There are characters that I really like. Yet I do not read any of their regular exploits. Take Superman, for instance. When it comes to Superman (and really, Batman as well), I tend to read specific specials and mini series. I like the Superman concept. I like that he stands for the idea of using your strengths to help others, looking out for the little guy and so on. Much like Spider-Man, he knows his great power gives him a greater responsibility to the world around him. I like the fact that he is a Midwestern boy (being from the Midwest). I like that he is not over driven by angst. There is some hurt over being “the last son of Krypton” but he does what he does out of a sense of the values his adoptive Earth parents raised him with.
I recently read the Mark Waid/Leinil Francis Yu Birthright and I had a great time reading the re-envisioned origin they provided. It touched upon modern aspects, blending in pre-Crisis mythology in fresh ways. Much as John Byrne breathed new life into Superman’s origin by snipping off the excesses and starting with the bare bones, Waid keeps it simple, but allows a new look at the character of Clark Kent, setting his youth more recently, following the lead of Smallville. Like the pre-Crisis comics and Smallville, Clark’s relationship to Lex Luthor has been re-entered in continuity. Unlike Smallville, Lex’s trouble are his intellect. It’s kind of touching that he is so above everyone else in intelligence, he finds interacting with people a burden. At one point, Clark makes the observation that Lex’s obsession with contacting alien life is a desperate search to find someone to talk to.
Thankfully, they did not follow Smallville’s lead in many other ways. hey avoid introducing Lois Lne to early in Clark’s life. And she is tough, smart and full of internal strength. Noone can intimidate her it seems. And when Clark is amazed by her “takes no shit” attitude towards authority, you find yourself drawn to her as a reader as well. The attention to some early and formative moments in Clark’s youth (the story opens with Clark spending time with a charismatic African activist -my apologies, the country he is in within the story is eluding me, and I don’t have my copy of the trade handy- that gives Clark a wider view as a hero and what being a hero means) feel key to Clark’s character and heroism. Waid and Yu really can tell a solid Superman yarn.
One of my few gripes was the made Lana into a real minor character, yeah, Superman had a crush on her, but she was the popular cheerleader. I always liked that aspect in Byrne’s retelling that suggested they were close, and that Lana loved Clark…and when he revealed his powers to her and left, that it was painful for her. The idea that Superman was unaware of how much he hurt someone seemed so…real.
But anyways, I did not mean to review Birthright…it just was good. And I liked Red Son (a story outside of continuity where Superman crash lands as a baby in Soviet Russia instead of the heartland of America). I like reading random stories about Superman, yet I never feel compelled to buy all the Superman books. Right now, I only read DC’s All Star Superman. And if Grant Morrison left, I’d probably stop buying it.
See, i like the idea of Superman…yet I don’t feel like I “have’ to follow his monthly adventures. I’ll still watch a show or movie about him. I still say I am a fan. But apparently not a devoted one?
Are there any characters you are a “fan” of…but do not make any real effort to follow?
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