It's a tale we all have heard. The superhero era was born with Action #1. A look inside to the third feature showed the excited youth of the Great Depression a champion of justice who donned his distinctive suit and used his amazing powers to fight evil doers. Of course, I am thinking of Zatara. But the kids who read the issue in sequence had already discovered Superman.
About twenty years into the comic book experience, creators started spicing up superhero stories with foils who were very obviously patterned to be a variation of the starring character. Bizarro. The Reverse Flash. Thousands of Green Lanterns. Supergirl. Batwoman. Right through to the numerous variant Batmen in Grant Morrison's current run.
|Bizarro Is Not Surprised To Meet His Double|
But with every reading of Action #1, there was another Superman-opposite: The person whose two hands were holding the issue up. In fact, Clark Kent was not just a place from which Superman could emerge, the way that Achilles emerged from his tent. Clark was also a surrogate for us. Jerry Siegel said, "...in one of his identities, [Superman] could be meek and mild, as I was, and wear glasses, the way I do." Clark couldn't get the woman patterned on the girl that Siegel couldn't get. She's after Superman.
In a verbal essay in the movie Kill Bill: Volume 2, Bill famously says that Superman is the real man and Clark Kent is the disguise (which matches Siegel's description) and that Clark Kent is Superman's critique on the whole human race. But the last part isn't true. Clark Kent is Jerry Siegel's portrayal of himself. Superman is what Jerry Siegel dreamed of becoming, and he shared that dream with us.
And so, the real opposite figure for a superhero is not another superhero or even a supervillain, but any one of us. I was impressed, though, with some of the comments to my last post, wherein people mentioned the inspirational value of superheroes. And, so, the question:
Off Panel Discussion Question #1: What person in the real world is most like a superhero?
Answers, please -- lots of them! All of the comments here are visible to one and all, and I'm sure they will be excellent. Then I'll post again at the end of the week to provide a wrap-up discussing your answer. Leave your answer in the comments and be the hero of Off Panel Discussion #1!