies my friends… Even though this seems to be the standard opinion of the blue boy, a lawsuit has been going back and forth between Superman’s creator’s Shuster and Siegel with D.C. and how much cash they are owed. Sighting that they are responsible for most of Superman’s distinguishing characteristics like the “distinctive full–length blue leotard with yellow belt & red briefs.”
Notice anything missing from the new reboot designs?
Good Lord, man.
What is the big deal, people? Why can’t we just let him be Superman?
Why does he have to be “Edgy?” Why does he have to be “more human?”
The “pureness” of Superman’s character has lead to much dislike in our post-modern society. A lot of people don’t think he works as well in a world that relates more deeply to characters like Rorschach and Wolverine.
“Mommy, when I grow up, I want to be a Superhero!”
People think that because he is so powerful and pure that he just isn’t interesting. But what draws me so much to this character… is the fact that his good nature and willingness to save humanity is what also makes him an interesting and remarkably tragic character. Can you imagine having ALMOST God-like powers, and the ability to ALMOST be everywhere at once, and a tremendous need to help as many people as possible?
Can you imagine falling in love, or stopping for coffee, or seeing a movie knowing that every minute that you spend on yourself, there will be people dying and families wondering why you didn’t help? And it’s not like he can be blissfully ignorant, he has Super hearing, can you imagine hearing cries for help all day and not being able to help everyone? Can you imagine saving someone from a flood in Australia when your adopted father in America dies? Why weren’t you there?
That ALMOST God-like power is what makes him an amazingly tragic character in my opinion, how do you have that on your conscious 24/7 and still remain the incorruptible character he is?
He’s my favorite character; he’s someone I look up to.
Many people say … that he’s just TOO good, and just not relatable at all because he can’t be corrupted or doesn’t have a psychological disorder.
I just think this is a flawed concept.
What say you, Moguls?
The totem for humanity, …or just a ‘big blue boy scout’ that no one cares about anymore?
– Voodrew and Mr. Hyde