Friday, August 20, 2010

Superman Week Part 2: Why JMS is wrong

So, JMS has Superman walking slowly around America "reconnecting" with humanity. Which misses the point.

Look, let's ignore for the moment that Superman's background of growing up on a farm in Kansas is so down to earth that even Sarah Palin couldn't refute it. In fact, let's ignore the Superman as a character for a moment, because JMS is making an invalid assumption that's at the core of this storyline. JMS is assuming that Superman doesn't spend time in what Urban Americans (defined here as people who live in the big cities - say 1 million+ populations) would consider "flyover country". Which in turn assumes that there's nothing happens in that entire part of the country (and similarly, in any small community in any country) that would merit Superman's attention.

That's what's wrong, and it's arrogant of JMS to make that case. Last I checked, this "flyover country" that superheroes seemingly zip through have problems that are a job for Superman. Things like floods, mudslides, earthquakes, mine collapses, bridge collapses, and those are just the things I can think of off the top of my head. If we expand this over the entire planet, we've got even bigger disasters (just go check your newsfeed about say...Pakistan or China), or regions currently being torn apart by civil or economic strife in the rural parts of the country. These jobs? All jobs for Superman. Actually, now that I think of it, I remember it was in an issue of Wizard that one of the articles said "Every job is a job for Superman." I think it's safe to say that when Wizard has a better concept of the character than you do, you're in trouble.

Superman, in the ideal conception, doesn't see the distinction between rural and urban, or the differences in ethnic or national character. He's not interested in these issues and distinctions.

He's here to help.

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