New York Comic Con 2013: Superman legacy celebrated for hero’s 75th anniversaryPosted on October 15, 2013 | by Bob Teoh
Equipped with flight, heat-ray vision, and super-strength, it’s hard to imagine a world where the Kryptonian superhero did not exist in our collective consciousness. The man of steel first appeared in “Action Comics” in the 1930s, and after undergoing numerous incarnations, has been solidified as the American icon.
To celebrate the 75th anniversary of Superman’s conception, DC Comics brought in a star-studded panel at New York Comic Con on Oct. 12 consisting of DC co-publisher Dan DiDio, former DC president Paul Levitz, artists Bruce Timm and Mike Carlin, and actress Molly Quinn who voiced Supergirl in “Superman: Unbound.”
The panel kicked off with a special feature on the “Man of Steel” home release, which featured interviews with director Zack Snyder and the cast as they discussed Superman’s history and influence. The panelists discussed how DC’s relaunch of its major comic series, “The New 52,” will alter the Superman mythos for a younger audience. Citing “All-Star Superman” as a perfect re-imagining for the classic character, the panelists looked at the difficulties of adapting the hero for modern audiences.
“The essence really drives it,” Levitz said. “We had to boil down the rules of Superman to about a page. Beyond that, there’s a lot of room and a lot of liberty. It has to change with the times because the audience changes.”
“We wanted the audience to feel like they’re getting something old, but at the same time new,” Carlin added.
DiDio said the character’s lasting appeal stems from his ties to the American Dream.
“He’s the ultimate immigrant story,” DiDio explained. “It’s the impression that he’s the one to save us all, regardless of who we are.”
The panelists also pointed to the security Superman inspires as another reason for his lasting popularity.
“When Superman and Batman walk into a bar, Batman might make people feel guilty, but they feel at ease with Superman,” DiDio said. “Even with his powers, people want to be his friend.”
“He is like the perfect father. And when he talks, it’s like he’s always saying, ‘It’s going to be okay, kids,’” Carlin added.
Carlin then remembered how Dean Cain interacted with kids on the set of “Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.”
“They did not know he was just a guy wearing a suit that Hollywood made,” Carlin said. “They believed they were talking to Superman.”
Panelists said, his unwavering morality and his place as a role model is the key to Superman’s popularity.
“I think he’s the perfect model for humanity,” Quinn said. “He chooses to be good, and that’s the most difficult thing of all. That’s what makes Superman super.”
The panel ended with a special animated short produced by Snyder and Timm, which featured Superman in his many incarnations, to be included on the “Man of Steel” Blu-ray DVD. Carlin admitted that he was a little choked up when he first saw the short and likened it to seeing his life flash before his eyes.
“I was a reader for the 25th anniversary,” he said. “I worked at DC for the 50th anniversary, and now here we are at the 75th. I just got chills watching it again.”
Bob Teoh is a staff writer. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.