Tuesday, September 25, 2012


(This post was begun August 17, 2010!  I am so glad to have finally finished it. I haven't really said all I could about Superman, but at some point - I've just got to stop, take a breath, and press that annoying button "Publish Post")!
Thanks to the folk who bring us Comic-Con for the much needed impetus!

Is there any hero more fantastic than a comic book hero? Superman was  my favourite hero. I also liked The Flash for a brief period, but always Superman was the one for me. (I guess I like fast men?) :)
Let's see, what was it about Superman that intrigued me so much?  Well, he started out in a small town with older than normal parents -- I guess we had that in common! But that wasn't it.  He was an refugee alien from a dying planet who came to earth as a helpless infant and was lucky enough to find loving foster parents. (That's quite a story, isn't it? Very intriguing!)  In order to appear like a normal Earthling, he has to hide his super powers under an alter-ego. Now that's where things get complicated! Although his real name from his parents on the planet Krypton was Kal El, on Earth he goes by the name Clark Kent, the name given to him by his adoptive parents. Because he is such a good person, he can't help but use his powers of flight, super speed, super strength, xray vision, imperviousness to bullets or any other known human threat --  to help save those who are threatened by any danger. I actually used to wonder sometimes when I heard about disasters on the news about how Superman would have been great to have around. He seemed very real to me somehow. Thinking about it as an adult I can see what an awful obligation it must have been to be always on duty. Unless...oh yeah, there was that Legion of Superheroes group. I guess they could have given him a break now and again?

The history of Superman is told in "Look, Up in the Sky!: The Amazing story of Superman".

(The previous clip keeps disappearing as the uploaders' accounts get challenged by those who hold the copyright.  I wish therefore to let it be known that I actually now own a copy of this DVD, which I would not have even known about had I not first seen this clip on Youtube.  So that means, that by repressing this video clip, the company is actually limiting possible future sales!)

Siegel and Schuster were the team who created the comic book hero. Canadians love to lay some claim to Superman as Joe Shuster was originally from Toronto, Ontario and a cousin to another famous Canadian of the comedy duo Wayne and Shuster. Here is a commercial from the CBC network in a series called Heritage Minutes which celebrates Joe Schuster's creation.

This next video is from the CBC Digital Archives (which I hope you will be able to view) with lots of great background information including Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster's long struggle to win compensation from DC comics and their parent company.

There were many actors who portrayed the caped superhero over the years on screens both large and small.

 Kirk Alyn (1948)

George Reeves (1951)

Unfortunately, George Reeves believed himself to be typecast as Superman and was never able to move beyond that role.  He had a string of bad luck which eventually ended with his own mysterious murder.

George Reeves was portrayed by Ben Affleck
in the biopic Hollywoodland

The most famous Superman of them all -- Christopher Reeve became a superman in real life by showing what great strength and fortitude really is, even at the worst time in his life.  After a horse back riding accident caused him to become a quadriplegic, Chris never gave up fighting to walk again.  He began a crusade for new treatments to help regenerate nerve tissue which has helped countless people so far and will help even more in the future.  Unfortunately, his struggle finally ended nine years later with his death on October 10, 2004.

Here is a tribute to Christopher Reeve, a true superman on screen and in spirit. The video is set to the song Superman (It's Not Easy) by Five for Fighting.

What was I saying again...?
Oh yes, what intrigues me about Superman the most, was how he was able to handle his real persona, and his alter ego (who seemed to be such a wimpy guy). Well, I actually liked Clark Kent (of course I was in on his secret). But he was still the same hunky guy, just hiding(?) behind a pair of glasses. I never could understand how Lois Lane couldn't see the resemblance between the love of her life -- Superman, and her best friend and colleague -- Clark Kent!  Sheesh! "Go for Clark!", was what I was always thinking. Of course, he made himself seem unattractive by acting as cowardly as possible. I remember reading a certain issue of the Superman comic which was all about various scenarios where Lois marries Superman and / or Clark. I read and reread that issue more than any other. I think I must have finally decided I had read it enough and traded it for a newer issue (yes, I used to trade comics with my friends). I usually could trade a comic and get it back later, which is probably what I thought would happen. Well, I never saw that issue again...  (The things I go on about!)
Lois and Clark (sans glasses) in Superman II.
Lois chooses Clark over Superman

After Christopher Reeve retired his cape, the best representations of Superman 
were to be found on television.

Lois & Clark (1993-1997)

Starring Dean Cain and Teri Hatcher

 Smallville (2001-2011)
Starring Tom Welling

I guess besides my fascination for the main character, my main interest is the love story between Lois and Clark.  This next fan video does a great job showing highlights from their relationship in various recent movie and television portrayals.  The song is Vindicated by Dashboard Confessional.

Lois and Clark over the Decades - Vindicated / by KEakaCK

Don't we all wish we could fly like Superman?

Well, apparently he wasn't always capable of this feat. Originally in the comic books, he was described as being able to "leap tall buildings in a single bound".  But when Fleischer Studios began to make the first animated series of Superman movies in the early 1940s, they realized that merely jumping around wasn't nearly as impressive for a superhero as flying!

(Fly Like) Superman / The Kinks by TrenRojoCruzandoo

If you'd like to enjoy some great fan art and retro comic book covers here's another video featuring the original version of the song later covered by R.E.M.  It's the 1969 version by The Clique of (I Am) Superman.

There has been a renewed interest in making Superman movies  in the last few years.
My son is a fan of the comedy writer/director Kevin Smith and not long ago he showed me this monologue about how he was hired to write a script for a Superman movie (which thankfully was never made!). It is a hilarious portrait of the craziness of Hollywood and a producer who is clueless about the importance of the Superman legend to pop culture tradition.
If swear words offend you, then you won't like this clip.  But if you are at all interested in this topic, it is well worth watching!
Thank G*d that movie never got made!

I was quite excited when Superman Returns came out. I can't say I didn't like it, but it did leave something to be desired, and I can't even put my finger on what exactly that was. Perhaps it just didn't live up to the hype.   

Starring Brandon Routh

I have heard a lot of buzz about the newest Superman movie, Man of Steel which is due to arrive on movie screens in June next year.  It looks good, I think I'll like it.  My biggest problem with this movie is that Amy Adams is playing Lois Lane.  Now don't get me wrong, I LOVE Amy Adams, and I would watch her in almost anything.  But wouldn't you think her lovely auburn tresses would make her more suitable to play Lana Lang (Superboy's early love interest) than the raven-haired Lois Lane?   Well, they messed around with that in Smallville too, where Lana had the dark hair and Lois was a dark blonde.  I did love it in television's version of Smallville that Mrs. Kent was played by the original red-haired Lana Lang from Christopher Reeve's Superman movie - Annette O'Toole.

On the left, here she is with Christopher Reeve in Superman 3, and on the right she plays Martha Kent, (Superboy's mom)!

Man of Steel (2013)
Starring Henry Cavill

Nothing was more disappointing to me then when they had a comic book storyline for the Death of Superman.  Although I hadn't been a reader of the genre in years, just the idea of it saddened me. The following song by the Canadian band Crash Test Dummies, was written before this storyline appeared in print.

I love this song so much.   
This video is my whole excuse for this post. 

Superman's Song / Crash Test Dummies

Here is another sad Superman song by the Stereophonics.  It is also a fanvid about the character of Lucas North in Spooks/MI-5.  He was a hero that turned out not to be one after all.

Spooks -- Richard Armitage - Superman / by utubeacct2008

But I'm holding out for a hero. Luckily John Porter from Strike Back fits the mold very nicely!

Lucas North & John Porter - I Need a Hero / by Tassuett

But this got me to thinking about Harry Kennedy who could easily pass for Clark Kent.  Could he have a hero hidden inside him?

What if our dear Harry Kennedy had an alter ego?

See that phonebooth in the back there? 

After removing the glasses and changing outfits...

Yeah, I know.  It won't happen. But a girl can dream...
 Just in case anyone thinks I am taking this Superman thingy too seriously -- have a look at this video: Superman Song That little kid is very entertaining!


Anonymous said...

A job well done. My sister has always been a fan of Superman, and my brother liked the Marvel heros. Wolverine was his favorite and I really like him too. My favorite stories are the Sandman comics. So we had lots of fun together implying with each other about what was the best!
Ana Cris

jazzbaby1 said...

*Love* this post, phylly! I was always more a Captain America (my dad had a stack of old ones) and the Fantastic Four but The Death of Superman made me cry.

DEZMOND said...

this was such a short post :PPP
Superman and The Flash are the only superheroes I could like, since they are good and positive and not dark and morbid and irresponsible.

Phylly3 said...

@Ana Cris - Ooo! It seems that most people were either a fan of Marvel comics or DC comics. I was for DC as I liked the artwork better (at the time). Also I couldn't relate to the Hulk and some of those other creatures they had back then. I should probably do another piece about my other favourite comics! :)
(I didn't know Sandman -- was that Marvel?)

Phylly3 said...

@jazzbaby - I'm really glad you liked the post. :) It was a looong time coming. I kept thinking I was missing something important... Probably I did, but I had to let it go!
So Captain America, eh? You must be very happy about the movies then! Did I miss your post about that?
I have to admit that I never read the comic about the death of Superman. I was an adult by then, and just too outraged to pay anyone money for a story like that!
(Darn, I just thought of something else I could have added to the post! Somebody STOP me!)

Gratiana Lovelace said...

Giggles! Well done! And I love Harry as mild mannered Clark Kent. Ha!

Phylly3 said...

@Gratiana - So nice of you to visit and leave a comment. I have been sitting on that series of pictures for so long! Glad you appreciated my Harry as Clark reference. :)

Phylly3 said...

@Dezmond -- Ah! Perhaps you have hit on why I like those characters so much. You are right that so many others are so dark. (That's why I wasn't a real Batman fan.)
And sorry for the length, but I was afraid to miss so much good stuff! After all, I had over 70 years to write about! Oh!! Now I get why the next Superman is coming out next year. It's the 75th Anniversary!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Phylly,
Tom Hiddleston would probably like your post!


Phylly3 said...

I did read that post actually. *Sigh!* I don't get all the fuss about Mr. Hiddleston, but if he's a Superman fan, he's certainly okay with me! :)

Anonymous said...

Juxtaposition of Harry K and JP as the two personas of Superman is brilliant! :D


Phylly3 said...

(I had to delete a spelling error).
@fitzg - Aww! Well, thanks so much for saying so! But now that you mention it, perhaps Lucas North, who seemed like a Superman was actually Bizarro Superman! ;)

Anonymous said...

Phylly, yes, if we want to go to the dark side/Batman thing, the thought of Lucas as the complex "hero", in need of some therapy (a wee bit schizo?) was a thought. :D Just trying to keep on the lighter side! And perdition to the writers! Let's hope Gary has some "issues" with his missing son - just to add some interest...


Anonymous said...

Very awesome blog !! I couldnt have wrote this any better than you if I tried super hard hehe!! I like your style too!! it's very unique & refreshing…

Lisa said...

Lex as a enemy is part of what makes Superman so awesome.