Everybody knows of the story of Superman, the last son of Krypton who was sent to Earth and used his power for truth, justice and the American way. However, despite being part of DC’s “trinity” of major heroes, which also includes Batman and Wonder Woman, the modern public’s reaction to him has been unpopular. The many criticisms of Superman are that he is overpowered, unrelatable or lacking in interesting aspects many of his other colleges in the “trinity” have, such as Batman’s no-killing rule or Wonder Woman’s intense compassion for others.
Due to this, DC has stated that they have had trouble trying to modernize Superman to a new generation of audiences. This has led to many recent interpretations leaning into his larger than life figure in order to reinvent the Man of Steel, such as Zach Synder infamously making him an allegory for Jesus. Superman’s latest animated outing, My Adventures with Superman, debuting on Adult Swim after being moved from Cartoon Network, decides to tackle what is probably the most important criticism of Superman — his unrelatability. This show doesn’t portray Superman as a god amongst men, but as a normal person with a day job who has a side life fighting crime. While this sort of portrayal has been done before, the show shines with how it decides to update the Superman mythos for a new modern portrayal.
The main characters have all been updated from their previous counterparts into something more palatable for viewers of today. Clark Kent is still a humble farm boy from Kansas, but is much more clumsy and awkward. Lois Lane is still a determined and dedicated reporter, but is much more of a spunky tomboy now. Jimmy Olsen is the comedic relief sidekick, but is now more wacky and offbeat. While there is an overarching story about a government task force designed to capture Superman, the show mostly focuses on the main trio as they try to become reporters respected by their boss Perry White and their newspaper “The Daily Planet.”
What makes this show stand out from other modern Superman takes is that it focuses on who Clark Kent is rather than Superman. To many, Clark is seen as just a disguise for Superman, a persona he can change into so Superman can interact with Lois and the rest of humanity as an equal. My Adventures with Superman, inversely, has Superman be a disguise for Clark Kent, and the show uses this to put the character’s human side front and center. It explores Clark as a person, who has dreams, goals, relationships and emotions. By portraying Superman as a normal person instead of a savior of humanity, the character of Superman is much more relatable to viewers.
In short, My Adventures with Superman, while much more comedic, is still a cute reimagining of Superman. It takes many of the criticisms and tries to make something that can resonate with modern audiences. Whether or not it succeeds is up to how many people enjoy it, but I will be interested to see where it goes. Either way, this shows that Superman is not unadaptable for a new generation, and that with the right team, Clark Kent’s story can strike a chord with superhero fans of today.
Rocco Lippi is a First Year Film, Photography and Visual Arts major who would love to go on adventures with Superman. They can be reached at [email protected]