Superman: The American Icon INTRODUCTION It was in the year 1933, at Cleveland in Ohio, two high school students were about to create a phenomenal change in the socio-cultural paradigm of America, quite unknown to their own selves even. Jerry Siegel was the writer and Joe Shuster, the artist together developed the character of Superman and sold it to the Detective Comics, Inc which was later known more popularly as DC Comics in the year 1938…
The iconic hero did not even escape the mind of the film-makers and a series of films were made in Hollywood, making this superhero protagonist. Even the programmers were not spared from the enchantment and huge success of this iconic character and many video games were even manufactured taking the superhero at the centre of the game (DC Comics, “Superman”; NYDailyNews, “Superman Turns 75: Man Of Steel Milestone Puts Spotlight On Creators' Cleveland Roots”). The trajectory of this blue costumed, red capped and stylized red and yellow inscribed ‘S’ shield on his chest to an iconic figure of the American culture was not paved in a single year. It took decades and several socio-cultural and socio-economic activities followed this transportation of the comic superhero into an emblem and cultural icon of America. This evolution of comic character into first American superhero followed by a superhero genre in America particularly which is adapted in broadcasting and literary arena across the globe now engineered many more avenues for literary, cultural, psychological and mythological criticism formulating many school of thoughts associated with the transition of one of the most fascinated American comic figures to a cultural idol and ideal to a great extent. THESIS STATEMENT The essay intends to throw light on the journey set by the first accepted comic figure of America transformed into a cultural icon. The essay also throws light on the multitudes of scholarly activities which haloed the comic figure and manifested it into a cultural icon. SUPERMAN AND MULTITUDE OF SCHOOL OF THOUGHTS Since the inception of the comic character, cultural theorists and critics have taken an extra plunge for the exploration of the character of Superman on the culture and economy of the United States in particular and rest of the world in general. Quite early, just a few decades after the character of Superman already evolved as a super hero, Umberto Eco produced an elaborative discussion pertaining to the mythic qualities inherent in the character portrayal of the Superhero during the first quarter of 1960s. And, then subject of sexuality or sexual relationship revolving round the character of Superman along with its implication and impact upon the society was elaborately hinged and discussed by Larry Niven (Heer and Worcester 146-149). In order to trace the trajectory of the impacts and influences, the comic character like Superman had in the society, one must get back to the years and the motif of its creation. Though the character has been created and re-created and renewed a number of times for complementing it with different broadcasting medium yet no one can undermine the initial motif behind the production of the character. Both the Shuster and Siegel were a bit inclined towards the leftist front in the political domain. And, the context of Great Depression evolving out through the initial storyline of the comic cannot be overruled at any level. It can be noticed very pertinently during the initial stories of the Superman series that the hero is bringing scathing attack upon the crooked businessman and the corrupt politicians, demolishing their shops and running down the tenements of the rich people. Here, Superman takes the stand of a social activist more and superhero less. Roger Sabin, ...
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