3-Week Series: Double Blessing

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Jerry Seigle and Joe Shuster were barely out of high school in the down and dirty days of the Great Depression when they came up with their brainchild. During these desperate days when big governments and big business and big problems made the little man feel even less powerless, these two Jewish boys came up with a comic book hero. He was stooped-shouldered and wore round-rimmed glasses, but when he was backed into a corner, he would rip open his shirt and take charge. The first dime novel that bears the name of Superman has him throw a wife-beater against a wall, grab a spy by the leg—leaping upwards with the terrified man in tow—and pitch a wailing warmonger over a stand of trees.

As other super heroes came on the scene his powers grew to offset diminishing sales. He could see across the universe, hear a cough on the other side of the earth and sunbath in the heart of the sun. In the effort to sustain interest in Superman, writers increased and decreased his powers all in the effort of trying to make him more human. In 1992 in the long series “The Death of Superman”, he dies from exhaustion and loss of blood. He is laid in a tomb. And then—silence, as DC Comics ceased publishing its flagship title. Was it the end?

Then in the spring of 1993 he was sighted. How did he beat death? The writers spun a tale of scientific-gobbledygook. The fans could’ve cared less. Superman, like Mr. Spock of Star Trek and Jesus Himself—had risen. That’s all that mattered.

Today one of the most popular TV programs is Smallville. It’s the story of Superman as a teenager. There is talk of a new Superman movie to be made.

Whether it is Lex Luther and kryptonite or other super hero competitors or...

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