I’ll say it with ease.
I wish I was Superman.
As kids, there’s a lot of time spent where you generally want to be Superman, but the story goes that as we get older and exposed more to the nuance and darkness of the world, people tend to identify more with Batman. The sense of loss of any number of things, the desire to physically push back and strike hard against the evils of the world and our own inner demons and, of course, the fabulous wealth and women he parades around as the facade of Bruce Wayne. While I like a whole lot of Batman and the very many interpretations, I’ve never really felt that was a character that I wanted to be.
I still want to be Superman.
I spent a lot of time time as a kid with the kind of positive idealization of what Superman represented, which for a lot of people didn’t seem to age well in the core ideas of the character. As comics got darker in the 80’s, Superman felt “quaint” and “outdated” as the boy scout of the DC Comics universe. That was more something that people who weren’t reading the books didn’t realize was changing as well. The post-Crisis on Infinite Earths world of Superman was more complex, while still adhering to the core values of the character. Under the guidance of John Byrne in the Man of Steel miniseries and then the ongoings, which blossomed beautifully as we eventually had a weekly interconnected series of books, you saw a Superman that changed.
We had him handling his work, being engaged in a relationship, hell, being engaged and then married. He worked through life threatening battles, experiencing death and coming back from it a different person that struggled with who he really wanted to be. And he saw facets of himself in others through the other Supermen that appeared during his death.
The core ideals of the character are ones that I still identify with. He’s someone that does his best to do right, he’s truthful and he fights for those that cannot. There’s the classic truth, justice and American Way thing, but they’ve molded that well in the last twenty years to be more global, more understanding and inclusive, and those are all hugely positive messages to take. There are dark times to be sure, but with a Superman story, you know that by the end, somewhere, somehow, he’ll be that shining beacon of what we should aspire to be.
And that’s why I never outgrew him, because he inspires me to this day.