As often happens, my comic addled brain was thinking on those wacky creations we laughingly refer to as 'super heroes' the other day and i got to thinking about their definitive moment. I mean, if i had to choose one moment that, for me, would be the single moment i would use to show someone else and say, 'there... that's what that character means to me and that's why i read comics' what would it be? I thought maybe there would be one definitive moment for all heroes, but it was just too much damned fun to think on them all individually. I thought i'd share my first (maybe of many) definitive moments with this guy;
Obvious, I know, but what better place to start?
Let's face it, he's the original, the most known, the beating heart of mainstream comicdom and without his spit curled, insanely powerful self, comics wouldn't be what they are today (and you can take that any way you want to). Yet, for a character just shy of being eighty years old, how do you pick a defining moment?
Born on Krypton, hurtled toward earth while his planet was destroyed in a catastrophic explosion, discovered by simple folk, raised of value and spends his spare time saving the world and being slightly superior to us all. Let's face it, even the most vehemently opposed to comics could reel off the history of Superman without even thinking about it. Yet he has lasted for 79 years and though his popularity may dip and wane at times, he remains an icon, a legend. Why does he maintain his hold on the publics imagination? Well, we all have our theories, i'm sure but for me it's two things.
a. Super powers. Let's face it, as a kid, it was all you aspired to. I mean, what else are you going to be? Superman can do everything. Anything. He is hte all in one, no need to shop twice stop for superpowers. Simple.
b. We haven't caught up with him yet. When Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster invented Superman, they created something that was beyond most peoples imaginings, something so wonderful and fantastical that it became the breakthrough hit that launched a million comics and rightfully so. In this day and age, where so much is jaded and cynical, Superman is still an amazing and magical concept, not just the powers which still defy belief, but the character himself; the undying optimism, unbreakable spirit and selfless heroism which, while much criticised, marks Superman as something unique. Many now balk at the idea that someone could be so noble and pure... heroic i think they used to call it. Yet as comics become increasingly dark and violent, as heroes become that much more like the dystopian visions presented in stories like Kingdom Come, Superman remains a light. He is unchanging in his purpose; to help those who need it. To aid those not as blessed, and it's that quality, that real heroism that brought me to my defining moment.
THE DEFINING MOMENT
Blink and you might have missed it. Sure, we all know that Grant Morrisons' ALL STAR SUPERMAN is an amazing story, filled with amazing moments that seemed to crystallize Superman down to his essence. But there was one little moment that for me defined the character.
Issue 10. Page 13.
It was such a throw away moment, superfluous to the over riding arc of the story, but there it was; massive, unimaginable power turned to the simple, unnoticed act of saving a young girls life, not by lifting a mountain or smacking Brainac one MILLION in the teeth, but by simple kindness and attention.
That's Superman to me.
Humanity. Grace. A person beyond our people showing us how our people should act.
He is a bastion of our spirit, a reminder of all that could be good in this world.
So please let me know, what do yo consider Superman's definitive moment?