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Thinking about Journalism with Superman
Unformatted Document Text:  Thinking about Journalism with Superman 19 Comics issued a commemorative book that included Superman in a brief feature titled “Unreal.” “I can defy the laws of gravity,” the superhero was shown as ruminating to himself as he soared beyond the Earth‟s atmosphere to save an ailing space shuttle. “I can bring smiles of relief to a thankful populace. But unfortunately…”—Superman continued as the comic book image shifted from him to that of a firefighter rescuing a child—“…the one thing I can not do…is break free from the fictional pages where I live and breathe…become real during times of crisis…and right the wrongs of an unjust world. A world, fortunately, protected by heroes of its own.” As one critic observes, the moral of such a story and similar post-9/11 comics preaching tolerance and forbearance is that “we too can be superheroes. By doing what we can to demonstrate that 9/11 did not undermine our faith in the goodness of humanity, we can recover, rebuild, and continue to uphold the principles that first inspired America.” 110 From that perspective, Superman‟s greatest power is to recognize that although he himself cannot do it all, he can help inspire others to recognize the power within themselves to live up to America‟s noblest values. According to one critic, “Much of the power of mass entertainment derives from its communality. Every consumer feels invested in it, part of it, free to make it his [or her] own,” so that “the whole process becomes a sort of giant conversation.” 111 Superman over the years has attracted a passionately devoted fanbase that has gone so far as to write its own scripts and produce its own films about the character. 112 Such fans respond to Superman as a symbol of all that is “democratic, open, and idealistic” 113 —in other words, America at its best. One fan is Michael Chabon, who won the Pulitzer Prize for his novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay about the golden age of comic books. He has credited the comics‟ creators for having “invited me to enter their worlds and play, and in so doing they invited me to create my own. Now I feel that I‟m passing on that same invitation on to new

Authors: Ehrlich, Matthew.
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Thinking about Journalism with Superman 19 
Comics issued a commemorative book that included Superman in a brief feature titled “Unreal.” 
“I can defy the laws of gravity,” the superhero was shown as ruminating to himself as he soared 
beyond the Earth‟s atmosphere to save an ailing space shuttle. “I can bring smiles of relief to a 
thankful populace. But unfortunately…”—Superman continued as the comic book image shifted 
from him to that of a firefighter rescuing a child—“…the one thing I can not do…is break free 
from the fictional pages where I live and breathe…become real during times of crisis…and right 
the wrongs of an unjust world. A world, fortunately, protected by heroes of its own.” As one 
critic observes, the moral of such a story and similar post-9/11 comics preaching tolerance and 
forbearance is that “we too can be superheroes. By doing what we can to demonstrate that 9/11 
did not undermine our faith in the goodness of humanity, we can recover, rebuild, and continue 
to uphold the principles that first inspired America.”
From that perspective, Superman‟s greatest power is to recognize that although he 
himself cannot do it all, he can help inspire others to recognize the power within themselves to 
live up to America‟s noblest values. According to one critic, “Much of the power of mass 
entertainment derives from its communality. Every consumer feels invested in it, part of it, free 
to make it his [or her] own,” so that “the whole process becomes a sort of giant conversation.”
Superman over the years has attracted a passionately devoted fanbase that has gone so far as to 
write its own scripts and produce its own films about the character.
 Such fans respond to 
Superman as a symbol of all that is “democratic, open, and idealistic”
—in other words, 
America at its best. One fan is Michael Chabon, who won the Pulitzer Prize for his novel The 
Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay about the golden age of comic books. He has credited 
the comics‟ creators for having “invited me to enter their worlds and play, and in so doing they 
invited me to create my own. Now I feel that I‟m passing on that same invitation on to new 

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