Matt Harding writes for Bleeding Cool:
75 years of Superman. Let that sink in for a minute if you will.
Superman has been with us through World War 2, Vietnam, 2 wars with Iraq, the creation of the computer, the internet, microwave ovens, the civil rights movement, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the assassination of JFK, Elvis AND the Beatles, Batman, man landing on the moon, the hippies, the comics code, etc. Who could have possibly forseen that this hero could survive for so long, and adapt to so many different changes in culture? Yet, here he is 75 years later standing tall for Truth, Justice, and the American way. He's been the role model and influence for men in trenches, minorities standing up for their rights, and explorers jumping into the unknown.
To celebrate this epic occasion, a panel was formed comprising of some of the biggest names in Superman history, with the sole purpose of spending an hour reflecting about what it is that makes this character so important and why we still love, admire, and emulate him in our day-to-day lives. The panel's guest were as follows: Jack Larson (Jimmy Olsen from the original Superman series), Paul Levitz (writer and artist), Dylan Sprayberry (teenage Clark in "Man of Steel") David Goyer, Dan Jurgens, Molly Quinn (the voice of Supergirl, Castle's daughter), Tim Daily (Animated Superman voice actor), Grant Morrison (you know who this is), Henry Cavill (Superman himself), Jim Lee.
For an hour the guests discussed what everything from what the character of Superman means, to which one of his superpowers they would each choose if given the chance. Jack Larson's answer of standing up for "Truth, justice, and the American way" rung true to a lot of the fans, who stood and cheered at his declaration. Cavill joined his fellow actor in stating that he would take the superpower of "unbreakable spirit," an aspect that he himself had to develop when undergoing the nauseating diets and backbreaking physical training required to play the role.
They also took turns speaking on which comic they would all recommend to fans looking to learn about Superman, with Jim Lee tipping the hat to Grant Morrison's "All-Star Superman," one of my personal favorites. Amongst the titles being recommended was the newly released "Superman Unchained" by Jim Lee and Scott Snyder. Morrison, of course, recommended the humorous but shining example of character "Superman vs Muhammad Ali," stating that "it's so Superman" for Clark to get in the ring and learn how to box from the best, showing his thirst for humanity in a way only Superman can.
Tim Daily, who voiced the animated Superman character for many years explained how voicing the Superhero is now a family tradition, as his son has begun to voice the character in the newest Superman animated movie.
A few key moments came during the audience questioning section of the panel, where the meaning of Superman and superhero comics and what they represent in our society really griped me, reminding me how what we as fans and creators are doing and supporting really matters. It was this section of the panel that made this a 75 year anniversary panel, because it was a chance for the fans to tell us what they have learned from the character.
One woman stood in line, waiting patiently to declare proudly that she was and 80-year-old woman who learned to read from the original Superman comics when she was a very young child who had gone ill and spent all of her time in the hospital. People would come to visit her bearing funny books, and slowly she became literate to the sound of Clark Kent's voice. She thanked the panel for keeping the myths alive, and encouraged them to continue doing what they do.
Firemen, kids, and people dressed as Supermen one-by-one approached to panel to ask about all sorts of things relating to the character. One person who asked Goyer about the "scene which shall not be named" at the end of "Man of Steel," was answered by being told that Clark hasn't fully formed as Superman yet, and the consequences of his actions in the movie are going to be dealt with heavily in the sequel, putting to rest my issues with the movie. They also mentioned something about a little old movie coming out in 2015 with Batman and Superman either fighting or working together.
To join in on the celebration of our favorite alien turning 75, check out the Superman "real hero project," an online tribute to the character, where fans from all over the world can record short videos explaining what Superman means to them, expressed through spoken word and personal stories. Henry Cavill has already uploaded his video, which can be seen right now at www.realheroesproject.org