When I was a kid, I learned a lot from Superman.
From the television series, Adventures of Superman (1952-1958), I learned honesty. George Reeves’ character battled thieves and gangsters. Truth and justice were virtues of Superman and I strived for the same ethics.
I learned courage. Superman was not afraid of anything and I wanted to be like him. Especially the flying part. I was not the only kid to leap off the garage roof with a towel around his neck.
When it was announced in 1959 that George Reeves committed suicide, I learned reality. I learned that people are vulnerable, that even the strongest have their weaknesses.
Then I learned how to read. With the TV show off the air, I continued my interest by following Superman comic books or Action Comics. I learned about maturity by reading about Superboy.
And by reading comic books, I learned value. I could find five empty soda-pop bottles worth $0.02 each. This was enough for the latest issue which sold for $0.10.
Inflation was another lesson. When comic prices went to $0.15, bottle deposits rose to $0.03. It still took five bottles to purchase one comic.
I learned about identity and about accepting other nationalities and cultures. On the planet Krypton, Superman was known as Kal-El. But because he always used his powers for the benefit of humanity, he was not considered an alien.
Superman’s secret identity was Clark Kent. Clark was a mild-mannered guy. Sometimes people didn’t treat him with respect but that didn’t bother him. He knew his strengths. Maybe my decision to become a writer was because of Clark Kent.
Superman taught me the value of teamwork as well. If faced with a super-villain, Superman might join forces with Batman. If there was an organization of evil, Superman would call his friends from the Justice League of America. Sometimes, it’s easier to share a task. But it’s important to surround yourself with people who use their powers for good.
Superman doesn’t harm anyone. I try not to either. He doesn’t lie. I try to be honest. He is not possessive. I’m still learning this part. Superman is not obsessed with grudges from his past. I’ve learned to let go of negative feelings too.
Though I may not have super powers, I can still emulate the qualities of Superman. One could do worse.
Learn more about Superman, his friends, his foes, and thousands of other comic book, movie, television, and gaming heroes and villains at the Alamo City Comic Con beginning Friday. Stan Lee, former president and chairman of Marvel Comics (widely considered the “godfather of comic book heroes”), and Edward James Olmos, American actor and director, are just two of the special guests at this year’s convention. Click here for more information.
*Top image: A Superman figurine on display during the 2014 Alamo City Comic Con. Photo by Iris Dimmick.