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Is Superman irrelevant?

If you have been lingering around the comic fandom side of Twitter these past few days you may have noticed a certain recurring topic of discussion. That topic being the man of steel himself, America’s big blue boy scout...Superman.

Twitter has been on fire the past few days with debates over the last son of Krypton, and no it has nothing to do with mustaches. The debate has to do with what’s become a recurring question of both comic and DCEU fans and that is whether or not Superman is relevant in 2019.

It’s not the first time this topic has been brought up but this most recent online fury all stems from a Variety Twitter post that essentially implied that Warner Brothers is looking to creators like J.J Abrams and Michael B. Jordon to bring Superman back to a place of relevance. As you might imagine this set the DC fandom on fire with everyone quickly chiming in with how they are the ones to save the Kansas farm boy from the horrible writers at DC comics. Even authors like Neil Gaiman and Joe Hill offered up some commentary so of course, I thought I would join these elite ranks with my take.

While I am a Superman fan, I have to say that I see where Variety and Warner Bros are coming from. It's not that I think Superman is irrelevant in 2019, and we’ll touch on that in just a moment, but the sad reality is that the character has lacked broad audience appeal on both the big screen and print for a while now.

Zach Snyder’s “Man of Steel” introduced a dark and brooding Superman dealing with his godlike abilities and the responsibility to take his place as a hero because of them. This more biblical take on Superman alienated fans and audiences who expected something more in line with Marvel’s Captain America and instead was given a case study on Christ.

But it's not just Zach Snyder who had a hard time making the hero stick with audiences. DC has thrown some of their best working writers at the character, launching multiple new titles...just to have them canceled within a year. They even brought back pre New 52 Superman in an attempt to boost sales, but it's just not registering.

Many online are pointing out that Superman is more relevant now in the age of divisive politics, global terrorism, and the reemergence of the cold war than he has been in the past few decades. It just takes the right writer to crack that story.

Also, I am not that writer. I’m the type of person who enjoys a darker take on Superman, and superheroes in general, so if they want hope and inspiration I am not the one to give it to them. However, the writers who can do that are out there. For a better example let’s look at comic book's other boy scout. Captain America. The hero out of time, who maintained hope, optimism, and integrity throughout his films despite grappling with loneliness, isolation, the disillusionment of the American way, and most recently cosmic genocide! Through it all, we got a character reminding us of the importance of driving on, doing the hard right versus the easy wrong, and pushing back against injustice. I was not a Cap fan when “The First Avenger” came out, by the finale of "End Game" he’d become one of my favorite Marvel heroes.

Superman brings the same qualities and then some! There is no reason Superman can’t still be the shining symbol of hope, justice, and the American way...we just need to reevaluate what that means in 2019.

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