Tuesday, July 04, 2006

It's a bird! It's a plane!

I haven’t seen “Superman Returns” yet. I don’t know when I’ll get to, but I’m really looking forward to it.

I just got done watching on A&E the excellent documentary “Look, Up in the Sky! The Amazing Story of Superman.” It traces the nearly 70-year history of the Man of Steel, from Action Comics #1 in 1938 to the new film that just came out in 2006.

I was a diehard comic book collector for about 10 years. But I was mainly a Marvel Comics guy. My comic book tastes leaned more towards the likes of Spider-Man and the X-Men.

Maybe I didn’t follow the Superman comic books, but that’s not to say I wasn’t a fan. Although I was never a Superman reader, there is still something about the character. He transcends comic books, having appeared in just about every form of media you can think of.

I’m not sure where I got my first exposure to Superman, but it was probably on either the Saturday morning “Super Friends” cartoon or reruns of the classic George Reeves TV show. They were both favorites of mine. And of course there was Christopher Reeve.

Like millions of kids, I can remember tying a blanket around my neck and jumping off the couch as if I too could leap tall buildings in a single bound. I even dressed up as Superman for Halloween in the second grade.

The documentary on A&E covers nearly every incarnation of the character. Besides George Reeves’ “The Adventures of Superman” and the movies, it also discusses everything from the Max Fleischer cartoons of the 1940s to TV’s “Lois & Clark” in the 1990s and “Smallville” today. It also looks at how the character related to events of the day, from World War II to the JFK assassination to September 11th.

I highly recommend “Look, Up in the Sky.” I think A&E will probably rerun it a few more times. It’s also available on DVD.

Superman has a universal appeal. And on this July 4th I challenge you to name another fictional character that better embodies the best of American values—you know…truth, justice and all that stuff.


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