A superheroic identity crisis

In yesterday’s Wayno/Piraro Bizarro collabo, the Man of Steel seeks a therapist’s help in dealing with crippling self-doubt over his identity:


(#1) Superman meme meets Psychiatrist meme (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 3 in this strip — see this Page.)

Things have gone downhill for the Man of Steel during the past year. A year ago (on 5/11/18), he was uncomprehending when people failed to distinguish him from a bird or a plane —


(#2) From my 5/11/17 posting “Differentiae”

but now, sadly, he has internalized this uncertainty.

The “Bird & Plane” text is from the Gospel of Kal-El, as regularly broadcast on radio and tv shows, beginning not long after the secret history of Superman was first unearthed by Siegel and Shuster. There have been many slight variants of the Bird & Plane text; here’s a late version (with the patriotic “and the American way” coda):


(#3) Gospel of Kal-El, book 1, chapter 1, verses 10-17 (written out here as ordinary connected prose)

Even in the early days, Kal-El was anxious to distinguish himself from birds and planes — most strikingly, by replacing his wings with a powerful cape, but also by donning eye-catching trunks and boots, quite unlike any avian organ or airplane component.

But now, as his self-confidence ebbs, these costume adjustments have come to seem inadequate and he’s been sliding, merging bit by bit with these other identities. Occasionally, guzzling tanks of jet fuel and sometimes, snagging tasty insects in mid-flight. One minute, whooshing and roaring; another, emitting chirps and piercing caws.

Quoth the hero, “Not sure anymore”.

An odd moment of synchronicity. Wayno/Piraro readers pointed out that the cartoon in #1 had appeared on June 12, which is — ta-da! — Superman Day. Was this intentional?

Wayno immediately replied that he’d never heard of Superman Day, so, no, not intentional. I too was unacquainted with this holiday, which turns out to be a recent p.r. effort by DC Entertainment. From the Checkiday site:

(#4)

Superman Day was started in 2013 by DC Entertainment, two days before the release of the Superman film, Man of Steel. At this time it was known as Man of Steel Day, and it was not until subsequent years that the day simply became known as Superman Day. Both the name change and the continuation of the day seem to have happened organically. On the inaugural day, DC Entertainment partnered with comic book retailers and bookstores across the United States to celebrate the day, and gave out free copies of All Star Superman #1 Special Edition. Superman was created in 1933 by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, but it wasn’t until April 18, 1938 that the Superman we know of today appeared, and made his debut in Action Comics #1. It was so popular that Superman got his own comic book the following year.

Superman Day, also known as Man of Steel Day, is being observed today! It has been observed annually on June 12th since 2013.

Gay Superman. The DC folks might have thought twice about putting National Superman Day right in the middle of Gay Pride Month, because that of course invites speculation about and play with the idea of Gay Superman — from musing on the the characteristics of the Man of Steel that make him a homoerotic idol; to fancied erotic pairings of Superman with other male superheroes (Batman, of course, in the DC universe, but also interuniversal relationships with suitable stars from the Marvel universe, especially Captain America and Spider-Man); to  flat-out flagrantly queer versions of Superman, like this arresting image of Superpornman (appearing on various sites without any attribution as to its source):

(#5)

Yes, a terribly awkward pose — clearly a pasting-together of a head shot with an unrelated costumed crotch-grabbing body shot. The head I immediately recognized as belonging to gay pornstar Christopher Ash; see my 6/8/15 posting “Guys in heat”, with much about Ash (a.k.a. Tony Bendanza and Tony Bandanza), active in gay porn in roughly 1998-2004. An attractive young man, more or less a twink with some substance, also an enthusiastic and unrestrained bottom. A head-and-torso cropping of one of his images (close to the one in #5):

(#6)

Putting aside such flights of fancy, this month does invite at least the displaying of a Pride Rainbow version of the Superman logo, as here:

(#7)

But seriously. Besides the frivolous Superman Day yesterday, there were two anniversaries of real significance, one a day of pride, the other a day of lamentation.

On the first, from Wikipedia:

Loving Day is an annual celebration held on June 12, the anniversary of the 1967 United States Supreme Court decision Loving v. Virginia which struck down all anti-miscegenation laws remaining in sixteen U.S. states.

Put aside talk of interuniversal relationships in the superhero comics; this day is a celebration of freedom of choice in interracial (and interethnic) relationships, and that’s a big thing.

On the second, again from Wikipedia, on the events remembered on  Pulse Day (from 2016):

On June 12, 2016, Omar Mateen, a 29-year-old security guard, killed 49 people and wounded 53 others in a mass shooting inside Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, United States. Orlando Police Department officers shot and killed him after a three-hour standoff.

… Pulse was hosting a “Latin Night,” and most of the victims were Hispanic. It is the deadliest incident of violence against LGBT people in U.S. history and the deadliest terrorist attack in the U.S. since the September 11 attacks in 2001. At the time, it was the deadliest mass shooting by a single shooter in U.S. history, being surpassed by the Las Vegas shooting a year later

Pulse Day is now a time for lamentation and for anger.

One Response to “A superheroic identity crisis”

  1. [URBAN NOTE] Some Saturday links | A Bit More Detail Says:

    […] Zwicky considers some superhero identity crises, of Superman and of […]

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