Why Superman doesn't wear a mask. (Superman Earth One)
I tried every dye I could, but the material from the ship doesn't change colors. In the long run, it's a good thing...people will be looking at the colors instead of your face.
Wouldn't it be easier if I had a mask or something?
Yes it would...but you can't ever wear a mask.
When people see what you can do, when they see how powerful you are, they're going to be terrified. A mask would only add to that. They'll need to see your face so they can see that there's no evil in it...to see the gentleness and decency in you...and know that they have nothing to fear. The mask -- the mask is what you'll have to wear the rest of the time.
The True Core of The Man Of Steel (Or “What Superman Means to Me”)
If you ask most people who their favorite superhero is you’ll rarely hear anyone say Superman, and why would you.
There’s no depth to him, there’s nothing left to explore or deconstruct about the character outside of why he doesn’t have the biggest god complex in history.
Most see him as being a bland, overpowered, uninteresting boy scout who always saves the day. He’s not even my favorite superhero but I do feel that he is a figure that represents and stands for something very important but who most misunderstand, especially in the over-saturated climate of super hero films that we have today. No offense to Zack Snyder but I don’t think he understands what makes the character work either which is why I find his portrayal of the character in is film to be so frustrating.
In my favorite Superman stories(All Star Superman, Earth One, Secret Identity, etc) there had always been a great emphasis on certain values that Superman held. They weren’t about how powerful, godlike, misunderstood and burdened he was, they were about Superman being humble and kind to others. Showing how he genuinely cared about the people around him because he knew that everyone need a helping hand from time to time when life got rough. Allow me to show some examples.
All Star Superman consists of a series of stories that chronicle Superman’s last days after an accident on a rescue mission causes him to develop a condition that makes him more powerful than ever but is also slowly killing him. There is one moment in the comic where Sups is explaining his condition to Lois and he hears someone desperately pleading on their phone with someone on the other end not to take their own life. Without hesitation he explains to Louis that he has to go and races of to save this person, when he gets there he sees a teenage girl standing on the edge of a building crying as she drops the phone she was using to talk to her therapist off the edge before preparing to jump. Rather than easily grabbing her and taking her down by force, he appears behind her and explains that her therapist really was being held up by traffic and hasn’t given up on her, he tells her that she’s stronger than she thinks and embraces her with a hug.
Another example of this can been seen in an issue of Superman Grounded. Sups comes across a large group of people(police, fire department, ambulance, etc) are all looking up at a woman about to jump from a skyscraper. An officer asks Sups if he can go up there and grab her but Sups says that he’ll talk to her instead, the woman tells Sups not to touch her and Sups promises not to take her down by force. She lets out all of her frustrations on him about her life, her anxieties and her fears at him and at the end she asks him if she can just sit there for a while and rest, Sups agrees. A time lapses happens where we see, in panels, things go from day to night and Superman simply floating there in front of her, not leaving her and not judging her. Eventually she comments on all the people looking up at her and Sups tells her about a friend he lost to suicide a long time ago, he tells her that if she believes that she has no more good days left in her life that he will respect her wishes and let her jump but if she feels that there is at the very least one more happy day in her future than she should take his hand. She stares at his hand for a moments and then jumps into Superman’s arms, with Sups telling her that things will be alright as she cries.
THAT is who Superman is, someone who represents hope, love, and the best of what we can be. Someone who CARES about people who are lonely, scared and in pain. That’s the kind of Superman that I want everyone to see, the one who truly and deeply believes that everyone matters, the one who wants to do everything he can to make their lives a little easier and a litter safer. But with the current climate of superhero movies we have today I’m afraid that a scene like this will never be brought to life on the big screen. Big budget companies seem to see super hero films as a genre in and of themselves that primarily center around action packed blockbuster stories rather than as creations that could be used to explore and deconstruct more mature and complex ideas such as with Logan which was by all accounts a deconstruction of superhero films themselves. Now you might be asking yourself “If that’s all you had to say then why did you put it in the description of a link to some random composition from the original Superman film?”( You’re probably not asking that but I couldn’t think of a way to transition to this last paragraph smoothly).
The theme song for of the original Richard Donner Superman film from 1978, composed by the legendary John Williams, is considered by many to be the defining theme for the character. Superman at his best, a hero to the world. Hans Zimmer composed a new theme for Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel in 2013 that, in musical form, chronicled the Supermans rise from humble beginnings to godlike hero. But despite my love for these themes, neither of them encapsulate the core of who Superman is to me. The theme that I feel fully expresses the humble, kind, loving, friendly, good natureded person that he is, what I feel is at the heart of both Superman and his alter ego Clark Kent, is this composition by John Williams known as Theme of Love from the Richard Donner’s original film. In my opinion if this theme doesn’t fit with a certain portrayal or adaptation of Superman than you’re not doing things wrong. This theme has fit with every incarnation of Superman that I’ve seen aside from one, the recent Zack Snyder incarnation, the one that most people who don’t care all that much about Superman or what he represents will see and that’s something that I honestly find very disheartening. In this age of super hero films showing grandiose displays of heroism, I think it’s important to remember that showing small acts of kindness and humility can be just as important and Superman is the perfect paragon to convey this message.
So Multiplicity finally hit, and it was indeed The Business much as I’d hoped. It really did shock me how far putting Ivan Reis and Joe Prado on this went to make it feel like Superman is being treated for a moment as an A-list book again (not that the likes of Gleason, Jimenez and Mahnke aren’t all top-tier themselves, but Reis lends a “this is a MAJOR EVENT” feel to any project he winds up on his with his smooth detailing and widescreen feel), and given his stint on at least the start of JLA with the Lord Havok arc, it seems all Multiversity followups for the moment are under his purview.
But while most of the guest appearances are probably (and I expect intentionally) easy to recognize or figure out - here’s the Superman from that characters’ most popular Elseworlds and even if you don’t know him you can figure out “he’s a Russian Superman, that’s his deal”, here’s a pseudo Justice League, they’ve got a Flash-type person and a Superman who’s apparently President and Iron Man even though they can’t call him Iron Man, etc. - but the big shot at the end where you see some of the other Supermen dragged into the advertised get-together gets a little more obscure.
It doesn’t help that several of the Earth numbers attached are flat-out wrong, because as it’s always worth remembering, Eddie’s a bad editor as well as a bad guy. Hell, he edited The Multiversity Guidebook, he should know that shit as well as anyone! Luckily however, I’m kind of a Superman guy, so if anybody hasn’t read Multiversity lately, I’ve got what you need. Heading down each row from left to right:
Bizarro of Earth 29: The Superman of the Bizarro universe, he’s pretty much just regular Bizarro. He had a really fun one-shot by the Pak/Kuder team in Action Comics #40.
Ultraman of Earth 43: The Superman on a world loosely based on Red Rain, where Batman was turned into a vampire to defeat Count Dracula, only to succumb to his curse and spread it to the rest of the Justice League. However, given that he’s for some reason Ultraman - and the fate of Ultraman in Final Crisis - it seems he may actually be the Pre-Flashpoint Ultraman, somehow given a monstrous second chance. Last we saw him he was part of an invasion force on the darkly magical Earth 13 - he was attacked by the Kal-El/Etrigan fusion Superdemon, until Zatanna redirected his hunger towards coffee.
Super-Martian of Earth 32: From a world home to a number of mash-up characters like Bat-Lantern and Aquaflash united as the Justice Titans, he’s fairly self-descriptive.
New Super-Man of Earth 0: Kenan Kong, who absorbed the New 52 Superman’s life energy after his passing and his learning to grow beyond the schoolyard bully he used to be; his origin is probably why the invaders thought of him as the native Superman of the main DCU. He’s got his own book at the moment, feel free to check it out.
Sunshine Superman of Earth 47: Debuting way back during Morrison’s Animal Man, he protects the funkiest of all possible Earths as the leader of the Love Syndicate of Dreamworld.
Superman II (?) of Earth 2: We don’t get a good look at him, but the design of his suit would suggest he’s Val-Zod, a Kryptonian survivor who took over the mantle after the death of his worlds’ Kal-El. Don’t know much about him beyond that, or whether or not him being here complicates or contradicts anything going on in the Earth-2 book.
Superwoman of Earth 11: What it says on the tin; while there are some notable differences on this gender-altered Earth (the Amazons took a more direct hand in world affairs for one thing), she’s pretty much exactly like her main Earth counterpart aside from being a woman. Though given she was captured rather than dismissed as an anomaly, it’s fair to say she probably hasn’t died and been replaced by her Pre-Flashpoint incarnation lately.
Supremo of Earth 35: Not helped by being identified as from Earth 50 (home of the Justice Lords), this is actually a DC-Multiverse version of Supreme, heading up the Super-Americans. His Earth was noted as being designed in ‘idea-space’ by the Monitors to reflect other worlds, and while that’s probably just a gag at his source-materials’ nature as a pastiche character, for all we know it could somehow prove important.
Superman (?) of Earth 31: We don’t actually know his name, but he’s the Superman figure of a post-apocalyptic flooded Earth where Pirate Batman (aka Captain Leatherwing) is one of the last arbiters of justice. Fun fact: this was originally supposed to be the Earth of The Dark Knight Returns - Earth-31 was pre-Flashpoint, and Klaus Janson was going to draw an image for the The Multiversity Guidebook - but Frank Miller nixed it when he heard what was up.
Superman of Earth 22: We can’t actually see him, but if the numbers’ right, this is the Superman of Kingdom Come, and you know what that is. If you’ve read all of 10 DC books in your entire life, odds are fair that it was one of them.
Knightwing of Earth 38: Another mislabel (Earth 45′s is Superdoomsday from Morrison’s Action Comics), Clark Wayne is the grandson of both Superman and Batman in Superman/Batman: Generations. Exposed to Gold Kryptonite in the womb by his father (Joel Kent, Superman’s son. Who had…issues with the rest of his family), he ended up raised by Batman’s son Bruce Jr./Batman III, who eventually made him his Robin. When he learned of his full lineage and regained the powers of his birthright, he stuck with his recently-acquired new name of Knightwing as a happy medium between the inheritances of both bloodlines.
Superman of Earth ???: Misidentified as the Superman of Earth 38, I actually can’t tell who this is; he’s pretty normal-looking, and while it’s clear there’s a couple non-standard elements to his uniform that don’t immediately match up with anyone, he’s too indistinct and awkwardly-positioned to see for certain. To be honest, what we see of his face makes me think of Christopher Reeve? Unless this is corrected for trade or Tomasi answers my (hopefully polite! It’s awkward to ask anything even remotely ringing of “can you correct this mistake for me”, but I’m sure it was a simple mix-up and I’m really curious) tweet, this is likely to remain a mystery. Until then, it’s safe to assume he’s probably just a generic filler Superman.
Superman of Earth 1: The star of the Superman: Earth One series, and the one guy I sincerely hope bites it by stories’ end. JMS has said he’s not doing more comics anyway, so he’s officially expendable. Then again, it’s so obscure an image, seemingly without a normal s-shield, that this could be a mistake too.
Even aside from those 13, plus the Red Son Superman of Earth 30, President Superman of Earth 23, and regular ‘ol Superman, along with Captain Carrot seemingly being counted as among that fraternity, there’s by my count at least 13 or so more active Supermen on top of that in the current Multiverse, so there’s plenty more last sons of Krypton who could be popping their heads in. In particular I’m curious to see if Earth 8′s Hyperion-equivalent Hyperius shows up, since his mysterious disappearance was one of Multiversity’s bigger dangling threads.