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    Superman

    Character » Superman appears in 19093 issues.

    Sent to Earth as an infant from the dying planet Krypton, Kal-El was adopted by the loving Kent family and raised in America's heartland as Clark Kent. Using his immense solar-fueled powers, he became Superman to defend mankind against all manner of threats while championing truth, justice, and the American way!

    Superman: Why He Isn't a Boring Powerhouse

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    k4tzm4n

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    Edited By k4tzm4n  Moderator

    Want to listen to some music while you read? Click here to enjoy our blatantly obvious recommendation.

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    Despite being one of the most famous superheroes, Superman still gets picked on by a fair amount of fans. And you know what? I confess that I was once one of the fans who thought he was a lame character. Back when I was growing up, I was all about Spider-Man, Batman, the Ninja Turtles, the X-Men, and a few others. Superman, though? The idea of a "boy scout" who is ridiculously powerful and has only a few blatant weaknesses just wasn't appealing to me.

    Two decades later, he's one of my favorite comic book characters and I think he's a great hero. However, I still see people rip on the Kryptonian almost every day. They think he's boring or it's just his powers that make him amusing. I can understand since I once shared that opinion, but if you're one of those people, I hope I'll be able to change your mind about the Man of Steel. Now, this article doesn't exist to say that Clark Kent is the "best" or "cooler" than your favorite character. The objective here is simple: prove that Superman isn't uninteresting.

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    Despite all of his powers -- faster than a speeding bullet, so on and so on -- it's his personality which makes him such an iconic character. People recognize the symbol on his chest and his superhuman abilities, but it's his unyielding optimism which makes him such a special character. While some strike fear into their enemies or give their allies the confidence to rush into seemingly impossible odds, Kal-El is all about lifting up your spirits, being the best person you can possibly be, and always finding a positive approach to your situation. He's about casting aside those depressing or angry thoughts and moving forward with a clear head and enthusiastic thoughts. It's about seeing a glimmer of hope in what feels like a sea of darkness and holding on to it, no matter what.

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    If you're going to get a good handle on who Superman is and what makes him uplifting, there's a lot of comics we could recommend (feel free to make recommendations for your fellow readers in the comments section below). ACTION COMICS #775 is one that immediately comes to mind, though. Superman's a symbol of hope and overwhelmingly positive, but is a mentality like that fitting for the modern era? Has the world become darker and a more brutal kind of hero is needed to tackle the new breed of villains and crime? Why should someone worry about him when they know he's very unlikely to cross the line? In an age where some characters have no gripe putting a bullet in a criminal's head or stabbing a villain in the chest, why should someone be concerned about Supes? All of these issues are addressed in Joe Kelly's memorable issue and, when all is said and done, Big Blue refuses to change his ways. When the world tells him it needs a different kind of hero -- a more savage one -- he evaluates his methods and realizes he's exactly what this world needs. Instead of embracing hate and rage -- emotions that are easy to give into -- he believes everyone should strive for taking the moral high ground. It's not easy, but that's exactly the point. Taking a life shouldn't be easy and, in a world with so many powers, abilities and technology, there should more than often be another way to resolve the conflict.

    In the end, Superman fools them into thinking he'll kill -- which is a solid example of his gifted mind and tactics -- and he does so to prove just how ugly and effortless that approach is. Instead of taking the easy way out, heroes should aim for inspiring others. Now, that's not to say everyone should apply the no-kill rule, but in his case, it's seriously admirable. He's one of the most powerful people on the planet, yet he shows excessive restraint and, instead of simply solving everything with a massive punch, he often finds a way to use his brilliant mind to resolve a conflict. It's not Superman's powers which make him special, it's how he applies them. Abilities like that could corrupt others, but Clark manages to hold onto his ways and always strives to be better.

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    "Okay, maybe he does sound pretty cool. But the whole secret identity thing is just so dumb. Come on, it's just glasses!" Yeah, it is pretty tough to believe so many people that encounter Clark Kent and Superman on a somewhat regular basis are fooled by that, right? But the thing is it's more elaborate than just making his hair a tad different and putting on glasses. Superman's confident and encouraging. He soars through the air with a smile on his face and he stands tall with great posture and oozes a positive vibe. Clark Kent, however, is more timid, tends to slouch and his speech is less poised.

    To us, it's beyond obvious that Clark Kent is Superman. How could we not know, right? To one of Clark's co-workers, they're very unlikely to think he's the Man of Steel because everything about him is the polar opposite, and that's exactly the point. Sure, he's tall and in phenomenal shape, but he does everything possible to conduct himself in a way that draws no parallels to the hero. Superman's self-assured and proud. Clark? He's unlikely to show any big signs of bravery. So even though they share physical attributes, Kal-El's able to hide them a bit with poor posture, slightly altering the way he speaks, and his personality means no one is likely to draw any connections to the iconic hero.

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    The next time you're faced with a moral dilemma, ask yourself, "What would Superman do?" You obviously can't resolve it with his super speed, heat vision, or super strength, but the question is essentially asking, "What's the right thing to do?" I know it may sound silly to some since we're talking about a fictional character, but he really can be an inspiring hero. There's enough darkness and despair in the world as it is. Superman reminds us that it's okay to look at the glass half full and remain optimistic, even when everyone around you isn't. If you begin to look at things the way he does, maybe -- just maybe -- you'll end up inspiring others, too. The world could use a little more positivity and that's exactly what Superman represents. If you still think that's lame, then so be it. But for everyone else, hopefully this has helped you respect the character a little more and you now feel motivated to read (or re-read!) some of his terrific stories. There certainly are more than a few to choose from!

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    MB25

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    #1  Edited By MB25

    @k4tzm4n This is a great read. Thanks for taking the time.

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    Lvenger

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    Bravo Gregg, what an excellently written article with many salient points dispelling the utterly false and misguided perceptions that comic book fans have for Superman. You hit many nails on the head and thus this made for a truly great read.

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    amazing_webhead

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    #3  Edited By amazing_webhead

    *sniff* That was beautiful, man.

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    Squalleon

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    So unexpected @k4tz :D Love the man of steel! This is my favorite part :

    The next time you're faced with a moral dilemma, ask yourself, "What would Superman do?" You obviously can't resolve it with his super speed. heat vision, or super strength, but the question is essentially asking, "What's the right thing to do?" I know it may sound silly to some since we're talking about a fictional character, but he really can be an inspiring hero. There's enough darkness and despair in the world as it is. Superman reminds us that it's okay to look at the glass half full and remain optimistic, even when everyone around you isn't. If you begin to look at things the way he does, maybe -- just maybe -- you'll end up inspiring others, too. The world could use a little more positivity and that's exactly what Superman represents. I


    Also a shameless plug @lvenger and me did something similar a month back if someone wants some more reasons on why Superman matters they could check it out :)

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    nickthedevil

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    Love this. Favorited.

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    Pokeysteve

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    Awesome article!

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    darknightspideyfanboy

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    err okay

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    Maddpanda531

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    #8  Edited By Maddpanda531

    @k4tzm4n Thanks a ton for writing this excellent bit. I got into an argument with a friend recently, because he said that Superman is the least interesting superhero. Needless to say, I disagreed. Next time he brings it up (He's the kind of person who definitely will), I'll be sure to point him in the direction of this article.

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    DigitalShooter9

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    I think Superman could be the next character of the month...

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    SurfingtheHighway

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    This was a great read, and you make an excellent case for the character. Yet, as long as he's nigh invulnerable and has more than three super-powers: I will still find him uninteresting.
    That's just the way I feel, not only about Superman, but about superheroes in general. Characters without any powers (Batman, Nightwing, Daredevil), with just one (Cyclops, Colossus, Nightcrawler) or with a limited resource of them (Spawn), will always be more intriguing to me. I have no problem with Superman's personality or origin story, but it's hard to feel connected to a character who has been shown to outrun The Flash and outswim Aquaman.

    I'm sorry for being close-minded but I just cannot change the way I feel about that fact.

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    GrimoireMyst

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    This is a great article. Thanks for the read.

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    the_stegman

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    #12  Edited By the_stegman  Moderator

    This is why Gregg is my favorite person on the Vine. Thank you! Respect Superman!

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    new_onslaught

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    #13  Edited By new_onslaught

    Superman fans please do not attack me! :) You know what's my problem with Superman? I really like what I read in this article, but I don't think I've read any good Superman story focusing of these character traits. I've read AC 775 and All-star and I found them to be just OK. The only Superman story I really like is "Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes" by Johns. Any suggestion of Superman stories that focus on him morality are more than welcome.

    PS: My dream is a 8-12 part Superman story by Gaiman. I believe He's capable of showing the depth of Superman, beyond his powers.

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    Squalleon

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    feel connected to a character who has been shown to outrun The Flash

    He never had though...He has only being shown to go toe-to-toe with Jay Garrick WAY PAST his prime and even then Flash just stole his speed and outrunned him. Barry Allen and Wally West, have outrun him multiple times and Barry even said that the only time Superman looked like being his equal was "because of charity" (it has a double meaning, first charity towards Superman and second because the most used excuse for these two to run together was a charity event ).

    Secondly it doesn't matter how strong the hero is because his threats are always equall to him. Darkseid, Wraith, Doomsday, Brainiac, Lex Luthor, Mr. Mxyzptlk, these are the guys Superman has to fight against, not mid and low tiers.

    Now forgive me for trying to change your mind but it won't hurt and I won't insist I just think you are missing out thats all :)

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    Squalleon

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    . Any suggestion of Superman stories that focus on him morality are more than welcome.

    Check the "Recommending reading" thread pinned in the Superman forums and if you want more leave a comment there.

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    new_onslaught

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    Plogty

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    @new_onslaught: I agree. I really enjoy how he tends to be portrayed in other characters' books, as a side-character, but I rarely come across an actual Superman book that highlights his strongpoints very well. Especially in the New 52 Superman books, I feel like he hasn't been portrayed as a person. I do like the idea of Superman, though. His essence simply seems to be difficult to capture consistently.

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    righteous300

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    #18  Edited By righteous300

    Great read. Recently got into Superman thanks to a blog by @squalleon and @lvenger. Can't believe I didn't get into his comics sooner.

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    Boynerdgeek

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    #19  Edited By Boynerdgeek

    All Star Superman by Grant Morrison, Superman Brainiac by Geoff Johns, Superman ans Legion of Superheroes is easy suggestion to new reader who want to know about Superman and possibly the best Superman stories. The other Superman story is okay but Superman writers nowadays always play element Gods (Superman) vs Monsters (such as Mongul,Doomsday,Wraith etc) things which personally is pretty dull and boring. I much prefer aspect "Brain vs Strength" or "I try my best but still can't save anybody" or "Sad and loneliness stories" because that is in my opinions is much more interesting and makes Superman is actually a great character

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    SurfingtheHighway

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    @squalleon said:

    @surfingthehighway said:

    feel connected to a character who has been shown to outrun The Flash

    He never had though...He has only being shown to go toe-to-toe with Jay Garrick WAY PAST his prime and even then Flash just stole his speed and outrunned him. Barry Allen and Wally West, have outrun him multiple times and Barry even said that the only time Superman looked like being his equal was "because of charity" (it has a double meaning, first charity towards Superman and second because the most used excuse for these two to run together was a charity event ).

    Secondly it doesn't matter how strong the hero is because his threats are always equall to him. Darkseid, Wraith, Doomsday, Brainiac, Lex Luthor, Mr. Mxyzptlk, these are the guys Superman has to fight against, not mid and low tiers.

    Now forgive me for trying to change your mind but it won't hurt and I won't insist I just think you are missing out thats all :)

    I don't mind you trying to recommend me something you like, that will never bother me (that's what this site is for, isn't it?). Anyway, I'd like to clarify that those were overstatements, I was exaggerating to make a point. The truth is that his multiple powers genuinely bother me (nowadays there are often the same, but there was a time when he'd get a new ability every two issues), and would bother me in every other character as well. You do make a good point about him facing other powerhouses, that's undebatable. I'd love to know what @k4tzm4n thinks about this issue because it wasn't as properly adressed as many other criticisms the hero faces.

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    jorgeareizaga

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    SUPERMAN IS MY FAVORITE SUPER HERO!!!!!!!

    I MISS HIS RED SPEEDOS!! =(

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    dimitridkatsis

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    He is now....

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    Squalleon

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    #23  Edited By Squalleon

    Great read. Recently got into Superman thanks to a blog by @squalleon and @lvenger. Can't believe I didn't get into his comics sooner.

    You don't know how happy that makes me, thank you :D

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    lightsout

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    *stands & applauds...literally*

    If I may quote myself from an old thread (on the Superman Forum), answering the question of "Why Do People Like Superman?"

    About his character - I like that despite being a demi-god, in his own mind he's such a regular guy. To quote Batman from Superman/Batman

    It is a remarkable dichotomy. In many ways, Clark is the most human of us all. Then... he shoots fire from the skies and it is difficult not to think of him as a god. And how fortunate we all are that it does not occur to him.

    It's true, Clark is the most human of everyone. He may not have the obvious tragedy of Batman, but he is not without his worries about those he loves. He is an inspiration. As a hero, he "saves people" (in simple terms) because he has the ability to & believes it's "the right thing to do". Not because he was victim to tragedy himself - not that that's bad, we can only expect people to take drastic actions under such circumstances, but because Superman goes BEYOND that expectation, that's what's inspirational. He could make tons of money with his abilities, yet he chooses a low-paying career that lets him give a voice to the un-heard while he's not in costume. Superman is what we're not- likely what we can never be (the level of selflessness, etc), but sometimes it's nice to have that ideal to inspire us & give us hope (for ourselves & our society). (Also, as someone who escapes to a fantasy world to enjoy himself, Clark's seemingly perfect personal life (friends (both super & non), family, romantic interest, etc) is also an inspiration/ideal).

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    DrellAssassin

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    Good article, I've never been a Superman fan because I've never understood what made him so compelling. I wish he would become the CV character of the month soon because I've always wanted to get good recommendations on where to start with Superman so that I can begin to understand why so many like him.

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    Boynerdgeek

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    All Star Superman by Grant Morrison, Superman Brainiac by Geoff Johns, Superman ans Legion of Superheroes is easy suggestion to new reader who want to know about Superman and possibly the best Superman stories. The other Superman story is okay but Superman writers nowadays always play element Gods (Superman) vs Monsters (such as Mongul,Doomsday,Wraith etc) things which personally is pretty dull and boring. I much prefer aspect "Brain vs Strength" or "I try my best but still can't save anybody" or "Sad and loneliness stories" because that is in my opinions is much more interesting and makes Superman is actually a great character

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    Gracetrack

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    Great article, Gregg. Thank you!

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    CaptainMarvel4Ever

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    Geoff Johns already addressed this:

    “Everyone’s like, ‘He’s so powerful, I can’t relate to him.’ Are you kidding me? He’s the most relatable character ever. He grew up on a farm, he doesn’t have a lot of friends, feels isolated, he can’t tell everybody what his secrets are. He’s a great character. He feels overlooked — who hasn’t felt overlooked, or wanted to connect with people? All social media is, is people wanting to connect with other people. That’s all it is. Because people long to connect with other people. And Superman is the embodiment of that. He’s more relevant now than ever.”

    Spoken like a true fan who loves what he does.

    Besides he's not even that powerful, the enemies he fights are either as strong/stronger, or have a means to weaken/beat him. Heck Wonder Woman, Martian Manhunter, and Captain Atom are all stronger then him. Plus there are some characters like Icon, Power Girl or Captain Marvel who are all as strong as him.

    Great article though, I will link it to somone next time I'm trying to tell them how great of a character Supes really is.

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    gmanfromheck

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    I'm still a fan of the Old 52 version. And I'm still not a fan of Man of Steel.

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    MadeinBangladesh

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    #30  Edited By MadeinBangladesh

    hmmmmmmm beautiful.

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    Agent_Murdoch

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    Best article I've read on comicvine in a really long time

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    J_HickmanIsGod

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    #32  Edited By J_HickmanIsGod

    well written but i dont like superman cuz i just dont like superman

    also it doesnt help that there really havent been any good or great Superman stories in a really long time. (aside from Morrison's All-Star comics, my point still stands) DC needs to find a writer who will turn everything on its head and have a way with words to really the turn the likability of this character around

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    darknightspideyfanboy

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    @g_man: o god why you do that your going to derail this threa.... aw screw it going to make some popcorn this thread is going to become crazy funny lol

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    J_HickmanIsGod

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    Good article, I've never been a Superman fan because I've never understood what made him so compelling. I wish he would become the CV character of the month soon because I've always wanted to get good recommendations on where to start with Superman so that I can begin to understand why so many like him.

    i'll look forward to the future recommendations as well

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    tensor

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    Well said.Give this man a raise.I would also tell people to read Kingdom Come.One of my all time favourite Superman story.Give it a try.

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    Supreme Marvel

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    Bravo!

    Hopefully we'll see a better Superman in Johns' run.

    I'm really enjoying Pak's run.

    All good on the Superman front for once.

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    UltimateSMfan

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    #37  Edited By UltimateSMfan

    This was such a great article @k4tzm4n *High Five!!!* :') Can't find the words to express how happy i am after reading this! THANK YOU!!!

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    gmanfromheck

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    @darknightspideyfanboy: Derailing by stating that I love Superman? That I miss how he used to be? The point is, this shows what's he's about and capable of. I won't apologize for feeling that way.

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    MuyJingo

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    Well said, well said!

    Coincidentally this article also highlights the same reasons MoS failed (at least to me and many others), as it completely omitted these defining aspects of the character.

    I've always liked Superman. I don't think he is too powerful and the powers Kryptonians have are unique.

    I do think it is hard to write a good Superman story though. The best stories I've read of Superman are generally out of continuity or have him working with others.

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    comicace3

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    Good article. Solid points. Superman still isn't one of my favorite superheroes, but he is slowly crawling up there on my favorites list. We shall see in a couple of months.

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    redwingx

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    #41  Edited By redwingx
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    triggerleo

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    I do believe that comicvine is owned by DC Comics. Seems that every day/week there's mad love for everything DC. Specially they're main 3. Why can't you show same amout of love towards Marvel, Valiant, etc? Even with your podcasts! Don't get me wrong, Snyder is awesome, but there are other creators out there.

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    nfareed71024

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    I can respect the article I guess because it is well written but the inspiring stuff and the great moral compass he has is not being exhibited in the movies nor the new 52. I do not like Superman, probably the perfection he encompasses is what makes him unappealing not compelling. The same perfection your pretty much celebrate in the article. Even his secret identity is only accepted by his co-workers because Kent is not portrayed perfect. And a perfect hero is predictable. By the way, a great reporter like Lois Lane who pretty much questions everything did not find it weird that Clark disappeared when Superman "died" and seemed not to care even though clark is almost like her best friend. Or that Clark is always gone when Superman partakes in Space expeditions for months. It is just stupid.

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    micah007123

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    Great article.

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    Squalleon

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    I do believe that comicvine is owned by DC Comics. Seems that every day/week there's mad love for everything DC. Specially they're main 3. Why can't you show same amout of love towards Marvel, Valiant, etc? Even with your podcasts! Don't get me wrong, Snyder is awesome, but there are other creators out there.

    Two days ago K4tz wrote a "Deadpool recommending reading" and even before that "what we want to see in a deadpool movie" and the character of the month was Cyclops. You see favoritism where there isn't.

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    gmanfromheck

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    @triggerleo: We did a highly produced video on SHIELD, which is Marvel. Did you catch that? As for your other points, I can't say I agree. I wouldn't say I necessarily favor DC.

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    J_HickmanIsGod

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    I do believe that comicvine is owned by DC Comics. Seems that every day/week there's mad love for everything DC. Specially they're main 3. Why can't you show same amout of love towards Marvel, Valiant, etc? Even with your podcasts! Don't get me wrong, Snyder is awesome, but there are other creators out there.

    this is wrong. definitely wrong

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    lifeofvibe

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    Eh he has his good and his bad but unfortunatly hes got more bad then good so he sucks if we judge it like that

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    Guardian3712

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    Loved the article. Superman has always been my favorite character for most all the reasons listed here.

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    Gjgp27

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    Moral perfectionism is the cancer that is killing Superman.

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