Dear 15 year old me,
Look, I know you’ve only been reading comics for a couple of years, and that you only found your first regular comic shop in the last year or so (Krackers, right? Well at some point in the next ten or so years it will become Final Frontier, but you won’t care about that). I’ve something to tell you. I know you think that Superman is an overpowered character who is nowhere near as interesting as Wolverine and the X-Men, but do me a favour, yeah? Pull your head out of your arse.
To be clear, I’m not saying that Wolverine and the X-Men aren’t interesting, or worth your time, because frankly you will LOVE some of the stories told about those characters in the coming decade, but what I am saying is that Superman is much more interesting than you give him credit for. It’s a misconception we had that I learned far too late.
Don’t write him off just because you don’t think you can identify with him, because you don’t think he has any enemies that can challenge him and provide an exciting fight scene on a regular basis. Move past your inexplicable reluctance to read any DC comics (Marvel won’t reward your loyalty, and you’re missing out on some great comics); by writing Superman off because you perceive him to be too powerful you are grossly underestimating what makes the character so important, and why you’ll love him so much if you give him a chance.
Don’t judge him based on your preconceived ideas.
I admit that your only real exposure to Superman at this point is the Lois and Clark television series and the Death Of Superman (and his subsequent return) story line that you found at the library a few years ago. While I haven’t read the Death Of Superman a second time, my memory tells me that it perhaps wasn’t the bet Superman story you’ll ever read. It was the television show that really corrupted you, however, because when it was on you were only looking for the action, and didn’t really care too much about the characterization of the character as Clark Kent. That’s okay; you were young then, you really wanted super powers, and Superman was never the edgy superhero that would eventually start you on the path of becoming a Wolverine fan.
But here’s the thing; Superman is so much more than his powers.
He’s an ideal that we should aspire to become – not because he’s a super strong, villain smashing hero, but because he is the embodiment of all that’s good in humanity, and he’s an alien. Superman is the ultimate immigrant, and his heroism is more than just punching Doomsday in the face, it’s about doing the right thing because it’s the right thing to do. There’s a Superman in all of us, a hero capable of great things (even if that great thing is only a small act of kindness to a stranger), and you shouldn’t be afraid to let that inner Kryptonian show. There are far worse role models out there than a man in blue spandex.
The world needs Superman, for what he represents, for what he inspires, and the hope that he brings to the world, and so do you.
Give Superman a chance. You won’t regret it.
An older, wiser you.