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Why Superman Is Dying

If he wasn’t already dying, Superman would probably commit suicide.


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Harry Seitz

4 months ago | 3 min read
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He’s broke, he’s reclusive, and his story hits too close to home

Critics say Superman is too powerful to be interesting, hasn’t been portrayed properly in recent movies, and hasn’t aged as well as other heroes from earlier eras, but his decline can also be attributed to the way we define heroes has changed.

He’s Broke

Tony Stark (Iron Man) is a billionaire. Bruce Wayne (Batman) is a trillionaire.

Clark Kent works as a stringer for a newspaper. It’s amazing he can even afford an apartment in Metropolis.

We used to like underdogs, or root for the little guy, and journalism once had the power to unseat Presidents, end wars, and be a force for social reform.

Most of us don’t care about any of this anymore.

We’re all looking for ways to hack the algorithm or game the system because we want to be billionaires like Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and Lex Luthor, never mind the desperate people we exploit along the way. A lot of us don’t even see the people who keep life in motion — fruit pickers, garbagemen, service industry workers, etc. — as people.

In this world, and especially in America, you’re either rich or a bum. This mindset has been in place in the US since it was colonized, and much like in the 1930s, it’s again becoming a literal reality.

Who cares about truth and justice when you can earn a lot more writing about how to make money?

He’s Reclusive

In some ways, Superman is downright antisocial. He doesn’t have supermodels on his arm like Bruce Wayne and Tony Stark. When he has vacation time, he flies to his Fortress of Solitude to get the hell away from us.

Aside from Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen, he doesn’t have any friends. He gets along with a few other superheroes, but that’s more like showing appreciation for coworkers.

As a socialite, he’s a complete failure — again, mostly because he’s broke. Who wants to date a lowly reporter living in a studio apartment?

If he isn’t chasing back-page stories, he’s working on a farm in the middle of nowhere, and he seems to prefer it to going out and living it up, which he can’t afford to do anyway.

His Story Hits Too Close to Home

Krypton imploded/exploded because its rulers and people refused to listen to the repeated warnings of scientists, and now Superman is on earth watching exactly the same narrative unfold.

We’ve been through times with similar wealth inequality (The Great Depression) and our recent ancestors lived with polio, diphtheria, measles, mumps, and rubella, but our cultural memory is about as short as a cricket’s.

Superman has the power to destroy the world and maybe even save it, but is finding it increasingly difficult to do so. How do you convince people to take any action or implement solutions when tens of millions still deny our most glaringly obvious problems?

Can you really blame him for preferring to hangout alone in a frozen cave?

The Death Blow

We don’t want to fix the world, we want to chop up and hoard as much as we can before it collapses, and we each believe we’ll be one of the “winners” and our money will save us. Everyone else can drown, burn, or die of plague while warring over food and potable water.

We’re not strong or noble enough to live alone in a cave, so we chase our tails scooping up whatever slim chances we have of hitting the lottery and buying that mega-yacht to ride out the end of civilization in style.

We don’t want to save the world, we want to save ourselves, and we’re too stupid to realize both are one in the same.

If he wasn’t already dying, Superman would probably commit suicide.

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