In 1949, DC Comics created this Superman art for textbook covers distributed to public schools by the National Social Welfare Agency which presented the simple yet beautiful reminder that, Hey kids, racism is un-American.
Since it had been a few weeks since we had the opportunity to see a movie about guys in tights throwing punches at each other, now we have Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
“The New Batman and Superman are Terrible Superheroes” was published at Eyes Wide Open:
For Zack Snyder’s latest CGI cage-match, combat isn’t just a way of resolving disagreements and kicking along the plot, it’s a way of life. As self-important as it is tedious, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice features one of the great tropes of the comic book universe — getting two big heroes to fight each other — but treats it with such seriousness that the filmmakers don’t seem to realize that they’re stooping to one of the genre’s most tired tropes. It ranks right up there with having an alien power menace Metropolis (wait, that happened in Man of Steel), or randomly creating a well-nigh unkillable supermonster who multiple superheroes must come together to fight (wait, they do that in this one, too)…
As one of the longest-surviving comics publishers in the business, DC Comics did so (like everyone else who made it) through a combination of quick turnaround, constant reinvention, and relentlessly squeezing every last penny out of their comics. In one of their less-inspired moves, in the 1950s, DC created a spinoff to their tentpole property Superman that came with the highly prosaic title Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen.
So far, so bad. However, in one of those granular moments of surreality that comes when publishers chase every cultural trend and damn the logic, that series produced one bona fide classic. We give you: 1969’s fabulous freakout Hippie Olsen’s Hate-In!
Firstly, there’s the issue that Jimmy Olsen looks here more like a bearded dandy from the Edwardian era than hippie (details). Then there’s Jimmy’s tendency throughout the entire series to want to kill Superman. Blog into Mystery notes:
…You don’t have to be Freud or Jung or whoever to see that he has some issues with the most important people in his life. He has no problem with dreaming about punching them, tripping them, or KILLING THEM, without a whole lot — let’s be honest – of provocation for any of those deeds.
This strikes me as a problem.
It seems that Superman has always had this problem. Unlike some superheros—Batman, Spider-man—whose enemies have wanted to do away with them for interfering with their dastardly plans, Superman’s very existence appears to be the driving force behind the hatred, from friend and foe. The very indestructibility that makes him so powerful a force for good and (unfortunately) so uninteresting as a character also engender some very mixed feelings in the all-too-weak people (villains and not) who surround him.
Must make for a lonely life.