Superman is a monumental character in the DC Comics universe. He may or may not like it, but it is impossible to deny his contribution to world culture and influence on generations of readers and viewers alike. Superman has had a significant impact on popular culture and is a role model for many children. He is a symbol of hope and the perfect superhero (Earle 35). Superman has remained the most important superhero of all comic book publications for many decades, as evidenced by the various ratings and the impact he has had on the world. Superman follows a strict moral code; he is very committed to the law and exemplifies other superheroes.
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The image of Superman helps to get on the path of goodness and helps not only people but also the world as a whole. In this paper, I would like to discuss Superman’s image and why the creators of the comic book hide his thoughts from the readers.
When talking about Superman in comics, it is impossible not to mention that the image of Superman has changed over time because initially, he was not what we see him as in the latest movies. In the comics of the late ’30s, he was brutal and aggressive. He disregarded the consequences of his power and enjoyed taking a gangster by the scruff of the neck, jumping around with him, and then interrogating him in a different tone than people are used to. Beating up bad people was the norm for him, but that was aided by the timing in which Superman appeared. This is precisely how that generation needed him to win people’s hearts.
Later, the character changed to a new publisher who established a code of conduct for their heroes. The character of Superman was softened, his usual sense of idealism and moral standards of behavior were added. It is worth noting that he never possessed cold-bloodedness, as Superman initially embodied the superhero and all the values he should possess. The image of his alter ego, Clark Kent, was almost unchanged.
He was a modest-looking man with big glasses hiding his face, awkward behavior, and in general, the image of a simple man who grew up on a farm in a loving family (Friedenthal 135). Thus, Superman in the comic book in question is a collective image of a hero and a role model. From this, one can conclude why the authors do not show readers what Superman is thinking and do not narrate on his behalf. The point is that the image of the superhero is strongly idealized, the audience is given the direct message that Superman has no weaknesses.
A qualitative portrayal of the hero’s thought process requires a reference to his personal experiences and fears. By narrating on behalf of the character, the creators have to show his imperfection and some weaknesses. In the situation with Superman, this could not be allowed, as such a step would destroy the halo of fearlessness and steadfastness around this image. Without depicting the character’s thought process directly, it can by no means be called superficial. The fact is that the lack of a first-person narrative is more than compensated for by the presence of the hero’s alter ego, Clark Kent. Kent is, in some ways his antipode, an unremarkable man of the crowd.
At the same time, his presence is necessary for the creators to point out “the other side of the medal” (Bevin 57). Thus, by leaving behind Superman an aura of mystery and indestructibility, the creators provide depth to the character at the expense of his alter ego. In addition, throughout the comic, other characters actively express themselves about Superman, leading readers to make certain judgments.
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The most modern reboot of the series occurred in 2011 when DC Comics decided to reimagine all of its universes after the events of Flashpoint. The Superman comic book series has been rebooted since the first issue. His costume was slightly redesigned – it became more like armor, and the famous red briefs over tights were removed, giving the superhero a more severe look. At this point, it is hard to say who the modern Superman is – thanks to the efforts of Brian Bendis, all sorts of changes are taking place in his life. He is now preoccupied with both figuring out Krypton’s past and fighting the world’s behind-the-scenes organizations.
Kandor has been destroyed, and the Kryptonians have been all but exterminated. At the forefront of his mind is now more Superman than Clark. This is the main difference between the old Superman and the new Superman – his alter ego is no longer given the same attention. Today’s Superman works out his depths at the expense of what the past did not: his personal emotional experiences.
In conclusion, the image of Superman is the perfect image of a superhero that was created in the 1930s. He is a role model of an invincible and strong being who fights evil in the world. Since the character’s creation, his personality has undergone some changes. Initially, he was more violent and did not hesitate to use his power to the fullest. Later, Superman’s character softened, his traits taking on a more ideological character.
The main reason the comic book creators do not narrate in the name of Superman is to preserve his ideal image of the invincible hero. Instead of the emotional burden, it is the presence of a contrasting alter ego that gives the character depth. The modern Superman is in many ways different from the one in the comic books. These differences are due to the alter ego moving into the background and the modern character’s more capacious emotionalism.
Bevin, Philip. Superman and comic book brand continuity. Routledge, 2018. Web.
Earle, Harriet E. H. Comics: An introduction. Routledge, 2020. Web.
Friedenthal, Andrew J. The world of DC Comics. Routledge, 2019. Web.