Sunday, September 6, 2009

More Supermusings

I've discussed this topic before both here and here. Maybe this skepticism is just part of my long-running, deeply-studied asupermanist beliefs, but I have to wonder...

Why is Superman depicted as muscular? Doesn't he just derive his super strength from the fact that he is an alien from outer space? Couldn't he just look like Woody Allen or something equally non-muscular and still maintain his super strength?

I mean, the comic book writers already threw out the principles of physics -- of leverage and notions that at least hinted of physical strength when they had Superman go from "leaping tall buildings in a single bound" to actually flying. Flying isn't a strength thing. And yet they never even really try to explain the forward and upward thrust. Superman just went from jumping to levitating and the writers didn't even bother to tell you, the reader, how.

Like we don't care?

From the moment a science fiction book or movie comes out, the immediate response is to pick apart the impossibilities inherent in the science of the fiction. Yet Superman gets a pass?

Heck, even if his skin is impervious to bullets, wouldn't he still be pushed back at least a little by the impact of a projectile fired from a high-powered rifle? The answer is obviously, "No". In fact, Superman can stop a speeding train, though a train obviously has the mass and momentum to simply carry Superman along with its forward motion, should he stand in front of it.

And I'm no mathematician, but wouldn't a normal man's mass be to a train about the same thing as a large bug would be to an automobile? Are we expected to believe instead that Superman has the same mass as a train? And even then, wouldn't the train's forward momentum cause one hellacious crash if it ran into something of equal mass? And Superman, impervious skin or not, should at least end up in the next county after the impact, no?

And if Superman does have this Jupiterian mass, he goes ahead and marries Lois Lane anyway? Are you kidding me? As if the notion of getting carried away in the throes of passion isn't enough to contemplate with a human that can crush a ball bearing between his fingers, now we have to believe that he weighs a few tons? Heck, is there even a comfort setting on a Sleep Number Bed that would allow a superhero with a mass that equals the average 80-car freight train to sleep comfortably? ... much less keep Lois from rolling his way all night as the mattress caves the whole bedroom inward toward him?


  1. i can tell this really bothers you john, me not so much but i never was much on the superhero thing. i can only answer one of the questions. the reason the comic book guys made superman all muscular is because they like to draw all those muscles. love the shot of your dog below

  2. Someone else offered up the possibility (and it must be so, coming as it has off the internet) that they drew superman so muscled in order to make his suit fit him better.

    Before they drew him that way, the clothes fairly hanged on the man.

  3. I like your questions, actually I appreciate them. It was a couple of weeks ago I asked around work why Superman needed muscles since his strength didn't come from being physically built...

    You have beautiful work! I just spent my first hour salivating over your sold vessels on Etsy!

  4. Thanks for the compliment! Etsy's been very good to me.