Every week (just about) I read the adventures of both the Man of Steel and of the amazing, the spectacular, the sensational Spider-Man recently I noticed that both characters are happy jolly individuals, in stark contrast to The Batman and The Punisher. Neither character seems bitter about their roles in their respective fictional universes and though both have experienced hardships both approach life with a positive attitude it’s probably why Superman’s my favourite DC character and Spider-Man one of my top three Marvel characters (Thor Odinson and The Thing my other two favourite Marvel characters). Both Superman and Spider-Man make for great role models.
Whenever I’m interacting with other people, usually at work, I try to think what would Superman do? Or Spider-Man say in this situation? My responsibilities at my place of employ centre around the support of Service Users I’m forever using, inside my head, ‘with great power comes great responsibility’ as I operate in and around my workplace, and I ensure my time at my workplace revolves around the Service Users as I keep them entertained, play the fool for their benefit, act like a kid and generally make sure the Service Users are laughing and joking. I figure Superman, and especially Spider-Man, would keep Service Users well entertained if they had to help support their wants and needs.
I’m not sure which superhero is the most jolly, is it Superman or is it Spider-Man? I guess it doesn’t really matter both seem super happy and both seem to inspire happiness in others. You never see Superman (Post-Crisis) having arguments or upsetting his adoptive parents or Spider-Man raging at Aunt May both characters have fun loving relationships with their adoptive parents.
Doomed planet. Desperate scientists. Last hope. Kindly couple. Grant Morrison’s explanation of Superman’s origins in his All Star Superman story is the best use of Superman’s origin I’ve ever seen. Usually when a character is enjoying a re-boot or re-imagining, or new movie series, the characters origin is poured over again and again and again. I don’t need another story telling me the origin of Superman in the comic books it’s been done so many times, each time slightly different that it’s kind of annoying for Superman’s origin I prefer Pre-Crisis storylines and Pre-Crisis Krypton, it’s a world that belongs in a Fifties science fiction movie, bright gaudy costumes, rocket ships, laser pistols, a proper Flash Gordon/Buck Rogers type world. In the movies I prefer the Krypton, and origin of Superman, from Superman: The Movie, Marlon Brando as Jor-El Superman’s father, come on it’s Marlon freakin’ Brando as Superman’s father it doesn’t get much more awesome than that, in fact the only way it could be more awesome is if it was my Superman movie (the one that exists inside my head) that features Arnold Schwarzenegger as Jor-El.
‘Live as one of them, Kal-El, to discover where your strength and your power are needed. But always hold in your heart the pride of your special heritage. They can be a great people, Kal-El, they wish to be. They only lack the light to show the way. For this reason above all, their capacity for good, I have sent them you… my only son.’
Imagine that classic iconic piece of movie dialogue delivered by Arnie it would be as awesome as this:
John Matrix: Remember, Sully, when I promised to kill you last?
Sully: That’s right, Matrix! You did!
John Matrix: I lied.
I LIED! Delivered in a fake Austrian accent is the one piece of movie dialogue I use the most, whenever I’ve purposely lied about something and then been found out I make sure I sound a little like John Matrix (great name by the way).
Superman lost not only his parents but his entire world, everyone who was like him, washed ashore a primitive world with a million different problems all of them petty and pathetic he Superman is the most human of all fictional characters but he’s an alien, remarkable. He’s the person you can rely upon to do the right thing no matter what and even if he’s faced with the prospect of excruciating death by green kryptonite he’ll still manage somehow to save us all.
What an alien guy.
My favourite version of Spider-Man, and more specifically Peter Parker, is Steve Ditko’s once he left the Spider-Man comic and John Romita replaced him Peter Parker went from loveable nerd to cool kid the very next issue I didn’t like that, I want Peter Parker back, perhaps he’s been locked away in a cryogenic chamber all these years as his horrid cool kid clone has ran rampant throughout the Marvel Universe. Or have we already had that storyline?
Spider-Man suffered terrible tragedy early in life, his parents dying in a car accident, he didn’t train himself to be a competent psychopath and carry out a war on motor vehicles instead he became a bright young kid with a promising future but then out of nowhere he gained amazing super powers, which made him go a little nuts to begin with, only the death of his beloved Uncle Ben managed to save Spider-Man from a hedonistic lifestyle of pleasure without pain.
Hit with tragedy for a second time Spider-Man didn’t decide to start a war on the poor or become a serial killer instead he became a hero, one of the most respected heroes in the Marvel Universe, time after time he put his life on the line to stop bad guys, usually bank robbers and petty crooks, but he helped save the world on more than one occasion he did all these things while his personal life was falling apart this didn’t turn him into a psychopath, a murderer, instead it pushed him to do greater good and he’s continued to sacrifice his own life to ensure the people of New York City live in relative peace.
What a guy.
Both Superman and Spider-Man need honouring for their dedication to always doing the right thing no matter what they’ve not let tragedy and pain dictate how they respond to the world or operate within it instead they’ve used moments that have broken lesser men as a means to galvanise themselves into selfless actions. They’ve both loved, Superman Lois Lane, who he has a child with, and Spider-Man Mary Jane, who he had a kid with, and both characters seem to learn from mistakes they’ve made and try and ensure they don’t repeat them.
Both Superman and Spider-Man seem like really happy chappies great examples of happy people they both seem to be grateful for the lives they lead, and have led, and both seem grateful for the immense powers they possess. I don’t think I’ve ever read a story featuring either character in which they’ve been lacking in gratitude big headed or overbearing they’re humble guys having been brought up with real world good to honest decent points of view. Both characters ensure they use their powers for the greater good and both seem pleasant always smiling and laughing, having a good natured joke with work colleagues while in their civilian identities, enjoying the company of family and friends, everyone who knows them in their secret identities finds them perfectly reasonable individuals no ones got a bad word to say about Clark Kent or Peter Parker because both are good guys.
Every good guy in the DCU wants to be Superman’s friend, I doubt there’s anyone in the Justice League who dislikes the happy fella, even The Batman, dark knight that he is, considers Superman his best friend, his super friend. As for Spider-Man during his run as an Avenger not only was he well liked he was (almost) revered and now, as Peter Parker, he’s surrounded by a team of happy go lucky scientists who think he’s a swell guy and that’s because he is a swell guy.
Superman and Spider-Man are the types of character I’m happy to admire and idolise they’re the types of happy people that inspire me and who I aspire to be. On those rare occasions I feel a bit sad, woe is me, I pick up a comic book featuring the adventures of Superman, or Spider-Man, and my moments of sadness disappear into the ether.