Tuesday 18 April 2023

85 years of Superman

Superman, the fan-favourite superhero character created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, appeared in the first issue of Action Comics on 18th April 1938. It is widely regarded as the dawn of the superhero age that continues to dominate popular culture.

45 years ago, I saw Superman: The Movie, directed by Richard Donner (The Goonies), with my parents at the Odeon Exeter. It was the third film in a formative theatrical trifecta comprising Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind! All of which feature inspiring soundtracks composed by John Williams.

It's impossible to overstate how important these movies were/are to me. I was still in the first year of recovery from a life-changing head injury at primary school, which had left me partially paralysed and wheelchair-bound in 1977. Cinema was my fortress of solitude, and silver screen tales of heroism would aid in my resolve to walk again with the help and support of family, friends and amazing healthcare professionals working in the NHS.

My 80-year-old dad and I still discuss seeing Superman: The Movie and Superman II all those years ago. Christopher Reeve will always be the definitive Clark Kent/Superman and Margot Kidder (Lois Lane) was my second silver screen crush after Carrie Fisher (Star Wars).

Whilst at university in the early-to-mid nineties, I discovered Dirk Maggs' Superman: Doomsday and Beyond for BBC Radio 1. I called the BBC in hopes of interviewing the man himself, and an enduring friendship was forged. Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman was popular Saturday evening viewing - merging heroic adventures with Moonlighting. I had a poster of Lois Lane (Teri Hatcher) on my student bedroom wall.

Years later, my mum and I would watch Smallville together until a uniquely medical matter left her with life-changing injuries, requiring 24/7 care in 2003. However, I continued to watch the series as it encapsulated the spirit of hope and selflessness epitomised by Superman.

Happy 85th birthday, big fella!

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