Comic books are one form of entertainment that provide thrill and excitement of superheroes to many young boys and teens. They distinct what is “good” (hero) and what is “bad” (villain). One influential pop culture fictional superhero is Superman. The character and his adventures portray the ideals of the right values vs. the wrong values in a western society for all young boys and men.
The character of Superman is not just one person, but is of two different types of character archetypes: Superman, an alien sent to earth from the planet Krypton, and his secret identity Clark Kent, an average reporter working at the Daily Planet. Superman is a physically built which gives young men something to aspire to become, and comes from a distant planet where the inhabitants look similar to humans, but are more advanced which gives him some connection to humans, yet is gifted and “god-like” to the people of earth. Superman’s planet, Krypton, was doomed to explode, and his father who was a scientist designed a rocket to send him to earth, which represents in a way someone coming from the old world and into the new world. This also relates to the fact that the character was created during WWII when immigrants were coming to America. Powered by the earth’s yellow sun, superman is given abilities that far surpass those of mortal man, using his gifts to fight for truth and justice, bringing criminals to justice, sending them to jail. Superman wears a distinctive uniform with the “S-shield” on his chest distinguishing his significance in the world. His only weakness is Kryptonite, a radioactive rock from his own planet that affects those who are from Krypton, reminder of his “humanity.”
Superman’s secret identity, Clark Kent, represents the good in humankind and how he does the “right” thing to help others. Clark was raised by John and Martha Kent, as a farm boy from Smallville, Kansas. This origin tells the viewer that Clark was raised with wholesome values when raised on a farm. When he got older, he decided to move to the city of Metropolis where he would become a reporter for the Daily Planet, and get top stories that tell people the truth in order for the betterment of mankind. Clark is has good intentions, is bright yet is very clumsy, and having a crush on his co-worker, Lois Lane, which he could never express his feelings for her because she is more interested in Superman. This tells the audience that all humans are not as perfect as Superman.
The setting for Superman, Metropolis, and the actions that take place in that setting define the morals and the consequences of those morals of the story. The city of Metropolis is a very clean, bright, state-of-the-art city, which thanks to the actions of Superman, continues to be a thriving civilization, telling the viewer that doing good makes a better environment. The events that are mostly taken place in Metropolis are crimes that are being committed by criminals, gangs and super-villains such as CEO Lex Luthor. This leads Superman to fight enemies which for the most part leads to some destruction, yet the people of Metropolis are grateful even though he has caused some destruction. Superman is also for the most part saving Lois Lane from danger when she tries to get a story but eventually becomes helpless in these kinds of situations, which tells the audience that women are helpless and need the help of men.
Superman’s character is genuine for inspiring young boys and teens of the western society to have “good” values by helping out their fellow-men and that there is a perfect male figure that must be maintained by the young men that follow the character. This is one pop culture artifact that will stand the tests of time to give people something to aspire to or hope for to have in the distant future.