Superman- McGuinness 009Superman turns 75 this year. This means different things to different people. To some it is a cause for celebration and an excuse to geek out over their favorite character. To others it is an excuse to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and explain why they don’t like the Man of Steel. Some of these articles and essays are well written and well thought out. Others are filled with snark and factual errors. No matter how the writer approaches his or her problems and issues with the character fans of Superman generally react with anger and righteous indignation and with good reason. Superman is a popular whipping boy for…well, everyone. For a variety of reasons (the fact that he does the right thing because it is the right thing to do, his costume, the glasses, etc.) Superman is the one character people feel comfortable in taking a shot at.

For a long time I would react to these articles like other Superman fans. I’d get angry. I’d fume. I’d calm down a bit and pick apart the arguments the writer of said article presented and then feel a whole lot better. I mean I know that Superman is awesome and I know why Superman is awesome and that would keep me pretty calm until the next article comes along and the cycle begins again.

A lot of the time I feel like this guy after reading one of those articles.

I’ll be honest with you…the whole thing has gotten very frustrating. No matter how many times we as Superman fans leap to the character’s defense the articles keep on coming. This doesn’t include the comic book store and message board arguments that we find ourselves embroiled in. Sometimes it feels like we’re getting hit from all sides all because we like Superman and the other side doesn’t.

After a lot of thought I have finally come up with the best way to deal with these naysayers. It isn’t fool proof but I think in the end it will make us all feel better and lead to a more productive fan experience.

You ready to hear my idea?

Okay…here goes. This is what we should do.


Do. Nothing.

Do not respond to these articles and essays. Do not engage these people in debate. Do not get into arguments on Facebook.

Do nothing.


Superman- Lee 010
This had better be good otherwise I will have to resort to the glowing eyes of anger.

Because it is a zero sum game. Trying to convince someone that doesn’t like Superman to like Superman is like teaching a pig to sing. It frustrates you and it pisses off the pig. If they don’t get it they probably never will. You can’t force someone to see your viewpoint when it comes to the Man of Steel. More often than not these people have made up their mind and there are much better things we can do with our time than get into fights on the Internet or in the comic shop. In many ways Superman is a lot like religion; either you get it or you don’t. Sure you can get a convert every now and then but the ratio of the “saved” to the “damned” is vast. Superman isn’t like Batman or Spider-Man or Wolverine. He’s a more pure character and represents a higher ideal than bad things happened to me so I must be angsty to deal with them. If someone doesn’t want to see that there is very little likelihood of you ever changing their mind.

Beyond that we need to stop going on the defensive. At his core Superman is a reactive character so it makes sense that his fans would follow suit. The thing is we’re not saving victims of a volcanic eruption or dealing with a meteor storm. We’re talking about a fictional character here. Is he a fictional character that we love and respect? Yes, but at the end of the day there are better things we can do with our time than talk to people that at best disagree with us and at worst hold us in contempt. I don’t know about you but dealing with people that are just going to make fun of me doesn’t sound like my idea of fun.

The obvious question is, “Well, Mike, if we don’t leap to Superman’s defense every time an article like this hits the web what should we do?” Well…be proactive. Start a blog about why you like Superman. Share photos and videos on Facebook. Start a podcast. Re-read your Superman comics. Re-watch the DVDs. Find like-minded Superman fans and geek out with them. Have fun. Celebrate Superman and don’t let anyone stop you. And if someone makes a snarky comment or tries to argue with you ignore them. They’re just trying to get under your skin. Don’t let them. Love what you love with all your heart and never let anyone take that away from you. Life is a scary, unpredictable thing and our lives are all too brief. Focus on what you like and to hell with those that disagree with you.

So the next time Cracked or io9 or some other site posts some anti-Superman piece ignore it. Don’t share it to Facebook. Don’t e-mail all your friends with a link to the article. When you do that you are giving whoever wrote the piece a wider audience, which is what they want. If you see someone else post the article walk away, figuratively speaking. Be secure and confident in the knowledge that you think Superman is awesome and no one will be able to take that away from you. Crank up whatever theme you love. Wear your favorite symbol shirt with pride. Tell people how much you love your favorite story. Revel in your fandom and ignore those that would try to take that away from you.

And keep one last thing in mind; if Superman were real he wouldn’t care that people are talking smack about him. He’d just keep fighting the good fight knowing that he was doing the right thing. If nothing else, be like Superman. Let the haters hate. We know better.

I've got better things to do anyway.  Much better things.  Because Lois is awesome.
I’ve got better things to do anyway. Much better things. Because Lois is awesome.


  1. Well said! We, as fans, should simply relish in our love of Superman and not let anyone make us feel as if we need to defend that. I too hate the constant “Superman isn’t cool” arguments and debates. I think you said it best with, “Let the haters hate. We know better.” 🙂

  2. While I agree with you completely about simply ignoring negative articles, I do want to male one comment.

    You said Superman was the one character everyone feels okay to take a shot at. I’d say the character everyone feels okay taking a shot st is probably Aquaman!

    But, good advice still!

  3. Nicely put, Michael, but I’m still going to defend Superman. I’d like to think he’d do the same thing for me.

  4. Well said, Mike. People always will take a shot at what they don’t understand. People rag on Superman’s simplicity, but I think one of the most difficult things to do in this world is to do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do. It’s easy to be angry and angsty and to do something because you’re angry or upset or want to even the score. As Jor-El says, Superman gives us an “ideal to strive toward.” – I know he says “towards,” but “towards” is not a word – People don’t want to be inspired in this day and age. They’d rather be vengeful and hateful, which spits in the face of everything Superman is. This could be the reason, in my mind, why Superman is needed more than anything.

  5. Excellent essay, Michael! I’ve butted heads with the idiots who think “their” Superman is the definitive one, that DC and Warners Films have joined forces to “rape their childhood”, and that DC will go out of business with Dan DiDio leading the exodus from the editorial offices.

    Their rants are cruel, based on prejudice and ignorance, and I’ve tried to correct them. But when you can actually SOURCE your reasons, they refuse to read or accept anything that doesn’t support their jaundiced worldview. In fact, I had one tell me they were “afraid” to read one of my sources because it disagreed with his viewpoint. It’s hard to argue facts when you don’t have any.

    Like you, I’m ignoring them (as best I can). And where they’ve infiltrated some of my favorite pages, I’m choosing to let them have the space. Me, I’d rather look forward to tomorrow than cry because there’s no more yesterday.

    Keep preachin’ the good word!

  6. Thank you Michael for sharing your views on this subject. I appreciate it very much, as you’ve said it all so much better than I ever could.

  7. I disagree. There’s no excuse for what they do, and what they’re looking for is, quite simply, respect. They think, “he’s too powerful so you can’t challenge him,” and “he’s too good, so you can’t relate to him or give him interesting conflicts,” makes them look like some profound Oxford English professor, and some badass rapper rolled into one.

    It’s one thing to say, “no because he fights villains with similar powers,” and “he has day-to-day problems I can relate to,” and you gotta include that, but while they’ll respond with, “you’re a walking-stereotype who lives in his parents’ basement and girls hate you, blah blah blah,” you know they’re feeling slighted. And it sends the message that bashing Superman does not make you look smart, cool, or with-it.

    Most of you won’t agree, I’m just putting it out there as one of the most aggressive defenders of the character. But to be honest, it’s not for everyone and it’s starting to take its toll on me. I just wanted to put it out there.

  8. When you strip away the BS non-arguments about powers, lack of relatability or whatever else, it seems what people *REALLY* struggle with is the notion of a virtually omnipotent being acting in a benevolent way. They cannot convince themselves that true purity and virtue can possibly exist.

    That’s scary to me.

  9. What I really find frustrating is this… Michael, I’m a post-crisis Supes nut like you. Though I can appreciate much of the Silver Age-and-before Superman, post-crisis is where I feel the character, his stories, and his supporting cast went toe-to-toe with his peers in other titles and companies and (imo) beat them, creatively. I hate that to this day, post-crisis Superman never got mainstream recognition and when I see articles crapping on Superman, I feel really ticked off on behalf of the amazing creative teams that churned out consistently good Superman comics in that era. Byrne, Ordway, Jurgens, Stern, etc., deserve better. I hate that after all that work, people’s idea of Superman is some ignorant strawman version of a character who hasn’t existed for 30+ years. I hate the sheer lazy ignorance of that criticism. But I’m used to it. Just like I’m used to the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy bashing. That’s another media “whipping boy,” where people just parrot the same buzz phrases disguised as criticism over and over to prove that they’re in the internet cool club. But I’m digressing.

    I do feel better knowing that your blog is out here, Michael, and take comfort that others do, in fact, appreciate the Man of Steel as I do, no matter which version.

    Now I’ll leave with this news story I came here to send you in the first place, before I got caught up in my venting:

  10. “A lot of the time I feel like this guy after reading one of those articles.”

    What, you need a “soder”? Lol, great article my friend. Even though Superman’s origin parallels that of Moses, he is seen as a Christ-like figure today. Your religion analogy is apt.

  11. Very good article Mike.
    You are absolutely right, do nothing and the “bashing”loses it’s effect. This is a lesson I had to learn the hard way through trial and error.

    However I think sometimes the fans can be their own worst enemy. Like you have stated many times before, “Superman fans couldn’t agree on how to make Cool Aid”. I think its important to accept all aspects of the character. The good, the bad and the silly!
    Everyone at some stage hated the Adam West Batman series, and it was hard to lose the campy smell it left on the whole industry. But if you think back to when you were a kid, it was most probebly the gate way drug that got you hooked on Batman and/or comics in general.
    My point is, no matter how bad we think certain eras, costume changes, storylines etc. are, they play a role in the development of not only the character, but also you/me/everyone as a fan.
    In terms of Superman, weather we loved the Post COIE Superman, hated the Electric Blue look, religously watched Lois and Clark, felt ripped off at the end of Smallville, hold Superman The Movie in the highest esteem, curse Bryan Singer for ever making Superman Returns… It’s all part of the characters rich history.

    Every comic and to some arguement fictional character has some black spots in their history. So theres no use as fans of the character, to add fuel or providing the spark that ignites the Superman bashing!

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