‘Superman’ is one of the most well known superheroes across the world. His iconography has continued to be popular with numerous comic books, TV shows, films and merchandise being made in his name. The success of his persona is based on the idea of American masculinity. Superman reflects the triumph over evil and the fact that America as a superpower has the ability to defeat enemies across the world.
However, like most icons, Superman is not all- American figure and it can is understood that he is in fact an immigrant. Shuster and Siegel who created the character and were Jewish immigrants themselves wanted to create an immigrant figure that could be transformed into an American icon. Superman’s masculinity is present through his muscles, his superhuman abilities and through his actions of saving the world. Hence, Superman is the only figure who can do this effectively, not because of the trains just mentioned, but primarily because he is a man.
The idea that Superman has two identities, one normal and one superhuman is very interesting for the idea of masculinity. It almost hinting to the idea that men should always aspire to something better as they had the ability to reinvent themselves in 20th Century America. This ideal is alien to femininity at this time, women could dream about better life but they could not achieve it. Women unlike men did not have the ability to save the world like Superman, they only had the ability to be saved by men and this explains Lois Lane’s character in the Superman chronicles.