Publication Date


Degree Program

Department of English

Degree Type

Master of Arts


This study seeks to answer a question posed in Superman #156 and frequently throughout the history of the DC Comics Universe: Must there be a Superman? In answering this question, this study seeks to seam together over sixty years of Superman to better understand the mythology associated with these narratives as well as their impact on American culture. In an analysis of Mark Waid's Superman: Birthright (2003), the basic forms of the origin narrative are addressed as well as how Waid reconstructs the mythos for the twenty-first century. The second chapter addresses deconstructive narratives and the issue of shifting the context of Superman. This particular portion of the study examines Mark Waid's Kingdom Come (1996), Mark Millar's Superman: Red Son (2003) and Alan Moore's Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? (1986). The goal of this unit is to see how deconstructive narratives both break and adhere to the established continuity of the mythos and well as how the shift affects the audience's appreciation for Superman.. Despite almost a century in publication, Superman somehow retains a popular and cultural familiarity more so than other fictional icons. Authors such as Waid, Millar, and Moore have constructed versions of Superman capable of making sense in the twenty-first century yet adhering to the ideas established by Jerry Siegel and Joel Shuster in the 1930's.


English Language and Literature