Superman Week, day two – The Allies
Welcome back to Superman Week. Yesterday we looked at Superman himself, and today we’re going to focus more on his supporting cast. Once again I am joined by by Ibrahim Moustafa (Artist of High Crimes) with Jordan Gibson coloring.
Like any great character, Superman relies on his supporting cast to flesh out who he is. Now, there are a lot of them but I want to focus on five specific ones: Martha and Jonathan Kent, Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, and Perry White.
Let’s start with the Kents. They are, of course, the couple that raised Clark to be the man is become. But think about it for a second – you’re a couple living in Kansas and a ship falls from the sky with an unharmed baby in it. So you just adopt the baby. There’s something interesting there. A naivety, to be sure, but something else. A faith in humanity, perhaps. To take that child and raise him as their own, despite the whole falling from the sky / super powers / alien bit is just interesting. They are, and represent, the classic American ideal where all are welcome and all allowed to become themselves.
Moving past the Kents, and that isn’t to diminish them but it’s time to move along, we come to the Trinity of Metropolis: Lois Lane, Jimmy Olson, and Perry White. Together they represent the three stages of Clark Kent himself:
Lois is who he feels he is – inquisitive, never backing down, willing to go any length for the truth. Jimmy is who he feels he was – rambunctious, hungry for any experience, finding his limits, and dedicating his life to helping people how he can. Perry is who he wants to be – the wiser tough old goat who has seen the never-ending battle but never given in himself, who has taken his lessons and turned them into ways to inspire and teach the next generation as well.
Lois is even deeper than that, of course. Lois is what Superman loves about humanity. She’s who he tries to be, and reflect back to him the hopes he has for what we can become. She has no amazing powers but that never stops and, if anything, pushes her further. Lois Lane is the single most important character in the Superman sphere, outside of Superman himself.
Without that reflection/desire Superman, and Clark, becomes shallow. He wants the world to be this big hope inspired thing but that’s just words at some level. With Lois in the mix suddenly he has a concrete example. He can point to her and go “This, this is what you could be,” and so of course he loves her.
She’s his idol, in so many ways.
These characters, all told, anchor Superman to the world and let him be more than a symbol. By reflecting for us these facets of who the character is and wants to be they help us understand who he is in a three dimensional way that breathes life into him.