NYCC 2013: Superman 75th Anniversary

Emily Dunbar ’17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff

This NYCC was a very big one for everyone involved in Superman. It’s the series’ 75th year, and they planned to celebrate in a multitude of ways. The first was a special feature, called “Strong Characters, Legendary Stories,” from this year’s Man of Steel.

Then, the panelists shuffled out and immediately began to discuss the many exciting and drama-filled portions of the past 75 years of the series. They talked about how about every 30 years or so, there’s a re-imagination that comes along and “[sweeps] away the barnacles,” in a sense. They all agreed, though, that the core essence of who superman is always must remain the same, no matter what else changes.

Molly Quinn explained, “He is good; he is all we want to be. I think he’s the perfect role model for humanity.

Mike Carlin said, “He’s got superpowers and abilities, and so does everyone… As long as you use yours for good, you’re just like Superman.”

They talked all about how a lot of superheroes seem intimidating these days, and Superman could even be placed in this category as time has passed. However, in the beginning of his character, he was an everyman who just had some extra stuff going on. However, even with this dynamic, there are new Superman fans reading and watching the series everyday.

A fan asked the best way for kids to get into the Superman comics, nowadays, and none of the panelists could give a definite answer. They agreed that modern comics are probably the easiest for modern-day kids to get into, and one panelist even said, “Everyone’s first Superman should be the Superman comic that comes out next!”

Related: Why Man of Steel isn’t a Superman Movie

Another question prompted the panelists to speak about the things that are possible in the screen adaptations of the series, rather than the comics. They agreed that the sound is truly one of the most important things. “It allows you to think about the character in a different way. How should [he] sound?” A lot of what inspires confidence in the people around him is Superman’s voice, which no one can hear through the pages of a comic book.

We then got to see an amazing animated short of Superman’s many different incarnations throughout the 75 years. It was flash-filled and beautiful, and we had to promise a million times that we would leave our phones in our pockets and not record it. Carlin got misty eyed watching it, and explained that watching the evolution of Superman and the character’s life was like watching his own life, thus far. He went from being a fan to being directly involved with the direction of the modern series.

Through the rest of the panel, the questions addressed the lack of product placement (to which one panelist quipped, “As long as we have this many fans, we don’t need to worry about product placement in books!”) to what the new message of the Superman series has become over the years. Every panelist agreed that the meta says that we all have special talents and gifts and powers that can make each of us a superhero, as long as we do something great with them.

The final idea addressed in the panel was that of Superman and Wonder Woman’s relationship. There are a few issues in which Wonder Woman comes along and her and Superman’s relationship seems strangely intimate. The panelists assured that this was not at the expense of Lois Lane, and that they never forget that this year is her 75th anniversary as well. However, they did assure us that Superman and Wonder Woman are going to have a lot of fun.

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