Superman To Be a Family Man Now: Are We Ready For It?


The most iconic comic book character of all times – Superman – will be seen as a father and a family man under comic writer Brian Michael Bendis. As per an article in Time, Bendis, who joined DC Entertainment recently, after a long stint with the rival Marvel, plans to portray Superman’s efforts to have a “normal” family life with his wife and child.

He says, “You get to really focus on what’s unique about Superman and his relationship to his son, and his relationship to his family. And we’re going to really dig into that in the coming months because they’ve been living a traditional family life, but they are by no means a traditional family. And I think it actually reflects the family of a lot of people. They don’t have traditional family shapes or traditional family values. They have their own situation based on what they have in front of them and I think having Superman and Lois Lane try that is going to be pretty interesting.”

 But today, when the institution of matrimony is fast losing its appeal will this move be able to sustain the reader’s interest?

Most of our superheroes today, are at most ‘in a relationship’. Except for The Incredibles we haven’t been offered any superheroes or superheroines who lead a family life, juggling domestic responsibilities along with their masked alter ego’s duties. In fact, in most superhero films/comics, there is a tussle between choosing personal happiness over duties. Be it Spider-Man, Batman or Wonder Woman, iconic superheroes are always shown paying a personal price for doing public service.

The loneliness and longing for a companion which most of these characters feel, forms an important part of the superhero narrative.

Hence it is a very bold move on DC Entertainment and Bendis’ part to go down an unexplored road. While the focus would be mostly on the relationship between Superman and his son, a family life will definitely change the tone of the comic. How would Superman balance his superhero duties with domestic ones? Especially knowing that Superman’s prime duty is to save the world, what kind of equation will he and Louis Lane share? Moreover, how does a superhero, not used to of constraints of family life, adjust in it?

But for DCE and Bendis, the most important question is how the readers would react to this story arc. Comic books are popular across all genders and ages, but a majority of readers are youngsters who do not find family life appealing. Matrimony is no longer a rosy dream full of giggles, bliss and happily ever after for youngsters today. This generation has wizened from observing the struggles with holy matrimony. And it now questions whether all the unending fights, adjustments, expectations and complications are even worth it.

Perhaps it would take a Superman to change this outlook.

Who knows, maybe apart from saving world, Superman might be able to save the traditional family life. Maybe he will bring back the appeal family life has lost. It may make the readers look at the institution of marriage from a fresh viewpoint. Or maybe, Superman will get sucked into the vacuum which is causing recession of family life. Maybe, the image of a family man will be Superman’s new kryptonite. And this will render him irrelevant and common, and not an icon that he has been till now.

Also Read : 2018 Calls for More Female Superheroes than Ever Before

Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own.