We are all familiar with the saying that Superman is faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. I know that Superman’s abilities far exceed these standards, but allow me to put that in a literal sense. The average bullet travels at 1,700 miles per hour, which means Superman would have a minimum speed of 2,000 miles per hour. A locomotive can carry about 336,000 pounds, which means that Superman’s minimum strength level would be to lift between 350,000 to 400,000 pounds. When it comes to leaping tall buildings in a single bound, the tallest building in New York City is 1,776 feet tall, which means Superman would need to jump about 1,780 feet to go over it. What would you do if you could do all of that in real life?
While watching the documentary, Superheroes Decoded, I became aware of the origin of Superman as a comic book character. Superman’s creators, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, were two teenagers who lived in an impoverished neighborhood in Cleveland. Some may speculate that Cleveland served as a model for Superman’s city, Metropolis. It has been claimed that the idea for Superman came to Jerry and Joe in a dream. For Superman’s appearance, they drew inspiration from the strongmen (who were popular in the 1930s), Jesse Owens the fastest man alive (who was the pride of Cleveland, Jerry and Joe’s hometown), Tarzan, and Roman gladiators. Initially, Jerry and Joe were rejected by publisher after publisher before they were accepted by Action Comics, which would eventually become DC Comics. Thus, the modern myth of the superhero was born!
When developing Superman’s origin story, Jerry and Joe drew inspiration from the Book of Exodus, which depicted an infant Moses being sent down the Nile River to be raised by another family and eventually change the world. As more immigrants came to America, Superman became a symbol for them because he himself is an immigrant and a literal illegal alien. He symbolized immigrants coming to a new homeland and giving something back to their new community.
During his early days, Superman was made to give people hope in the wake of the Great Depression. Instead of supervillains, he fought crooked rich people and corrupt government officials. He was a champion for the common man. Overall, Superman was created to represent the best of humanity in a world of growing darkness.
For my new superhero series, I am thinking of making the interior of the space station look like a more technologically advanced version of 1938. I thought this would be an appropriate way to model the setting because 1938 was when Superman was first introduced to the world before being followed by many other superheroes. It would serve as a homage to the golden age of the superhero genre.
I have been watching a superhero documentary on the History Channel called Superheroes Decoded. It talked about the origins of the superhero genre and how it has evolved over the past century of American history. It talked about how every superhero served as a representation of the times America was in. This was an enjoyable show to watch and I would recommend it to anyone who is curious about the origins of the superhero genre and how it ties in to American history. I am thinking of following this show’s lead and basing my new superhumans on the times America is currently in. There is definitely more than enough inspiration to go around.
One of the most infamous supervillains would have to be Doomsday because he was the one who killed Superman. The chaos, death, and destruction he leaves in his wake certainly earn him his name. His duel with Superman was easily one of the most epic hero/villain battles I have ever seen. This is what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object, Doomsday being the unstoppable force and Superman being the immovable object. In addition, I like Doomsday’s ability to regenerate from any injury and adapt to it so that he could not be beaten the same way twice. This power easily makes him one of Superman’s deadliest enemies because he keeps coming back stronger and more durable than before.
After watching The Incredibles 2, I noticed something familiar in the hero/villain relationship of Elastigirl and Screenslaver. Their hero/villain relationship reminded me of Superman and Lex Luther. Like Elastigirl and Screenslaver, they were initially friends, but became bitter enemies. Superman/Elastigirl is the superpower idealist while Lex Luther/Screenslaver is a genius inventor and billionaire. Like Lex Luther, Screenslaver viewed superheroes in general as a threat to humanity and uses Elastigirl’s weakness (freezing) against her just as Lex Luther routinely uses Kryptonite against Superman. I like how Disney and Pixar reinvented these classical superhero references while making the film and I hope they do it again in the next one.
As a superhero fanatic and writer, I have always been bothered by the most troublesome riddle: How do you punish the Punisher? The Punisher has been judge, jury, and executioner to any criminal he hunts, but in the end is it even possible to punish the embodiment of punishment? I got my answer when I read a Runaways comic in which the Punisher got his butt kicked by Molly Hayes, who was an eleven year old girl with superhuman strength. No matter how you look at it, nothing would be more humiliating for a macho man like the Punisher than having his butt handed to him by a little girl. What do you think? Is there a better punishment for the Punisher or is this it?