Superman:Earth One – a new face for a familiar superhero

As a six year old, no one made a firm and lasting impression on my mind than seeing Christopher Reeve–Superman–flying towards the great blue sky, giving his audience a warm-hearted salute and heart-attack inducing smile. Sitting on a musky, dark, old theater in old Makati, I looked at the screen, at Supe’s endearing face and told my dad that I finally found the man that I will marry someday.

I grew up truly in-love and immersed in the Superman lore and mythology. In elementary, I distinctly remembered engaging in a fist fight (!) over this argument: who is better? Superman or Batman? I was willing to risk my functional limbs against this boy who was missing his front teeth. While I didn’t win the fight (he grabbed my hair, while the most that I can do is aim for his shirt) — I managed to cement my reputation as the biggest Superman fanatic in that little school across the street.

The same goes during high school and university, where friends usually pick on me by saying (LOUDLY! OBNOXIOUSLY!) the most annoying Superman jokes (“Oh, if Superman is so brilliant then why is he wearing his undies over his pants?” “Do you know what’s Superman’s real name? EFREN. Cos when people ask him who is he, he says…E FREN(D)…”)

When my Superman died in the hands of Doomsday in 1993, I was devastated and wore black for almost a week. I simply cannot understand why my superhero had to die in “order to revive and bring life to the franchise and to the story of “The Last Son of Krypton”. I was the type of fan who hates it when there are disturbances in the mythology. When the movie franchise was rebooted in 2006, I had to hold back the tears as the credits roll and the familiar strains of “Can You Read my Mind” and the “Superman Theme” started to play.

So imagine my pleasant surprise when it was reported on various news sites that Superman was given a new look by DC on a limited edition graphic novel. The title, called Superman:Earth One shows the Man of Steel with a more angtsy, more emo and more modern, an obvious departure from the look we have come to associate with Supes.

Superman: Earth One cover

At first, I was livid–especially when I came across a site saying that the new look was reminiscent of Edward Cullen and the Twilight-ness of it all (no offense, Twihards)

While I am and will always be the biggest drama queen in my little piece of the planet, I am not sure if I can accept my childhood superhero going all emo on me. The description: brooding, angsty — and given this quote from the NY Post article, “β€œbearing more resemblance on Robert Pattinson from the Twilight movies than Christopher Reeve from the Superman films.” almost made me want to reach for all my Superman comic books and grieve in behalf of the mythology and all the disappointed fans.

In my mind, if the guys from DC would want to make the longtime fans happy, then THAT definitely is not the best way to describe a most-revered comic book icon. But, I was determined to be open-minded about this development. After all, for younger kids to further appreciate a great story as that of Superman, one must approach changes and re-imaginings with an open mind. Reading encouraging posts from other experts in the comic book mythos has also made me excited on the graphic novel’s Philippine release.

I have already called one of the comic book shops and had a copy reserved. I am excited to rediscover and re-imagine my childhood hero. In my mind, no matter how the story is told– this will further add to the Superman lore. Something to share with my kids when the time comes and I will be the one sitting with them on a dark theater, exposing them to the Superhero who made such a big influence in my young life.

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