Scott Snyder: Superman Doesn't Need to Be Updated

[caption id="attachment_49199" align="alignleft" width="204"]Superman Unchained #1 cover by Jim Lee Jim Lee[/caption]

Scott Snyder, the incoming writer of Superman Unchained with artist Jim Lee, told an interviewer yesterday that contrary to popular opinion, Superman doesn't need to be "updated" to reflect more modern sensibilities.

"I don’t think you really need to update him in terms of his core; it’s more reminding people of the relevance of that core, given today’s circumstances," Snyder told Things From Another World. "That’s what I really love about him: he’s timeless in the way that doing the right thing, or sticking by your ethics, never really goes out of date. Part of the challenge of writing him is, when you put Superman up against someone that’s just a physical threat, he wins — you can’t come up with much that would hurt him."

You don't have to look very far on the Internet to find somebody lamenting how difficult it is to write Superman, and that his "apple pie" version of morality doesn't resonate with modern audiences, so the challenge of a great Superman story is always to find a way to "modernize" the character without destroying what makes him special, but Snyder pointed out that impression is mistaken. Most of the great, modern Superman stories, he notes, actually feature the world realizing that they need Superman the way he is, rather than Superman being changed to adjust to the world around him.

"I feel like he’s the best of us; he’s so deeply human. In a lot of my favorite stories, like 'What’s So Funny About Truth, Justice, and the American Way' — and even in stories where he sort of goes awry, where he’s doing the right thing, but he’s set in a context where it becomes the wrong thing, like Mark Millar’s Red Son, or Mark Waid’s Kingdom Come, or The Dark Knight Returns — those stories fascinate me because at the end of the day, his greatest strength is also what leaves him vulnerable: he’s willing to stand up for what he believes and do the thing that is right, even when that thing is unpopular and could make him the enemy."