My Superman is Not Your Superman


It doesn't matter the time or the year, it is inevitable. Sometimes it is men, sometimes it is women. Some young, some old. Race and sexual orientation mean nothing in the debate. Someone will alwys claim that Zack Snyder and Henry Cavill have murdered what Superman means to people. The only consistent thing is that Superman doesn't mean the same thing to everyone.

Hope, hope is one word that comes back over and over again. Superman doesn't give people hope. Personally, I don't see it. Time and time again we see people reaching out to Superman as their savior. People who turn to him to save the world when they feel powerless. Even the other members of the Justice League felt they had no chance without him. He gave them hope. He inspired hope in people time and time again throughout the films.

The thing about hope is, it isn't constant. Hope waxes and wanes. Hope is easy to lose, he's told us these things time and time again. My favorite is a quote from Justice League:
It's meant to wind... like a river. It comes and goes. My f -  A man I knew used to say that hope was like your car keys: easy to lose, but if you dig around, it's usually close by.
Maybe your idea of hope is just different than mine. Maybe your idea of hope is that Superman flies in and saves the day. Nobody gets hurt everything turns out fine. That's not my idea of hope. My idea of hope is that there's a chance to pull through to the other side. When Zod tried to terraform the world, there was no chance everyone would make it out unharmed. But, Superman was there to provide hope and inspire people to keep fighting. When Steppenwolf attempted to destroy the world, again, there was no chance everyone was going to be okay. But there was Superman and there was hope.

Superman is the ultimate man for some. He's supposed to be morally perfect and never show any wrong doing. Truth, Justice and The American Way. If he doesn't smile constantly, support the troops and the president then he isn't Superman. I hate this version of Superman. This Superman isn't allowed to be flawed. This is the Christopher Reeves Superman that was allowed to toss people into bottomless pits as long as he smiled. This was the Superman people wanted Brandon Routh to be, but since he had moments of doubt he had to go. If this Superman was the Superman we got he'd be racist, sexist and homophobic. All things that the comics Superman has been at different points in time.

For some people Superman, including Zack Snyder, Superman represents the ultimate story about immigration. Superman is an immigrant in the purest sense of the word. He's in a new culture, the people he is around are strange. Yet, they view him as a stranger as well. He balances trying to stay true to his heritage as well as embrace American customs. It's a tricky balancing act. Then people like Zod come in and suddenly all aliens are bad. He's stuck in a loop of trying to be himself, while also going above and beyond to prove all aliens aren't bad. But, he inevitably can't save everyone, and when he can't people point and say "see, I knew he was no good."

But what about me? Well to me, Superman represents finding your place and excelling in it. It doesn't matter if it's Kal-el or Val-Zod, Harvey Dent, Earth 4, Earth 52, Kenan Kong, Conner Kent, Kara Danvers, Martian Manhunter, SHAZAM or any other Superman stand in. One thing that stays the same is Superman is an outcast. Sometimes he comes from outer space and doesn't understand human ways. Sometimes, he's an orphan who doesn't have a great home life. Sometimes Superman is a bully who acts out because his mom was the only thing holding him together. It doesn't matter which version of Superman you see as the definitive version. Superman, is always an outcast as his core. Someone who society doesn't understand, complicated by the fact that sometimes he doesn't even understand who he is. This Superman is unsure of what they can do, who they are, what they should do and what they should be.

Superman spends time traveling the world, jumping from job to job. He never truly finds a place where he fits in. Until he falls into the hero community and becomes the greatest hero of all time. He finds his friends in the Justice League and finally he's confident enough to make a few jokes and smile more. That is his place and he excels at being a hero. This Superman found his place after years and is finally confident about who he is and what he can do.

I love this Superman because he's not just Super. He's man too. If you're full of self confidence and never doubt yourself I applaud you. If you've never stared at the ceiling regretting things you had said or done instead of sleeping, I envy you. If you've always know who you were and what you wanted to do, then just did, you're better than me. But, I've struggled with and still still struggle with these things. Everyone I know does too, that's just the nature of man.

Maybe Snyder and Cavill did ruin what Superman meant to you. Maybe they did crush your idea of what Superman represented. I'm sorry if that's the case. That isn't the case for me. My Superman wasn't ruined. The Superman that a lot of people look up to wasn't ruined. It all boils down to this, Superman represents a lot of different things to a lot of different people. My Superman is not your Superman.

Read Darrell's other work at 12AMFiction.com or join his newsletter to get a free copy of his book Phantasmagorical. Don't forget to check out the CP Time and Powerbomb Jutsu podcasts. 
My Superman is Not Your Superman My Superman is Not Your Superman Reviewed by Darrell S. on Monday, October 01, 2018 Rating: 5

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.