In the article, “Making and Breaking the Superhero Quotidian: How All-Star Superman Embodies and Revises the Everyday,” Frank Bramlett argues “How Morrison and Quitely use the extraordinary, the remarkable, and the unexpected to highlight yet ultimately overturn the story of Superman’s day-to-day practices and expectations” (1). Simply put, Bramlett is arguing that the comic All-Star Superman uses unconventional situations to highlight or differ from Superman’s standard quotidian (everyday day practices). This means that for comic readers there are certain characteristics that define Superman’s persona, which has been passing through comic history. Bramlett tries to differentiate and analyze Superman’s routine and new interactions in Morrison and Quitely’s work, and how these have a direct impact on the audience’s expectations of Superman. Also, I am inserting my two cents by saying that All-Star Superman, suppose a direct contradiction regarding Echo’s statement (Superman is encapsulated in cyclical time frame because of his powers). In this comic edition, Superman is confronted with his sudden mortality, he is dying because he absorbed too much solar radiation. The source of his power is killing him, thus makes him question the same trivial routines that Echo says are Superman’s defining factors of his superhero persona, excuse my digression.
Bramlett defines Superman quotidian as, “His day-to-day actions and behaviors involve helping others, to the point that he expects to be needed” (6). In other words, Superman’s quotidian is the standard expectations that the audience has. It is like his signature that is rooted in his superhero persona. Also, Bramlett reminds us that All-Star Superman maintain traditional elements of Superman’s origins to give a sense of comfort, so the reader can have a semblance of normalcy. In the comic, Superman saves a boy from getting hit by a bus, in doing so, he is running late to his meeting in the Daily Planet. While he transitions from his real identity (Superman) to his alter ego (Clark Kent) we see all the characteristics that define Clark Kent’s persona. He is a clumsy, amicable journalist, who is trying to get to work on time. Bramlett says, “That the use of these traditional elements that helps establish and maintain the Quotidian existence that Superman lives” (7).
Alongside, Richard Reynolds creates a list of seven motifs from the first ever superhero comic. Bramlett only focuses on two of those seven. According to Reynolds, “The extraordinary nature of the superhero will be contrasted with the ordinariness of his surroundings.” This means that superhero identity should have a “normal” background to maintain covert the persona and mission. Further, Bramlett uses Goffman’s definitions of performance and front to explain in depth Reynolds first motif. Goffman says, “the participants carry out their performances in the front.” This means front is the physical space where the performance occurs. The second motif of Reynolds says, “The extraordinary nature of the hero will be contrasted with the mundane nature of his alter-ego.” In other words, Clark Kent’s persona is the mask that protects Superman’s identity. Further, the difference between the two is the social expectations that each identity has, which makes a symbiotic relationship, because both are gaining something, (Superman maintains his identity secret and Clark Kent can have a normal, ordinary life without targeting his loved ones). Hence, the importance of having an alter-ego that blends well into the society (I am talking to you, Iron Man). I will ponder more on my presentation, but for now, I will leave you with this.
- Coogan says, “that the superhero’s mission is prosocial and selfless.” Regarding Superman’s last tasks helping Kryptonians and humans to help them transition after his death, does that fit into Coogan’s statements? Or does it demonstrate that humans and Kryptonians are dependable, giving the idea that Superman’s actions/ motives are not selfless?
- Bramlett defines Superman exposure to solar radiation as “life-changing trauma” (5). By following Bramlett’s logic, why do you think Superman maintains his standard quotidian the same except him telling Lois his connection with his alter-ego? If that is considered a trauma, why didn’t Superman tell Lois that he is dying?
- Marc Singer says, “that Morrison’s Superman resists the ‘realistic’ Superman of earlier time periods” (3). However, at the end of the comic Superman is presented as a golden-godly figure that helps the machinery to keep the sun running. Do you consider that a proper realistic transition? Or do you think Morrison’s view of Superman transcends the superhero realm?
- Ian Gordon says, “Superman’s immense power could readily defeat all challenges in the real world.” This argument seems to align with Echo’s regarding his inability to evolve as a character. Do you consider Morrison and Quitely’s version of Superman an evidence that it is possible for Superman to have character development? if so, please show textual evidence in the comic.