The reason I like Superman more than any comic hero is precisely the reason many find him dull. I have heard (or maybe read) it argued that his episodes are boring because nobody can beat him. His abilities seem endless and there is little suspense because we never doubt he will win. Some graphic novelists have attempted to remedy this by killing him off or turning him bad or making him meet his physical match while ignoring his moral superiority. But I think they’ve missed it. What makes Superman exciting isn’t a lot of dangerous suspense – but rather the deep literary suspense. His abilities amplify everything about his story. His relationships are as important as he is. His secrets are as important as those they protect. Unlike other heros, constantly running from fight to fight, Superman is a superhero with time on his hands. In order for him to be interesting, we must see more than crimefighting. We must know about his inner-struggle because it’s the part of him we identify with.
I have argued for a long time, despite the mocking of friends, family, and even my wife, that Superman’s story is rich with Christian symbolism. Come June, 2003 there will be ample cause for discussion on this thanks to Bryan Singer’s (director of X-Men and X-Men 2) new movie – Superman Returns, which is currently in post-production. Though I wouldn’t call myself a fan (I’ve never even owned a comic), I do hold a deep appreciation for the icon (I have worn the underwear). If you care to share in my excitement, I highly suggest you check out the most recent trailer. If you want to share in my obsession, you should also check out bluetights.net.