Thursday, September 27, 2012

AlphabeThursday Superhero Style! S is for Superman

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Look up in the sky!  It's a bird!  It's a Plane!  It's.... Superman!!!

Superman, (born Kal-El) is the last son of Krypton.  His father, Jor-El knew their home planet was going to be destroyed.  He could not save his planet, but he could save his son.  Lovingly placed in a small ship with all the information he would need when he was old enough to understand, Jor-El and his wife, Lara sent their son on a course toward Earth with hopes and the faith that their baby would grow and thrive under the yellow sun.  This line from Jar-El to his son is famous, and profound:
'They are a great people Kal-El, they wish to be. They lack only the light to show them the way. For this reason, their capacity for good, I have sent them you, my only son.
Superman was met with a tepid response in the 1930's when he was first presented to the comic loving world.  Over time, he gained in popularity, and today everyone knows that the red S on the chest belongs to The Man of Steel.

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Soon he was a star in ink, and on the radio, and eventually, in the 1940's he made his first film appearance.  At a time when the world needed something to feel good about, Superman was a symbol for all of the best things humanity had to offer.

Once he was embraced, the legend continued to grow.  Here you see the 1950's Superman played by George Reeves.

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I think most people know his story - Krypton had a red sun, but the yellow sun here on Earth is what made Kal-El strong.  Strong may even be an understatement.   He is pretty much invincible, except for a terrible weakness to Kryptonite.

Never violent, but always able to save the day, Superman stands for truth and justice.  He is goodness and light.  Except for his sad start as an orphaned son of Krypton, he is most often portrayed in a happy, positive, and even a hokey light to the mainstream, casual comic fan.

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When baby Kal-El's ship landed on Earth, George and Martha Kent were the lucky ones to discover it.  This childless couple saw him as a blessing, took him in, and  raised him as Clark Kent.

Mild mannered, kind, and considerate, he has a quiet childhood in Smallville.  When he goes off to the city of Metropolis to work as a reporter for the Daily Planet he is definitely a fish out of water.

It is at the newspaper job that he meets Lois Lane.  The rollercoaster story of unrequited love that is also central to so many of his stories begins..  Sadly, he is competing for her affection with himself.  Lois thinks Clark is a nice guy, but a dork - she is in love with Superman.  The movie version and the comic version do not quite match up, but the good news is, that in the end, Clark gets the girl.

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The most recent movie version of Superman brings us to a time when the world has been without Superman, and feels abandoned.  It turns out that he had been lured away after being led to believe that that Krypton had not been destroyed.

He had not abandoned Earth, but it took him a while to get back.  While he was away, Lois wrote a very emotional opinion piece about why the world was better off without him.  Here is a part of it:
In the past we have turned to God, in times of need we prayed. For five years we have prayed for you Superman, “please bring back our Messiah.” The nation knelt before the altar and begged for your return. We were blinded by your arrival, our faith misguided. For many of us, Superman became our God. We only had to read the motto on our nations currency to be reminded of the truth – In God We Trust. 
These words passed between our hands countless times a day, yet we still managed to forget. We put our trust, not in God, but in Superman – In Superman We Trust. We trusted you, we all trusted you…I trusted you. Does he feel remorse, guilt or shame? Does he simply not care? Perhaps the people of Earth are but a distant memory, a single snapshot lost in a mind that is timeless. 
Does he cry for the children who have died on his watch? Perhaps he really is a Man of Steel – cold, emotionless and hardened by his own immortality. Would he say sorry?
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When he does return, he is just in time to save the world - again.

Is it possible for Superman to die?  We are left to wonder for a while. (**spoiler alert**) As he lies in a hospital bed, Lois comes to visit.  She spills her heart, including the information that while he was away she has had a son - his son.  The movie ends with a sweet scene between him and the boy.

I should also mention the television series, Smallville.  This is a very clever story based on what Clark's teen years might have been like, and it has a lot of cameos from other superheros.

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There are also many animated versions of the Man of Steel.  He stars as the solitary Superman  - on his own, and as a member of the various Justice League formations.

Thanks to Jenny who hosts the AlphabeThursday link up on her blog, . . .off on my tangent . . .  stop by and visit, and you can see what other "s" ideas people ware sharing today.