Wednesday, May 21, 2014

"That's not my Superman" - Did I say that?

"That's not my Superman"

I've heard variations of that mentioned many times before, especially a lot recently. Whether it is his New52 interpretation (and the Earth2 version) or how he appears in the movies. Was about to say it myself today, but caught myself.

What held me back was a memory from many years ago.

I wasn't a regular Superman reader back then, but I would pick up an issue of Action Comics or his own book from time to time.

One of the books I did read every month was THE NEW TEEN TITIANS. As I was reading their most recent adventure, and all hope looked lost, I turned to the last page and there stood Superman.

(This story by Marv Wolfman stands out as it would lead in to the books first Annual.)

But wait, that didn't look like Superman to me, but he was of course. The problem being I was use to seeing the Man of Steel being drawn by the legendary Curt Swan. Though I had seen him drawn by other artists, Mr. Swan was the Superman artist to me at the time.

So here was the Man From Krypton drawn by another artist…

None other than the great George Perez.

This is a postcard image by George Perez from 1984, around the time I'm writing about.(Image borrowed from
Here was an artist my young mind thought was fantastic. He certainly drew all of The New Teen Titians in a way that I wished I could draw (and still wish I could), and then when he began CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTH, you couldn't pull me away from his pages.

But the problem was, his Superman didn't look anything like the Superman in my head. He didn't look like Curt Swan's Superman.

Any you know what, that's okay. I understood that back then, I really did.  I would later come to love not only Perez's Superman, but also the Man of Steel drawn by John Byrne, Jerry Ordway, and many others.  Each had their own Superman, but did they match the Man of Steel in my mind. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. But that's okay.

It goes for Batman as well. There are many great artists who have drawn the Dark Knight; but in my mind there is only one Bat artist and that's Jim Aparo.
Go find his work if you've never seen it. (Check out his Phantom Strange and Specter as well.)

As to interpretations of Superman in other media, I have to be honest; Superman just doesn't work for me on the big screen. Christopher Reeve's Superman came out when I was a kid, and as fun a story as it was; the character didn't do it for me. Reeve's Clark Kent really didn't do it for me.  (No on can explain to me why he allowed himself to be struck by the taxi when he first got to Metropolis. It is so annoying to me that it takes me out of the movie.)

That all said, my point is; find the Superman you like and continue to enjoy him. You've still got his comics in your collection, or can find reprints. But go and search out other versions of the character as well, and you will be surprised by how many of them you like as well.  No one said you had to like them all.

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