Thread: Superman Lives!
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Old 02-26-2013, 01:32 PM   #221
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Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Toronto
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Default Re: Superman Lives!

Originally Posted by theMan-Bat View Post
It is a bad thing to me when they alter the characters personality for the sake of trying to create angsty drama. When todays writers portray Superman angst-ridden and feared, then he isn't the uplifting figure is was meant to be, and it becomes difficult to be positively inspired by the character when he isn't portrayed as the positive inspirational figure.
Much of your post speaks of Supes in an abstract sense - as cultural icon and metaphor, and with the idealized qualities that are not far removed from certain religious figures. Nothing wrong with that, per se. Indeed, if you were writing a scholarly analysis of Superman as a symbol, it would be entirely appropriate to explore the moral and ethical attributes that the character has accumulated over the decades - and has come to personify as a pop cultural touchstone.

The problem is, Superman also has to function as a character in a set of narratives. And the more he’s delineated as an idealized construct, the less dramatically interesting he becomes. Now when that point is raised, the (petulant?) response is often: “Well, it’s a sad day when virtuousness is considered boring.” But this deflects the issue. Certainly, people are free to worship whomever they want. And they can also compose thoughtful dissertations on how noble and non-boring these wise sages are. But, typically, those sages are not - additionally - pressed into service as action heroes in adventure stories.

Again, if Superman is just a symbol (appearing only on posters and bumper stickers) then idealization works just fine. But if he’s an actual character, then he needs to be treated as such. The over-veneration has been a chronic liability for poor Supes.

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