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Superman is the ultimate superhero, and gave birth to the modern perceptions of the superhero.  He made his first appearance in Action Comics #1 in June, 1938.  After that, comic books would never be the same, and pop culture had its first major iconic hero.  He is an alien from the planet Krypton, son of the scientist Jor-El who, perceiving the imminent destruction of his beloved planet, sent his son Kal-El in a spacecraft to be the sole survivor of the Kryptonian race.  Traveling from the red sun of Krypton to the yellow sun of Earth, the child was adopted by the Kansas couple of Jonathan and Martha Kent, and was raised with strong moral values and a deep sense of humanity.  By adulthood, he came to learn of his origins, and developed super powers under the yellow sun of Earth.  When he makes his triumphant debut to the world as the powerful and heroic Superman, he eventually becomes an icon of hope and leadership for many.  He is among the world’s greatest superheroes, and the character’s legacy has transcended throughout popular culture for more than 70 years.  Some have viewed Superman as outdated or too much of a “boy scout” to be relevant.  However, The Death of Superman story arc showed a world without a Superman, sacrificing his own life to save the world from the villain Doomsday.  It reminded people how much his style of selfless, moral heroics were needed in the world, and that no one is greater than the Man of Steel.

I love Superman because he is inspirational and is a symbol hope for a better tomorrow.  The late Christopher Reeve himself continues to be a great inspiration to me because he never gave up hope or optimism about an eventual cure for his paralysis.  If there was any one person I would've hoped to meet in life, it would have been him.  He truly embodied the spirit of Superman in real life, and I will always hold onto that as inspiration and motivation.  The Man of Steel himself is the most epic of all superheroes.  His mythic origins, immense powers, and deep-seeded sense of humanity and morality, to say the least, create a hero that you can aspire to be like.  Like the best heroes, he will never give in when lives are on the line.  Whatever it takes, even if it costs him his life, he will fight to the end to protect freedom and life.  When portrayed correctly, nothing is more epic than Superman.

While I do own numerous Superman comic books, it's really been in filmed media that my fandom soars.  I grew up with the Christopher Reeve films, and every decade, there's another iteration of live action Superman to revitalize my fandom.  In the 90s, it was "Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman," and the following decade, it was "Smallville."  I own both complete series on DVD.  With the latter show, I waited until the series had completed, and the actual complete series box set was released.  It is an absolutely gorgeous set that is a great tribute to the fans.  It contains full color photo interior packaging and episode guide along with a Daily Planet newspaper created by DC Comics.  I was elated when I finally purchased it on sale at Best Buy, and I consider it the finest piece in my 540+ title DVD collection.  I couldn't be happier with it.

One of my favorite Superman moments on screen includes the helicopter rescue scene in Richard Donner’s Superman: The Movie where the Man of Steel makes his public debut.  With only his presence and strength of character, Christopher Reeve sells the power of the character, and makes me believe, every time.  Another one is the series finale of Smallville where we see the Daily Planet a few years in the future, and that John Williams’ march begins as Clark Kent heads to the roof in response to a bomb threat.  As the Superman march reaches it s crescendo, we get the classic iconography of the shirt being ripped open to reveal the red ‘S’ symbol.  It was a perfect punctuation and conclusion to the show’s ten year run seeing the young Clark Kent mature and develop into the greatest hero the world has ever known.

Superman appears in books published by DC Comics
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All original content is ©2016 Nicholas J. Michalak
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