June 6, 2006

Superman Returns

Superman is back, as prancing savior, phallic symbol, effeminate second coming, sensitive new age man of steel, depending on your personal interpretation of the promotional poster.

It’s more arty than action man, born out by its resemblance to the Christ of St John of the Cross painting by Salavador Dali.

Is he jettisoning into space, or is he gently umbrella-ing down to earth? The virility of the cape appears to be having an ambiguous moment.


  1. What would Nietzsche say?

    I never thought much about the cloak - but now that I do, it does seem like a bit of a relic from older dramas, where the heroes or villains come on the stage in vast purple cloaks or robes.

    It's interesting how these images carry over. I get disturbed every time I pass a young person wearing a hood - maybe because at the back of my mind, I think of all those sinister hood-wearing characters in medieval fiction, or even the wizards in 20th-century fantasies.

  2. The hoodie-lads are a worry, especially in summer when a hood seems redundant. Is it like sunglasses; a means by which to hide in public, and from each other, for that matter (since they tend to travel in packs)?

    The utilitarian purpose of Superman’s cape does seem to have been transformed into a theatrical accessory, rather than a necessary tool for acceleration or coming in for a safe landing.

  3. And Cat Woman is coming back as a lesbian. Are no heroes safe from the PC artsy-fartsy crowd?

  4. Anonymous9:33 AM

    Let me just take a moment to say that Superman is a BAD ASS. OK? He's not some namby-pamby, torn with self doubt or internal conflict wuss.

    He flys, he breaks down brick walls, and he beats crooks' asses.

    That poster is simply a picture of him as he's about to take a mid-air piss- he's just looking down trying to make sure he's gonna piss on some appropriately evil land mass.


  5. I'd say like sunglasses, a way of simultaneously hiding one's identity and being slightly intimidating.

    The British comic magazine, Viz - which picks up quite cleverly on some of these social trends - had a cartoon some months back entitled 'Woody Hoodpecker'. It was extremely simple. It was divided into four squares. The first square showed a bird landing on the front of a hood, which had a cigarette dangling out (the face was not visible, but presumably someone was holding the cigarette). The second-and-third square showed the bird burrowing into the hood with his beak. The fourth square showed a hole in the back of the hood, in which the bird sat, singing.

  6. - t – OMG, that’s it YOU are the only person who has correctly interpreted the promo poster. Unbelievable!

    It all fits too: Superman is the ultimate in virility; he squishes around at great speeds dressed in a condom outfit, he’s the “man of steel”; what else would he be doing other than hovering around getting ready to have a piss. Of course!

  7. Correction for Cube: You're thinking of Batgirl. They're reinventing her as well.

    As for Superman, he's always been a grown-up boy-scout. Doing the right thing and never using his powers for personal gain. Marvel comics had their version of him in Captain America. The difference is that there were others who were far stronger and faster, etc etc., but he was inspiration - hope for the future and things that are good.

    People over the years have always said what they would do if they were Superman and the issue was broached many times in Spider-Man with the line "With great power comes great responsibility."

    That being said, he may *look* like he is about to piss on some third-world country that floats on oil but the reality is that no piss could smell worse than they already do >:)

    I wonder if the movie will use the "Truth, Justice and the American Way" tagline?