Like I said the other day, our discussion of the history of Marvel lead to a deeper comics discussion and eventually to this, a subject about which I, you may be shocked to discover, have some strong opinions.

It’s not that I want Superman to be locked into one mode of storytelling; be it the super-sitcom of the 60s, the crusades against corruption of the 40s, or the current widescreen epics of badassery.  It all works, or I should say it all can work, as long as the character is recognizable as Superman.  For decades, writers (including Jerry Siegel) kept Superman acting like Superman whether he was punching Nazi tanks, or fending off Lois Lane’s attempts at marital entrapment.
How did Superman act?  Well, he was a take-charge guy.  He saw a situation that required intervention, and he intervened.  He wasn’t selfish or egotistical – he was a friend.  Not just a friend, but a pal.  He had the same concerns as you or me – he still had to walk the dog, even if that consisted of tossing space junk for Krypto to fetch from an asteroid field.   He has power, and understands that – and stop me if you’ve heard this one – with it comes responsibility.
But there seems to be confusion these days about what kind of character Superman is.  It’s no secret that Superman doesn’t get the same respect as his closest League-mate, Batman.  Because Batman has so many great hooks:  badass ninja, traumatic childhood, broods at night on rooftops.  He’s like a high-five to our inner teenage boy.  And DC, as an entity, seems to have a complex about what he’s not.  Rather than tell stories about Superman as he is, they keep trying to reshape him into what he’s not.
Here’s the crucial point: he’s not there to reflect us as we are.  He’s what we want to be.  He is our aspirations given form. We could take on those corrupt politicians, if we were super-strong.  We could stop that tidal wave, if only we could fly.  We could stop that giant, Kryptonite-mutated gorilla, if only we could scan the city with X-ray vision to find a stash of bananas.  We can’t do those things.  Clark Kent can’t do those things.  But when that giant Kryptonite-mutated gorilla shows up, he becomes someone who can.
Next issue: What villainous scheme can this vile fiend be hatching?  Be here in 5 days for “The Licentious Larceny Of Lex Luthor!!!”