1000 issues, 80 years of hope

Posted: April 18, 2018 by Ty in Current Events, Spirituality
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

ac2For the non-comic geek, today is the 1000 issue of Action Comics. Now the rest of you know what I am writing on. Superman. Action Comics #1 in 1938 introduced something new to the world– a super hero. Yes there had been pulp heroes before, and adventure men (Doc Savage, the Shadow), but Superman was something new and different.

There has been a plethora since. How do I know this is momentous? I grew up in public schools from 1984-1996, and comics were verboten.  Could only find them on convenience store spin racks, or comic shops. Yet now they are in book stores, premium shops, public libraries, and yes, my daughter’s school library. We have begun to realize what I always talked about growing up. Pop culture ala comics, graphic novels, sci-fi are rapidly becoming our new meta-narrative. Much like ancient legends and play wrights we studied in school before hand.  It was through the world of comics, that I discovered the myths and legends, classics, a deeper passion for current events, and simple kindness changing the world.

acAnd it began with the most memorable and imprintable– Superman (there are others, Batman, Spider-Man, since the advent of MCU and DCEU many more have come into consciousness), but I digress. Superman is more than simply the 1000 issues of Action Comics. He has been on every medium: Radio shows, television, movies, video games, multiple comic series, book series, toys, models, trading cards, and other collectibles. The S-shield is a symbol. When it is seen, people have an understanding of heroics. Much like others would when they would see a marshall star, or here a Robin Hood story. That is what Superman grew into as the 20th century carried forward. He fought racism, fascism, poverty, injustice and pure villainy whether it was from within or without.

As much as the Christianities have attempted to co-opt it as an allegory of Christ, the roots are in the Hebrew Bible stories of Moses and Judges. Yet has grown beyond the tribal underpinnings to a universal story. It is why the last two films, Man of Steel and Superman v. Batman were panned. For it was not Superman.

The light in the darkness. The one that seeks justice, but does not use the methods of those he battles. The emblem of truth and hope. A throwback to a simpler time perhaps, but in the complexity we have created in the world, the simplicity is still needed. For in Superman what is stripped away is the convolution, and the mask that is Superman drops to the core of the character:

Clark Kent.

Sent to earth, raised by Jonathan and Martha, humble farmers. Whether you were part of the story where the died, or lived until senior years. It was the simplicity of new life, and light, and kindness… helping neighbour that rung true. The humanity, not the superhero that made the story. A reporter, seeking the truth behind the glitz, glamour and show. His love growing and changing in life. A character through ideations we have seen as child, teenager, elseworlds/multi-verses, young adult, adult, married (Finally! to Lois Lane!) and now a father.

Clark Kent lived life. Yes he had powers, yes he had a mask, Superman, that he wore to use his exceptional gifts. But when the world met Superman, the mask was only the awe that stopped them from seeing Clark…for they truly met Clark.

That is the hope of Superman you see. It is about doing whatever you can to make the world better, and have the life you are meant to live. It is about being the authentic you, regardless of the situation.

Superman, neigh, Clark Kent truly answers the question, Who is My neighbour? For it is his simple and complex actions seeking the best for those that is what matters.

Here is to the narrative continuing…and inspiring new generations.

And yes…Clark…inspired me at one point to want to write…

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