Where is Superman?

We all hope the damage to people and property from Hurricane Sandy will be less catastrophic than the advance billing. Daylight today will tell a large part of the story.

photo by Jonathan Wald via twitter

One of the most dramatic storm related developments late yesterday was the partial collapse of a construction crane atop a high rise building just south of Central Park. Footage showed the crane hanging precariously as winds picked up. Authorities evacuated the surrounding area as a precaution, afraid the crane might fall.

This is all we can do. Conditions are too severe to attempt to secure the massive structure. Safely lowering it to the ground in the midst of a hurricane is impossible. Danger is imminent. We are helpless to do anything but watch.

This is exactly the scenario I read about time and again in the comic books of my youth. And always in the next panel, one of the streetbound gawkers would say … “Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane …”

Yes, this situation is classic Superman-bait. I daresay if he were real, Clark Kent would not be able to resist this one. The only thing that would make it more attractive to him would be if Lois Lane had climbed up there to take a picture of the calamity, and had somehow managed to get tangled up in a free-swinging cable whipping in the 80 mph wind.

And while we’re looking up for help, how about that Kentucky UFO? Or the very similar-looking cylindrical UFO that supposedly flew into an active volcano?

Could we be having a monster hurricane, Halloween, a global alien invasion AND an election all at once? Not likely in the real world perhaps. But in the comic books this is just an ordinary day.

Why hasn’t Superman appeared?

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96 thoughts on “Where is Superman?”

  1. In comic book days the sale of superhero comic books used to rise and fall with the economy. Now superhero movies are much more popular during poor economy. Superman was invented during the Great Depression, as were several of the others.

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    1. My grandson, Mr Tuxedo, has long studied heroes and super heroes the way many boys his age do dinosaurs. There are early reader books not unlike comic books, one big panel per page with a paragraph of writing underneath. The four adults in his life got sick of reading them. But it was how he learned to read. He deplores the lack of such books about spies.

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      1. That should say superheroes and super villains.” It’s the super villains he finds more appealing. To which I will add that Superman and Lex Luther are mighty tame compared to the more modern ones.

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    2. Some of DC’s characters were absolutely by-products of the Great Depression, without a doubt. But it’s worth noting that lots of Timely Comics’ characters (which would later go on to become Marvel Comics) were products of world politics of the time. And when Marvel finally came in to it’s own, most of it’s most memorable characters were products of the just-post-’atomic-age’ in the early 1960′s. Comics are reflections of popular culture.

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      1. When I saw “Some of DC’s characters were absolutely by-products of the Great Depression”, my first interpretation of DC was Dale Connelly and I was interested that tgith thought he used the Great Depression as inspiration for Bubby, Cap’n Billy, Loomis, et al. Then I read more and, nevermind.

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  2. Good morning. I think it is the time for superman to reappear. My son-in-law, Zack, is about to publish a comic with a super hero, named Super Tonic Man, that is designed to help people learn music theory. I think we need a comic with a super hero that will educate the public about climate change and other important issues. Our two wonderful candidates for President from the two major parties don’t seem to be able to tell us much about their positions on climate change and avoid other issues that they should be addressing.

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  3. Clark KEnt is no longer at The Daily Planet. He quit his job to become a full-time blogger. I think he has lost his connection to breaking news so is unaware of the dangerous crane situation. He is now much more familiar with Photoshop, UFO’s, and haiku.

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    1. Beth-Ann, Clark Kent’s recent history seems resemble the history of our hero who worked at MPR and left that job, but in his case it was because the job came to an end. Our hero, like Clark Kent, did some blogging and became familiar with Photoshop, UFO’s and Haiku, but didn’t lose his connection with the news and is now back in the board-casting business as well as in the news business. Maybe Clark should follow the example of our hero.

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    2. Truth be told, I did have a Superman suit when I was a boy. But I did not fill it out properly then or now, so you are barking up the wrong skyscraper if you think Superman and I are one and the same. I have spent too many years thinking about public policy to be a super hero anyway. Even if I had the power to fix it, instantly solving the problem of the dangling crane with my super strength might let a careless construction company off the hook for negligent maintenance of workplace equipment, leading to a more serious calamity down the road. Superman didn’t consider these things. Not in the books I read, anyway.

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  4. Well, its a damn mess, is what it is. Superheroes of all sorts have been grumbling about their spotty and inadequate TV presence, so they banded together to form the Super Hero Channel, a new cable channel that runs super heroics 24-7. Super heroes were forced to join this union and pay dues like average folks. But the key to the deal was that the cable TV companies had to buy a contract to run any of the Super Hero Channel, and of course the Super Heroes were not giving that baby away, nosiree! The cable companies squealed like stuck hogs when they saw the price, and that led to the blackout. The Super Heroes wouldn’t appear on TV if the whole package wasn’t picked up. Alas, the Super Heroes went on strike at what now looks like the worst possible time. Suddenly our cities were riven with Ponzi schemes and nobody paid their damn parking fees and you had baristas spiking Starbucks with chemicals from the naughty FDA list. And just try to get a Super Hero to fix any of this. Forget about Batman showing up to save a maiden being ravished on the public square; maybe Robin would make a brief appearance, but he’d just plug the Super Hero Channel and disappear. The only Super Hero making regular appearances was Reefer Man, and there is a lot of question about his credentials.

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  5. Superman is exactly what we need today. The problems facing the world today are many and the only solution is action. Superman is all about action. He is most familiar to us from the daily planet when all communication with the world around us was covered by an article in the morning paper and an announcement on the radio. Today superman will be just the ticket because he always do what’s right. He doesn’t have to meet with the other side and discuss a good compromise before he acts. Crane needs fixing in 100 mph winds…nothin to it. Climate is messed up because of air pollution? Inhale for all you’re worth and clean it up and watch the temp go down now that things are back to normal. Bad guys in middle east? Let’s go bonk some heads together and fly them off to the hoosegow. The bankers on wall street will be cooperating after our hero sees what dirty deals they are cutting for themselves at our expense. The superman hour done while he is flying around with Lois lane as his exclusive reporter air the daily highlight and ask for tweets and emails as to the needs of the world for his next response. I love it when he flies real fast counterclockwise and makes time go backwards so he can fix something he missed while battling evil on the other side of the globe. I am thinking the superman party may be just the ticket for this place and time. Tax the money of the world until we are even again. If you mess around his X-ray vision will see your cheating and triple the tax and mend you to jail you crook. No country club either. Perry white is now the head of the hoosegow and will keep the crooks in line. Jimmy Olson will do all the public interest stories on the Internet and he and Lois will be the most beloved people on the planet with superman so busy he won’t rest until every problem is fixed. Hurricane… Ho hum… Waves crashing… Fly real fast up and down the coast protecting all concerned. Bad guys… No screwing around.. You don’t want to know… Lies when you are telling people what you solution is and then deny it.. He will kick your ass.
    Superman… He’s right for us …now

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  6. Putting Clark’s, I mean Dale’s two stories together. 1) I used to have friend, an otherwise rational woman, who sincerely believed in UFO’s because an alien race was going to come rescue us from our problems. I told her that in California she could get registered as a religion.
    2) Kurt Vonnegut has a story by Kilgore Trout, a fictional character of his who writes sci-fi stories as filler in porno mags. In this story a Martian, a vastly superior race, studies mankind and becomes sorry for them, So he decided to solve earthlings three major problems: war, cancer, and high taxes. So after a couple years work he has the solutions to the problems. So he flies to earth. But the Martians are six inch tall blue creatures who communicate by farting and tap dancing. One night the Martian enters the house of woman in the middle of the USA. When she sees him, he starts “explaining” his solutions. The woman takes broom and beats the Martian to death.

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  7. You are all too funny today! I think that we should pursue the hypothesis that Dale might be Clark Kent. Too many parallels, don’t you think?

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  8. You lobbed a softball at me today, Dale. ;-)

    Superman won’t show up for several reasons, mainly, he’d be regulated to death. Think of it. He’d have to be registered with the FAA, file a flight plan every time he zips from one place to another at an altitude higher than about ten feet. Then the FDA would jump all over him about steroid use, EPO, blood doping, etc., etc., etc.

    Of course the Cosumer Product Safety Commission would require that he submit his cape to them for testing to make sure it’s flame retardant. His X-ray vision would be regulated by the World Health Organization to insure that no person accidently got in his field of vision and received a dose of radiation higher than currently accpetable.

    So let’s say he hires a bunch of lawyers, accountants, and assistants who take care of all this and he actually zooms to NYC to safely dismantle the dangling crane. First of all, Mayor Bloomberg and the Police Chief will insist on a briefing and want a thorogh plan of action outlined so they can deploy the Police and Fire to secure the perimeter.

    Of course Governor Cuomo will want a photo op, so he’ll horn in on the discussions and probably call in the National Guard, because that’s the knee jerk reaction to any disaster bigger than a hangnail. Most of the Guard will stand around drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes with the police and fire guys, but whenever a news reporter or photographer happens by, they’ll hoist their weapons, put walkie-talkies to their mouths, and gaze up in the sky (ostensibly at the crane, but most of them will be five miles away) so they appear to be doing something.

    Not to be outdone, FEMA will barge in saying, “Wait a damn second! New York City is part of the United States of America, so we insist that this catastrophe be overseen by us.” A plane load of FEMAnists get special permission to land at LaGuardia while Hurricane Sandy is making landfall. They fan out across NYC, handing out bottles of water (commandeered from Walmart, no doubt), and arrange for 10,000 mobile homes to be brought to staging areas in Newark, NJ, “just in case.”

    Then everyone sets up a command center in the bowels of the city (I think they lease this space from Lex Luthor), and stand around in a room full of computers and phones looking important.

    FInally, Pres. Obama comes on national TV, asks for a mass national group hug for Superman laden with 300 million individual thoughts and prayers, whips out a Certificate of Appreciation, and presents it to him for one final photo-op–in prime time, of course, pre-empting American Idol and Jersey Shore (let’s not forget the Kardashians, either!)

    Superman, upon seeing all this, decides, “Screw it! I got no time for this BS. Let the damn crane fall. I’m going to back to the Fortress of Solitude, maybe invite Santa Claus over for a six-pack and a pizza, and watch old movies on Turner Classic Movies.”

    Minutes too late because he was fixing his hair, Donald Trump rushes into the joint press conference with the Prez , Cuomo, and Bloomberg when they are about to declare a state of national emergency because the crane has finally collapsed and caused Manhattan to implode, commandeers the microphone and screams, “Get Superman’s birth certificate! Get Superman’s birth certificate!”

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    1. Don’t forget that Governor Christie will call him stupid if he can’t fix everything right away.

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  9. Personally, I think he’s perfecting his bridge game with Warren Buffet. Pretty sure his regular partner is Iron Man. Or maybe this is the answer:

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  10. Morning all. If I were Superman I might be plumb wore out and sick of us. Just think, he’s spent how many decades now getting our keesters out of a sling and we just go right back out and make more mess. I’d be on a secluded tropical island with no internet and no phone, sipping frothy cool drinks.

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  11. Let’s not sell Superman short. There is no doubt he has more than enough reasons to be disillusioned and ready to give up. He is Superman. He should be able to rise above his distress with the increasing and never ending problems that continue in spite of his best efforts, shouldn’t he? We don’t really have to solve these problem ourself, do we?

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  12. Eh, Superman. I’m waiting for the Kraken, Godzilla or Cthulhu to be disturbed by all this surface activity and rise to destroy us all. Then Supe will really have his hands full. On a tangent, a friend of a friend was on the HMS Bounty and was spotted getting off the chopper, so he’s okay.

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    1. Glad your friend is okay. I had staff in NYC – in order to get out on Sunday night, they had to rent a car and drive to Cleveland and then get flights home!

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    1. Speaking of books, Clyde, a few days ago you mentioned you were sending me an Ireland kayaking book. I’m puzzled about this…is it possible that book is intended for somebody else?

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      1. edith, a couple of weeks ago clyde mentioned thathe had that book and someone took him up on it. (put me in line for whenever it gets done) come to think of it i have another of clydes books to pass on to the group.. he mentioned later (a day or tow) that he mistakenly thought it was you and he shouldnt try to post when he is tired..
        heck clyde if you didnt post when you were tired we would never hear form you. as i have discovered mistakes are given a lot of slack around here.

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        1. Thanks for the clarification, tim. I would have passed the book onto whoever wanted it, if Clyde had mailed it to me. I must have missed both the original offer of that particular book as well as the comment later that he had mistakenly thought it was me who wanted it.

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    2. On Celtic tides : one man’s journey around Ireland by sea kayak / Chris Duff. This was the book Clyde mentioned. They also have it at HCLibrary.

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  13. OT – Tonight is the one year anniversary of Tom Keith’s, a.k.a. Jim Ed Poole, death. Miss you Tom and thinking of you tonight.

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      1. As they say, time flies when you’re having a good time. The older I get I realize that it flies even when you’re not.

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  14. Who cares where Superman is. I wonder where today’s story from Dale is. OT but fun, daughter and I are going to see David Sedaris in Bismarck in a couple of weeks. Daughter is really excited about it.

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    1. David S will also be here on 11/10 at the State Theatre… a friend of mine mentioned it last week.

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    2. Dale probably knew that I had something to put in on this whole Superman thing but I was absolutely swamped yesterday. (Today too, but I’m making a little time.) That link to Look magazine I put up above is one of the better ones I’ve got up my sleeve.

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  15. Ok, one more link to put out there.
    This is a link to Superdickery.com. It shows over 250 examples of why Superman is a jerk. Great little commentaries at the bottom of each image. You may or may not believe a man can fly, but you won’t believe just how much of a jerk Superman has been over the years. (He seems to really enjoy ruining Lois Lane’s and Jimmy Olsen’s lives…)

    http://superdickery.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=28&Itemid=45

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    1. Luckily this is an issue I don’t think I’ll ever have to deal with. However, I do have a co-worker named Katrina who says it’s not fun!

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    2. they made the point yesterday that when we were kids the storms never got to s or t. a, b, c yes but never s or t. clyde beth ann anna donna edith maybe even linda but never tim or sherrilee, if you have a storm with your name on it you had better enjoy ti. puff up your chest and stand proud. it wont happen again in your lifetime. so is sandy proud of her namesake? ill bet those people in new jersey whose basements filled with sand dont think its a funny coincidence. they tend to give some odd names that would lessen the blow impact if taken at face value. how ferocious coud sandy be? well it couldnt have been worse if it was sabertooth sampson or sierra. sandy sounds so nice until it puts the east coast under siege. thell her to knock it of clyde. for crying out loud.

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    3. All I can tell you, Clyde, is that it would have to be a storm far worse than Sandy to live up to one named after me! Especially if you included my middle name. Lordy, Lordy, I wouldn’t want to be around for that one.

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    4. Wow. At first I was wondering if there had been a Hurricane Clyde, but then realized you were asking on behalf of someone else.

      I would (hope I would) be honored. After all, if it ever happened to me, I would realize that I had the name first…and they are naming a strong and powerful storm after me. Since I am anything but strong and powerful, the irony would not be lost on me, but maybe I would feel more strong and powerful just having a hurricane or storm with my name. (I won’t go into how the “terrible” part might hit home.)

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    5. My wife is Sandy. Years ago, 50 or so, the A storm was pretty big, the B storm was bigger, the C storm (Cleo) was pretty bad but nothing compared to A and B. My sister Cleo said she got cheated.

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  16. Bawk Bawk Bawk Baaawwwwk. It’s CHICKENMAN! He’s everywhere he’s everywhere!

    (It really is better as a radio series; close your eyes while this plays…)

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    1. i used to spend summer with fargo cousing up at detroit lakes where they had fargo radio and the chickenman radio show. loved it.

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