Haven’t been reading all that many comic books lately. Not sure why. I think a lot of it has to do with my free time. I want to be writing or doing something else. Sure when the winter comes around again and Megan and I aren’t able to go on so many rides — I’ll be reading more regularly again.
Even though I’m not reading them much at the moment, comic books and their characters are very much a part of who I am. My pantheon, if you will. I’ve written more subtlety at times, and others not; I’m not a believer. So when it comes to symbols and moral compasses that I like to identify with and have a sense of “faith” with,
comic book super heroes fill that space.
One of them above all I really see as the manifestation of being a good person, symbol of positivity, and hope. Superman. If I am ever having a moment where I don’t know what to do, or feel like my issues with my emotions might get the better of me. I just think of Clark Kent.
I wasn’t always this way. For the longest time Hal Jordan, the Green Lantern was my favorite super hero. He still is, to an extent. Originally I loved him because that was the longest and coolest comic book I had growing up. It was a collection of the original Hal Jordan origin, a few other issues, an Alan Scott issue, and then a Kyle Rayner issue or two. If you don’t understand these names, that’s okay. I love Hal Jordan because he is a brash ladies’ man with a cool ring that can do anything with imagination.
That was my kinda gig growing up. I wanted to be and was that guy, with a really powerful imagination and some major reckless abandon. Come twenty-thirteen and Man of Steel, though, everything changed.
At this time I was not much of a Superman person, and I hadn’t read all that many comic books either. Just the stack of thirty or forty I had growing up, none of them being about him. Plus all the New 52 and Post Crisis Green Lantern I had read at the time. I subscribed to the general idea that Superman was a boring character and was overpowered, and I really only read comics for GL.
Man of Steel was on my radar purely because it is a Zack Snyder film.
Zack is the director that really took hold of me with his visuals and unabashed style in my teenage years. My brother Alan introduced me to his first movie Dawn of the Dead not long after it came out on DVD. By the time 300 came around I was able to see ‘R’ rated movies in theaters, and did so for the first time when it released.
Watchmen got me particularly interested in actually heavily reading comic books beyond the ones I grew up with — not long after my mental break with reality. It kind of reawakened that spark.
So when I discovered Zack was working on a Superman movie, I was all in. Didn’t have to watch any trailers and didn’t even want to. Since I had some negative preconceptions about Superman I felt like this was the only way to go in — completely blind. Used to do it less, but I am doing it more and more these days. I honestly think it makes films better — to go in blind.
Know the genre, director, actors, screenwriter, studio — what have you, ignore the trailers. In my experience anyways. If you’re on the fence, by all means. If you already know you are going to go? Why bother spoiling any aspect of it for yourself?
I think this is the best thing I did. Not only that, I went to see Man of Steel completely alone, weeks after release, in a nearly empty theater. That may sound super lonely to some people, and if it does — you can’t imagine how stoked I was.
I’m quite the introvert. Alone time doesn’t make me feel alone, it makes me feel complete. I like to spend time with people but it really drains my energy more than anything else.
That’s why I love Megan so much, she’s one of the few people who wears down my energy incredibly slowly. I still need time away even from her and the pets to center myself, but not anywhere near as often as I do from people. The dreaded people.
Because of this — a nearly empty theater with no one’s crinkling, crying, coughing, or chattering, was great. It also meant that when the movie was loud enough I could do what I like to do in intense moments at home — exclaim. Not loudly of course, certainly not loudly enough to be heard from the single couple more than ten rows ahead of me.
Enough that in moments of great triumph I can feel it even more, though. Even just to myself. I love that feeling. Despite a lot of popular opinion that I have found online, I feel like Man of Steel is filled with many moments of triumph and hope. It’s what really turned me on to Superman as a character. The pragmatism of Jonathan teaching Clark how to be a good person, because he should be. Not for any other reason. Because it is the right thing to do. There was also the realism and fear of what this dark and judgmental world, prone to anger of things they don’t understand — would do.
It all felt so real to me. Hope, intertwined within this constant barrage of life trying to make it all hopeless.
There really wasn’t anything that made me feel like he was overpowered, too. The thing about Superman that “holds him back” is his humanity. He was also just a kid starting out in Man of Steel, so he was super green and didn’t know what he was doing. His humanity would get in the way during the fights though. Either from when he lost his cool for his mother being attacked — causing him to bring the fight into Smallville which gets laid waste. To in the same fight saving a helicopter pilot from a death plunge, leaving him open for attack.
There was just such practical good person and hopefulness throughout the whole movie for me. The real life kind. Which is hilarious considering the subject matter of a man flying around in tights and a cape.
Man of Steel was the movie that got me to start reading Superman comics, which then blew open the doors of the rest of the DC Universe for me, which then blew open the doors of Marvel Universe (616), the Mignolaverse, The Walking Dead, etc. etc.
Superman, though. Superman is my symbol.
I am a person that does not believe in any established higher being, I am one of a very populated species on a rock floating in space that circles around a star. In a universe riddled with billions of floating rocks following this same pattern. It’s hard for me to believe there isn’t other life out there — just based on the pure mathematics of it.
So when I am feeling overwhelmed, enraged, or plain depressed. I can think about the guy in blue tights and a red cape with a giant “S” on his chest. Typically he’s smiling and telling me to pick my head up, ’cause he’s got my back.
He’s a good person, like me, just trying to get through life day by day. He just happens to have more power than you and I. So he chooses to make a difference.
I think whoever your Superman is, if they’re doing the same for you as he is for me, then they’ve got to be a pretty good person. Just follow their lead.
Thank you for reading.