Monday, December 04, 2006

Back to normal.

Ah yes, please note what the day's low is supposed to be, and then take a gander at what the temperature actually is. Another lovely winter morning in Chicago.


WARNING: Extreme nerd-age ahead.

I was watching Superman Returns yesterday and started crying like a baby when he saves an airplane and makes his first public reappearance in the film. Part of it was probably spurred by the depressive effects of one too many Guinness pints at Liar's the night before, but part of it was triggered by a good old fashioned longing for a hero that's so pure and a hope that's so genuine. Those two things don't seem to exist anymore, and even the imagining of such concepts seems to get harder and harder with each passing year.

Then I got to thinking that it must be hard to be a fan of Superman. I mean, it's easy for folks to dig Spider-Man, or The X-Men, or (especially) Batman, or just about any other comic book character (except for, maybe, Dazzler) because they are all kind of cool. Superman is a square through and through. He can basically do anything, and the fact that no one can tell that he and Clark Kent are the same people is pretty ludicrous.

But I think the small group of people who count themselves as his primary fans, and I admit I relate to and enjoy the darker heroes myself so do not consider myself part of this group, appreciate that at his base, Superman is probably the darkest character because he is the most alienated. I mean, he's an alien, and until recently the verylast of his species. He's all alone and the way he chooses to fill that void is by helping people.

He's also the only hero whose alter ego is his actual disguise. Batman is Bruce Wayne dressed up like a bat. Spider-Man is Peter Parker in tights. Superman is Superman. When he puts on a suit he's disguising himself as a weak little clumsy human. That's his disguise. And if you really think about it, that's kind of twisted. Why would the most powerful being on Earth, that doesn't need sleep or, really, a home? Why would he waste time playing dress-up? Because he needs the illusion to save himself from despair. If he saved the world 24-7 that might keep the horrors away but it would be no better than a drunk on an endless bender trying to escape their own terrifying questions of existence. Superman needs the distraction of his make-believe human life to ground him and I think that ultimately humanity ends up saving him by giving him a foster home and a purpose in life.

So in some ways, I think hardcore fans of Superman might just be into the darkest character of them all, even though most of us think Supes is a total square.


Reclaiming a hint of cred.

Indie city? Puh-lease.

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