Tuesday, October 12, 2004

R.I.P. Superman 

Christopher Reeve dead at 52

Someday I'll have to write a book about the media-slash-iconographic psychocultural ramifications of the way Superman -- I mean, Christopher Reeve -- lived and died.

I could write a whole chapter on the ironic image-potential of the Lex Luthoresque bald head. More legitimately, the interesting timing of his accident, and how it matched a shift in cultural definition of hero (cf, for example, 9/11 and the popular image of the firefighter), gave us a convenient and surprisingly well-spoken advocate where others might merely allow themselves to remain a mere outlet to bridge that transformation.

But I'm a lazy bastard, unlike Reeve himself. If the book ever gets written, it will surely be a last gasp analysis from a dying mediamind. That, and the fact that it's far too soon, too culturally callous, to write the darn thing.

Until then, it will be more than enough to just miss the guy terribly, and offer respects.

We made Reeve an icon, tying his identity tight to the red cape and tights as is our cultural wont when confronted with costumed avengers. But where the Shatners and Adam Wests of the world never managed to climb above their masks and two-dimensional portrayals, Chris Reeve's ability to transcend all that even in the last chairbound years of his life made him a better hero than ever. And that despite a handsomer face than Kirk or Batman ever managed.

Those who are interested in seeing more Reeve in homage might do well to pick up the movie version of the popular stage-play Noises Off.

By the way, isn't that a nice picture? Say what you will about Associated Press reporting; they sure do great photoshop work.

posted by boyhowdy | 1:25 PM |

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