The Superhuman Appeal of Superman
When Superman returns to the big screen on June 14 as the star of 'Man of Steel, ' he'll be doing a lot of heavy lifting for a character who turned 75 this year. Untold legions of Superman fans spanning both the continents and the decades can rattle off his celebrated 'powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men': super strength, super speed, super vision, and the ability to fly. But not least among his more amazing powers has been a superhuman charisma and ever-enduring appeal.
当超人在6月14日作为《钢铁之躯》(Man of Steel)主角回归大屏幕的时候，作为一个今年年满75岁的角色，他将面临艰巨的任务。各大洲几十年来数不清的超人迷都可以不假思索地说出他世人皆知的“远超肉体凡胎的力量和能力”：超凡的力气、超凡的速度、超凡的视觉，还有会飞的能力。但还有一种更神奇的能力不得不提，那就是他那非凡人可及的、经久不衰的魅力。
In Superman's various incarnations over the years, he usually isn't reborn as someone fundamentally different from the character first seen in Action Comics No. 1─except in alternate-universe and 'elseworlds' stories, like the intriguing 'Red Son' comic book miniseries of 2003, which postulated what might have happened had the Kryptonian rocket landed in the Soviet Union rather than the American Midwest. Just the same, Superman's mythology has been continually fine-tuned and rewritten, most recently in the 2009 series 'Secret Origins, ' and expanded in the two bestselling 'Earth One' graphic novels of 2010 and 2012. One point that seems constantly up for grabs: the number of individuals, both heroes (Supergirl) and villains (General Zod)─and even animals (Krypto the Superdog)─who actually survived the destruction of Krypton.
这些年来各个版本的超人，跟首次出现在《动作漫画》(Action Comics)第一期的那个超人没有根本性的区别，例外情况只有那些讲平行宇宙和“异界”(elseworlds)的故事，比如2003年令人着迷的迷你连环漫画《红色之子》(Red Son)。这一系列漫画讲的是假如氪星人火箭降落在苏联而不是美国中西部则有可能发生什么事情。同样，有关超人的神话故事被不断地调整和改写（最近一次是2009年的《秘密起源》(Secret Origins)系列），并在2010年、2012年的畅销图文小说《超人：一号地球》(Earth One)第一部和第二部中得到进一步扩展。有一点似乎总是没有讲明白：氪星毁灭之后幸存者的数量，这些幸存者既有正派（超女）也有反派（佐德将军），甚至还包括动物（超狗小氪）。
The recasting began early. When Superman made his first appearance in print, it was explained that he was raised in an orphanage on Earth after a 'passing motorist' stumbled across the rocket containing the superinfant. Then, in June 1939, when Superman became the first comic-book character to star in his own self-titled publication, his background was retrofitted to become somewhat closer to the story we know today, in which the toddler of steel was raised by a kindly elderly couple named Kent. It wasn't until 1949 that Superman himself became aware that he was a 'strange visitor from another planet.'
Superman stories have proliferated in every medium, beginning with his two extremely long-running comic-book titles and a newspaper comic strip that launched in 1938-39. A radio series aired from 1940 to 1951, and Max Fleischer, best known for Betty Boop, produced the original animated series, which ran in movie theaters in 1941-1943. The first live-action depiction─a pair of Saturday-morning serials─arrived in 1948 and 1950.
超人故事已经衍生至各种各样的媒介形式，首先是两部特别长篇的漫画书和1938-1939年开始刊登的一个报纸漫画专栏。广播连续剧从1940年一直播到1951年；因贝蒂娃娃(Betty Boop)而出名的马克斯•弗莱舍(Max Fleischer)制作了最初的动画片系列，在1941年到1943年上映。第一批真人版电影（由Saturday-morning出品的两部片子）出现在1948年和1950年。
These, in turn, led to a true classic of early television, the 104 episodes of 'Adventures of Superman' (1952-58), which continue to captivate millions of kids in perpetual reruns and home-video releases. Lovers of 'I Love Lucy' also have long cherished the unforgettable 1957 episode of that series in which TV's Superman (George Reeves) rescues Lucy (Lucille Ball) after one of her harebrained schemes backfires. 'Do you mean to say that you've been married to her for 15 years?' Superman asks Ricky (Desi Arnaz). 'And they call me Superman!' Clearly, Jerry Seinfeld was right: the Man of Steel's most compelling power is a super sense of humor.
在这一切之后，出现了早期电视中一部真正的经典之作，即104集的《超人历险》(Adventures of Superman，1952-1958年)。通过无休止的重映和家庭录像带的发行，这部作品迄今仍让亿万儿童着迷。长期以来，剧集《我爱露西》(I Love Lucy)的粉丝们对1957年有超人加入的那一集也是喜爱有加。那一集讲的是露西（露西尔•鲍尔(Lucille Ball)扮演）的轻率计划失败之后，电视版超人（乔治•李维(George Reeves)扮演）解救了她。在剧集中，超人问德希•阿纳兹(Desi Arnaz)扮演的里奇(Ricky)：“你是说，你跟她结婚15年了？”得到肯定答复后他说：“他们可是管我叫超人的！”显然，喜剧演员杰瑞•宋飞(Jerry Seinfeld)说得对：这位钢铁英雄最迷人的能力是他的超级幽默感。
For the past 35 years, in particular, Superman has been especially omnipresent. Four big-screen, big-budget features, from 1978 to 1987, starred Christopher Reeve as the Man of Steel. In 1989, Superman launched a marathon run of TV series that only a superhero could keep up with: 'Superboy, ' 'Lois and Clark, ' 'Superman: the Animated Series' and 'Smallville' have kept him in front of viewers with barely a pause to change his tights from 1988 to 2011.
尤其是过去35年，超人变得无处不在。从1978年到1987年，有四部大银幕、大制作影片都由克里斯托弗•里夫(Christopher Reeve)饰演钢铁英雄。1989年，超人开始出现在一长串只有超级英雄才追得上的电视连续剧当中：从1988年到2011年，《少年超人》(Superboy)、《露易斯和克拉克》(Lois and Clark)、《超人动画版》(Superman: the Animated Series)和《超人前传》(Smallville)使他一直处在观众视线中，几乎没有时间停下来换一下身上的紧身衣。
The expectations for a Superman project have soared so high that the 2006 theatrical feature 'Superman Returns' was considered a failure even though it grossed nearly $400 million. The new 'Man of Steel' will have what this 21st-century predecessor didn't: an origin story, which brings it more in line with such successes as 'Batman Begins, ' as well as biopics like 'Ray' and 'Walk the Line.'
由于人们对超人主题作品的期待是如此之高，2006年电影《超人归来》(Superman Returns)尽管拿到将近四亿美元的票房，结果还是被认为是一部失败之作。新的《钢铁之躯》将拥有《超人归来》所没有的东西：它的故事是原创的，这一点与《蝙蝠侠：侠影之迷》(Batman Begins)等成功作品以及《灵魂歌王》(Ray)和《与歌同行》(Walk the Line)等传记影片更为接近。
Superman has also been a persistent icon in popular music, from a dedicatory piece by Benny Goodman in 1940 to the ingenious 1966 Broadway musical 'It's a Bird . . . It's a Plane . . . It's Superman, ' which was recently restaged by City Center Encores! in New York with Edward Watts as the Baritone of Steel. There were also less flattering musical depictions, such as the 1979 'Rapper's Delight, ' in which the Sugar Hill Gang denigrates him as someone 'flying through the air in pantyhose.'
超人也是流行音乐中一个经久不衰的偶像，比如本尼•古德曼(Benny Goodman)1940年专为超人写的一首歌。又比如1966年结构精巧的百老汇音乐剧《超人正传》(It's a Bird…It's a Plane…It's Superman)。最近这部音乐剧又被纽约City Center Encores!重新搬上舞台，由爱德华•瓦茨(Edward Watts)饰演男中音的超人。也有一些对超人不那么恭维的音乐作品，比如1979年的《说唱歌手真高兴》(Rapper's Delight)。其中，说唱组合“糖山帮”(Sugar Hill Gang)把超人贬低为一个“穿着连裤口在空中飞”的人。
In print, even more than in movies and on TV, Superman continues to be a juggernaut. He still appears in multiple comic-book titles a month and is the subject of at least three serious 'biographies' in the past year, including Larry Tye's 'Superman: The High-Flying History of America's Most Enduring Hero' and Brad Ricca's 'Super Boys: The Amazing Adventures of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster─the Creators of Superman.'
在印刷媒体中，超人依旧拥有非凡的力量，比在电影和电视上更加强大。他依旧每月出现在好几部漫画书当中，过去一年至少担当了三部严肃“传记”的主角，如拉里•泰伊(Larry Tye)的《超人：美国最经典英雄的超凡历史》(Superman: The High-Flying History of America's Most Enduring Hero)，以及布拉德•里卡(Brad Ricca)的《超级男孩：超人之父杰里•西格尔和乔•舒斯特的神奇历险》(Super Boys: The Amazing Adventures of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster─the Creators of Superman)。
Apart from his obvious gifts, Superman's capacity for continual rebooting has kept him fresh from generation to generation: from leaping tall buildings in 1938 to traversing the solar system and even traveling through time in the 1960s and '70s, to surviving both death and matrimony in more recent decades. With 'Man of Steel, ' it's a sure bet that yet another generation of youngsters will be tying red towels around their necks and pretending that they can fly.