Superman II 2.32: Mama Don’t Preach

Man, don’t turn your back on Superman during date night is the lesson of the day. After their champagne dinner at the Fortress of Not As Much Solitude As Usual, Lois excuses herself to change into something more comfortable, and I can’t imagine what that means, since she’s never been here before and they didn’t arrive with luggage.

But while she’s out of the room, Superman takes the opportunity to call his mom and tell her that he’s quitting his job, which is probably something that he and Lois should have discussed first.

“If this is what you wish,” Lara tells him, based on a procedurally-generated AI conversation from the distant past, “if you intend to live your life with a mortal — you must live as a mortal. You must become one of them.”

So I’ve got a question that I’m not sure they’ve considered: How come?

I mean, there isn’t a single word of explanation for this pronouncement. Lara just says it, and then directs him toward the mortalizing booth.

“This crystal chamber,” she says, pulling a crystal chamber out of precisely nowhere, “has harnessed the rays of the red sun of Krypton. Once exposed to these rays, all your great powers on Earth will disappear forever. But consider: once it is done, there is no return. You will become an ordinary man. You will feel like an ordinary man. You can be hurt like an ordinary man.”

There’s probably other stuff that he can do like an ordinary man too, but she doesn’t need to go through the whole checklist. He’s in love with Lois, and that means he can’t be Superman anymore, according to a rule that I am not familiar with.

Because obviously he can do both; he’s done it lots of times. In the newspaper strip, Superman married Lois all the way back in 1949, and they stayed that way for two and a half years, at which point they decided it was all a dream.

There was also a “Mr. & Mrs. Superman” feature that first appeared in the Superman comic in 1978, depicting an alternate reality where Lois knew that Clark was Superman, and she actually helped him with super-tasks as well as covering up his secret identity. The feature moved over to the Superman Family title, and ran on and off until 1982.

Then, in the regular comics continuity, Superman and Lois got married in 1996, and when DC walked back their unpopular “New 52” universe reboot in 2015, one of the things that they had to fix was to make sure that Superman and Lois were still married. And then there’s the television shows Lois and Clark and Superman & Lois, which are both based on the premise that a Superman/Lois union is not only possible, it’s inevitable.

So obviously there’s nothing inherent in the structure of a Superman story that makes it impossible for Superman to fight crime and also go on dates with ladies sometimes. So what’s going on?

It’s clearly not about the schedule. You could imagine that the problem might be that spending time with Lois would take time away from his superhero activity, but clearly that’s not an issue, because he spends lots of time out of uniform.

If the problem was that he needs to focus on being a champion of truth and justice, then he shouldn’t have a secret identity at all. Being Clark Kent is literally a full-time job, in the sense that Clark actually has a full-time job, and Superman needs to be there the whole time. By definition, being Superman is a side hustle for Clark, a hobby that he pursues in his off-hours.

In fact, being a top reporter at a major metropolitan newspaper is a particularly absorbing job; it’s not a predictable nine-to-five experience. I’m sure that real journalists find it difficult to maintain a healthy work/life balance; imagine being a secret alien king of the sky on top of that.

Besides, we saw in the first movie that Clark goes on nighttime dates with Lois. Her knowing that he’s Superman would actually be more efficient, because he wouldn’t have to waste time finding excuses to go do Superman stuff when he’s with her.

The typical cliche explanation for why a hero needs a secret identity is that if anybody knew that Clark was Superman, then it would put his loved ones at risk; his enemies would know that they could attack him by hurting his girlfriend.

But that doesn’t really work as an explanation either, because Lois already has such an elevated risk profile that supervillains would hardly register. This is a woman who falls out of helicopters and into crevasses even when it has nothing to do with Superman, not to mention her habit of attaching herself to major tourist attractions during a bomb scare.

Also, everybody already knows that Superman is close to Lois, and the Daily Planet staff. That’s why the Kryptonian villains go to the Planet office to find him. So that can’t be the reason either.

If there isn’t a practical reason why Superman can’t date Lois, then I have to conclude that the reason is cultural, or religious. The fact that Lara can say that Superman “must” live as a mortal, without any evidence or explanation to back that up, suggests that there’s some kind of Kryptonian moral code that forbids mixing with outsiders. She’s essentially “banishing” Superman from Kryptonian society, for choosing to marry an Earth woman.

The fact that Kryptonian society doesn’t exist anymore means that this cultural attitude is even more self-destructive than it usually is, when people abandon and denounce their children for marrying outside their race/religion/culture. Kicking your only son out of the house for being romantically transgressive is difficult when the house already exploded thirty years ago and half a galaxy away, but somehow Lara manages it.

In fact, if you look at it from that point of view — Lara and Kryptonian society are explicitly choosing to punish Superman for choosing to marry someone that they don’t approve of — then her moist-eyed warning to be sure of what he’s doing seems gross and gaslighty. She’s framing that as a choice that Superman is making, when it’s actually a choice that she’s making, to kick him out on the street just for being attracted to human girls.

Okay, do you want an even more depressing interpretation? Cause here it is: I actually think that this is about masculinity. Superman is the ultimate embodiment of individual masculine-coded power: he’s strong, and fast, and he can’t be hurt. He doesn’t have powers that are culturally coded as feminine, like the ability to talk, or heal people, or empathize with other people’s problems; his skill set is more in the area of punching people in the face.

So dating Lois is a problem, because it threatens to dilute that masculine power with icky girl stuff. As she said in the previous scene, Lois would give the Fortress “a woman’s touch”, and that touch would destroy this bachelor pad man-cave, domesticating the warrior. This is what all the comic book writers and editors were afraid of, in that 1977 “Super-Symposium” that I wrote about a few weeks ago — that the idea of Superman taking out the garbage and caring for a child was simply unthinkable, because that would feminize him.

Ultimately, it’s all about the guy’s nuts; if we allow Superman to ejaculate, it would disperse his animal spirits, making him weaker. Apparently, Superman is supposed to stay away from women and keep himself mentally and physically pure; that’s the only way that he can maintain his massive superpowered erection.

So what we’re about to see is Superman becoming weaker and de-masculinized, just as Lois is getting a craving for “big-sized” hot dogs. They definitely should have talked about this first.

Tomorrow:
We ask why people think
Superman is more powerful than Lois Lane in
2.33: Who You Callin’ Kleenex?

Chapters
Movie list

— Danny Horn

48 thoughts on “Superman II 2.32: Mama Don’t Preach

    1. For those unfamiliar with the article in question, the premise is that Lois couldn’t survive being pregnant with a super-powered fetus. I can think of some ways around this, though. One could argue that Clark Jr. couldn’t absorb radiation from the yellow sun while in the womb and therefore wouldn’t start “powering up” until after he was born, thus sparing his mom.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. it’s actually more grotesque than that. more like lois couldn’t survive his, erm, achieving fruition? is the best and weirdest euphemism i can think of.

        Liked by 2 people

    2. same here. i know—or i think i know—that larry niven wrote it as satire. kind of.

      but it also makes sense. kind of.

      whatever the case, it’s always stayed in my head as a workable handwave as to why superman and lois must always remain in a horrifically heightened state of sexual tension, no fun allowed.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. What gets me about that idea is that the only “fun” postulated is man and lady penetrative sex. Like they’re birds or something. It makes you wonder how many of the original (and later) writers knew about sex at all beyond looking it up in a medical dictionary.

        Liked by 4 people

      2. clearly supes (and more importantly his legion of writers) is/are very, very vanilla! poor lois, what a total drag. superbeing from beyond the stars, etc. and he can’t even show her any exotic kryptonian love techniques. just wham, bam. lame.

        Liked by 2 people

  1. I think we have to consider that this is about fucking.

    From the filmmakers’ perspectives, this is the first attempt at telling a Superman story seriously from a real world perspective. They’ve looked at all the reasons you provided for why it’s okay for Superman to do both things, and they probably agree. But this is 1978 and these are real people on screen in a 1970s movie. They figure the audience is thinking a little more practically about cause and effect than your average comic book reader.

    So, in the next scene when we see Superman and Lois naked in bed together, we know they’ve been bumping uglies. And with that thought comes the concern of what would happen to a human who’d been taken to pound town by an alien with the strength to bench press the California coast line.

    This had obviously been explored in a men’s magazine essay (with pictures) by Larry Niven a decade earlier. But that was parody, and Superman: The Movie was going to handle it “for real” and in a sophisticated way.

    Personally, I don’t think these concerns are all that troubling. The examples you gave for everything that came after the 1970s proves that writers were thinking about this with a bit more nuance.

    Although, we took a sidestep in Smallville when the writers decided that the only way Clark could lose his virginity is if Lana temporarily gained superpowers. Which, of course, resulted in broken barns and earthquakes, and more than a few snickers and smirks from the home viewer.

    Liked by 7 people

    1. On the other hand, keeping the reasoning for making Superman human in the realm of sex, maybe that fan comic by Stjepan Sejic is accurate and a Kryptonian couldn’t make sweet love to an earthling without some biological altering. Thanks for giving me a compatible penis, mom!

      Liked by 7 people

      1. Heh. That cartoon reminds me of Londo on Babylon 5 and the plot concerning an action figure of him being sold in the gift shop.

        Liked by 5 people

      2. That’s pretty funny but it does also bring up the question can they reproduce? I would think people from Krypton and people from Earth are different species. Talking about Asimov reminded me of The Mule in the Foundation books. If they could reproduce would their offspring be sterile? Do Lois and Clark ever have grandkids or are they forever too young for that in the comics?
        It doesn’t seem that they ever considered that Lois might not WANT to marry Clark or have his babies if she did.

        Liked by 5 people

      3. mary, check out the short essay by larry niven that folks are referencing here, it actually goes some way to coming up with a cogent, if somewhat kooky reason they couldn’t have kids.

        Liked by 5 people

    2. What gets me about that argument is that Superman/Clark has been controlling his super strength since his babyhood–we know because Ma and Pa Kent lived through his growing up, as did all their property and Smallville at large. If Supes could get through puberty without ripping apart everything in a three mile radius he can practice control during Ze Lovemaking.

      Because he’s supposed to be representational of Healthy All American Manhood, and that means he’s jacked it. He’s not a monk or a eunuch, so, yeah. He has. He gets the mechanics of the thing and hasn’t caused any embarrassing holes in the sheets/bed/floor, so it’s possible.

      Liked by 7 people

  2. > but it does also bring up the question can they reproduce? I would think people from Krypton and people from Earth are different species.

    It didn’t stop Sarek and Amanda.

    Liked by 5 people

      1. Many, many more throughout all of Star Trek. Including Spock and Worf both with one human parent, and their lifelong struggles between the human and alien sides of their nature.

        Spock trying to be a good Vulcan who could overrule excessive human emotions. Worf trying to be a good human who could overrule excessive Klingon warrior emotions.

        Some great writing and acting in the “of course humanoids can cross-breed” premise through the years.

        Deanna Troi would have been much more interesting if the writers had thought of including her in “half-human personal struggles” too, instead of making it trivial to toss Betazed psi powers into a human barista buddy attitude.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. ST:TNG kind-of explained this — all those humanoid species were the results of undirected panspermia by a doomed race that did that as a way of perpetuating themselves. *Normally* just random genetic drift over time would reproductively isolate humans and Vulcans but (waves fridge logic wand) the dispersed genetic material was undoubtedly engineered so that the eventual humanoid beings would remain capable of mating and producing offspring.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Yes, in sci-fi/fantasy, aliens are a metaphor for different human “races.” They don’t treat even Klingons as a different species. Of course, race on Earth is more cosmetic (we’re all the same species, despite some physical differences)

      Liked by 2 people

  3. “Lois excuses herself to change into something more comfortable, and I can’t imagine what that means, since she’s never been here before and they didn’t arrive with luggage.”

    She visited the Fortress’s Frederick’s of Hollywood room. See Action Comics # 247, “Superman’s Garter Belt Fetish.”

    Liked by 6 people

  4. Kal El, Clark Kent, Superman. Whatever you call him, all of his relationships have been with humans, and none of them has been satisfying. The only people he’s ever been honest with were Ma and Pa Kent. After seeing them struggle with the impossible task of trying to understand him, it must have been a relief of sorts to lie to everyone else. But lies don’t add up to a personality. You need models to imitate if you’re going to develop one of those, and however much he may love the Kents, Kal El/ Clark/ Supey can learn only abstract lessons about manners and morals by imitating them. So long as he’s an unstoppable monster from outer space, he needs to pattern himself after another unstoppable monster from outer space.

    In a movie with different ambitions, Zod might present himself to Kal El/ Clark/ Superman as this model and try to seduce him away from Truth, Justice, and The American Way. But in this movie, Zod and Kal El/ Clark/ Superman enact two ways of reacting to Marlon Brando’s absence. Both of them are on the earth because of decisions Jor El made, and both are confused because of their inability to connect with Jor El. Kal El/ Clark/ Superman channels his longing for his father and his bewilderment at the circumstances of his exile into an overdeveloped conscience and a sense of duty to rescue the earth; Zod expresses his rage at Jor El and his frustration with his exile into a drive to destroy the earth.

    As a mentally healthy individual, Kal El/ Clark/ Superman starts the process of making up for what he lacks by taking stock of what he has. He doesn’t have a father to model himself on, but he almost has a mother to connect with emotionally and to rely on for guidance. He doesn’t have a personality, but he has a collection of disguises. His mother tells him that to integrate himself, he’ll have to set two of those disguises aside permanently and commit himself to the other.

    Lois is a woman and wants to be with a man. Kal El is not a man- he isn’t even a Kryptonian, he’s just an occasional participant in videoconferences with AI generated holograms. Saying goodbye to Virtual Mom will be hard, but that’s the way of the world, you get married and move away from your family of origin.

    Superman isn’t a man, either- he’s a monster from outer space. While I believe the audience is definitely thinking about the practical difficulties of sex between Superman and a human woman- I was when I first saw the movie, and I was ten- more to the point is the impossibility of establishing an equal relationship between Superman and a human. As Mrs Superman, Lois Lane of the species H. Sapiens would be as powerless to understand her husband as the Kents were to understand their adopted son. To build a real marriage, a marriage as real as the one he saw Jonathan and Martha Kent conducting, he has to become altogether Clark.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. It’s a real conundrum, because even as Clark Kent Full Time, that persona is at nearly perfect opposition to Lois’s Spunky City Gal Reporter. He’s a relic of a time that never really existed, she’s a construction of cliches and ambition that holds together just enough to crash through her existence, everybody’s beloved mascot but nobody’s intimate partner.

      Both of them are suddenly confronted with the idea that they can’t fly away or jump into a waterfall, crack wise or pretend not to get the joke. It’s them, alone, with a big bed in an ice castle. It’s the definition of naked.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. “It’s them, alone, with a big bed in an ice castle. It’s the definition of naked.”

        Now that’s a pickup line I’ve never tried! Let’s see if it can get me some special nights going in Los Angeles!

        “But we’ve got to make it quick, honey! Before your Mom shows up in your crystal communicator with her big mouth and all her rules…”

        P.S. Danny can you post my comments into yesterday’s blog, please?

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I think you’re exactly right. “Naked” is an important word. I’m reminded of the last time we saw Kal El naked, when he was a baby emerging from a spaceship in the first movie, before he was assigned any other identities. But immediately before he was assigned them- the Kents wrap a cloth around him, establishing themselves as his parents and him as a boy with their surname, and the cloth is the costume he is fated to wear as Superman. To get naked again, to return to that moment, is to put away what’s happened since and to start fresh.

        (I smiled at “everybody’s beloved mascot but nobody’s intimate partner,” with its echo of the Dark Shadows series bible’s description of Maggie Evans as “everybody’s pal and nobody’s friend.”)

        Liked by 6 people

    2. Yeah, Reeve’s Clark Kent is not the same Clark from the Smallville scenes of the movie. It feels almost entirely like a fake persona, rather than a continuation of the person he was previously.

      The Reeve films don’t justify why Superman wastes his time as this fake person, so there is no real conflict. I mean, Clark could have been a real attempt at a person raised among humans, who feels human, trying to live a human life while not letting anyone know he has all these powers. Superman is when he cuts loose.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. I think they do justify it. Superman is always stiff and formal talking to people, whether a villain he’s apprehending, a distressed citizen he’s assisting, or Lois on a date. In part because Superman is a new role for the character to play, and as an actor Christopher Reeve is conscious of his character’s lack of preparation, but that highlights his awkwardness among humans.

        And it isn’t just speech. When he flies from the Fortress of Solitude to collect gifts for Lois from around the world, it’s kind of charming, but sad. When in a matter of seconds he goes from the North Pole to the Amazon and comes back with a rare botanical specimen, it represents less effort than a human would have put into stopping at the flower shop on the corner and shelling out a few bucks for a spray of daisies. The rituals of dating are as irrelevant to him as are all the other conventions through which humans express their feelings.

        Since there aren’t any other Kryptonians around until the PZ crew turns up, there’s no way for him connect with anyone emotionally in his Superman persona. In his guise as Clark Kent, pseudo-human, the rules of the passing game place strict limits on the kinds of connections he can make, but at least he has a chance at a little something every now and then- he can share a joke, a smile, a complaint, etc.

        Unimportant as those things may seem next to the kinds of relationships Clark can’t have, they are obviously very important- after all, what’s denied Clark is denied every inmate in the general population of a prison, but the prospect of those little interactions is denied only to those in solitary confinement. And look at how much harder solitary confinement hits prisoners than does time in the general population.

        Liked by 3 people

  5. i really can’t help but laugh (and applaud) the still you chose for lois—she looks half-horrified and half-disgusted. i know what’s happening in the scene here, but it’s still cracking me up.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. My theory as to why superheroes need to have secret or true identities is that, if their superhero identity becomes known, not only could their families be endangered by evil blackmailers, but they would also be hounded by paparazzi and not truly able to get their superhero work done. At least, the paparazzi hounding would possibly interfere the superhero’s life or their ability to, in any way, live a “normal” life. It would be even worse in our current era of 24/7 digital/internet/dark web, etc.
    The same is true for our current celebrities and politicians. Once they are in the public eye or fishbowl, “normal life” is gone. Early on in his presidency, Barack and his family tried to just take a break and spend a weekend in Chicago. They were basically prisoners in their Chicago home, the Secret Service was everywhere with shades pulled, etc. Barack and family never spent a weekend in Chicago again.
    In one episode of old 1960’s sitcom “Bewitched,” Samantha magically gave Darrin a dream about what their lives would be like if Samantha “came out” and lived openly as a witch. The first thing was the paparazzi camped out on their front lawn. The Kravitzes started selling souvenirs. Both Samantha and daughter Tabitha were ultimately whisked away from Darrin by the Army — to further study how their powers could be used for national security purposes.
    I am personally weighing this issue because I am working on fan fiction where my superhero character is out, where her own name and her superhero name are the same, and she juggles superhero work with other things going on in her life.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Tim, you could tell your entire story with tabloid headlines. In that scenario, she’d never get a chance at a private life, or at getting her super-work done without endless interference.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. The Netflix series Invincible covers this pretty well, with different angles on the disadvantages of both a secret identity and being an open superhero. It’s also pretty damn dark and posits that a god from another planet couldn’t possibly take humans seriously as fully sentient beings, but more like pets.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The Conquering Pitiless Terrorizing Terror parts of this film cover that idea pretty well, too. Have you met my pet human criminal mastermind, Lex? He thinks we’re going to give him Australia. Isn’t he cute? Down boy, Daddy’s busy enslaving humanity.

        Liked by 2 people

    3. Superman could always escape to his Fortress. Remaining Clark Kent would be more difficult. He would be facing people on the street every day. “Oh, you’re that Superman guy!” There would be people seeking him out for favors or wanting to arm wrestle or shooting him to “prove” he’s really Superman. How would it change his ability to be a reporter? He might as well just give up being Clark Kent and just be Superman full-time.
      If he had been wealthy and well-known already it might not have made a lot of difference. Tony Stark had to deal with the press even before he revealed he was Iron Man.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Danny, you’re thinking this through way more than the writers of this film did. They showed many times they didn’t particularly care about consistency with comics or even with their own story, as long as it kept moving along with cool and funny moments.

    Donnor is like a musician who carefully studied every element of the score. Like a jazz musician who uses the original tune only as a starting point to improvise and show off, Lester uses the comic book material as an excuse to set up his trademark jokes and fancy sight gags.(I’m including all the superpowers as sight gags here, since that’s what Lester did.)

    Original and revised scripts explain it well enough, with Jor-El’s words moved to Lara to save a few million bucks on Brando. With powers, Supes can befriend and help all of humanity. If he loves only one mortal, he has to live as a mortal too. Good enough fridge logic to move the plot along.

    Lousy romance planning on Supe’s part. “Honey, for us to be together all the time, I destroyed what you love most about me. Now you stay cozy, infinite energy crystal surgery will only take ten minutes as an outpatient! What do you mean, we need to talk about what I’ve aleady just done?”

    My bigger problem is undoing the irreversible, but I’m sure you’ll tear that apart when we get there. Blogger of steel, script of Kleenex!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Yes, I believe Jor-El gives more specific reasoning for why Superman can’t live as a normal person and even begs his son not to go through it. The scene has more conflict than Lester’s.

      It’s just bizarre that this never came up during 12 years of space training: “Oh, by the way, you’ll never know the touch of a woman and will die alone.”

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Also, in the Jor-el version in the Donner cut, Supes says he doesn’t want to be Superman anymore, that he wants to live as a normal human. Jor-El gets all bent out of shape and says something like…”Fine, you want to forgo your sacred duty helping humanity, then No Powers for you!”.

        Liked by 2 people

  8. I’m glad a lot of people here are up on the obvious reason Superman and Lois can’t mate, the points made in “Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex”. Evidently the scriptwriters had read that and assumed we all had too. I read the essay as an adult (I would have died of embarrassment and shame if I’d seen it in my tween comic-reading years), not in a men’s magazine but in a Larry Niven story collection, and I never thought it was a satire. No matter how well Kal-El controlled himself, there was that bit about how his ejaculation would blow off the top of Lois’s head with the super-sperm. It’s a serious issue.

    He would have had to get himself a super-condom from the wreckage of the rocket from Krypton. He was always doing that sort of thing in the comic books, making himself cutting tools and needles so Ma Kent could sew the super-cloth into his outfit or he could give blood samples and such. But what in the rocket could be repurposed as a condom?

    But even if there was a way to get around that, as often happens in other versions, it’s a valid point in this version. It’s another thing in this scene that bothers me. Namely, the piece of sloppy writing in which Lara’s hologram refers to what Lois is and what Kal-El must become as a “mortal”. There is no reason to suppose a Kryptonian is immortal under a yellow sun; Kal-El grew up from a toddler to an adult under one, and will presumably age and die. The word she wants is “human” or “Earthwoman”. It’s similar to a piece of sloppiness in “Dark Shadows”: they started using “witch” and “human” as opposites, so if you (well, Angelique) were a witch you weren’t human. A witch IS a human. She’s just had a different education than some. And Superman is a mortal.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Niven’s essay was originally published in 1969, but according to Wikipedia: It was republished in the 1978 anthology SuperHeroes edited by Michel Parry and noted with a starburst on the cover: “SPECIAL BONUS FEATURE! Intimate details of Superman’s sex life revealed!” So the essay was current again when this movie was underway.

      I never could understand why Supes had to give up his powers to be with Lois. And why do it without even talking to her first? I just don’t understand straight people.

      Liked by 5 people

  9. “;If this is what you wish,” Lara tells him, based on a procedurally-generated AI conversation from the distant past, “if you intend to live your life with a mortal — you must live as a mortal. You must become one of them.’ So I’ve got a question that I’m not sure they’ve considered: How come?” — I think Larry Niven’s essay “Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex” offers a plausible alternate explanation that doesn’t require veering off into Gen. Jack D. Ripper territory (“Women sense my power and they seek the life essence. I do not avoid women, Mandrake. But I do deny them my essence….”)

    Liked by 2 people

  10. This is one of the best analyses of Superman I’ve ever read. Not only do we find that he’s outing himself as an alien, he’s outing himself as a macho macho man. There’s a gold mine of plot possibilities here.

    Like

  11. As I recall about the Clark Kent, “full-time” reporter issue, having super speed can cut a fair amount of time out of the working day. If he has to go across town for an interview? He can do it in a split second – giving himself a hour-ish of Superman time that he can account for as cross-town traffic.
    Super speed typing saves a bit of time too!

    And the ultimate cheat – half his stories are probably Superman related so no need to do any investigating!

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Niven’s essay makes no sense and doesn’t match anything the comics have ever done with his sex life, but then again in 1969 the comics had not yet done anything with his sex life so I guess it’s just speculation.

    Like

  13. The basic premise behind Superman needing to give up his powers stems from the idea that Superman is a godlike or demigod figure. Viewed through a mythological lens, choosing to be with a human requires him to descend fully to the mortal realm, which is why his mother makes the unusual word choice “mortal” in her speech. Superman already *is* mortal — he ages naturally and he can be killed — but that word is a cue to the audience that there is something deeper and mythopoetic underlying this scene. Superman must become Man in order to be with Woman.

    Like

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