I Like the Creative Education Story

Why I Like Superman

A lot of my close friends will tell you that I am obsessed with Superman. Not in a crazy-nutcase-fan way, but in a more subtle, thoughtful way.

One of my favourite shows of all time is the animated series created in 1996. In my opinion it is more consistent than the comic books (which change the story every five seconds).

I recently ordered this on DVD, and I was watching an episode the other day when my wife sat down beside me to pass some time. She’s pretty cool for watching some of my favourite shows with me and asking questions about the characters.

She asked me why I liked Superman above all other superheroes.

This was a good question. I told her I would think about it, and here is the result.

To say I like Superman might be a bit of a misleading statement. Instead, I’ll state that I have a particular vision of Superman that I really like a lot. To find out what this images is, and why I like it, we’ll have to start at the beginning.

Growing up, I would catch episodes of Superman on television. Superman was even on Sesame Street once. As a kid, I liked the fact that superman could fly, and that he was very strong. Above those qualities, I admired him for his principles, and how he would use his gifts to help those who needed assistance. One thing that I really wanted to be when I was a child was helpful (who knows what happened since then).

Here was a guy who had unlimited potential. He could use his powers to get money and toys and whatever else my imagination could think of, and yet he just helped out.

As I got older, my mother introduced me to comic books. She bought a big box and I would read and re-read everything in there. I used to know most of the stories by heart. I enjoyed some of them immensely.

Unfortunately, not all of them were to my liking. Being a nerdy kid, I had a better-than-average understanding of science. A lot of what happened in the comic books was very odd, and didn’t make sense. Also, at that time, I would watch Justice League of America and Superfriends on television. Superman was much stronger in these newer cartoons. In fact, in one episode the Earth’s orbit was disrupted, sending our planet hurtling into the sun. Superman actually moved the planet back into orbit.

While superpowers are a thing of fantasy, this didn’t really jive with me. No one should ever be that powerful. It was too fantastic.

I fell out of my Superman admiration phase, and kept up with Batman. I started reading more Marvel comics, and enjoyed Daredevil and Wolverine. Two of the most flawed heroes you can imagine. Superman had no flaws anymore, and that made him uninteresting.

Fast forward to my university days and a book called Kingdom Come. This comic book should be read by everyone. It is the story of how Superman leaves Metropolis because people want more violent heroes. Eventually things spiral out of control and he comes back. It’s a great commentary on the state of comics, and on the state of people in these modern times. There are moments where Superman believes that he is right in taking control of the situation. But then there are times when he despairs at his lack of perspective, and has no idea what to do.

This book portrayed the most human Superman ever, in my opinion. I was hooked again. The regular series was mediocre, and enjoyable enough, but it didn’t strike as resonant a chord as Kingdom Come did.

Shortly after the release of that book the new animated Superman show aired. Superman was not so perfect. He took his lumps, and he got angry just like a normal person. While mostly benevolent, he had his moments where it looked like he was thinking about pounding the crap out of some criminal.

In the pilot episode a large battle suit is stolen. The terrorists use it against Superman. Over and over the terrorist John Corben keeps hammering Superman with all manner of weaponry. Finally Superman takes the suit apart, pulls John out, and asks (with a very angry expression) maybe we can go a few rounds without the suit? It is this realistic emotional portrayal of a fictional character that really draws me to the series.

To me, this is Superman. A person gifted with power who tries his best to do good and fit in. A person who makes mistakes, and has his share of problems, but does his best to persevere in the face of adversity (and the occasional alien invasion). Plus the costume is cool.

What’s not to like?

Another Creative Spam Name

Anyone remember Brontosaurus B. Intemperance?

Well I think I got a spam from his brother…

Uncomplimentary H. Fuzziness

Wow. The believability of that name is hard to dispute.

Ire Education

A friend of mine sent me a news article that talked about how the word fail should be banned from British classrooms. It would be replaced with the phrase deferred success to ensure that students are not demoralized.

Indeed, even here in Canada it’s getting harder to give students accurate marks. Failed student statistics are usually made to reflect poorly on the teacher, and ultimately on the Principals.

Sugar-coating failure is just another step towards the softening of our society. Shielding children from negativity is just going to create a false sense of security which will lead to problems.

Unfortunately, it’s our government that implements the policies that lead to this idiocy. Most likely it is about keeping our country competitive in the global arena.

Our government doesn’t want Canadian kids to look stupid, as that would eventually reflect poorly on our country.

Much better to make them falsely look good so they can display all of their stupidity to the world later when they become politicians.

What’s Your Story?

I received a comment a while back from someone from MSN who indicated that I might be on What’s Your Story?.

Essentially it’s a front page to MSN Spaces that highlights a couple of blogs and also has a section highlighting other spaces (which changes on a weekly basis).

Unfortunately, due to the fact that I have profanity on my blog (mostly in the Hai-Kuul section) I didn’t make the cut. What’s Your Story? is a family-rated space, so profanity is a no-no.

If you are planning on making it onto there, I would suggest you change your swearing ways.

I also want to take this opportunity to thank MSN for considering me. It feels great to be recognized for creativity.

17 Responses

  1. I loved this post! (and I’m glad I finally figured out how to comment here – it wasn’t this easy before!) Congrats on the near MSN mention. It’s amazing, the fact that someone could recognize us in our little corners of the blog world makes you feel like a superstar (superman?) doesn’t it?

  2. Just the name of my space keeps me outta What’s My Story! 😉 I like watching Smallville. i saw all the Superman movies with Christopher Reeve (another Superman in his own right), and used to watch the Cartoon as a kid.. Superman is something not many of us can grow out of..

  3. Hey…just dropping in to say hello…sorry you didn’t make it on the what’s your story.

  4. Okay, okay. I do now understand why a person might like Superman now that I’ve read your post… okay. But I’m still much more interested in the darkness that surrounds Batman. OOoo! And have you read 100 Bullets? I’m knee deep in the series right now. O! Or Blankets? Definitely not superhero material, but a great story and fantastic art skills (liked by most of my non-graphic novel reading friends).

  5. Batman has consistently also been a favourite. I really like how the animated series placed them together. Honestly, these two are the pedestals of a lot of comicdom. You should definitely pick up anything by Alex Ross & Mark Waid. Superman: Peace on Earth, and Batman: War on Crime. Amazing.

  6. And you are a most excellent fellow. I will visit as often as I can.

  7. I love Wonder Woman!!!! Smallville is a good show, though. :p >^..^

  8. Be back later!!! 🙂 Will read then!!! Hugs, Linette

  9. Ok… So, I have never been a huge fan. *shames* 1. I wasn’t allowed to watch such things. 3. I haven’t seen any of the movies. 3. I didn’t see the Firs, Last Whatever Starwars til three years ago, 4. This means that I was sheltered as a child. 😦 5. So Ican’t relate to your love of the Superhero. 😦 Woe…woe is me….. Have a great one Jorge!!! Linette. (I’m not really sad. )

  10. Never really was a comic book fan, although I watched a few cartoons with batman or spiderman back when I was a youngin.

  11. maple syrup, huh? now that’s random and unexpected! 😉

  12. I always liked Wolverine… he’s such a badass! I also liked the idea of Daredevil, it seems to me that the hero SHOULD be suffering from a little internal conflict! Superman was always so righteous… even heroes should be people too, subject to the same emotions, even if they are better able to control them than an average joe… Daredevil was constantly trying to balance his anger against his desire to do justice… and then there was the Punisher. He was a little TOO far down the vengeance side of the equation, but I have to admit that i liked his style… he had that sort of, “Kill ’em all and let God sort ’em out” attitude… a bit over the top, but effective. There usually wasn’t any bad guys standing at the end! I remember one series in particular with Wolverine, with Kitty Pryde, my memory is hazy, but i think the gist of it was that she was trained as a ninja, or something, and brain-washed, so she was attacking him, and he wouldn’t fight back, because obviously, he loved her. It was very interesting that this blood-thirsty, seemingly indestructible mutant would allow himself to be beaten rather than cause her pain… I think she stabs him a few times with the katana, and he recovers, ableit VERY slowly… it was in interesting read… I have not been to see the fantastic four movie yet, and I have had mixed reaction to the “comics being made into movies” fad lately… some have been good, ie: X-men, Daredevil, Spiderman… some have been so-so… ie: The Punisher… and some have been pretty bad… ie: Elektra… didn’t bother to even SEE that one… yech. Just out of curiosity, what did you think of Sin City? I used to read Frank Miller’s work back in high school, and I thought is was great! A very close adaptation indeed! well… enough comic talk for ME for now… geek factor… increasing… 🙂 We’ll have to get together somewhere LOUD with good coffe and chat about this so nobody can hear what we’re talking about… 😉 They will just look at us and say, “There’s a couple of good-looking, intelligent chaps, probably discussing world politics and the implications of the weakening European Union on the state of the international economy”… and really our conversation will be something like this… “Well you know… Superman really WASN’T all that strong, it’s just because on Krypton, EVERYONE is the same… so when he comes HERE, he’s stronger… and did you ever notice how plenitful the supply of Kryptonite is? It seems like every time you turn around, some bad guy is waving a super-rare element at our poor hero… Don’t you think Superman would have taken a weekend off or something and spent some super-fast time rounding ALL that crap up and throwing into the sun or something? I mean, it was easy enough for the BAD guys to get… why not him?” And off the observers would go, none the wiser… heh heh… Have a great day Jorge!

  13. Yes. Superman is righteous. And yet he get pissed. One of the best stories ever is where Mongul anonymously sends Superman a birthday present. It’s called a “Black Mercy”. It’s a plant that requires a host so that it can live. It feeds off of the host while at the same time accessing the mind of the individual and feeding them their wildest fantasies. Superman falls prey to this thing, and in his dream he’s married and has a son. He’s essentially never left Krypton, and he has a wonderful life. No enemies, no world-saving. Just Kal-El and his family. Batman and Wonder Woman find Superman in this transfixed state, and Mongul appears, taunting them. Wonder Woman takes Mongul on as Batman tries to free Superman. Essentially Mongul is pretty much about to kill Wonder Woman when Superman realizes what’s happeneing. He then has to decide to abandon his other life, and thus, loses his son and wife, who were as real to him as anything else he’s ever experienced. Needless to say he was PISSED. Amazing story.

  14. That’s a cool one! I’ve never seen that one… admittedly, I was never really TOO into Supe as a kid… he always seemed too easy. I mean, he can fly, he seemingly has endless strength, and he’s invulnerable, and the x-ray heat vision, and the list goes on… so it always seemed like they needed these increasingly ridiculous foes to stand against him… it got out of hand, I thought… but that’s a cool one! It sort of questions the idea of reality vs. fantasy, eh? A la Matrix… would any of US be able to give up a perfect fantasy? I’d LIKE to say yes, but I’m not so sure! Deepak actually mentions a similar concept to this in the book I’m reading… all about how there is really NO difference between our “perception” of reality and fantasy. They are essentially the same thing. All our reality really is made up from is the sum of the input being fed to our brains… so if that input is false, how would we ever know? ALL our senses are processed in our brains… so if the brain is not properly processing the signals, our reality is skewed, but only insofar as it compares to the reality of OTHERS… because the differences BECOME our reality. It has always amazed me that other people may see colours differently than I do. For instance, I look at something Red, and see the colour red… but that thing, is NOT red, just the light reflecting from it is red… YOU may look at it and actually see what I would consider the colour “green”… but you have labelled it “red”… and thus, despite the difference, our realities are the same… craaaaazy… Heh… as for my less-than-heroic knee… yes, I’ve got some stretches to do for it, and they seem to be helping. It’s MUCH better now, doesn’t hurt at all, but I’m a little worried that it will keep coming back every time I cycle… which would sort of suck, because I ENJOY cycling! And thanks for adding me to the tome! I just looked and I’m shocked that I haven’t extended the same courtesy yet! I feel the shame! 🙂 A situation I shall endeavour to rectify forthwith and with all possible expediency!

  15. Superman Rules! Too bad about the profanity..I tried to type ass once and it wouldn’t even let me post.

  16. Spidey’s my fave. Too bad he doesn’t have a cape. 😦 patresa

  17. Your friends would say you are subtly, thoughtfully obsessed by superman? They are much kinder than my friends are 😉 I do love that you’ve put so much thought into this. I really enjoy hearing people talk (or write I suppose) about things they feel strongly about. I get to see a whole world of possibilities that I never would have otherwise.

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