Monday, June 18, 2012

Superman Bio and Interview on NPR's "Fresh Air"

The word you're searching for when pondering this image is "awesome".

I spent the evening listening to Terry Gross's excellent interview of Larry Tye, who has written a sort of biography of Superman and the character's history across multiple mediums.  Thanks to Nathan and others for the link (Nathan alerted me to the interview bright and early).

It may be some time before I read the book.

Not to sound super-snooty, but I spend a lot of time reading about Superman, and have done so for quite a while.  All this fandom means that on top of the hundreds and thousands of Superman comics I've enjoyed, I've also read multiple histories of Superman - the media property, and check in daily with The Superman Homepage (an amazingly thorough web resource).  I've also read more than one comics history that used Superman as its fulcrum*.  I have seen all the Superman movies multiple times, watched every episode of the the 1950's TV series, watched the Ben Affleck movie about George Reeves, watched the Superboy TV series in small bits, have watched Lois and Clark, watched most of Smallville, listened to episodes of the radio show, watched the original movie serials, the 40's cartoon, the 60's cartoon, the 80's cartoon and the 90's cartoon.  Am hoping for a new cartoon in 2013.

In short, there's very little in the way of new information for me in the way of Superman.  Which is why I may actually read the thing.  It's always great to find out something new and interesting.  I confess to being a little concerned with the usual trotting out of Superman as stand-in religious figure.  It seems like a post-facto reading of the actual Superman comics until maybe the late 60's or early 70's, so you're talking 30 years of initial stories that I don't think really suggest any conscious parallels, but, whatever.  It doesn't mean the character isn't heavy with cultural fingerprints.

I still have a few Superman novels to read (both by Elliot S! Maggin), and there's plenty to know and learn about the upcoming Superman movie.  But I'm also not averse to checking out Tye's book at some point.  I still genuinely enjoy Superman fandom, and I'm not letting a little New 52 reboot get in my way on that front. After 75 years, its just a small patch in the middle of everything else.

Yes, I wrestle with what's happened with the Siegel estate, but I have hope that both the law and justice will prevail, and we'll see a sound resolution to the ownership of the character, publishing rights, copyright and trademark, and everything else that's not in the comics, but which has driven the comics for the past year, all shake out and disappear into the background.

We can hope.

Give the interview a listen.  It's a nice, brief overview of some of the highlights of Superman's history and the folks who've been involved with the character.

* check out Men of Tomorrow.  It's an amazing book, and sometimes I think I'm the only one who has read it.

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