Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Superman and the doldrums of social justice

Continuing his defense of the oppressed, Superman takes on gambling rings in Action Comics #16 (by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster).

My first reaction was to be bored with it and impatient for more Ultra-Humanite or the introduction of Lex Luthor. There are only so many Superman vs. social injustice stories that I want to read. That makes me kind of sad about myself, because I really love that Superman spent the early part of his career focused entirely on sticking up for the needy. But is that enough to drive a whole series, indefinitely? If I'm an example of the average reader, the answer is "no."

I guess that's why I love the two Ultra-Humanite stories so far. They start off as social justice stories, but then there's a big, nasty supervillain behind them. Even that would get dull though if Siegel and Shuster made it a monthly formula.

I'm starting to see why the Golden Age Superman eventually morphed into the whackadoo Silver Age Superman. I prefer the idea of the Golden Age version, but when I'm skimming forward in the series for signs of more exciting villains, I realize why things needed to change.

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