“On a purely personal level, it’s very strange, because as a kid, Superman informed my personality. Now I’ve been given the job of forming Superman’s personality and, in some ways, drawing on my own background.” J. Michael Straczynski author of Superman: Earth One
The first comic about the character (an immigrant, by the way) that was destined to become an American cultural icon came out on this day in 1938. Superman, the invention of Jerry Siegal and Joe Shuster, fought for “truth, justice and the American way.” He was ultimately affiliated with the Justice League and the Legion of Super-Heroes. He was the first of the great comic book superheros. He’s come a long way in both print and film media since 1938 and since this 1950s television version:
(I admit I could have used a more contemporary video but this is the version I grew up with and I still love it best.)
Note: If you are reading this post from an email, you will have to link through to the blog to see the video.
Yesterday, I wrote a poem, an homage, to real-life superheroes, the women and men who are dedicated to fighting injustice and laying the groundwork for understanding and peace: the seeds of awakening. I wrote it because I’ve just finished reading some books by a brave and intelligent activist for common sense and social justice. The poem started out being an homage to her, but I began to think of and tick-off the names in my mind of the people who have invested their lives (and sometimes lost them) in the work of peace and justice and so had to broaden the poem’s reference. Though the poem is written in the feminine, it is meant to be inclusive of all who fight for justice, female and male.
WRITING PROMPT: Write a poem, story or essay about a real-life superhero you admire. Show why you admire this person and perhaps what you try to emulate. Or, alternately, create your own fictitious superhero. Remember, every superhero has to have a vulnerability. Superman’s was krypton.
Illustration: Superman as depicted in The World’s Greatest Super-Heroes (August 2005). Art by Alex Ross. Used under U.S. fair use doctrine.