Cinerama: Superman

Posted: September 11, 2009 in Cinerama


By Mike Derderian

So I missed Superman’s funeral, big deal? Try getting past the Incredible Hulk after bumping into Wonder Woman and trying to explain that it wasn’t on purpose. Did you ever dance with the devil under the pale moonlight? Well, it wasn’t any Joker that punched me in the nose. It was Die Fledermaus—a.k.a. Batman—who is actually non-other than Christian Bale dressed in a wet suit with a very bad attitude like an American Psycho.

Things didn’t get any better when the Magnificent Four and Thing arrived at the procession that was held at the league of Justice’s Headquarters. There I was sitting next to Peter Parker, who, like me, came in late. What is it with us young reporters? Other than always turning in late articles, I don’t believe we have anything else in common. I mean I don’t wear a red and blue spandex suit with spider web donned all over it and go jumping around and climbing skyscrapers for three reasons.

One, I hate tights; two, we don’t have skyscrapers in Amman; and three, I might end up electrocuted on one of them municipality haphazardly ill-designed electricity lines. Still they are much better than our rusting waterlines and bumpy rides on state of the art asphalted streets.

Basically, it was a very bad day for the world. And if Superman was given a chance to eulogies himself that day he would have said: “Heroes don’t cry”. Like the many Palestinians who look on as helicopters come hovering—to the sounds of Wagner’s Die Valkrie—to their doorsteps, launching a laser-guided missile on a house or a human. Just imagine the pain, a state of the art killing machine facing a flesh and bone creature, now that doesn’t sound right does it—unless if it was aiming at Superman.

Now the sentence “Rage against the machine” wouldn’t have sounded any truer to our ears, for whoever said that terminators aren’t living amongst us is a big fat—slightly slim—liar, wearing a cowboy hat and holding a big bat with not a very gentle dialect. “Yehaa! Ride’em out to the barn like a flock of sheep, those stupid saps,” cried out Wild Bushwhack Jorge McGoof.

Now, unlike the popular belief that Superman was born on the planet Krypton, the man of steel was conceived in the minds of two visionary comic artists, Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegal, an American and a Canadian—talk about a South Park irony. Superman is part American and part Canadian, which brings in a very simple question: Did the United States’ Immigration Department give Superman the citizenship or was he still looked upon as an illegal alien.

The original superhero comic character debuted on June 1, 1938 in Action Comics first issue, becoming an instant hit among young and teenage sci-fi fans in America and the world.

‘“Up in the sky, look! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s… Superman!” Hitting the small screen in 1941, in the most highly budgeted animation series in film history. With every year passing, the blue caped superhero with the large yellow “S” on his chest became the most coveted screen icon. I never understood the need for the tights and trunks. I mean, there I was, a ten-year-old kid thinking that being Superman would be real cool; however, wearing the tight yellow trunks over a tight was out of the question.

Of course every super hero needed a secret identity — to avoid the paparazzi? — so Superman was given one and this is how it goes. Before the explosion of planet Krypton, baby Kal-El was sent to planet earth on board of a space shuttle by parents Jor-El and Lara.

Being a renowned scientist, Jor-El’s calculations indicated that on earth, which has a similar atmosphere to Krypton, Kal-El would acquire special powers provided by the sun’s rays. So after crushing on our planet in a place called Smallville, the space shuttle was found by an old couple who had no children.

Feeling sorry for the newly orphaned baby, Jonathan and Martha Kent decided to adopt Kal-El, naming him Clark, who will eventually grow up to become Clark Kent, the never-there-when-needed reporter working for Perry White at the Daily Planet newspaper, along the nosey Lois Lane.

“Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to leap tall buildings with a single bound, the infant of Krypton is now the Man of Steel… Superman!”

A lot of people argue—and I have to agree with them—that the best actor to ever wear the Superman suit was non-other than the late Christopher Reeve, who managed to capture both Superman’s steel charisma and Clark Kent’s simplicity with a pinch of enacted clumsiness in the first of the modern time Superman movies in 1978.

Reeve’s portrayal of the “Man of Steel” was so authentic that he reprised it in three more successful Superman movies bringing it to life again. However, facing Superman as an actor for Reeve was more difficult than being the man in the cape for he was afraid to be typecast as the Man of Steel.

With the above, we end this week’s column and as for the week after next we’ll be taking a closer look at Reeve and his portrayal of Superman.

PS: Super villains, especially the likes of Lex Luthor, aren’t allowed to attend.

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