Happy Birthday, Superman!
Action Comics No. 1 -- in which Superman made his first appearance -- was released on April 18, 1938, which makes the Man of Steel 75 years old on Thursday. --The New York Times
I feel old. Despite my Kryptonian physiology, times like this make me feel every one of my 75 years. Like President Obama said, it's been a tough week. It's like I'm trapped in a Bizarro world run by, well, Bizarro.
First, terrorists bombed the Boston marathon. The bombers blew off the legs of runners as they approached the finish line. What kind of monsters would do such a thing? Even Darkseid never stooped so low.
Then CNN, "the most trusted name in cable news," falsely reported the terrorists' arrest. This is what happens when you replace newspapers with 24-hour cable "news" networks and Twitter. (No, the NY Post doesn't count.) Perry White would have had my head if I ever tried to run such a thinly sourced story in the Daily Planet. Lois Lane would never let me live it down. Even Jimmy Olsen would start avoiding me in the company cafeteria.
Then an Elvis impersonator was suspected of sending ricin-soaked letters to a judge, a senator, and the president (he was later released without charges). I had to call Batman to make sure this wasn't one of the Joker's insane homicidal schemes. (And I hate calling Batman. He always lords it over me with that "world's greatest detective" stuff.)
Then background checks were voted down in the Senate. Hello? You don't have to be Brainiac to figure out background checks would help keep guns out of the hands of criminals and psychopaths. Apparently Newtown happened in an alternate universe, quickly forgotten. The worst part was seeing the smirk on Wayne LaPierre's face. He reminds me of Lex Luthor, only with more hair. Maybe he is Lex Luthor in a toupee. Note to self: scan LaPierre with X-ray vision. Don't worry if he gets a bit singed.
Then a fertilizer factory blew up outside of Waco, Texas. The aptly named Waco has been the epicenter of rightwing conspiracy theory B.S. ever since that shootout with the Branch Davidians. The factory hadn't had a federal safety inspection in five years because that would have been "repressive." I had to call Batman again, just to be sure. (Another reason I hate calling Batman: he always reverses the charges. Did I mention Bruce Wayne is cheap?)
Finally, after a massive manhunt, it turns out the bombers were two stoner kids. (We also discovered many Americans don't know the difference between Chechnya and the Czech Republic.) The younger one seems barely old enough to shave. It's like fighting General Zod and discovering he's just a little boy who likes to play with toy soldiers. When I was their age I had already joined the Legion of Superheroes and had started fighting crime as Superboy.
Now the Right is screaming for the surviving suspect's head. They want him tried as an enemy combatant so they can enhance interrogate him. They haven't even read him his Miranda rights yet. But Ma and Pa Kent taught me everyone in America deserves a fair trial, no matter what crimes they're charged with. Batman says I'm too much of a boy scout, but I still believe this is the American Way. (The BSA voted to admit gay scouts. That's the one good thing that happened last week. Now what about gay scout leaders?)
All in all, it's been a pretty depressing week for humanity. It's enough to make me want to retreat into my Fortress of Solitude and cry.
Look, folks, not to belabor the point, but I'm invulnerable. Bullets, bombs, and poisoned billet doux don't bother me. Did you see Superman Returns? Bullets bounced off my eyeballs! And, of course, comic book characters never stay dead forever. I was dead for a while in the 1990s, but I got better.
You mere mortals aren't so lucky. Bullets, etc. hurt. When you die, there's no magic or clones or time travel to bail you out. All of this reminds me of a painful truth: my home planet Krypton didn't self-destruct. We blew it up ourselves. We have met Doomsday, and he is us.
Even I can't be everywhere all the time. I'm Superman, not Omnipresentman. You've got to do your part. Take care of each other a little more.
And go see Man Of Steel when it opens. It will make this old superhero feel young again. Peace out. Up, up, and away.