An Argument for Superman Comics
Superman Explained by Bill in "Kill Bill"
Let's talk comics! More specifically, let's talk about the icon of the comic book world, Superman. As a child, I loved him and had aspirations to be like him. I wore the superman pajamas, the cape, and even the superman briefs!
Heck, why not? He is the best comic book hero ever created, the superhero of superheroes. His combination of immeasurable strength, speed, immunity, and endurance, along with his ability to fly, see through objects, and fire laser beams from his eyes makes Superman invincible, unstoppable (aside from the occasional kryptonite).
My fascination with the Man of Steel remained a constant until...I would say...somewhere in my high school years. Then, like a flip of a switch, I despised him. Suddenly I was above such juvenile fantasies, the awe of Superman! He quickly became a phony, an over-rated poster child for the Boy Scouts who possessed unlimited power.
My childhood hero was too great, too dependable, and too convenient. As a result, I started reading more 'authentic' characters such as Batman and Marvel's web-flinging icon, Spiderman. These characters provided more of a realistic and perhaps deeper outlook on the whole vigilante 'smashing criminals' world. They defeated their enemies with their fists, mind, skill, and passion; all the while, they had to deal with real-life problems. On the other hand, I felt that Superman was sort of this two-dimensional character who never really dealt with life struggles or inner demons. I mean, sure, he had conflicts with Luthor and his affiliations with Lois Lane, but it was nothing in comparison to his counterparts (so I thought)!
"It's a bird, it's a plane, it's..." wait I don't care...was my usual response. By the time Superman Returns hit the theatres in 2006, I had nearly forgotten the famed superhero. I admit, I did actually see the movie, but I was not impressed.
Sidenote: Negative biases aside, Superman Returns was a really bad movie and kind of creepy. What was with the whole spying on Lois using his X-Ray vision? WoW!
JLA - Superman Graphic Novel Series
For some reason or another, I began to read comics of old and new, of all genres, including the ole JLA graphic novels. As I started to read these classic stories, I found myself looking at Superman in a whole new light. His love and commitment to mankind is absolute and unwavering. Superman represents the idealistic figure of every human being.
You see, despite his overwhelming abilities, Superman isn't selfish...he isn't arrogant or condescending. The Man of Steel is pure in every sense of the word. He sets a standard for loyalty and unconditional love. It's his gift and his curse. He always makes the right decision, regardless of it's popularity. In fact, many times he gets the raw end of the deal and must make a difficult decision for the sake of mankind...for justice and righteousness.
For example: I recently read JLA's Tower of Babel series, one of the best JLA stories ever created. It shows a different side of Batman, a side that should not be all that surprising if the reader really follows the character. In the events leading to this particular story, Batman secretly compiles data on each member of the JLA, gathering all their strengths and weaknesses. He uses this information to design a full proof plan to disable each member in the event a catastrophic takeover, where the villians 'takeover' the minds of the superheroes (which happens a lot).
Ironically, in Tower of Babel, an advisory of the JLA grabs hold of Batman's plans and uses it against the League. Of course, by the end of the comic, the JLA figures out the problem and once again saves the day. However, the members of the JLA were ticked off at the Cape Crusader and for good reason. They wanted him booted off the team and it eventually came to a vote. Guess who the deciding vote fell upon? ...Superman, Batman's loyal friend, reluctantly kicked Batman off the JLA. In the DC universe, this was huge...unheard of!
Ultimately, Superman made the right decision...the only decision. It represents the types of decisions he must make time and time again. He makes the ultimate sacrifice in order to serve mankind. It's touching and moving. Imagine if each and every one of us possessed even a fraction of such qualities...Imagine the potential...