Faster than an Express Train, Masculinity Speeds to Safety: 21st Century Iterations of Superman
Picture the classic Superman. He is dressed in red, yellow, and blue – an upright citizen, his colors just a shade away from those of the American flag. He is muscular, and he is vested with super powers. We know him well; he is ingrained in our Western consciousness. As Ian Gordon describes, Superman is “a commodity, a registered trademark” (191). On top of this, Superman started an industry: he was the first comic book creation to earn, well, his own comic, in which he was always the protagonist (Wright 9). Superman, in short, is prolific. Now, picture contemporary Superman. Muscular, yes; red, yellow, and blue, yes. Oftentimes, highlighted as a farm boy, and adored by his parents. The scourge of Lex Luthor. But also – beaten up by Lois Lane? Swapping bodies with the “common man,” falling ill, needing small fairies (and subsequently, Batman) to come to his rescue? Superman as – a damsel? And then, restored to power. As if the chaos were a bad dream. What has happened with and to this hero? What is the status of his masculinity? To what degree is he still the combined super/man?
Franklin and Marshall College Archives, Undergraduate Honors Thesis 2013
- F&M Theses Collection