‘Batman/Superman’s’ Greg Pak: 4 reasons why I love the Man of Steel

June 24, 2013 | 6:12 p.m.

The cover for "Batman/Superman" No. 1, written by Greg Pak with art by Jae Lee. (Jae Lee / DC)

The cover for "Batman/Superman" No. 2, written by Greg Pak with art by Jae Lee. (Jae Lee / DC)

The cover for "Batman/Superman" No. 3, written by Greg Pak with art by Jae Lee. (Jae Lee / DC)

The cover for "Batman/Superman No. 3.1: Doomsday," written by Greg Pak with art by Brett Booth. (Tony S. Daniel / DC)

Superman and Batman are teaming up in a new comic series by writer Greg Pak (“X-Treme X-Men,” “Justice League: Darkseid“) and artist Jae Lee (“Before Watchmen: Ozymandias,” “Inhumans“). “Batman/Superman” issue No. 1, out Wednesday, features the DC heavyweights’ fateful first meeting in the New 52. In a guest essay for Hero Complex, Pak pays tribute to the Man of Steel, who turns 75 this year.

This coming Wednesday, the first issue of “Batman/Superman” hits comic book stores, written by yours truly with art by the brilliant Jae Lee. It’s my first DC comic book and my first stab at writing Superman. And I absolutely love it.

So in this 75th anniversary year of Superman’s first appearance in “Action Comics” No. 1, here’s a quick list of why I love the big guy.

1. Superman’s an Everyman

This seems contradictory, doesn’t it? Superman is the opposite of the Everyman — he’s a supremely powerful, virtually invulnerable alien from the planet Krypton. He’s nothing like us.

And yet he grew up as Clark Kent, a lonely kid who always felt different from everyone around him. If that’s not a universal experience, I don’t know what is.

Over the years, various smart people have written about Superman as a metaphor for the Jewish immigrant or Asian American experience. I’ll take it a step further — everyone on the planet at some point feels that he or she doesn’t belong on the planet. We’re all outsiders and others. Acknowledging that experience while remaining totally committed to helping other people anyway is what makes Superman great — and what elevates the best Superman stories beyond vicarious fantasy toward something approaching the richness, tragedy and quiet humanity of heroic myth.

2. Superman is Clark Kent, and Clark Kent is awesome

In my mind, Superman is Clark, first and foremost. And I think that experience of being an everyday kid who discovers he has these tremendous powers is what makes the character sing. He has responsibilities that literally no one on the planet should have to bear and powers that no human being could even understand wielding. And yet there he is, struggling to do the right thing every second of every day.

I think that resonates because at every stage in our lives, we face new responsibilities that are almost beyond our understanding. As very small children, sometimes just putting on a sock can seem insurmountable. As we get older, stumbling through life, we discover the big and little things we do can have tremendous impact on the people who surround us. Through our everyday actions, we actually have the power to hurt people, to break hearts and lives — or to risk our own comfort and safety and actually help someone.

Writing Superman in the New 52 makes exploring this struggle particularly exciting. In “Batman/Superman” No. 1, Clark’s young and raw, just starting his life as a superhero. He’s cocky and righteous and he might just go too far.

Each of us has tremendous power. Our lifelong challenge is to figure out just what our power is and how we should use it. That’s what Clark’s struggling with every day, in an utterly human way.

3. Superman never, ever, ever gives up

Ever.

That doesn’t mean he always wins. He doesn’t. This is comics, y’all! DRAMA!

But that total commitment to keep coming back, no matter how badly you’re beat, no matter how much you’ve lost, no matter what the odds, is why the best Superman stories will break your heart … and then make you cheer.

4. Superman can set things on fire with his fire eyes

Come on. That’s just awesome.

– Greg Pak

Greg Pak is writing “Batman/Superman” and the “Doomsday,” “Darkseid,” and “General Zod” Villains Month books for DC Comics. For more about his work, visit www.gregpak.com and twitter.com/gregpak.

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5. “Man of Steel” No. 1, Special Collector’s Edition, 1986 After DC’s “Crisis on Infinite Earths,” writer and artist John Byrne relaunched Superman for the modern age, beginning with his 1986 limited series “The Man of Steel.” Byrne chronicled Superman’s origin with some changes from the hero’s previous iteration: Kal-El, the sole survivor of Krypton, is rocketed to Earth as a fetus in a “birthing matrix” and officially “born” an American. He gains powers gradually, ultimately becoming the Man of Steel. Byrne’s cover marked the beginning of a new era for Superman. (DC Entertainment)Superman at 75: 10 key comic covers

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Comments


One Response to ‘Batman/Superman’s’ Greg Pak: 4 reasons why I love the Man of Steel

  1. CC123 says:

    Yes, but have you seen the new Superman movie? Those guys, including Supes himself, practically decimated all of America's buildings. Then they just all went ahead and went about their work as if nothing had happened. And I mean come on, how about those other countries in the world. They matter too, don't they?

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