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Fridge Brilliance

  • Bizarro. He's an imperfect, backwards clone of Superman. He's also a metaphor for humanity on the whole. Think of it; Bizarro has all of Superman's powers (if reversed, in some continuities), and is strengthened by that little green gemstone that would turn Superman into a peanut-allergic kid at the Reese's factory. In the same vein, humanity has surpassed most if not all of its natural boundaries, defying the elements time and again at every turn. So given this, why isn't Bizarro the hero? Simple: despite his power, he's not mentally capable of bearing the responsibility that comes with saving and protecting the world. He's every bit as powerful as the Big Blue Boy Scout, but his twisted logic won't let him do the good and right thing despite how badly he wants to. Sounds about right.
    • Staying on the subject of Superman, Clark Kenting. When Clark takes Kara for a stroll in downtown Metropolis they come across the huge statue of Superman that once stood over his tomb (he got better). Kara sees this and says that it's no wonder he can just put on a pair of glasses and walk around; this is how the people of earth see him. They would never suspect he was the dorky kid from Kansas pounding a keyboard in the Daily Planet.
      • The entire idea of the supposed unrealism of Clark Kenting is exaggerated in the first place, based entirely on weak jokes that are vastly overplayed and were never funny to begin with. Consider it a bit of Real Life Fridge Brilliance if you must although it's more like common sense, but think about it: if you saw a guy who was the spitting image of Arnold Schwarzenegger behind the counter at a Starbucks, only he has that green apron around him and he's wearing glasses, would you go, "AHA!! So Arnold Schwarzenegger is really a guy who makes coffee at a Starbucks in Bristol, Tennessee! I can't BELIEVE you thought you had us fooled! What do you take us for??!!" Or would you say, "Hey, has anyone ever told you that you look like just Arnold Schwarzenegger? Nah, you probably get that all the time, I'm sorry." The only unrealistic thing is how seldom people seem to mention these fictional characters' resemblance to their alter egos, but that is to some degree justified by it being a bit of Lampshade Hanging that would get old very easily, appearing to be nothing more than an overly long Running Gag.
      • Very true. Besides, we already have a real-life example of what happens when people assume that two similar people are the same person - the Elvis sightings. For all we know, tabloids in the DC Universe regularly run stories like "Man sees Superman in a bar in Texas!" What would the average person call someone who insists that Clark Kent is really Superman? Deluded, if they felt like being polite.
      • For a real life example, consider that there are famous people who do look a bit like each other: Keira Knightley and Natalie Portman for instance (Knightly played Portman's double in The Phantom Menace specifically for this reason). "Hey, Clark Kent sorta looks like Superman... bet he gets hassled by it all the time" is probably a realistic response for most people. The other common argument is to point out that someone, especially writers, can be famous and still not be well-known faces. Stephen King can probably be safely anonymous much of the time.
      • And the single most-seen woman in the world, whose image has been displayed more times than any other person in all of history, who can be seen in any bookstore or supermarket anywhere in the English-speaking world and many outside of it, can walk down the street and never be recognized. So who is she? The woman who poses for the heroine on every single romance novel for the last fifteen years! Look at the covers some time.
      • And, of course, there are only a handful of people who would have cause to suspect Superman and Clark Kent have any kind of connection whatever beyond a physical resemblance. The old crack about Superman and Clark Kent never being in the same place at the same time takes on different meaning when you realize that 99% of the population of the Earth or even Metropolis has never and most likely will never be in the same place as Clark Kent or Superman either.
      • There's also the fact that Clark Kent is a ridiculously average-looking man. Six-foot-something, dark hair, dark suit, and glasses? Who's going to look at him twice in order to make the connection? Sure, Clark looks a bit like Superman. He also looks like Rivers Cuomo and that guy from the cell phone commercials.
      • Pointed out in the novel Last Son of Krypton when Clark is promoted to on-air talent on WGBS and the news anchor. He is described as "inoffensively handsome," the kind of person who you probably wouldn't mind being around, yet forget about soon after leaving him.
      • Another point is the difference in how Clark's wardrobe fits him. Superman's outfit is form-fitting, and so his physique is well-defined when he's in-costume. As Clark Kent, he typically wears loose-fitting common clothes that don't emphasize his body build.
      • And, who's to say people even think Superman has a secret identity? For all most people know, Supes just flies around hero-ing 24/7.
  • A big one in the "Superman: Grounded" Story arc. When he is consoling a suicidal woman he telles her:
    "You're right when you say we all come out of high school thinking we're going to save the world. And sometimes we do. And sometimes — sometimes we don't. So you don't think about saving the world. You think about saving just one person. Because sometimes, that's enough. All I know is that we have to try."
    • This statement could both reference people in general or it could also be a reference to himself as by saving him and sending him to Earth, his parents gave Earth its greatest champion.
  • Just got the significance of Superman's Ass-Kicking Pose. Crossing his arms is not just the standard "I'm angry" expression - it's also his way of saying he could beat you at least five different ways without ever uncrossing his arms.
    • Note that In the older comics, when Superman was mainly Superman and Clark was just a disguise, his standard pose was arms-akimbo. In the post-reboot comics, where Superman is Clark, he defaults to arm-crossing. Arms-Akimbo is an aggressive posture; arms-crossed is defensive. It can be thought to symbolically represent his being brought down to more human levels from his prior Demi-god status, or something.
    • Crossing his arms like that (especially if hovering so the bad guys have to look up at him) also makes him look like everyone's I'm-so-disappointed-in-you angry DAD!
      • I can picture Jonathan Kent doing precisely that (minus the hovering) while looking down at his little adopted son who can't gather eggs without crushing them all. I wonder if Superman even realizes he's copying his father?
      • I just had a moment of Fridge Brilliance while reading the above two posts. Perhaps Superman is intentionally copying his father? In every comic I've ever read, Superman is both extremely idealistic and looks up to his father (or specifically, foster-father). Batman, in contrast, tries to scare people into behaving better (hence the bat thing), but Superman genuinely wants people to BE better. Who made him who he is (a hero)? His foster-father. So who else would he try to emulate?
      • In one version of the origin story, Jonathan notices that as baby Clark stands still, he "folds his arms to keep his balance."
    • A Boring, but Practical explanation, at least from the movie and TV perspective, is that the arms crossed pose makes your biceps appear bigger than the arms akimbo pose.
  • This may seem painfully obvious to you guys, but I only now just realized that Superman's hair swirl/the highlights on it form an 'S' shape, mirroring his logo!
  • Superman's nickname "The Last Son of Krypton" isn't inaccurate even when you consider all of the other Kryptonians to have turned up over the years - They were born before Kal El, so he's still the Last Son.
    • Or, that the only two other Kryptonians that will endure, Supergirl and Power Girl, are both women, so he's always going to remain the Last Son.
      • Although that doesn't really work with Kandor around.
      • Sure it does. Any resident of Kandor born after Krypton's destruction can't be a child "of Krypton", only a child of Kandor. "Son of Krypton" specifies the planet, not the species.
  • Superboy-Prime was revealed being magic-proof in Infinite Crisis, with no explanation why. But when you think about it, there's a good explanation: he's the last Superman from the Silver Age, when Superman's power set included New Powers as the Plot Demands. Of course he'd reveal or spontaneously develop a new power at exactly the moment he needs to, it's one of his powers.
    • Also, his universe is Real Life-a universe which would prevent magic of any but the illusionary kind from working. Full blasts from Shazam would be just as ineffective on some Earth-Prime yokel.
  • Superman’s farm background may have affected him in both a positive and negative manner:
    • Positively, he learnt to care for the earth and to nurture all living things, and to accept the natural consequences of life (ie he doesn’t try to interfere, but simply lets things proceed as they should).
    • Negatively, he has a wide-eyed idealistic view of the world, and no real understanding of social compromises and concessions that ordinary people need to make to manage their lives, which means enemies can use underhanded tactics (turning others against Superman, etc) against him effectively.
  • Superman is attracted to Lois Lane because she doesn’t adore him, but neither is she afraid of him.
  • Superman's adherence to a no-kill rule has a very good mundane explanation: as far he's concerned he's not above the law, and as the law bans killing unless in self-defense he won't kill as long as the villain isn't a clear deadly threat that cannot be stopped by any other means... And for Superman, that pretty much means Darkseid and Doomsday.

Fridge Horror

  • When you think about it, the very idea of being Superman is utterly horrifying, and growing up as a young Superman in Smallville must have been even worse. Your entire species is mostly dead, and you've had to grow up terrified you will accidentally kill one of the squishy meat-bags that raised you. In addition, with your Super-senses, you can hear (and probably even see) literally everything for Rao knows how many miles - when you went off to school and your parents decided to take some "personal time," you could likely still hear it from there. Now, no disgusting bodily function is a secret to you; and, according to some comics, Superman is physically hurt by people dying. Which is always happening no matter what he does... Even while he was a kid. The fact that his powers didn't develop immediately makes all this worse; he didn't have his whole life to get used to them.
    • This may explain why Superman does his absolute best to not kill: he can see every micron of damage that his actions would cause, resulting in incredible levels of empathy and understanding.