VINE VOICETOP 500 REVIEWERon 22 July 2012
I'm not a comic book fan, and I can take or leave most superheroes. I like the comic book movies that have been around in latter years, like X-Men, The Avengers and Batman, but most of the time they leave me cold. I get put off by the fanboy craziness, the convoluted storylines, and let's face, I'm a bit of a literary snob and I like my books without pictures. No judgement, that's just me.
That said, I love Superman. I couldn't tell you why. There's something about Superman that elevates him above most superheroes, a steadfastness and a nostalgia, a representation of all that's good in the world. Most superheroes I associate with fighting crime, with death and destruction and evil, but somehow Superman seems to rise above what he confronts in a way that, I feel, the others don't. And that makes him fascinating. One of his nicknames is the Big Blue Boy Scout; how does he manage to continue that image without being insufferable, smug, goody-two-shoes?
This is a really interesting look at why Superman has lasted so long, how he has come to represent 'truth, justice and the American Way', what Superman tapped into that made him such an enduring popular culture icon. Tye charts his history from his creation by Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster, through the radio plays and early TV serials with George Reeves, through Christopher Reeve and the movies, Lois & Clark and Smallville, all the way up to the present day. You can really feel the affection for Superman that Tye feels, and it reawakened my own love for the Man of Steel.
Whilst Superman began as a comic figure, he's now transcended the material he came from and seems to exist outside of any form of entertainment media. Part of this is, no doubt, because he has come to represent something more than himself, he has come to represent a trans-generational icon, something that each new generation can reinvent anew. Because Superman always stayed above the evil and the strife, because he wouldn't kill, because he had an instinctive sense of what was right and strove to do it, because most crucially he wasn't human, he could exist as something greater than ourselves, as something and someone to emulate. And yet he was never too far above us, never too superhuman, because there was always Clark, the everyman, the bumbling, awkward dork just like so many of his fans. Fans could identify with Clark in a way they couldn't with Bruce Wayne, for example.
I think Supermans are a bit like James Bonds and Doctor Whos; you always love your first exposure the best, despite how many came before, or how good the others were. My James Bond is Pierce Brosnan, and my Doctor is Christopher Eccleston. And my Superman is Christopher Reeve.