Superman is the most important superhero ever created. Others may have become more popular in the meantime, but every superhero owes a debt to the original pioneer. So many superhero comic book tropes were codified by Superman, changing the comic book industry forever. Superman’s effect on pop culture is undeniable; he is the progenitor of the superhero craze that has swept the world in recent years.
Superman fans love the Man of Steel with all their hearts, but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy. There was a time when Superman was the most important thing in DC, but that has slowly changed. It’s gotten to the point where being a Superman fan is pretty tough and there are some pretty harsh realities that affect the fandom.
8 Batman gets all the love from DC
In many ways, being a Superman fan is better than ever, with action comics wow readers with his Warworld saga and Jon Kent revitalizing the hero’s mantle in Superman: Son of Kal-El. Unfortunately, there’s a huge bat in the room, the one that’s been dominating DC’s discourse for a long time now. Batman comics sell out massively, and DC puts all of its eggs in Batman’s basket at the expense of everything else.
There was a time when Batman and Superman, with Wonder Woman to a lesser extent, each had a modicum of love. Batman has forged ahead, getting multiple miniseries and every title every time there’s a creative shift in his books. DC pushes its billionaire bat to the moon and lets readers do all the work with Superman.
7 A lot of creators don’t understand how to write Superman
Superman’s history is filled with some of the greatest comics of all time. There’s a plethora of incredible Superman material for fans to devour, but that doesn’t mean every creative team is doing a good job with the character. It’s pretty standard with comics; not all runs of a given comic are good. The problem here is that so many creators don’t understand how to write Superman.
This happens as much in the Superman books as it does in the team or event books. Some writers write it as a deus ex machina, which completely misses the character. They emphasize the super and forget the man, something Superman fans have to deal with more than readers of any other character.
6 Superman-Wonder Woman Shippers Are More Prevalent Than They Should Be
Superman fans love the relationship between Lois and Clark. This makes perfect sense for both characters; they were literally made for each other, designed over years to form the perfect couple by generations of designers. The post-DC Rebirth comics did an amazing job portraying them as a team, and Superman fans embraced it. Unfortunately, there’s a rather vocal contingent of Superman-Wonder Woman shippers that makes things uncomfortable for everyone.
Although there are certainly stories where the Superman-Amazon relationship works, like the future epic kingdom come, in modern times, it lacks interest in Lois and Clark as a couple and Superman as a character. The fact that the New 52 gave themselves up to these shippers is one of the worst parts of Superman’s history.
5 Old Superman comics are something else
For modern Superman fans, going back and reading older Superman comics is definitely an experience. Golden and Silver Age comic book reprints are easier to obtain than ever, but reading the comics reveals a different character than contemporary readers are accustomed to. The Golden Age comics have some interesting storylines, but they’re definitely out of their time. The Silver Age comics are gonzo sci-fi combined with a mean-spirited Superman, Lois Lane and Lana Lang trying to trick him into marrying one of them, and the literal shape-shifting and metaphorical by Jimmy Olsen.
Rereading old Superman comics is good for a laugh, but there are plenty of groan-worthy moments that are worth it. Old comics can be disappointing, and re-reading old ones Superman stories is not rewarding, even compared to his peers.
4 Superman’s Evil Stories Are So Played Out
There are plenty of great and terrible alternate Supermen out there, but the worst of them are the evil Superman analogues. Alternate universe stories allow readers to see their favorite characters in new ways and for some reason many creators think the height of intelligence is an evil Superman. This type of Superman variant was done to death, and it’s lazy storytelling taken to the extreme.
There are good Evil Supermen, like Ultraman and Bizarro, but most Evil Supermen are just a reversal of morality that’s usually deep. This portrayal of Superman is popular with casual Superman fans, but it’s downright infuriating for people who love the character.
3 Fans have had the same villains over and over again for years
Superman is one of the most powerful heroes ever created and has defeated some of the most powerful villains of all time. This made for some pretty exciting battles, but those struggles became the norm. Superman has fought many of the same villains over and over again for decades. There’s a lot of Luthor, a lot of Zod, Darkseid, and Doomsday, and it’s become predictable. There are so many villains in modern Superman comics, and it’s getting old for fans.
Bendis’ Superman run gets a lot of flak, but the writer has created a slew of new villains to challenge Superman with. It was the first time in many years that Superman faced new threats and brought about a refreshing change. Fans would rather see a new villain or one they haven’t seen in a long time rather than the same almighty foes he’s faced his entire life.
2 The toxic talk around Jon Kent has overshadowed a great series
Superman: Son of Kal-El stars Jon Kent as Superman, succeeding his weakened father as Earth’s protector. Jon turned out to be an incredible Superman and the book itself is full of writing and art. Jon Kent’s coming out as bisexual was a major moment in comic book history, with DC connecting one of its most important characters to the LGBTQ+ community. The vast majority of fans totally agree with this, but a vocal minority poisoned the speech with toxic rhetoric.
Superman fans have to deal with a small group of “comic book fans” actively poisoning the well for one of the best news Superman pounds to years. Superman is about accepting, protecting and loving humanity. “Fans” who believe otherwise make every other fan who understands that look bad by association.
1 The character is widely misunderstood
Comic book characters that are misunderstood by their readers are all too common, but Superman gets the worst of it. For people who don’t read Superman comics, there’s a mistaken impression that Superman is a lame boy scout relic from an earlier era. These readers see him as the ultimate goody-two-shoes, without nuance, and don’t understand the appeal of the character. Superman fans must constantly defend their fandom against fans who would rather stereotype the character than actually engage with him.
Superman is a character of deceptive simplicity and surprising complexity. Non-fans assume they understand him and look down on fans of the character because of how they view Superman. Wrongly perceiving him as a relic makes it difficult for fans to understand him. Die-hard fans constantly find themselves explaining the realities of Man of Steel to an obtuse world.
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