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July 6, 2011

Superman sucks. And I will debate you on this one until my dying breath.

Who picked out his suit? I’ll tell you. He did. Tight, to accentuate the musculature. Bright, vivid blue, so there’s not a shred of doubt in your mind—that hulking man over there—the one who’s just stretched the bank-robber’s lower lip all the way up over his own face and down the back of his own head—that’s him. Superman. The red briefs and cape prevent him from going unnoticed in the sky. And the large, diamonded “S,” (also his design)—that’s some of the most pretentious clothing-lettering I’ve ever laid eyes on. When he goes home at night, he gets out of his spandex and pulls on a shirt that says, Want me? Stand in line. The next morning, when he goes for a jog, he wears a shirt that says, Trust me. I’m a Doctor. When he goes to sleep, he wears a huge nightshirt that says I Donated Blood Today. The pretense is unbearable.

His first name is Super. His last name is Man. His middle name is Beautiful but his agent keeps that hushed up for PR purposes.

I’m an evildoer. Various circumstances in my childhood imbued me with an urge to someday rule the world. Everyone hates me despite the fact that I’m the most complex, conflicted, misunderstood, and intriguing character in the movie. I’m interested in wreaking a little havoc—nothing drastic—just frightening people out of their wits for the most part. Now, answer me this: how in the blue blazes—and that’s not a reference to Superman—how in the blue blazes am I supposed to stack up against this guy?

I’m supposed to be a supervillian, but people don’t even know my name. I’m about as threatening as a kitten rowing a boat or a teddy bear doing the polka, or any kind of cute animal, such as a circus seal—the kind that balances a colorful ball on its nose. And if I so much as bark wrong, Superman will appear in about 0.5 milliseconds and stuff my foot down my throat and spank my butt with my own hand while the crowd looks on and applauds. Later, he’ll fly me over the city, holding me by my underpants, knowing and secretly enjoying the fact that he’s giving me the King-Kong-Daddy of all wedgies.

I’m salivating at the thought of getting my hands on a scrap of Kryptonite, but the fact is, I grew up in the projects, and flying halfway across the universe in a rocket ship has never really been in the budget.

The point is, with Mr. S. around, nobody’s afraid of me. Do you understand? Nobody. And where’s the thrill in life without a little danger? People need me, whether they like it or not.

Batman’s alright. Wanna know what happens to Batman when you shoot him in the face? I’ll tell you. He drops flat-freak onto the floor. Boom. Done. Like a sandbag. He’s taking risks out there and you have to respect him for that.

But all these heroes—Superman, Batman, Spiderman, Flash, Flash Gordon, Flash Bomba, Flashman, Fluid Man, Dash, Daredevil, Darkdevil, Darkhawk, Darkman, and Darkwing Duck—they all have something in common—something that chafes at me—something that chafes so bad as to give Superman’s undies an inferiority complex. Here it is: all of these heroes hide. They act one way in public and another in private. Batman scorns Two-Face—calls him evil, and other names, like “twofaced.” But if that isn’t the biggest irony in comic-book history, I don’t know what is. These heroes are so intent on looking perfect for the world that they literally have to divide themselves into alternate identities: one for their families, their close friends, their love interests, and themselves, and another identity for the public—the crowds, the parades, the parties, the media. Earlier, I said Superman sucks. I stand by that assertion. But Clark Kent? He seems like a really great guy.

Admittedly, it’s hard to be yourself at all times. I know it is. I have a sort of crimson, satiny shirt that I pull out when I go to sophisticated meetings. But masks? Pseudonyms? Completely disparate behavior patterns? Don’t let it go that far. You’ve got your talents, skills, weaknesses, quirks, dreams, and issues. These are your super powers, so to speak. Some people won’t care for your particular set of powers. These people are insignificant. Others will love you without a doubt. I promise. But no one can ever come to love a mask.

One more fact about Superman, just to keep things in perspective: the thing he’s most proud of—the thing nobody knows about—wanna know what it is? He makes prize-winning apple dumplings. He enters them at county fairs, under the name T. Henry Prewett. 


© Trent R. Leinenbach, Ashen Apples, 2011

2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 7, 2011 8:24 am

    I always thought they wore their masks to protect their loved ones…a noble excuse.

  2. July 7, 2011 11:45 am

    That’s quite false, Chelsea. You’re ruining my thesis. 🙂

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