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Look! Up in the sky, it's a bird, it's a plane...
January 11, 2013 - Stephen Browne
Superman is being rebooted as "Man of Steel," to be released this summer.
I suppose it was inevitable. The Batman and Star Trek have had major reboots. They tried earlier with Superman and got the forgettable "Superman Returns." The TV series "Lois and Clark" had a respectable run, but of course sank like a rock once Superman and Lois Lane actually got married. Could have told them that.
This one looks... well kind of weird. The poster shows Superman in handcuffs being led by SWAT or military types. Now what the heck does that mean?
By the way, he's handcuffed in front. That's not what they do these days. Not that it matters, Superman can snap handcuffs like wet toilet paper. Everybody knows that.
That's been a recurring problem for Superman writers for some time now. When Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster created Superman in 1932 (first published in 1938) he was super-strong and impervious to "all but the the most powerful artillery shells" and he couldn't fly, he jumped.
As time went by Superman became able to fly through space, push planets around, even time travel, it became difficult to threaten him in any way to create any kind of drama.
About his origins, it's interesting to note he was created by two Jewish guys at a time anti-Semitism was still pretty strong in the U.S. And an interesting fact I just discovered, Siegel's father was killed in a robbery the year before he and Shuster came up with Superman.
Though Siegel never mentioned this as an influence, one of his interviewers, Brad Meltzer said, "Your father dies in a robbery, and you invent a bulletproof man who becomes the world's greatest hero. I'm sorry, but there's a story there."
Saturday Night Live once did a riff on Superman with their "What if...?" panel discussions. "What if Superman had landed in Germany as a baby?"
"Look up in the sky! It's Ubermann!"
In this alternate reality the Manhattan Project becomes a quest to find kryptonite.
One unique thing about Superman was pointed out by Jules Feiffer in his book about the classic comic book heroes of the 1930s and '40s, "The Great Comic Book Heroes" (1965).
Feiffer noted that in Superman's beginnings the character dynamics went like this: Clark Kent is seriously crushing on Lois Lane, who absolutely loathes Clark and is seriously crushing on Superman.
"I can't stand the sight of him now I've been in the arms of a real man," is how Lois puts it.
But alas, the only time Lois is ever in Superman's arms is when he's flying her out of peril. Superman is indifferent to or embarrassed by Lois' feelings. She's the aggressor in hot pursuit of the Man of Steel.
Feiffer asks, what gives? It can't be because Superman wants Lois to love him for himself, because unique among super heroes, he really is Superman. Clark Kent is the phoney!
Feiffer said Clark Kent might represent the way Superman sees the rest of us. Not a pretty picture...
The latest incarnation of Superman will be played by English actor Henry Cavil. Amy Adams will play Lois Lane. And while I did grow up on the 1950s George Reeves "Adventures of Superman" TV series with Noel Neil as Lois Lane, for me Lois is Terri Hatcher.
I've got to say, I loved Christopher Nolan's vision of The Batman as "The Dark Knight" but I have serious misgivings about this new Superman, even with Nolan at the helm of the project. The whole point of Nolan's Batman was making the concept plausible and it's very difficult to see how he's going to do that with a superhero with the powers of a demigod.
Nonetheless I'll almost certainly go see it, and of course I'll review it.
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