20 March 2012

The Legend of Superman has Begun

Superman Action Comics #1 is the first of many well-known Superman comics. This comic explains how Superman came to be and his very first triumphs over evil. It begins explaining Superman's arrival to the planet earth. As a baby, Superman's planet was being destroyed and his parents, not wanted their new born baby to die, put him in a space ship and launched it towards earth. Laying on the side of the highway, Superman was discovered and sent to the orphanage where he received the name Clark Kent. Soon his caretakers began to recognize his unnatural powers and were astonished. When he grew up, he had infinite strength, super speed, and could fly. He decided he needed to put his amazing powers to use, he was going to dedicate his life to fighting the crime and evil in the world. For his first miraculous endeavor he saves a woman condemned to electrocution by racing to the governor with proof of her innocence. Her innocence made the news headlines, but Superman was left out of the story. Superman worked as Clark Kent as a journalist for the news and was asked to check up on this Superman character. It was the perfect disguise, no one would expect this journalist Clark Kent to actually be Superman. His manager told him of a beating happening and asked him to go see if Superman would show up. So Clark Kent runs to the scene and arrives as Superman there to save the day. The beater tried to knife Superman, but the knife broke in half. Once the villain was taken care of the police begin to arrive and Superman hurries and changes into street clothes. No one knew he was Superman all along. The next day at work, Superman tries out his skills with the ladies on Lois Lane. She finally consents to go on a date with him despite her hatred towards him. While dancing another guy tries to pick a fight with Superman over Lois. Superman, not wanting to reveal his identity, does not fight back. Lois storms off saying that is why she doesn't like Clark, cause he's a coward. The bully from the bar follows her and kidnaps her, but he doesn't know that Superman is right behind him. Superman throws them out of the car and saves Lois, flying her back to her house. The next day at work she is even more disgusted with Clark because he couldn't save her like Superman. That same day at work he receives another assignment to try and find Superman and put him on the front page. So off he goes to Washington DC in order to stop a lobbyist from passing a terrible bill. He succeeds and such is the beginning of the legend of the hero who cannot be defeated, Superman.

It is evident in the very first comic of Superman that he essentially has no weaknesses. This is exactly what Eco is talking about in "The Myth of Superman" when he says that Superman is mythical. However, you can also see in this first comic that Superman does kind of begin to develop a love life, which is something mortal therefore it is part of the literary genre not the mythical genre. From day one of these comics the writers were toying with the line between mythical and literary heroes. After a long time, the fluctuations become much worse and that is when Eco is saying that the comic is in danger of losing its population. But from day one, the story allowed for a little bit of both mythical and literary characteristics.

I have never actually read a Superman comic so it was kind of cool to see all the different aspects of comics and Superheroes that we have been talking about. The main thing I noticed about Superman was his lack of weaknesses. Nothing could affect him when he was saving the world. In my opinion this is the biggest reason that the popularity of Superman is decreasing. There is only so much that you can write about when the character you have created has only one weakness, and it is too predictable and boring to exploit that weakness every single episode.


  1. I agree with what you’re saying, while I also enjoyed reading it,it was kind of alarming that from the beginning Superman plays with the fine line of literary and mythical. It is almost like Superman Was doomed from the beginning.

  2. I totally agree that "The Myth of Superman" best related to the comic. From the very first comic you can tell that the creators do have the problem of straddling the line between mythical hero and literary hero. Although I knew Superman wasn't going to die, like I pointed out in my blog, its interesting to know that the people around him can, whether they are the bad guys or Lois lane.