13 Reasons Why Superman Isn't As Boring As You Think He Is
There’s this pervasive notion that Superman is the most uninteresting character in comic books. The argument is that because of his near invulnerability and innate goodness, there’s just nothing interesting about him. That's why it's impossible to make a good Superman movie. To counter: was it uninteresting when Superman ripped a dude’s arm off?
In reality, there are a multitude of interesting things about Superman. How could there not be? The guy has been around for 80 years! As such, Superman transcends comics. He is an integral part of American cultural history. After all, are comic books not the American mythology? Supes is the top of the heap. He is Zeus. He is Odin. He is the alpha. Simply put, Superman is the best.
Not only will this list offer you reasons Superman is not boring, but it will teach you a thing or two you almost certainly did not know about the Man of Steel. In fact, given his rich history, there's a pretty convincing case for why Superman is the greatest hero of all time.
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Superman Took On The REAL KKKPhoto: Mutual Broadcasting System
This is a pretty wild and complex story, made all the more fascinating by the fact the original Superman creators were Jewish. In fact, Kal-El roughly translates from Hebrew as "Voice of God." In the '40s, there was a serialized radio program entitled The Adventures of Superman. The most notable of his adventures over the airwaves was the 16-part story called "Clan of the Fiery Cross" in which he took on the Klu Klux Klan.
Real-life activist Stetson Kennedy infiltrated the KKK and passed information about them along to the producers of Superman's radio show, who in turn used their medium to make the public aware of the actual activities of the Klan. Historians believe it affected the Klan's recruitment, as Kennedy exposed how incompetent and childish the members of the Klan really were. Take that, evildoers!
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Superman Only Wants A Normal Life, But He's A Hero AnywayPhoto: DC Comics
In 1985, DC fans were given one of the best Superman stories of all time, called For the Man Who Has Everything. In this standalone tale, Superman finds himself under the influence of an alien plant, the Black Mercy, which causes the Man of Steel to hallucinate, giving him the illusion of what his heart truly desires most: a normal life on Krypton. His deepest desire is not to be a savior, but to live as a normal Kryptonian with a family.
Superman, however, is so innately heroic he's able to pull himself out of the trance, recognizing his responsibility to humanity and walking away from the dream life he so desperately longs for. It's insanely tragic. Only Superman's shoulders can bear this megalithic burden. His first priority is duty, not desire. He's basically a Bizarro Kardashian.
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Superman Tried To Protect Real World Children From Land MinesPhoto: DC Comics
In 1996, DC created a free comic book for war-torn countries known to struggle with active land mines. It was called Superman: Deadly Legacy, and tried to educate children on how to spot (and stay away from) mined areas. See, Superman is such a powerful symbol, so culturally pervasive that he can carry out real world change. If even one Bosnian child was saved by the Man of Steel, he would have saved more lives in our world than 99% of comic book characters. That kind of influence over flesh-and-blood human beings alone makes Superman one of the most compelling comic book heroes of all time.
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Superman Is More Than Just A Fighter, He's A CaretakerPhoto: DC Comics
Kal-El is a man of science, and as such, he collects and protects rare and important artifacts and animals. He's like Indiana Jones, but good at his job. Some of his trophies include weapons used against him and his fellow League members by villains, like Brainiac's shrinking gun, and he also houses extraterrestrial beings in need of conservation.
He has a zoo containing alien animals saved from the Preserver's ship (basically the Collector of the DC Universe), and he dedicates a lot of his time and resources to keeping them happy and healthy. Superman is a very intelligent and thoughtful person, and his menagerie is a reflection of that.
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Superman Is Not A Leader, But An InspirationPhoto: DC Comics
Superman is one of the most powerful beings in the DC Universe. As such, he could be a hero who revels in the masses fawning over him, but he does not want that and does not strive for that. What he wants to do is to inspire hope in humanity, show them that they have the inherent power and goodness to stand against evil. Super powers aren't required to be a hero. This ideal is perhaps best represented in 2001's What’s So Funny About Truth, Justice, and the American Way? Action Comics #775. It's just another example of the true heroism represented by Superman; a reminder that some old-fashioned values do still have... value.
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Superman Offers The Richest Mythology Of Any SuperheroPhoto: DC Comics
Given that he's been around longer than all other heroes, Superman's mythos is the most expansive. Not only does his longevity deserve credit, but his very origin among the stars has become the basis for the rich tapestry that is Superman's universe. Krypton, for example, in many ways reflects (and is inspired by) our own ancient mythology. Their sun is called Rao and worshipped as a god, derived from the Egyptian god of the sun Ra. Though it's clearly derivative, mythology tends to be that way in our world as well –virtually every Roman god was based on a pre-existing Greek deity. The point is, the mythology is no less rich for that.
Beyond gods, Superman's orbit includes fascinating, multi-layered characters like Supergirl, General Zod, and Lex Luthor. The web of lore woven around the focal point of Superman is both expansive and dynamic.