Comparing Superman


What makes Superman so likable as a superhero? How has he changed throughout his career as an American icon, and what does this mean for our own culture? Although unrelatable in terms of his super abilities, truth, justice and the American way (along with the values passed down by his father and foster-father) have been a staple (and a marketable aspect) in the generic Superman model for generations. What Superman embodies, within both the movie Man of Steel and recent comic book Earth One, are the two ways of life that the average American is brought up to understand: the old, rural Americana perspective as well as a more modern, urban setting of success. These messages are always prevalent within the archetype of Superman, and they give the audience the impression that American life (values, morals, etc) are rooted in rural living while the more successful man has to make an evolution to the much more expansive, purposeful life of the city.


Both the origins of Man of Steel and Earth One carries the same traits of an indecisive adolescent trying to find meaning in their life. In a way, we are all a sample of Superman trying to find greater meaning in our lives with the same supposed values shared with our hero. This is what has made Superman so likable to the American audience as it reflects the assumed society that is abide by them. What makes his character so convenient is that, just like values, it is just as changeable as the culture we live in. For example, the “S” that Superman sports on his costume has changed meaning within the context of his origin and what he represents: Smallville(Representing his city, school, and “scarecrow”?), Man of Steel(Hope, a trait we all seek to prevail), Earth One(Son or Son of Krypton). All of the following are made to make him seem less intimidating as it brings him back to a more “human” reality. 


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