One of the reasons I became interested in Superman, intellectually speaking, is the way kids respond to the character. I'm working on compiling a bibliography for this site, in which I'll have sections devoted to all sorts of topics--one of which will be the way kids pretend to be Superman. This post, from the Examiner.com, is sort of related to that. It's about heroism.
Heroism is perhaps the most important aspect of the Superman theme. Or meme. Or mythos. I'm working on the right term to describe the stories and thoughts that surround the character. I guess it's a mythology, in which there are subversive strains, and in which grow several memes that manifest themselves in oral tradition and popular culture as well as mass-mediated art. I'm thinking of the "superman isn't perfect" meme that has been the subject of most of my writing on Superman so far.
Anyway, one of the things that writers like to do is compare Superman to human heroes. Like this, from the article I linked to above:
We all try to aspire towards our heroes. 'I wanna be like Superman' is usually the types of phrases that we hear. Our children always want to be the cool, superhero types. What if I were to tell you that a modest 'superhero' type of person lived in New York City and did the most unselfish thing in the world? He saved a man's life from the nasty subway tracks.
This is an interesting fan site, Superman Fan Podcast. It's a lot of comics history, very thorough, from all appearances.
Doing all this research reveals something new all the time, little bits of information that may or may not become useful. For example, there are Canadian awards for comics work called The Joe Shuster Awards. Recently, they posted the final interview with Shuster, who, you should recall, was the man who drew Superman. Here's a bit of it, with another interesting slice of information.
Superman, with his heroic physique and glowing optimism, was patterned largely after Douglas Fairbanks Sr. And Clark Kent his name derived from movie stars Clark Gable and Kent Taylor was a combination of timorous, bespectacled Harold Lloyd and pale, mild-mannered Joe Shuster himself.
And I just have to post more about Obama being Superman. Here's a link to a video. I think my favorite part is the Joker.