Recently, DC began publishing a new origin for Superman, called Superman: Secret Origin. A bunch of people have stuff to say about this.
Here's a good one, by Rikdad. It begins thus:
The artist takes a pencil and traces an oval where the face will be. Rather than touching the pencil to the paper and drawing it in one solid curve, the oval is composed of many shorter arcs, parallel, intersecting, concentric. Each one nudges the outline from where the previous faint lines had begun, adjusting them, repositioning the curve, correcting it. The pencil is flipped and the eraser rubs some graphite off the page; a sleeve wipes the rubber and dust away, and then the pencil goes back to work. At some point, a mannequin-like shape is there, and then a face is drawn inside, outside, and over it, without ever erasing the original imperfect outline. Eventually it will have life. Eventually it will be a face. Little strokes keep touching it up, making it better, or at least different.
Superman is a work in progress.
Which is good. An apt analogy for the process by which Superman has survived. But it concludes in an even better fashion:
Superman is the Great American Hero, and America is a country that was saved by a quirky Constitutional fiat called the Great Compromise. If Superman was being torn apart in a creative tug of war, Geoff Johns has refused to pick sides. He's come down hard on the side of not favoring sides. Ultimately, the kind of tail fins the rocket has don't matter so much as the adoption of a version of Superman that reminds a plurality of fans of Superman. What could be more pleasing to Superman than to have everybody win?
I'm planning a thorough analysis of Grant Morrison's All Star Superman series. Here's someone who likes it a whole lot.
Here's some more about Secret Origin.
And more still, from Newsarama.
One more time, from Comic Book Jones.
The consensus about this Secret Origin seems to be that it's completely unnecessary, but that it's pretty good.
Completely unrelated, but still useful: the kids parade in Grand Island.
Which reminds me...Halloween's coming up. There will no doubt be kids dressed up like Superman. Time to do more fieldwork.
There's something more to be said about the "science" behind Superman's powers.