a hero for troubled times and a reflection of his era

 

"Once I built a railroad, I made it run
I made it race against time
Once I built a railroad, now it's done
Brother, can you spare a dime?"

 

When the stock market collapsed in 1929, it was the beginning of the "Great Depression," an economic crash and burn that put millions out of work and into bread lines and soup kitchens waiting for hand-outs.

 

"As he roamed along
He sang a song
Of the land of milk and honey
Where a bum can stay
For many a day
And he won't need any money"

 

As if the Depression wasn't bad enough, the Great Plains states were hit with the worst drought in their history. Land that had been overworked and overgrazed began to erode. Farm topsoil blew around in huge clouds turning the sky brown.

The "dust bowl" claimed farm after farm forcing many families to join the ranks of the homeless alongside the unemployed from the city and the "Bonus Army" comprised of W.W. I veterans fighting for their pensions.

 

 

"Were we deaf? Blind? If we didn't know, it was because we didn't want to know."

 

Like a fatal shadow on an x-ray, Adolf Hitler and his Nazi war machine spread across Europe like a cancer. Hitler was the ultimate villain, the ultimate oppressor of the weak, defenseless and those deemed "racially impure."

 

But then a hero comes along ...

 

 

Action Comics #1 (June 1938), probably the most famous comic book cover of all time, and certainly one of the most expensive from a collector's point of view, marked the debut of the world's greatest hero -- Superman.

The "Man of Steel" was created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster when both young men were still in high school. Siegel and Shuster were teenagers at a time when over a quarter of a million U.S. teenagers lived on the road hoping to find work to send money back home, or simply because they felt they'd become a financial burden on their families.

Did Superman change this statistic? Of course not, no more than he stopped Hitler or ended poverty, however ...

Superman proved to be something of an overnight success. The "champion of the oppressed" became a comfort, particularly to children during the hard economic times and the gathering storm clouds of World War II. Reality was becoming ever grimmer and so Superman became their light at the end of a very long, dark tunnel.

 

The "look" and the "powers" of Superman

 

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