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The Problem with Superman ("Americans don't want to be told what to aspire to anymore")
Time Magazine ^ | May. 17, 2004 | LEV GROSSMAN

Posted on 05/10/2004 12:08:15 PM PDT by Hawkeye's Girl

For America's multimillion-dollar Superman industry, it's a serious problem. This is a guy who's from outer space — he was born on the planet Krypton, let's not forget — but he's also from another time. He debuted in the 1930s, when Americans liked their heroes like they liked their steaks: tough, thick and all-American. Nowadays we prefer our heroes dark and flawed and tragic. Look at the Punisher (wife and kids dead), or Hellboy (born a demon), or Spider-Man (secretly a nerd). Look at Batman: his parents were killed in front of him, and he dresses like a Cure fan. Now look at the big blue Boy Scout, with his cleft chin and his spit curl. He's just not cool.

(Excerpt) Read more at time.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Miscellaneous; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: 2004electionbias; america; antiamericanism; bushbashing; bushhasser; comic; comicbook; comicbooks; comics; commiecomics; commieshill; communism; communists; culturewar; dc; dccomics; indoctrination; iraqwar; joestalin; josephstalin; liberalguilt; manofsteel; marxism; mediabias; outlawculture; prodictator; prostalin; reddupe; saddamite; satanism; socialism; socialists; sovietunion; stalin; stalinsusefulidiots; superman; supesisaddupe; timebias; timelifewarnerturner; timemagazine; unclejoestalin; usefulidiots; ussr; vigilantism; warnerbros; warnerbrothers; wb
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1 posted on 05/10/2004 12:08:15 PM PDT by Hawkeye's Girl
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To: Hawkeye's Girl
Superman will -always- be cool. Ditto for Captain America (at least, before Marvel turned him into an anti-American leftist wuss.)
2 posted on 05/10/2004 12:12:06 PM PDT by TheBigB (My posts are full of ironic sarcasm. Or sarcastic irony. Whatever'll keep you from gettin' PO'd.)
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To: TheBigB
Amen.
3 posted on 05/10/2004 12:12:27 PM PDT by ECM
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To: Hawkeye's Girl
So this is what Time magazine wastes its space with....
4 posted on 05/10/2004 12:15:31 PM PDT by tallhappy (Juntos Podemos!)
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To: Hawkeye's Girl
Pretty bad when Superman is "uncool". What could be cooler than XRay vision? Or being able to fly? How jaded our culture has become..... /nostalgic sigh
5 posted on 05/10/2004 12:16:48 PM PDT by wbill
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To: tallhappy
slow Newsweek?
6 posted on 05/10/2004 12:17:00 PM PDT by steve8714
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To: steve8714; tallhappy
I think they were just looking for an excuse to slam America in the enterainment section:

He's a metaphor for America, but an outdated, obsolete America: invulnerable to attack, always on the side of right, always ready to save the rest of the world from its villainy whether or not it wants to be saved.

7 posted on 05/10/2004 12:19:15 PM PDT by Hawkeye's Girl
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To: Hawkeye's Girl
Spiderman may be closer to the spirit of America because he learned the hard way to do the right thing, is despised for it, and has a whole set of typical American problems, including financial ones.
8 posted on 05/10/2004 12:22:05 PM PDT by steve8714
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To: Hawkeye's Girl
Superman never made any money
saving the world from Solomon Grundy
And sometimes I despair the world will never see
Another man like him
"Superman Song" - Crash Test Dummys
9 posted on 05/10/2004 12:22:14 PM PDT by joebuck
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To: wbill
Pretty bad when Superman is "uncool".

Not at all. Superman is a 'God'. Gravity has no effect upon him, he doesn't need air, he can run or fly at faster than light speed, time means nothing to him (he can reverse it if things don't go right). X-ray vision, heat vision, artic breath, or hot breath, bullet proof, never gets tired, and is never truly in danger himself. He has no weakness, except for some obscure element (Kriptonnite). Boring.....

Contrast that with the other comic heroes. They all have weaknesses, but bend the situation to meet their strengths. When I was a kid, I knew I had weaknesses, insecurities; but I also had strengths. If I could twist the situation to address my strengths, I felt better.

Who could possibly relate to Superman?

10 posted on 05/10/2004 12:22:23 PM PDT by Hodar (With Rights, comes Responsibilities. Don't assume one, without assuming the other.)
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To: Hawkeye's Girl
Superman is still the company's flagship icon, but Batman outsells him, and the original superhero hasn't starred in a movie for 17 years.

More money is made from the licensing of comic book characters than from the comic books themselves. Who cares how many monthly titles they are selling? It matters not to the company's bottom line.

Fanboys are a small subset of a subculture that reads comics in America. That comic book subculture is a small (but vocal) subset of all the people in America who watch movies or shop at the mall.

Warner Brothers (parent corporation for both DC Comics and Time Magazine) knows this.

When was the last time Mickey Mouse starred in a cartoon for American audiences?

11 posted on 05/10/2004 12:22:58 PM PDT by weegee (NO BLOOD FOR RATINGS. CNN ignored torture & murder in Saddam's Iraq to keep their Baghdad Bureau.)
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To: TheBigB
Superman will -always- be cool.

Two words, "Christopher Reeve."

12 posted on 05/10/2004 12:25:34 PM PDT by dfwgator (It's sad that the news media treats Michael Jackson better than our military.)
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To: Hawkeye's Girl
Batman also dates from the 1930's, so the whole thesis is bogus.

I never liked Superman, anyway.

Give me the Green Hornet. With Kato as your sidekick, how can you lose?
13 posted on 05/10/2004 12:25:56 PM PDT by You Dirty Rats (WE WILL WIN WITH W - Isara)
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To: Hawkeye's Girl
Why should anyone want to aspire to anything anymore? You know it may make other less ambitious people feel bad.
14 posted on 05/10/2004 12:26:01 PM PDT by freeangel (freeangel)
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To: dfwgator
LOL Everything else aside, there is no actor in existence who looked more like Supes than Reeve did. With the spit-curl, you'd swear he was taken directly from the comic.
15 posted on 05/10/2004 12:27:24 PM PDT by TheBigB (My posts are full of ironic sarcasm. Or sarcastic irony. Whatever'll keep you from gettin' PO'd.)
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To: Hodar
David Carradine delivers a monologue in Kill Bill Vol. 2 as to why he likes Superman over any other character.

He says that Peter Parker, Bruce Wayne, et al put on a costume to become a superhero.

Superman was born Superman. That S he wears comes from his home planet. His costume is that of a straight laced newspaper reporter. Clark Kent is how he sees humans and what he thinks he has to do to "blend in".

"Bill" uses this lecture to explain to the Bride why she can't hide from her past as a killer. She can't just seclude herself to living in a small town being a homebody. It is not who she is any more than Clark Kent is who Superman is.

16 posted on 05/10/2004 12:27:59 PM PDT by weegee (NO BLOOD FOR RATINGS. CNN ignored torture & murder in Saddam's Iraq to keep their Baghdad Bureau.)
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To: Hawkeye's Girl
Problem with Superman is that they've gone PC with his character.. have for years now.
17 posted on 05/10/2004 12:28:38 PM PDT by HamiltonJay
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To: Hawkeye's Girl
He debuted in the 1930s, when Americans liked their heroes like they liked their steaks: tough, thick and all-American. Nowadays we prefer our heroes dark and flawed and tragic.

Liberal guilt results in a lousy steak (dark, flawed, and tragic).

18 posted on 05/10/2004 12:31:25 PM PDT by weegee (NO BLOOD FOR RATINGS. CNN ignored torture & murder in Saddam's Iraq to keep their Baghdad Bureau.)
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To: Hodar
Who could possibly relate to Superman?

I could. Sometimes I think we must have been seperated at birth because we have so much in common. Well, except for the super powers. And the good looks. And it's possible I don't look as good in tights. At least I'm not allergic to some little radioactive rocks, though. What a wuss. Of course, I am allergic to cat dander.
19 posted on 05/10/2004 12:33:05 PM PDT by fr_freak
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To: Hawkeye's Girl
"Batman is a more modern-era type character," Lee says. "He's fueled by vengeance; he's the boogeyman. Superman is the altruistic alien hero that protects us all. It's difficult to make that believable in this day and age."

So if it is "hip" to be a vigilante rather than stand up for truth, justice, and the American Way, then the media has no problems with the abuse of terrorist suspects in Iraq? eh???

20 posted on 05/10/2004 12:33:24 PM PDT by weegee (NO BLOOD FOR RATINGS. CNN ignored torture & murder in Saddam's Iraq to keep their Baghdad Bureau.)
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To: Hawkeye's Girl
"As someone who loved the dark side for a long time, I had little or no interest in Superman for years," Austen says.

CULTURE WAR PING. Outlaw culture should not be the dominant culture in America and I would question those who see fit to put those who "love the dark side" in charge of setting the course for childrens' entertainment.

21 posted on 05/10/2004 12:35:28 PM PDT by weegee (NO BLOOD FOR RATINGS. CNN ignored torture & murder in Saddam's Iraq to keep their Baghdad Bureau.)
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To: Hawkeye's Girl
I'm sure Mr. Grossman prefers not to be told that sex with other men is immoral, filthy and disgusting!

Afterall, he does write for TIME!

22 posted on 05/10/2004 12:36:25 PM PDT by TexasCajun
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To: Hodar
He has no weakness, except for some obscure element (Kriptonnite).

Superman is also vulnerable to magic, FYI.

23 posted on 05/10/2004 12:36:59 PM PDT by TheBigB (My posts are full of ironic sarcasm. Or sarcastic irony. Whatever'll keep you from gettin' PO'd.)
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To: Hawkeye's Girl
Smallville, featuring a teenage Clark Kent, is the No. 1 show on the WB, but the best onscreen version may be the deadpan, dead-on American Express ads on TV and the Internet featuring and in part written by Jerry Seinfeld. Does the comedian think Superman needs refurbishing? "I do," Seinfeld says. "I thought that they kind of botched it up. The last series of films really lost the whole essence of the appeal of the character." Seinfeld's Superman, who gets too much mayonnaise on his sandwich and can't figure out a DVD player, may be the most credibly human version yet.

Talk about taking a quote out of context. I somehow seriously doubt that Jerry Seinfeld's dislike of the Golan Globus Superman films (3, 4, and 5) means that he wants to see a "dark side" running through Superman comics and adaptations.

24 posted on 05/10/2004 12:38:47 PM PDT by weegee (NO BLOOD FOR RATINGS. CNN ignored torture & murder in Saddam's Iraq to keep their Baghdad Bureau.)
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To: You Dirty Rats
Re: The Green Hornet

You did know that it's in pre-production for the big screen, with Kevin Smith directing ? It ought to be good. . .
25 posted on 05/10/2004 12:40:29 PM PDT by Salgak (don't mind me: the orbital mind control lasers are making me write this. . .)
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To: Hawkeye's Girl
A limited-run comic called Secret Identity tells the story of a Superman who lives in the real world, our world, and who plays a lifelong chess game with the government and the media to keep his true nature hidden. What could be more modern than a hero with an obsessive need for privacy?


26 posted on 05/10/2004 12:41:16 PM PDT by weegee (NO BLOOD FOR RATINGS. CNN ignored torture & murder in Saddam's Iraq to keep their Baghdad Bureau.)
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To: fr_freak
So aside from the lack of super powers, myoptic eyesight, poor hearing, looks, physique and an allergy to cat dander ..... you and Superman are alot alike.

Gosh, I wanna be you.
27 posted on 05/10/2004 12:42:59 PM PDT by Hodar (With Rights, comes Responsibilities. Don't assume one, without assuming the other.)
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To: freeangel
Why should anyone want to aspire to anything anymore? You know it may make other less ambitious people feel bad.

LMAO! I want that on a bumper sticker for my car!!!

BTW, my 3 yr old son is a total Superman-buff. He likes Batman, Spiderman, and all that, but Justice League rules in his little world.

28 posted on 05/10/2004 12:43:07 PM PDT by momfirst
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To: Hawkeye's Girl
"Americans don't want to be told what to aspire to anymore"

Close. Americans don't want to be told what to aspire to anymore by the likes of pseudo-journalistic magazines like Time, Newsweek, or by news organizations like NYTimes or LATimes, who print news according to their little red books.

29 posted on 05/10/2004 12:43:35 PM PDT by theDentist (John Kerry for President? BWAHAAAAhahahahahaaaaaaaaaa!!)
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To: Hawkeye's Girl
This reminds me of what I thought to be an interesting phenomenom when I was a kid in the late 60's/early 70's. In my neighborhood, without fail, all the kids who were "Superman" fans preferred RC Cola, The Munsters, 'Mary Anne' and the Beatles - while all the "Batman" fans preferred Coke, The Addams Family, 'Ginger' and the Rolling Stones. It was really pretty strange.

Comparing the two, I also remember my 9th grade Social Studies teacher (it was 1973) joke that(paraphrased) 'Superman reads the Bible. Batman reads Neitzche' (sp). Not for THAT reason (though I've read both) but I am a HUGE Batman fan.

30 posted on 05/10/2004 12:45:06 PM PDT by NCPAC
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To: Hawkeye's Girl
Superman not cool? The comic that gave us Supergirl, the Legion of Super-Heroes, Krypto the Super-dog, Beppo the Super-monkey, the Superman Revenge Squad, umpteen types of Kryptonite, Jimmy Olsen and the Carrot-Top Cut Ups, the bottle city of Kandor, etc., etc. not cool? The Mort Weisinger-edited Superman comics of the '50's & '60's are some of the best fun to be had in four colors!

And don't forget Mort's finest moment....BIZARRO!


31 posted on 05/10/2004 12:45:44 PM PDT by GodBlessRonaldReagan (Count Petofi will not be denied!)
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To: Hawkeye's Girl
My Superman is Dubya


32 posted on 05/10/2004 12:48:10 PM PDT by Lady Jag (I dreamed I surfed all day in my monthly donor wonder bra [https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate])
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To: Salgak
Without Bruce Le, who cares?
33 posted on 05/10/2004 12:48:46 PM PDT by You Dirty Rats (WE WILL WIN WITH W - Isara)
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To: GodBlessRonaldReagan
Goodbye! Me am sad to meet you!
34 posted on 05/10/2004 12:49:05 PM PDT by TheBigB (My posts are full of ironic sarcasm. Or sarcastic irony. Whatever'll keep you from gettin' PO'd.)
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To: HamiltonJay
Superman has always been prissily apolitical — as a resident alien, does he even vote?--but that may be the missing piece.

B.S.

A Hate-America Superhero? In the July issue, Superman declares the Iraq war immoral.

Our Superman will want to wallow in who he is and find out why he hurts.

"Why do they hate us so?"

"What could we do to make them not want to strike us with nother 911?"

"Why does that #*!$ on the Bachelor have to be so mean?"

35 posted on 05/10/2004 12:49:34 PM PDT by weegee (NO BLOOD FOR RATINGS. CNN ignored torture & murder in Saddam's Iraq to keep their Baghdad Bureau.)
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To: You Dirty Rats
Batman also dates from the 1930's

Yes, but the dark gothic character of Batman is more recent. Superman has also acquired a brooding character recently. Crow and Sandman had such character traits from the beginning but that coincided with the time of the transformation of Superman and Batman. We might find the best evidence of the end of postmodernism in the comic strips, but the Baghdad prison scandal shows it is happening in reality also.

36 posted on 05/10/2004 12:49:36 PM PDT by RightWhale (Destroy the dark; restore the light)
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To: TheBigB
He debuted in the 1930s, when Americans liked their heroes like they liked their steaks: tough, thick and all-American.

He was rejected in the thirties as too "Arian" i.e. neo-nazi, perhaps you are all too young to remember.

37 posted on 05/10/2004 12:50:28 PM PDT by ivanhoe116
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To: GodBlessRonaldReagan
BRING BACK MORT! (so to speak)
38 posted on 05/10/2004 12:53:25 PM PDT by weegee (NO BLOOD FOR RATINGS. CNN ignored torture & murder in Saddam's Iraq to keep their Baghdad Bureau.)
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To: ivanhoe116
I certainly wasn't aware of that. I do know that Supes wasn't the most popular comic during WWII...that was Captain Marvel and Joe Palooka.
39 posted on 05/10/2004 12:54:11 PM PDT by TheBigB (My posts are full of ironic sarcasm. Or sarcastic irony. Whatever'll keep you from gettin' PO'd.)
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To: TheBigB; weegee
The Bizarro Code:

Us hate beauty!
Us love ugliness!
Is big crime to make anything perfect on Bizarro World!
40 posted on 05/10/2004 12:56:43 PM PDT by GodBlessRonaldReagan (Count Petofi will not be denied!)
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To: Hawkeye's Girl
Gag.

Every 10 years somebody thinks they have to re-invent Superman. We've had long-hair superman, electro-superman and so on and it always falls flat. This sounds worse than most, and what WB is planning for thier next Superman movie will make you want to hurl if you are a fan.

What DC doesn't get is that Superman's real strength is his morals, not his powers. If they understood that they would have no problems creating interesting stories without having to tamper with the character and complain about him being 'too good' and 'too powerful'.
41 posted on 05/10/2004 12:59:27 PM PDT by Grig
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To: You Dirty Rats
Actually, I've heard Jet Li has been cast as Kato.

Your position is like saying it isn't Superman without George Reeves. . .
42 posted on 05/10/2004 12:59:35 PM PDT by Salgak (don't mind me: the orbital mind control lasers are making me write this. . .)
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To: weegee
Superman rocks that's all there is to it.
43 posted on 05/10/2004 1:02:41 PM PDT by keysguy (Give the rats enough rope....)
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To: weegee
Of course, that assumes that The Batman, who is driven by a thirst for revenge, tempered by justice, is "dark".

God forbid, personal discipline towards reaching a goal is now "dark" ???

The Batman prefers to work at night, maximizing his skills, stealth, and the terror he inflicts upon criminals.

That doesn't make him dark, that makes hin smart. . .
44 posted on 05/10/2004 1:03:18 PM PDT by Salgak (don't mind me: the orbital mind control lasers are making me write this. . .)
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To: GodBlessRonaldReagan
Sounds like Bizarros is Liberals.
45 posted on 05/10/2004 1:03:47 PM PDT by weegee (NO BLOOD FOR RATINGS. CNN ignored torture & murder in Saddam's Iraq to keep their Baghdad Bureau.)
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To: Grig
Seeing doofus actors like Brandon Fraiser and the Dude Where's My 70s Show guy being considered for the role of Superman shows just how awful this film is destined to be.

Clooney Batman anyone?

46 posted on 05/10/2004 1:05:21 PM PDT by weegee (NO BLOOD FOR RATINGS. CNN ignored torture & murder in Saddam's Iraq to keep their Baghdad Bureau.)
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To: ivanhoe116
There was a classic skit on the old SNL which speculated what if Superman worked for the Nazis. He used his x-ray vision to alert that "Jimmy Olstein" was a Jew, and he single-handedly destroyed Stalingrad in five minutes. And his father Jor-El was dead but would return as Charlie Rich. Hillarious stuff.
47 posted on 05/10/2004 1:05:30 PM PDT by dfwgator (It's sad that the news media treats Michael Jackson better than our military.)
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To: weegee
Yep, Bizarros am Dems!
48 posted on 05/10/2004 1:08:03 PM PDT by GodBlessRonaldReagan (Count Petofi will not be denied!)
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To: GodBlessRonaldReagan
Might I humbly suggest this site.

Pixar is coming out with a new movie..... And it looks Very good.

Link

49 posted on 05/10/2004 1:14:41 PM PDT by Hodar (With Rights, comes Responsibilities. Don't assume one, without assuming the other.)
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To: Hodar
The article seems to say that a popular comic superhero today requires some sort of weakness, a bit of self doubt, and a psychotic edge. To me, making Superman relevant is easy.

As we all know, Superman DOES have a weakness- Kryptonite. I would expand this by having an evil cabal who hires surplus scientific talent to create variations of "artificial Kryptonite". Additionally, DNA samples allow the bad guys to discover additional genetic weaknesses that could be used against him.

I would have Superman begin to question his allegiance to "the the American Way" What if he looks at problems in the country, and a physiologically clever villain starts to get him to doubt his mission on Earth?

Finally, I would have him feeling the pressure of always having to do the right thing instead of just enjoying his life. Perhaps he has discovered that some sort of celestial event involving the Earth led to his home Planet's destruction, so that the very place he protects was the ruin of the world he came from?

So, now we have a giant, all powerful force for good, formerly invincible who discovers that a small group has developed the means of his destruction where once his survival was never in question. He must now constantly scan the globe for clandestine activities in remote locations he is helpless to stop due to its strength sapping properties, so he must seek cooperation from other governments and groups, some who may actually wish for his demise. At the same time, he begins to doubt the rightness of his fight, so he considers giving it up. Worse, he become bitter toward the principles he protects, and questions his very existence.

I would bring in storylines from the world today, but mask them a bit to make them not so obvious. In short, I would make Superman a metaphor for our nation and the fight it is in today, both internally and externally.
50 posted on 05/10/2004 1:16:42 PM PDT by SoCal Pubbie
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