Thursday, June 30, 2005

Superman, Help!

Okay, you fanboy readers of mine. Here's your chance to prove your mettle and impress us. Can anyone help my good friend:

"For a final project in my women in lit class I am
going to write a series of poems in the voice of clark
kent. Let me explain; in four poems by lucille clifton
she addresses superman in a way that forces the reader
to think about how superman chose the people he saved.
Not the "new" superman but the classic action comics
character. Unlike batman or other superheroes,
superman never went after the low crooks, clifton
actually accuses him of being afraid of the crooks and

But anyway, I wanted to see if you know of
any papers (a friend's thesis maybe?) that analyze the
social and psychological aspects of the older
superman/clark. I would like to answer clifton's poems
as superman, as if the poems were sent to him and they
engaged in a correspondence. So any info you have on the inner workings of the caped one would really help out."

Yes, the above is representative of the emails I receive from my friends. What I get for writing my masters thesis on Catwoman :)

He's already found this website, which is hysterical.

Post away, comic geeks!!!


Anonymous said...

Okay, Sis, I've got some resources for you and your correspondent. Don't know why you didn't just ask me in the first place....;-) is probably a good starting place for an intelligent, academic dissection of the Man O' Steel. Also provides other links that might be helpful. gets into the Clark/Superman/Lois love triangle, with great old illustrations. is a brief commentary by Superman writer Elliot S! Maggin, which also links to this interesting Maggin prose story:

Finally, no examination of Superman is complete without a look at Larry Niven's indispensible essay "Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex":

Hope that gets things started!
Big Bro

American Knight said...

I'd recommend your friend look at the following which was a thesis written about Superman's ties to the "American ideal" back in the day.

Also, the following link is to the Superman homepage which has a ton of great resources, interviews, articles and the like, that they can look through.

A read of Superman For All Seasons (By Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale) would be highly recommended seeing as it is told essentialy through the POV's of the important people in Superman's life (Ma/Pa, Lex, Lana, Lois). Although it was written now, it's more akin to the pre-crisis Superman - the subject of your friend's project.

Anonymous said...

Don't know why that last URL I gave you didn't wrap. The complete URL for the Niven essay ends:

Or you can just Google the title.


Kid Sis said...

Bro, I'm your sis...I know Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex.

I think Dave does too, but actually the link is great for him. He's under a deadline so any help is appreciated!

It's so funny: I told him to email Todd and Charles. Swear I never even thought of you! I'm going daft!!

I'm going to go check out your other suggestions, because now this has become a fascinating procrastination tool.

Seriously, we both thank you for your expertise!

Kid Sis said...

TAK, you rock! So glad you are sticking around! Thanks for the suggestions.

I'm sure iCustomer will be here soon to thank you as well. :)

Anonymous said...

Uh, I have nothing to add on Superman, but I *did* find this spiffy spec listed on "Query Letters":

LOGLINE: After smoking radioactive marijuana, two friends gain superpowers and embark on a mission to fight political injustice.

A coinciding online comic is in development.

Totally rad!

Kid Sis said...

This all reminds me of an old friend of mine who misunderstood the lyrics to Five For Fighting's Superman song.

We'd be driving around, and at the top of her lungs she'd sing:

"I'm only a man in a silly regime..."

Of course, the real lyrics are I'm only a man in a silly red sheet.

I like my friend's version better.

Kid Sis said...

Radioactive MJ? Jeez, in college the regular kind had me balled up in a corner crying. Keep that crap away from me!

Kid Sis said...

So clearly Maggin influenced Tarantino's brilliant Kill Bill monologue about Clark. Interesting. He says he always steals from the best.

Anonymous said...

Yeah -- the spec sounds like something cooked up while smokin'. The whole of act II is probably an extended joke about them stopping off for munchies while saving the world. Hearty-har-har.

How are you doing, by the way? Have you gotten some sleep?


American Knight said...

Alex Ross also has wonderfully insightful stuff in his Mythologies book).


Kid Sis said...

NN- Har har.

Actually, I'm sleeping like a log. But the nightmares suck. Last night I was stuck in a Tsunami over and over again, holding my breath when the big waves I wouldn't have been beaned in the head and killed by debris or a drowning cow anyway. Dreams suck.

TAK, good point. He's such a scholar. I always love it when they interview him for DVD extras.

iCustomer, are you here yet? Have we overwhelmed you, or are you looking for more?

Kid Sis said...

Elektra and Daredevil wed!!!!

Wow. That fulfills some childhood fantasies of mine.,1,16853,00.html?fixticker

Anonymous said...

You're having nightmares too? Feeling restless?

You know, apparently the moon has been much closer to Earth for the last few weeks than it has been in many years, and Mars is going to follow suit in the next few weeks.

I'm telling you, we must be sensitive to gravitational pull of the universe. A pair of nightmare goddesses. Sweeeet.


Patrick said...

Hi Kid Sis,

It's kinda ironic that I've just finished watching Kill Bill parts one and two and that you're looking for information on Superman. Even more ironic is that the first item I thought of was Larry Niven's Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex. I first read that particular essay in a bookstore (I need to get myself a personal copy!) and it blew my blond little mind. Niven's diatribe certainly changed my perception of super heroes.

By the way, would the theme song to Scrubs provide any insight? I can't remember the lyrics at the moment- only that I'm no Superman is repeated over and over. Hope the writer will post a link to his essay once it's finished.

Anonymous said...

Thanks KidSis for making my request public. I knew I could count on you and your "powers" of publication to help me out.
sorry about the late pos but I've been in finals all day 9-5, ugh...
BigBro thanks for the great sites, I've heard of "Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex" and have flipped through it at bookstores, but for some reason completly forgot about it as a resource.
theamericanknight, thanks for the thesis on superman thats exactly what I was looking for!
Here are the clifton poems if anyone is interested
thanks again everyone for the help

American Knight said...

Glad to help, my Superman geekery has finally come in handy...

Moses said...

Probably not exactly what your friend is after but it's an interesting article, about Superman's "offical" hometown, Metropolis, Illinois. It's an AP story. Read it in the local paper today, tracked it down in the Chicago Tribune.,1,3119800.story?coll=chi-entertainmentfront-hed

Kid Sis said...

Moses, cool!

thanks everyone! My friend is stoked!

And they say reading comics is a waste of time...

Kid Sis said...

Wow, those are some Clifton Poems.

iCustomer, you have to post your paper when you're done!!!!! It's the law.

WriteOnBklyn said...

also worth checking out is David Mamet's essay "Kryptonite" in his essay collection, "Some Freaks." From which: "(Superman's) power is obtained, then, at the expense of any possibility of personal pleasure."

Anonymous said...

well if it's the law.....


Patrick said...


The latest Previews Magazine, a massive comic book catalogue published monthly for us die hard geeks- excuse me, I meant afficianados- offers a hardcover book titled It's a Bird, It's a plane, It's a Novel by Tom De Haven. Don't know when it's coming out, but I hope it offers you some timely help in completing your thesis.

Kid Sis said...

Thanks, Patrick! See you in class next week!

Totally kidding. Little head injury humor for you there. How many times now have you told me you're the OTHER Patrick?