Wednesday, October 22, 2008

What I'm trying to say..

I immersed myself in Superman and I tried to find in all of these very diverse approaches the essential "Superman–ness" that powered the engine. I then extracted, purified and refined that essence and drained it into All Star's tank, recreating characters as my own dream versions, without the baggage of strict continuity.

In the end, I saw Superman not as a superhero or even a science fiction character, but as a story of Everyman. We're all Superman in our own adventures. We have our own Fortresses of Solitude we retreat to, with our own special collections of valued stuff, our own super–pets, our own "Bottle Cities" that we feel guilty for neglecting. We have our own peers and rivals and bizarre emotional or moral tangles to deal with.

I felt I'd really grasped the concept when I saw him as Everyman, or rather as the dreamself of Everyman. That "S" is the radiant emblem of divinity we reveal when we rip off our stuffy shirts, our social masks, our neuroses, our constructed selves, and become who we truly are.

Batman is obviously much cooler, but that's because he's a very energetic and adolescent fantasy character: a handsome billionaire playboy in black leather with a butler at this beck and call, better cars and gadgetry than James Bond, a horde of fetish femme fatales baying around his heels and no boss. That guy's Superman day and night.

Superman grew up baling hay on a farm. He goes to work, for a boss, in an office. He pines after a hard–working gal. Only when he tears off his shirt does that heroic, ideal inner self come to life. That's actually a much more adult fantasy than the one Batman's peddling but it also makes Superman a little harder to sell. He's much more of a working class superhero, which is why we ended the whole book with the image of a laboring Superman.

He's Everyman operating on a sci–fi Paul Bunyan scale. His worries and emotional problems are the same as ours... except that when he falls out with his girlfriend, the world trembles. - Grant Morrison via Newsarama

My reason for sharing this with all of you is that I feel like Grant Morrison is not only giving you an excellent explanation of why Superman is the best and greatest superhero, but also because he's bringing up the themes that I was trying to come to terms with and expound upon in my Responsible Adult = Secret Identity post back in July.

It is my belief that if something I was thinking on my own is lining up with something Grant Morrison thinks, then I am doing something intrinsically right in the universe.


M.Sea said...

Those CBR articles have been very interesting.

Doc Shaner said...

Thanks for bringing this to my attention Chris, I really like what Grant is saying here, and by extension what you are saying.

chrishaley said...

Doc - Thanks for taking the time to read it, man.