Post #41: Superman Chronicles, Volume 1

Superman
Superman Chronicles, Volume One by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster

Post number forty-one is for the Superman Chronicles, Volume One, written by Jerry Siegel and illustrated by Joe Shuster.This was a required reading for my History of Children's Literature, as have been the majority of what I've read the past few months.

I should say first and foremost that I am not a comics girl; I don't really get the charm. But that being said, I'd never actually read any of them aside from a few strips in a newspaper here and there, so I was looking forward to getting a look at the originals. Perhaps Superman was not the one to start with, because I found the storylines absolutely ridiculous.

Brief spoilers follow.

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I was not new to the character of Superman. I had seen some movies, and television shows, etc. However, this incarnation of Superman was surprising to me. Not only did Superman devote himself to saving the "helpless and oppressed", but he really seemed to enjoy the carnage he caused. The reasons he got involved in situations were, at times, very laughable – pretending to be a football player to catch a cheating coach, saving a miner to expose the corrupt company owner, several instances of preventing bad driving – the list just goes on. (I should note that the bad driving was a theme throughout this series, and was eyeroll-inducing for me personally; they made it look like thousands of people had died due to bad driving in this single town, which … come on.)

Also, Lois just really seemed to despise Clark Kent. It wasn't even a simple "I am not attracted to you" but a "I can't stand the sight of you, get away from me". And that was surprising. Plus, as someone in my class noted last night, those must be one hell of a pair of glasses that it manages to totally change his face so that Lois doesn't realize who he is. Clark is a total weakling, and he drove ME crazy, let alone the people who actually dealt with him during the day.

And the people he works with are total idiots, that they can't figure out that Superman seems to show up wherever Clark is covering a story.

There was also a lot of racism and sexism in the comics, as well as finger pointing that home life (as with the kids growing up in the slums) affects how you turn out (nature vs. nurture, anyone?).

All in all, I still don't get the charm of Superman. Maybe it got better as it went along, but I for one was tired of hearing about how he "shed his clothes and put on his uniform of justice" or how the uniform showed off the lines of his body, etc. Enough, already. This is clearly not a character that's intriguing to me personally, but to each their own.

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