Who is Superman?
Superman is a significant historical comic-book character, TV, and cartoon figure. A comic book superhero, Superman first appeared in Action Comics #1 and was created by two Jewish American immigrant writers Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, Superman eventually grew to be the pop culture Icon we recognized today in the world, and even a Historical figure; Superman is widely seen as an American historical symbol of the Great Depression and WWII.
The Creation of Superman helped boost the morale of American troops on the battlefield. Furthermore, according to Comic book nation, the influence of that Superman had over many youths in American helped develop the important of Superman during WWII; creating an image of invincibility on the United States.
Jerry and Joe first decided to create Superman as a villain in the comic book pilot “The Reign of the Superman.” They claimed their character came from the German philosopher Frederich Nietzsche’s book “Thus Spoke Zarathustra” in which he introduces the concept of “Superman.”
The great-souled hero who transcends the enslavement of Christian morality by his “will to power.” The original model for the character was based on the actor Douglas Fairbanks Senior. Both Siegel and Shuster loved the movies he played in, especially “The Mark of Zorro” and “Robin Hood.” The actor’s stance was used as a model for the drawings of Superman.
The pose now famous is that of the hero who stands with his hands on his hips and his feet apart. On the other side, the model for the diminutive reporter Clark Kent was that of Harold Lloyd. However, due to tough economic times, the introduction of Superman as a villain failed; sending Jerry and Joe back to basics resulting in the creation of the Superman character we know today. For instance, Siegel and Shuster, both wore glasses and admitted to being shy, insecure, and unsuccessful with girls in high school, and put much of themselves and their fantasies into the development of Superman.
The story of Superman according to Our Hero: Superman on Earth (Icons of America) by author, editor, and journalist Tom De Haven is as follows; Superman was born in a planet called Krypton, he was the only son of scientist Jor-El, and his birth name in Krypton was similar to his father; Kal-El. Planet Krypton was gradually deteriorating and eventually exploded. However, Superman’s father Jor-El was aware of Krypton deterioration and knew the eventual doom of his planet.
Therefore, he built a spaceship, although it was still experimental when used, and sent his small son into hyperspace with coordinates to Earth; since he figures that Earth was the only planet that he thought had a similar atmosphere as Krypton, making Kal-El his son much more able to survive. Kal-El (Superman) somehow landed on the small town of Smallville, Kansas.
Superman arrives in America
Superman was soon discovered by a couple named Jonathan and Martha Kent; who eventually raised him and gave him his name last Kent.
On Earth Kal-El abandoned his birth name and adopted an Earth name, he was called Clark Kent. Superman may have seemed human, and he was completely human from head to toe; however, he was genetically different. Jerry and Joe decided to give Superman several superhuman powers such as; super strength, heat vision, ability to run super-fast, ability to fly, ability to freeze things with his breath and the X-ray vision. Perhaps Superman creators were not aware of how important Superman’s superpowers would become over the years.
Superman became the most successful and celebrated comic book superhero ever; the character of Superman brought hope to the American comic book reader during tough times. For example, during the Great Depression and WWII people rely on their Superman comics to get entertain and even feel some degree of hope.
Superman became the image of the United States in the early 1940s, used in WWII propaganda and featured on Television cartoons. Superman assumed the persona of an undistinguished mild-mannered Newspaper reporter named Clark Kent. Unpretentious and seeking no Glory, he was a superhero who would retreat into the anonymity of American Society when his spectacular deeds were accomplished.
During the Depression era, Clark Kent celebrated the virtues of the “common man” while his alternate identity Superman was a “champion of the oppressed.” Superman was gradually becoming so important, especially for his powers and character, that American soldiers would bring comic Superman Comic books to the battlefield in Germany and North Africa.
Superman and WWII
During WWII propaganda was widely used by both sides, especially with the effect it had on troop morale. For instance, during WWII the number of casualties was immense which consequently had an impact on morale. However, many soldiers received a boost in morale by reading their Superman comic which in effect was necessary for the troops.
Moreover, the American people started to relate to Superman, especially during the Great Depression and WWII, because people, I believe, saw the United States through the eyes of the ever-growing American power. Superman was seen as having tremendous powers but using them for good. From the perspective of the comic book business world; Superman became highly profitable, becoming arguably reason by the comic survived.
The creation of Superman launched a new genre in comic books, and now there were comic books dedicated solely to Superheroes. Also, the Superman franchise had just begun to grow; eventually, there were movies, TV series and cartoons made about Superman.
For instance, in 1946, during high popularity of Superman, civil rights activists Stetson Kennedy contacted the producers of a radio show and offered to revealed important information about the Ku Klux Klan, which was very popular at the time. He suggested that if allowed he would go on air and revealed passwords, rituals, and important secret information about the KKK.
The executive that own Superman, DC comics, took advantage of this situation; they air many episodes called “Superman vs. The Ku Klux Klan” which were a national success; now saw the fictional character fighting evil in real life, as a result making people believe even in Superman in real life situation.
Superman Movie Franchise
After much success and popularity Superman, the Movie was being produced in the early 1970s. This movie hugely expected and celebrated by Superman fans all over the world. Finally in 1978 Superman: the Movie was released in theaters all over the country and eventually the world.
Superman up to this point was such a success that Hollywood studio Warner Bro. invested 55 million dollars to this movie, and according to the harsh economic time that the U.S was having this was considered a huge gamble.
However, many critics might have felt this to be a minor gamble since the Superman Franchised had produced record revenues to DC comics over the years. The Superman movie proved to be an immense monetary success both to DC and Warner Bro. this movie produced a staggering, considering the budget, $300,218,018 in worldwide revenues.
Christopher Reeve the actor who played Superman became an instant superstar; he was easily the clear choice to play the starring role in all the subsequent Superman movies. At this time Superman was an established figured both in Hollywood and also in the minds of Americans and world citizens. People all over the world were purchasing Superman merchandise, including board games, clothing, and everyday accessories.
The success of the first Superman movie made very easy for Hollywood producers to easily invest on several other Superman Big screen movies, including Superman II, Superman III, and Superman IV: The Quest for Peace which was a terrible failure producing a disheartening $59,950,623 this film killed the Hollywood image of Superman for many years.
After this movie, no Hollywood studio was willing to invest in any new project resulting in the halt of all Superman big screen appearances.
Moreover, Superman in real life had a life-changing incident; Christopher Reeve had a terrible accident in 1995 when he fell off a horse and suffered a cervical spinal injury that made him a person with quadriplegia for life.
Although he was in a wheelchair Christopher Reeve was in a wheelchair he was always remembered around the world as Superman the man of steel; I recall that growing up I thought Christopher Reeve was the actual Superman, it was difficult to absorb the idea that Superman was in a wheelchair. Then as expected I grew up an eventually understood the whole situation; however, it is vital to consider the influence that Superman had on the youth culture.
Over the years Superman, I believe, became the symbol of the United States leadership around the world. To the comic book industry, Superman represents the clear leader of all other Superheroes, appearing many times on TV, and comic books taking the center stager among other popular heroes.
In my opinion the character of Superman represents America, even when created by two Jewish American men. For instance, in the television series Justice League and subsequently Justice League Unlimited Superman is the leader of all the heroes in the show. Also, this was a very popular show air weekdays at 9 pm on Cartoon Network; all superhero character were in this show and had some starting time now and then.
From this show I got the idea that the show’s creators relate the Justice League perhaps with the G-10, the United States being the apparent leader. Possibly for someone who follows the popular perspective of Superman the comparison between the U.S and the Justice League would seem absurd.
However, in the Cartoon Network Justice League and Justice League Unlimited the League is a portrait in a form much like the G10 from. Although, in the general point of view, and considering all the work done on Superman, not all aspects will be the same and I relied this comparison solely on opinion and based on this particular TV series.
Based on the high number of viewers these TV series have I considered the possibility that many people thought the possibility that Superman is used to portraiting real-life situations, and to correlate real-life situations with world leaders and comic book Superheroes. In addition, the Superman character can easily be used to convey real-life messages to his audience through many essential methods. For instance, Superman can and has appeared on TV commercials to send a positive massage to his youth audience.
Superman is still established to this day as the bestselling and most popular comic-book Superhero ever; Superman according to many sources has influenced an entire generation, including myself and many other people I know.
I believe Superman is the political image of the United States around the world. Superman stands for the justice of the weak and even if this topic is up for comparing to real-life situations is a topic disagreement I still believe that after researching many sources Superman is an imaginable Ideal American; a model that promoted the cultural reality of a ruling group during and after World War II.
However, although Superman has impacted the youth of an entire generation now things are evolving gradually that is because there has been a shift in the cultural reality of the U.S and the world from WWII. The United States is no longer under the threat of War, and the U.S economy is much more stable.
The political trend of the future is not towards centralization but diversification. It is also the exploration of other cultural worlds, including video games emphasis on reality entertainment. As a result, Marvel characters, for instance, have taken a more significant share of the U.S population by diversifying and taken the emphasis of a perfect superhero; they have established a more contemporary reflection of the cultural reality of the U.S and the world in the present.