I never truly understood why people thought that Superman was great. Sure I saw the movies with Christopher Reeve, I saw the Man of Steel with Henry Cavill, I enjoyed Smallville. All of them were good, likable movies and shows, but nothing that made him great. What made the world cry when he died in the 90s? He always seemed like an overpowered, goody two shoes, boring character. Now to say I did not like Superman would be a lie; I enjoyed Superman, but never really picked up any of his issues until Rebirth, which I did enjoy.
Another day at Comic Watch office, the news is coming in and out, random chatter about new picks, how much JJ hated X-Men and how Derbs defends that X-Men Gold wasn’t as bad as people say. As I listen to conversations, I also review my notes about Man Of Steel and how Brian Michael Bendis took over Superman and Action Comics. People had mixed reactions. I will be the first to say “I didn’t care.” I didn’t care about Superman. I read Bendis run on Man of Steel mini. I liked it for a Superman book. That was the keyword, “for a Superman book”. It was then I realized– am I missing something about Superman? Is he just one of the world’s first Superheroes and that is what makes him great?
I went to my co-workers and asked, “why is Superman so great?” I probably could have walked in with a six-pack and an eight-ball of cocaine and would have had less weird stares. Fellow writers JJ and Cody came to my rescue. However, it was only moments later I realized it wasn’t to my rescue or to give me simple answer– it was to provide me with punishment and homework. The reading list was discussed for days. At one point I am sure I checked out and said let me know when it’s finalized. Day three came: The complete list emerged: All-Star Superman, Superman: Whatever Happen to the Man of Tomorrow?, Superman: Red Son, Death of Superman, and Superman: Funeral of a Friend.
I started with All-Star Superman. He rescues a group of scientists and due to the rescue, Superman was overexposed which is causing him to die slowly. Moments after he finds out he is dying he rushes to save a boy from a truck. He tells Lois Lane he is Superman, to which she didn’t truly believe him. Superman comes back from the future and is able to be there when Jonathan Clark passes away. This book has a lot of cool stories, but there were parts I didn’t get because I had not been a long time fan. Not the best way to start a journey to what makes Superman tick, but a good book.
Superman: Whatever happened to the Man of Tomorrow? I didn’t like this one. It seemed more of a “what if story” or “Elseworlds story.” It wasn’t until I talked to Cody that I found out that the book was finishing up old stories all the loose ends. If you weren’t familiar with Superman during this era I wouldn’t recommend it. There were cool stories involved. It takes place after Superman is dead, with Lois Lane telling the story about what happens.
Superman: Red Son, I knew going in this was a “what if” story. What if he had landed in Russia instead of America? Would a different upbringing make him a different person? No, he was still good. He did everything he could to make the world safe. Granted he had less conventional ways of doing it, but he did it to be better, to still be Superman. At this point, I realized what it was about Superman that I was missing, but we will get to that in a minute.
Death of Superman was a 212-page book of fighting. It was great. Doomsday took out Justice League– took out everyone who stood in his way. Superman, no matter how hurt, or how much he felt like stopping, didn’t until he could no longer fight. He saved the world even at the cost of his own life. There wasn’t a question if he should risk it. He knew in his heart what he had to do. This confirms what I realized in Red Son, but hold on to that.
The Funeral for a Friend was a 366-page book of heart. From my understanding Death of Superman to Funeral for a Friend was over a year-long event. The writers were so committed to this project. The hardest part was for Martha and Jonathan not being able to go to their son’s funeral (Superman) because the world doesn’t know that Clark is Superman and watching Lois breakdown and not being able to tell anyone the love of her life just died. There were so many touching moments, from the Justice League to Lois and his parents.
What I learned was, Superman isn’t great because he has all the powers, or that he is even Superman. Superman isn’t great; at the end of the day, it’s Clark Kent that is great. If one of us just found out we were dying, I am not sure I would be able to save the world till the day that I die. Even born in another country he still attempts to be great (kind of fails at it but his heart is in the right spot). Superman inspires people to do their best, not to be the strongest, not to be the most powerful, but no matter the circumstances be the best person you can be. It’s not a cape that is going to make the world great; it’s in every single one of us. If we can all take a page from Clark, and be the best person we can be, imagine how super our world would be.
Writers Note: Please let me know what you guys think of Superman below in the comment section. This project took me months! I wanted to get the physical trade paperbacks. I want to thank my Local comic book store Fantasy Comics in Tucson Arizona, who helped me make sure I had all the books I needed for this project.
Why is Superman Great?
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