Father? …figures. (#0: Superman Don’t Cry)

April 13th, 2007 by | Tags: , ,

DC released a teaser image a few months back for DC Countdown. It made the usual run around the comics blogosphere, in part for the graphic (read: hilarious) violence shown in Max Lord’s turned around neck and the Atom’s tiny, tiny arm poking out of the dirt.

(Max Lord and Dudley Soames go to the same chiropractor.)

There was also some talk of DC’s alternate Earths and blah blah blah. There was something about this image that was bugging me and I could never quite put my finger on it. I’ve found it now, though.

Superman is clutched to Wonder Woman’s bosom, sitting awkwardly, and sobbing his laser eyes out.

Uh, no. That’s stupid. It’s stupid on an Olympic level.

Superman wouldn’t cry. That isn’t in his character. Never happen.

Superman died once. Died in the arms of the woman he loves. His only concern was that she, and the rest of the city, was safe. He didn’t weep. He only stopped once he found out that he’d saved the day.

Superman is, like it or not, a father figure. He’s the hero that other heroes look up to. Having him crying is just ridiculous. It doesn’t fit his character. In All-Star Superman #1, he’s told that he’s going to die. His response?

“There’s always a way.”

Think about when you were a kid. When your dad was crying or upset, that’s when you know when things were serious. No kid wants to see that. It’s terrifying.

That’s the effect that Superman crying would have on the populace.

That’s why Superman will never cry. He’s too much of a hero for it. He’s too Superman for it. He knows the effect that would have on people. It’d be like seeing your father cry, but worse.

Superman: Back In Action got it right. Even in a country that distrusts him and doubts his identity, he is still the hero. He isn’t going to break down and get upset, he’s going to do his job.

All-Star Superman got it right. He isn’t going to cry and moan about his lot in life. He is going to live, fix it if possible, but if not– that’s okay. Life will go on. In the meantime, he’s going to give life his best shot.

Keep your weak Superman. He’s an imposter, a liar, a fraud, a coward, and a cheat.

He is the Man of Steel, not the Man of Kleenex.

More on fathers later.

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6 comments to “Father? …figures. (#0: Superman Don’t Cry)”

  1. Maybe was intentional? Maybe they wanted to say that this calamity is SO big, so big that Superman (the Father figure) can’t keep it together and is bawling his eyes out, even know the effet that this have on the populace? Nah, they are not that smart.

  2. All-Star Superman didn’t cry when he found out he was dying, but he cried when his father died. Superman cried during The Crisis, when Supergirl died. Superman cried (out in anguish?) when Lois died in the first movie.

    Supes can cry. It’s just got to be done right.

  3. He cried in Whatever happened to the Man of Tomorrow too. It can make for a powerful scene to see him break, but it shouldn’t happen too often.

  4. You guys don’t get it. In the few times that we’ve seen the Supes cry in the last 25 years, what is the thing that usually triggers it? What did his Phantom Zoner execution, the death of Supergirl, the Imperiex war and now this WW3 promo have in common? OTHER PEOPLE DYING! Especially LOTS of other people dying because he couldn’t save them. The dude takes that type of thing hard. He always wants to do more to save people. That’s just how he rolls.

  5. I do get it.

    I’m just saying that Superman crying in front of a bunch of people, or in front of anyone but Lois and maybe Ma Kent, is nuts. Deaths of a lot of people or not, Supes is that kinda guy who would put the greater good before his own pain. He’s going to be that rock that everyone can depend on because that is what he is all about.

    It’s a cheap storytelling trick and pretty lazy. It’s the equivalent of “THIS ENDS NOW” or “LOOK I DIDN’T DIE LAST ISSUE AFTER ALL!” It doesn’t fit with the image that Superman puts forth.

    Grant Morrison got it right in All-Star and JLA. Joe Kelly got it right in Action Comics and JLA, and I think that Mark Waid did, too.

    Julio: That’s probably exactly what they’re going for, but they’re making a mistake 🙂

  6. The reason why Supes is the way he is in All-Star is because Grant writes him as a guy who is so sure of himself that he doesn’t feel the need to really worry about anything because he knows that he’s got what it takes to solve whatever problem is in front of him. The DCU Supes is in a world with a lot of editorially mandated grey areas and thus we have things like crying, THIS ENDS NOW!, “I’m tired of holding back everything I’ve got!” as common plot devices.