The Scope of Superman
Over the weekend I finished watching Superboy season three. It’s definitely the best season of the show so far and there are some legitimately good episodes. I had really written the show off as being bad and was only watching it for completionist’s sake. I understand for many fans the bad effects and mostly bad guest stars make this a tough watch. But when the show takes itself and the premise seriously it can really shine! There are even episodes that may have inspired Smallville; Mine Games has a pretty similar premise as Nemesis. I especially loved the season finale with an older Superman living in a utopia. I wish they could’ve gotten Kirk Alyn for it, but Tarzan/Doc Savage works too. One of the first things that came to mind after I finished was that I can understand why someone would focus their Superman fandom on this show and make a website dedicated to it (the excellent Superboy Legacy).
This lead my mind to Caped Wonder. Another excellent site and podcast dedicated to another very specific portion of Superman’s 84 year multimedia history. This plus thinking about my gaps in fandom made we wonder why some people go really deep and others go really broad.
My quest to watch everything, read every comic, and know every artist makes it really hard to have encyclopedic knowledge in one area. I can tell you a lot about Smallville. Characters, actors, guest stars, seasons, story arcs; but if you give me a plot point could I tell you the name and number of the episode? Probably not, but Zach Moore from Always Hold On To Smallville can. I can recite lines of dialogue from Superman The Movie, but could I tell you the day a scene was filmed? Probably not, but Jim Bowers from Caped Wonder can.
I don’t have a Superman origin story like many other folks. Superman was always present in my life as long as I can remember. The Filmation and Fleischer cartoons were constantly in rotation in my toddler years. My grandmother’s taped from HBO Superman The Movie was the first thing I went for at her house. My dad’s comics and action figures just out of my reach. Adam Talking Superman tweeted about the Superman IV comic adaptation and it reminded me it was probably the first Superman comic I ever owned—although I know my collection started with Action Comics #663: Time and Time Again Phase II.
One of the first comics I ever remember reading! Before my dad trusted me with my own collection.— Miracle Monday (@_MiracleMonday) April 11, 2022
I think I went so wide because there was never one Superman in my mind. I knew the original was from comics, but they were out of reach for the four year old me who was watching The Quest for Peace. So I wanted it all. Collecting comics at 8, Lois & Clark at 10, Smallville at 18, Superman Returns at 23, Man of Steel at 30.
Whereas some folks have that moment they became a fan. Jim Bowers talks about taking his brother to see Superman the Movie when he was 17 on a recent podcast. You can hear similar stories from everyone I’ve mentioned and there are tons like it out there. Steve Younis has a good one.
Last year when I was doing trivia at the Superman Celebration Jeopardy game someone asked me how I knew about so much. I think I’ve got a memory that is good for trivia, but I’ve steeped so much of my life into such a wide variety of Superman media. I love it all and will continue to engage with as much as I can on a wide scope.