Today – Thursday, April 18 – marks the 75th anniversary of Superman’s 1938 appearance on the cover of DC’s Action Comics # 1. He’s the influential superhero that coined the beginning of what we see now in comics, TV, movies, and novels. Giving credit where credit is due, Stan Lee is a comic book god, but Superman is the genre’s immortal Titan.
It’s hard to put into words how much of a big deal this actually is, but who outside of comic book world actually cares? Fans enter the comic book completely aware of this fact and wonder what big thing DC is going to do to promote this historic occasion, while this rest of the world goes about their business and every day lives.
There are more important things in the world, of course; our government is dysfunctional, we can’t seem to get along with anyone else around the world, certain groups of people still don’t have their equal rights, overly-religious thinkers fight heavily against the overly agnostic thinkers, and the citizens of this country simply don’t know how to treat one another well. Why would we care about a fictional character’s birthday who represents everything that we, as people, should hope to be like?
The leaders of the city of Cleveland are certainly trying to capitalize on the Man of Steel’s name due to Siegel and Shuster (Superman’s creators) claiming residence there before passing away. While one can respect what the leaders of Cleveland are trying to do, most of their actions are based around making more money off of a name they don’t own and have very little connection to. In the history of Superman, Cleveland has never done anything to help promote the Siegel and Shuster estates, as well as never trying to push the name of Superman. They’ve simply done their own thing and decided to cash in on something they don’t really care about.
The town everyone SHOULD be applauding and trying to go visit is Metropolis, Ill during their Superman celebration. It’s a dinky little town that only has one connection to the said character or his creators, the name of their city – Metropolis. I wonder if Metropolis will do anything extra special this year in celebration Superman’s 75th birthday?
The important thing to note is simply this – Metropolis has been holding these celebrations for years simply because they understand how significant and influential Superman really is. No one cares about Metropolis Ill, yet here they are, promoting a name simply they can and want to. He isn’t a god, but Superman’s certainly someone we can all hope to be like. Being concocted during hard times, Superman rose above all the odds, fighting Nazis and other bullies. And while Superman’s list of foes has reached intergalactic heights, Superman still fights the same fight he always has since April 18, 1938. The attraction of superheroes is their desire to fight injustice, and Superman is the epitome of that concept. Typically coming out corny, the ideals Superman represents is something worthy of celebration, regardless of whether you read comics or not.
This year, in June, Superman’s latest film will be coming to theaters, and I can only imagine what DC has in store for us. The most recent trailer has shown the critics of past Superman films an optimistic perspective on the potential of having a GOOD Superman. I love the old ones, but they were still bad.
My respect for the character of Superman is as high as it can be. You can argue all you want for the concept of “boy-scout” or that he sucks as a character because he’s TOO powerful, but these arguments miss the core of what Superman represents. Sure, his conception is corny, but he’s still a fictional character than represents everything that we strive to be like. Who would have like to have Superman around who could have prevented the marathon bombing? A Superman who could have diverted the planes from crashing into the twin towers, bringing them to the ground and saving every last passenger? A Superman who could help us with the things that we simply have no power to avert. Criticize him all you want, but he is, without a doubt, the greatest superhero of all time.
And my cheesy rant comes to an end.