Comics Fewer Superman Fans In A World Of Flawed Heroes

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Here's a somewhat interesting article I stumbled across today.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080614/ennew_afp/entertainmentuscomics_080614070214

Superman, the septuagenarian original comic book superhero
by Luis Torres de la Llosa Sat Jun 14, 3:02 AM ET



NEW YORK (AFP) - Superman, the original comic book superhero, turns 70 this month, but his strength and invulnerability draws fewer fans in the 21st century world of flawed, postmodern heroes.


An indisputable icon of American pop culture, the Man of Steel made his first appearance in the June 1938 issue of "Action Comics." He is the brainchild of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, residents of the midwestern town of Cleveland, Ohio.

Superman can fly in the sky, but he's not a bird or a plane. He's faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.

About 1.9 meters (six feet, three inches) tall and weighing some 102 kilos (225 pounds), Superman has blue eyes, black hair and is a mild-mannered reporter working at the "Daily Planet" newspaper under the alias Clark Kent. He was born on the planet Krypton, exiled to Earth as an infant, and for decades has been fighting for Truth, Justice and the American Way.

"He is a complete fiction, but he is so complete, so ideal, and so well-known around the world -- most Americans will know his origin simply by osmosis by the time they are eight -- that he is a much fuller representation of an American self-view than Uncle Sam or Mickey Mouse," said Bradley Ricca, who produced a documentary titled "Last Son" on the origin of Superman.

"He really is the quintessential modern American symbol," said Ricca, who is a Case Western University professor specializing in American literature and popular culture. "He is an immigrant in an imperfect world" who "battles injustice in any form."

Superman "is the first fictional superhero, with all the characteristics at the same time: the powers, the cape, the secret identity, the colorful costume, the complicated love triangle, and the unmatched sense of justice," Ricca told AFP.

Superman "is the progenitor of the genre and sets the standard for other figures," said Peter Coogan, who holds a doctorate in American Studies from Michigan State University and specializes in superheroes in US history.

"It can be said that all superheroes are imitations of or the children of Superman," playing "a symbolizing function as an embodiment of American mythology," Coogan told AFP.

"Superheroes embody a vision of the use of power unique to America. Superheroes enforce their own visions of right and wrong on others, and they possess overwhelming power, especially in relation to ordinary crooks," said Coogan, who also heads the non-profit Institute for Comics Studies.

In his 2007 master's thesis at Georgia State University, another student of the genre, Aaron Pevey, wrote that Superman lost popularity precisely because he is invulnerable.

"While Superman might have succeeded as a modern hero, he fails as a postmodern one," wrote Pevey. That explains, he believes, why DC Comics has seen a slump in sales of Superman comics over the last few years.

Teenagers prefer darker, troubled, sometimes ambivalent heros, including such classics as Batman, Spider-Man or Wolverine of "X-Men" fame.

Superman, born in the years before World War II and a distant heir of Nietzsche's Ãœbermensch, has seen his personality change over time.

While aggressive in the 1940s, by the 1950s the storyline focus was more on Clark Kent's quest for the love of Lois Lane, his colleague and future wife. In the 1960s and 1970s Superman developed a more complex personality, and in 1986, DC Comics hired John Byrne to carry out a character overhaul. The result was a character that was less of a messianic figure and more of a modern-day Hercules.

With sales slumping, DC Comics killed off Superman in a battle with a powerful character named Doomsday in 1993. But Superman, whose various nicknames include "The Man of Tomorrow," of course come back from the dead.

In a country where the quest for entertainment is a national obsession, it is more likely that Superman will continue facing close encounters with deadly kryptonite than he will be forced into retirement.

"Superman has endured, and will endure, because he is more than just a silly character with his underwear on the outside and a spitcurl," said Ricca. "He is the hope not that we can be rescued, but that we can be good."
 
Well, this doesn't tell me anything I didn't already know. Certainly today's kids don't care much for Superman - my nephews are only into Batman, Spider-Man and Star Wars, and they'd rather watch the Disney Channel than Justice League.
 
Oh, I agree. It doesn't really provide any new information whatsoever. I just found it interesting as a random article that was on the Yahoo main page earlier this afternoon.
 
Sure Superman can be a little boring at times because he's so powerful that it's hard to relate to such a character, but he is indeed the most popular fictional character in comics, just remember how quickly the news spread when Supes kicked the bucket back in 1992.

Today's youth might not care for Supes but they will be curious to see if DC pulls another "death" stunt to increase awareness.

I don't see CNN making news if a supehero such as The Savage Dragon suddenly died. :rolleyes:
 
I agree that he is not as popular as he used to be, but people around the world are still interested enough in The Man of Steel. For instance, didn't Smallville premiered his very high ratings when it started? Same for Lois and Clark (the tv show). And didn't Superman Returns made more $ at the BO than Batman Begins? It seems to me that more people wanted to see a Superman movie than a Batman movie. LOL. Oh, and I still see people on the streets wearing Superman Tshirts. Just this week I saw two a woman and a young man wearing one. I never see people wearing Wolverine or X-Men Tshirts. :word: Supes is here to stay. He is Very iconic and fantastic.
 
With all due respect Evildooer, I think you are totally wrong. Superman is not "as popular as he's ever been". Superman Returns did well. Because a movie doesn't bring in the box office "people" expected, doesn't mean it's a bad movie. It was a good 200 M $ ! But you are right, "it's due to the popularity of the character that Superman Returns got to 200m" , obviously, but not only.
It's true people are not interested in Superman anymore, they prefer the tortured Batman, Spiderman or Wolverine.
Lazlo Panaflex said that he's so powerful that "it's hard to relate to such a character because he's powerful". I disagree. I think people see Superman as the invicible icon in tights and they are pretty wrong. Superman is far from being invincible, I think it's a wrong idea. It's hard to relate on him because he's a naiv and very good-doer. I think people prefer heroes with problems, it's easier to relate to and easier to accept.
Batman is invicible : he's able to beat the crap out of Supeman, out of the entire JL, out of Darkseid, he is the best fighter in the world, the best detective in the world, he is a genius in mathematics, sciences, astronomy, in the mechanical field, technical field and technological field. And Wolverine ? I can't count the crazy ideas from the wild imagination of the writers to create new way to nearly kill him. And yet, he keeps being alive. Come on.
Superman is not as popular as he used to be, but I think it's just an anti-fashion, and I think Smallville is helping having a new audience. And seriously the villains of Superman are not that great : they are always an opposition for his superpowers. Superman is not only super powers. I think that's what was good with SR (and what was the problem with SR for a lot of people) and I think this is what good in Smallville.
As for Superman Returns, I found it excellent, could have been more active, but it is not a failure, stop saying that.
Around me a lot of people change their mind, and said "wow, he's not unbeatable ?" or "it's fresh to see that he's not always fighting". And I agree. Superman Returns put into light some aspects of the character, it was important to show.
 
Superman SHOULD appear to be invincible. And to say that Batman is invincible is ridiculous, he is not even smarter than the real Superman and cannot beat him, that should be clear.

YOu are probably more a "Clark Kent fan" than a Superman one, aren't you? Do you like the naive farmboy?
 
well, yes I am. Both. If you're pretending that I say "batman is invincible" , you don't understand. Read the comicbooks ; everything I depicted was taken from the books. Not my opinion. Just the books.
And Superman did lose his super smartness along time ago. read the books.
YOu are probably more a "Superman fan" than a Clark Kent one.
 
well, yes I am. Both. If you're pretending that I say "batman is invincible" , you don't understand. Read the comicbooks ; everything I depicted was taken from the books. Not my opinion. Just the books.

That's because his writers are fanboys. Superman writers usually don't like the character.
And Superman did lose his super smartness along time ago. read the books.
YOu are probably more a "Superman fan" than a Clark Kent one.

It never made sense to me to take away the super-smartness. And BTW, the it is back since OYL. (He doesn't seem to use it that often, blame it on the writers)



Yes, I am a Superman fan, Clark Kent is just a disguise.
 
Clark Kent is so lame!
If I could be a Superman, I would never done a disguise.
 
At this stage, DC should-if they cared at all-start taking serious steps to restore Superman to his rightful place in the DC Universe. They let Miller and Byrne destroy the character in the Mid-80's.
 
At this stage, DC should-if they cared at all-start taking serious steps to restore Superman to his rightful place in the DC Universe. They let Miller and Byrne destroy the character in the Mid-80's.

That's right :up:
 
You're not supposed to relate to Superman, you're supposed to aspire to Superman, to look up to him.
 
This article is BS. Once they get it right in Hollywood, there'll be tons of Superman fans. Superman Returns wasn't what I called getting it right.
 
Not by a longshot!

The 1st Superman from 1978...

That almost NAILED IT
 

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