Happy International Men’s Day to all you guys out there! Earlier this year, before I started this blog over from scratch, I listed five reasons why I love Lois Lane for International Women’s Day. This time around, I wanted to share my love for my favourite superhero and sci-fi hero, Superman!
I haven’t always considered Superman to be my favourite superhero. That honour went to Batman for a very long time before I got really bored of the current Batman series, especially the mainline comics written by Tom King who appears to want to fulfil his Catwoman obsession (and I am not a Catwoman fan at all). But, as time has progressed, I’ve grown to love Superman more and more because when you look at him at face value, he seems like an average boring goody-two-shoes, but when you actually delve into his character, you see that he is a lot more than just an alien with superpowers.
Superman stories focus on lots of things, like moral dilemmas, family, friendship, romance, politics, war, and many other heavy topics. It’s not always saving kittens from trees with a smile in Metropolis, no matter how much people want it to be.
Since today is International Men’s Day, I want to share with you all some resources for physical and mental health, and tell you that speaking up about your own personal issues is important. Unfortunately, men’s mental health is still not taken seriously enough due to there being outdated stigmas surrounding men being honest about their feelings, and we end up losing an alarming amount of men to suicide.
- Men and mental health | Mental Health Foundation
- CALM – Campaign Against Living Miserably
- Prostate Cancer UK
He has a kind heart
For me, this is the most important thing about Superman. After seeing wave after wave of anti-heroes and snarky superheroes who spend most of their time teasing other people (*cough*iron man*cough*), it can be refreshing to read or watch a superhero who is kind and just wants to help people, which is the core of what makes Superman who he is. And while that may be boring to some people, it makes him so much more of an endearing character to me.
I also love how no matter what the adaptation is (with a few exceptions), Superman’s kindness is something that prevails because his humanity and care for other people is something that is so integral to the character. And yes, that involves the modern movie Superman played by Henry Cavill. Just because Metropolis got almost flattened by the Kryptonians that he was trying his hardest to stop, doesn’t mean that he doesn’t care about other people. He cared enough to pull off a last resort and kill General Zod.
His powers don’t make him heroic
There’s a line from Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman that always comes to mind whenever I think about what makes Superman heroic: “Clark is who I am, Superman is what I can do.” While it is sort of a solidifying idea that a superhero is defined by their powers or abilities, I personally feel that heroism comes from a character’s personality and not just what they are able to do.
If Batman was a normally adjusted adult who still had parents and a buttload of money, he wouldn’t be as interesting as he is because everything he does is out of wanting to avenge his parents’ murders. Still. But then again, I don’t think that a hero needs to have a tragic backstory in order to be a hero. Some heroes are just people who want to help others and do the right thing, which is what Superman is. He’s a farm boy from Kansas who was raised to treat people with respect. And although he wasn’t told by his parents to reveal himself to the world as an alien and do these amazing feats of heroism, they certainly are supportive of him, even when he has his moments of doubt.
Also, how many superheroes call their mothers to ask for advice when they’re struggling with a moral situation? There probably are a few out there, but Superman has definitely done it.
He’s the blueprint for all superheroes
I will hold my hands up and admit that this is probably a shallow reason to like a character, but it is extremely difficult to acknowledge the impact that Superman has had on pop culture as a whole. If we never had Superman, we would have never had Batman, Wonder Woman, Spider-Man, Captain America, and tons of other characters that I won’t name because the list is absolutely endless.
And also, if we didn’t have Superman, we wouldn’t have the countless different versions of “what if this superhero character was actually evil and didn’t help people but instead enslaved the planet”. You don’t have to like him, but you can still acknowledge how important he is to pop culture.
He’s able to adapt to the times
When you have a character who has been in constant publication like Superman, it’s very important to adapt to the current social climate. And although Superman (and even Batman) has always been more of a left-wing hero (whether you like it or not), what is considered “left” has changed a lot in the 82 years since his debut appearance.
Superman is no longer someone who fights for “truth, justice, and the American way” because he’s no longer solely an American hero, he’s a hero for the entire world, not just the United States. Patriotism isn’t as big a thing now as it was in the 1950s, and characters need to adapt to the times, so having a superhero who fights for the “American” way can be alienating to people who don’t live in the United States or strongly disagree with whatever the American way is.
As much as I think it’s important that a character like Superman is able to change and adapt to the current social climate while still staying true to he is, there are a lot of people who disagree with that and want things to be exactly as they were in the 1979 Christopher Reeve movie. That makes me kind of sad because all versions of Superman are valid to me, no matter what time period they appeared in.
His relationship with Lois is the most precious thing
I am a total softie at heart, and nothing warms my coldness like some A+ Clois content. I don’t do shipping normally, but Lois and Clark are my absolute number one OTP because their relationship is just so natural and is something that could easily happen in real life. Apart from the initial “love triangle between two people” part, that is.
They start off as co-workers with Lois seeing herself as being the superior of the two, and you can’t really blame her for that because when Clark starts working at the Daily Planet, she’s already won a Pulitzer, and he’s been reporting on harvests in Smallville. Then they moved on to being friends, and later more than that, then Clark was killed by Doomsday, then came back to life, and now they’re married and have a child together. And I love that because DC gave the biggest middle finger to the “man of steel, woman of kleenex” thing.
My favourite part of Lois and Clark’s relationship is that they view each other as equals and treat each other as equals, they learn from one another and have grown together and being able to see that progress through different mediums of storytelling is just the best.
I’m just really soft for Lois and Clark, okay?
talk to me!
Who is your favourite superhero? If you don’t have one, who is your favourite male character in general?