I grew up on superheroes, mainly the ones from the DC universe. I watched the Super Friends, the Superman movies, Wonder Woman, Batman. I had the action figures, storytapes, coloring books, and we have pictures of me in a Superman Halloween costume. Superman was my favorite. Well, I’m in nostalgia mode these days, and I’m always in research mode, so when the first Spider-Man movie came out, I wondered how easy it would be to track down the first Spider-Man comics to find out how the character got his start. It’s the kind of thing I’m always looking for, the real story, the genuine article, roots and origins. What was Spider-Man like when Stan Lee first conceived of him, and what was his story? And while I was at it, why not Superman? It turned out to be easier than I expected. Marvel and DC are both publishing collections of just this sort of thing, bound reprints of their early comics, and for many of their characters.
I remember my childhood only vaguely. And I was even more oblivious while watching the Super Friends than watching Deep Space Nine when I was older, so I have only the most nebulous idea of what the show was about, and the plots escape me entirely. I only know that I loved it. Other than the pure, “Ah, those were the days” feeling, in this nostalgia-seeking phase I’m in I want to try to remember exactly what it was I loved about these things. Maybe I can recapture some of the imagination I had back then. But I also want to find out what was there beyond what my little mind could pick up. What did Superman stand for as a cultural icon? How did he get that way? What is it about people that would motivate them to create such characters? Why was I so captivated by them?
And so, several weeks ago, I began. I tracked down the first Superman comic ever, in the form of the Superman Action Comics Archives: Volume 1. I am now on volume 2. I’m taking notes along the way, which I’ll probably share with you at some point. It made me happy to realize that now I’m reading real comics. Not the sophisticated, Frank Miller stuff. Superman, as he was when he was creating the comic book industry (or so I’m told). I never read them growing up. Comic books are an expensive hobby.
Anyway, my plan is to read all the Superman comics that have been published in book form. I’m also hoping to start on other superheros before long. There’s Batman and Wonder Woman and the Flash and the Green Lantern and Spider-Man and the Incredible Hulk and a bunch that I never got into when I was young.
And so you have my (clumsily-written) introduction to my great Superman adventure. Hmm, I started reading a Superman story last night and didn’t get to finish. I think I’ll read the rest of it right now.