Monday, August 2, 2010

Super Thought

To those who insist you can't maintain telling stories about a character as powerful as Supes is in Morrison/Quitely/Grant's All-Star Superman: How do you explain all the stories told where Superman is that powerful or all the stories with all the proxies, analogs, or allusive characters? How about all the stories that keep going with other godlike or immensely powerful characters?

You can't tell thousands of stories of a Superman that powerful just punching things, no. But, if you change the nature of what he's dealing with, if it is primarily things that cannot be punched into correction, well, then there's a lot of ground that can be covered, a number of stories that can be told, isn't there?

Hunger, despair, poverty, jealousy, frustration, doubt... these cannot be punched effectively, and these are some of the things that Superman attempts to tackle in what I think of as his best stories. All-Star, Birthright, the stories told by Alan Moore and those from Elliot S! Maggin, these are about caring, not about how an alien can never be part of "us" or America (he was raised in Kansas by farmers, of course he's American!), a distant God or whatever. Superman can beat everyone up never appealed to me as much as Superman gives a damn.

As a pretty much lifelong non-driver and perpetual pedestrian, I can't see the point in Superman hobbling himself, pretending a new authenticity by walking around when he can fly. That's like me pretending to be blind because I think it'll make me more humane. It wouldn't; it would make me a pretentious jerk. Even if the lack of capacity were legitimate, a lack of power doesn't make people decent, any more than immense power and all the access in the world does. Decency makes us decent, being kind makes us kind. Being worthwhile makes us worthwhile, and nothing more.

1 comment:

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