Analysis of Action Comics Superman

A Brief Analysis of A New Literary History of America

                                                       Super Man Cover 1930 Vs 2016



  • Article by Douglas Wolk
  • The first issue of Action Comics came out in spring of 1938 it was mainly adventure stories by various creators.
  • Superman being the very first superhero Immediately overshadowed all previous works and stories by Action Comics.  
  • Superheros are metaphors for the cultural concerns of their time.
  • The superhero was rejected as a rather immature work.
  • Superman is an alien from another planet he embodies the idea of human perfectibility.
  • American Culture was discovering a grinding friction between public and private life.
  • Superman has a dual identity a public face of repressed modesty in the person of bespectacled milquetoast Clark Kent, and a second life of a flamboyant wish fulfillment superman.
  • Superman was at the height of perfection, and an alien. Ideas and ideals of human perfection and perfectibility were in play and topic of interest at the time.
  • The first story of Superman is quite lackluster yet still, something in the psyche responded to it and the golden age of American comics was underway.
  • Batman, Wonder Woman, Captain America, and others more came to existence within just two to three years of Superman’s rise. While the superheroes that caught on might not have been the best written or drawn the best at the time, they were the ones who spoke to the American people’s’ hopes and fears.
  • After world war II the superhero boom receded. But it still made a comeback in the mid-1950s where the older superheroes were renewed and updated.
  • Another boom happened in the early 60s by the famous Stan Lee.
  • What made the new wave of superheroes so different, was that they had realistic problems that normal everyday Americans could relate to, They were symbols for the problems and concerns they had after the cold war.
  • Spider-Man was a vessel for telling the concept of the relationship between responsibility and power.  
  • The Fantastic Four was about the anxieties between the space race and the nuclear family.
  • The hulk was meant to be the personification of nuclear terror.
  • Captain America’s enemies were often Communists and Nazis.
  • Iron Man not only fought Communists too but the treat that Chinese and Russian Technologies.
  • Due to how big the superhero universe became, it started to spawn the superhero story. Movies, TV Shows, amusement-parks, merchandise and so on made it that changing and progressing a character’s life or appearance couldn’t really be done. An occasional new hairdo was most of what could be stretched at the time.
  • The last major mass culture superhero franchise blew up in the mid-1970s a rebirth of the Uncanny X-Men who were not quite human mutants who would protect the ordinary humans who despise them. It was a riff on identity politics.
  • The superhero genre has dominated, By the 1980s comic books became essential specialty stores frequented by collectors and disappeared from newsstands and drugstores.
  • The term “graphic novel” caught on the describe any perfectly bound volume of comics.
  • The only main superhero attribute that had since changed since that first issue of Action Comics is the tradition of keeping a secret identity of double life, which had gradually fallen away from American private life itself has become more transparent.
  • The never-ending battle against Superman is mostly the battle against the self, and what the metaphor of the perfect man can mean in the 21st century.