25 March 2012

The Birth of an Icon

 In Action Comics #1 Superman makes his first appearance in the world of comics. The story of Superman begins when his planet is in the wake of destruction and he is sent off in a tiny rocket to the planet Earth. After crash landing on Earth, Superman is found, and taken to an orphanage, by passing motorists. At the orphanage Clark (Superman) astounds people with his extraordinary strength. The story skips passed Clark’s childhood, and we are introduced to a physically extraordinary adult, Superman. Our first glimpse of Superman, as a hero, we read as he saves an innocent woman from the electric chair, all the while, breaking through steel doors with ease and deflecting  bullet with no effort, whatsoever. At the job of his alter ego, Clark Kent, as a newspaper reporter, Superman is ironically given the job of gathering information on himself. In his next heroic act Superman saves a woman who was being beaten by his wife, by the time the police arrived he was once again, Clark Kent, doing his job as a newspaper reporter. We are introduced to the very human side of Superman when he, very timidly asks Lois Lane on a date, get the date, and ruins the date by being a coward. Clark makes himself out as a coward, by backing down from a bully who disrespects Lois, but later on Saves Lois from the same threat, as Superman. Because Lois knows nothing of the connection between Clark and Superman, she ignores him for the remainder of the story. Clark’s next assignment, as a reporter, was supposed to take him to San Monte, but instead took him to Washington D.C. In Washington Superman investigates suspicious act he sees suspicious actions between a man named Alex Greer and Senator Barrows. Superman finds that they are trying to pass a bad bill and stops it using his extraordinary physical abilities.
As discussed in class, the story of Superman very closely relates to that of Moses, in the Bible. In the book Up, Up, and Oy Vey by Simcha Weinstein it is suggested that Superman may actually be a character who is based on Moses. Although one major difference between Moses and Superman is that Superman could have just as easily been an evil villain, as he was a superhero. Moses on the other hand was not blessed with his powers as a birthright, but rather given to him by God for specific reasons, because of this God could have just as easily taken his powers as he gave them.
 I thought it was very interesting that the art of this comic was very simple, it did suit the time period that the comic came out though. It’s also interesting to me that people would try to say that Superman is a Jew, even though in the first comic about him, ever, he wasn’t presented as a Jew in any way that I could tell. This comic was a good read for me, and it really put into perspective how different comics have become, and how different they are written now, as opposed to in the 1930’s when this comic was published.

1 comment:

  1. Late!

    "It’s also interesting to me that people would try to say that Superman is a Jew, even though in the first comic about him, ever, he wasn’t presented as a Jew in any way that I could tell."

    I still find it interesting that students from my class would try to say that Weinstein says that Superman is Jewish when, as we discussed in class, this isn't his argument. So no, you wouldn't find him presented as Jewish literally--only figuratively, which IS what Weinstein tries to say.