December 7th, 2005


The Last Son of Krypton


Everyone's heard of Superman. Clark Kent. Kal-El. The Man of Steel. The Last Son of Krypton. Faster than a speeding bullet. And all that. Superman is the father of the modern day comic book superhero. He's origin is legendary, and his symbol is recognized worldwide.

My earliest memory of Superman is from one of the movies. I was too young to see them in theatres, but I caught them on TV. I thought Superman was cool because of all the things he could do and the actor who played him had the same name as me plus he has black hair like I do. I also remember watching some episodes of the old Superman show on Nick At Night (although now all I can remember is this one episode where this guy's in this metal dome that's so thick Superman can't even punch through it). For one reason or another, my parents got me a Superman toy (that I smashed when I was 12 because he wasn't Marvel).

As I grew older, I cared less about Superman. I got into Marvel Comics, and I could relate a lot better to Spider-Man. I somehow got ahold of a few Action Comics (which in those days was made up of many short stories), but the only hero who interested me then was Green Lantern. The Death of Superman happened when I was in 6th grade. I was already reading comics (Marvel only) and had a fondness for Batman The Animated Series, but Superman's death didn't affect me at all.

I got a bit older, I caught Lois and Clark on TV from time to time. Then came 1996. I had just entered high school, and Superman The Animated Series premiered. I watched the very first episode, but I didn't follow it regularly. I still have a Burger King toy from the show (it's a phone booth with Clark Kent on it and when you spin it, you can see Superman inside). When they put The Batman/Superman Adventures on weekdays, I watched every episode.

There was so much I didn't know about Superman. I knew Lois Lane, I knew Lex Luthor, I knew Metropolis, but STAS taught me that kryptonite is actually the fragments of Superman's home world and I met villains like Brainiac, Parasite, Metallo, and Mr. Mxyzptlk. Cartoon Network was also showing Superfriends, so I had more exposure to Superman that way too. Around this time, Superman became pure energy in the comics. The first DC Comic I actually bought was JLA #7 (by Grant Morrison and Howard Porter), and it had Superman in it. I also bought a Superman action figure from STAS around that time, which I still have (Superman comes with this Clark Kent outer casing that he busts out of).

When Superman split into two beings - Superman Red and Superman Blue, I started reading his monthly titles. They were pretty interesting, especially the Millennium Giants story which crossed over into other titles and had this huge picture you could make by connecting all the covers. My money was wearing a little thin, so I decided to drop the Superman books (because I knew if I started reading one, I'd end up reading all of them like when I started reading Spider-Man, and wouldn't you know, it happened two years later with the Batman titles).

So for the next few years, I'd watch the cartoon (I also ended up seeing every episode of Lois and Clark) and see Superman in JLA and other various titles, but I wouldn't go exclusively for Superman. I bought a Superman shirt on my 18th birthday and I always work out to the STAS and Batman/Superman Adventures theme song, but Superman was never my favorite character (if I had to list them, he'd probably be in the 40's somewhere). In 2001, both Justice League and Smallville premiered, so that was more exposure to him (not sure when the ride opened at Six Flags...2003, maybe? I rode it the year it opened). I don't know what it was that made me not want to get into the character as much as I have others. Could've been the decades and decades of history or the fact that his villains didn't really interest me, I don't know.

It's 2005, and I feel like I've had more exposure to Superman this year than any other year. I've seen every episode of Smallville, Justice League Unlimited, and even Krypto The Superdog that aired. I bought the first volume of Superman The Animated Series on DVD in January, and Superman's crossover with Wonder Woman "Sacrifice" was probably the first Superman comics I've bought since Superman Red/Superman Blue. I just read Grant Morrison's All-Star Superman #1 last week, and I've decided to read that book regularly. With that, the Superman volume 2 DVD I got today, and my Superman dog tags coming pretty soon, that's a whole lot of Superman. Who knows, maybe I'll buy that Showcase Superman thing and other collections of old Superman comics so I can get a better feeling of the character than what I just see on the surface.
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    The Superman The Animated Series Theme
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