Monday, March 23, 2009

Couch Potato

I haven't had a chance to watch all of the documentary Confessions of a Superhero, but what I've seen so far is interesting. You've got what we might consider the whole pantheon of popular culture on display in front of Grauman's Chinese Theater in Los Angeles. There's a lot more to be said about it once I get through the whole thing. (via; it's on Interestingly, the movie's website it

I bring this up here partly because the image for the documentary is Superman lying on a couch. This is an image I keep encountering in cartoons. Either Superman is slovenly or old or just plain exhausted. But he becomes a couch potato.

Superman on the Couch is also the title of Danny Fingeroth's exploration of the meaning of superheroes. It's an analysis of the genre as a whole, but he has a lot to say about Superman in particular, as he should. He's got lots of stuff about fantasy, about orphans, etc. It's a pretty good book. I notice that the cover shows a generic super hero undergoing therapy--which is the reference to the "couch" of the title. It's the psychologist's couch, not the potato's couch. Still, it's not Superman reclining there, probably for copywright or trademark reasons. I wonder if you can't copywright the word superman but you can secure the image. Maybe they address this in the documentary above. In light of Superman in therapy, there's this (I have no idea who drew this; I'd like to know):

And this, by Mark Parisi. Cartoonists just love Superman.

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