But that's one hard row to hoe, and getting harder. Keeping Superman not only relevant but interesting has never been a bigger challenge. (My own fiction spin on that relevance question was published ten years ago.) The very subgenre Superman triggered — superhero adventure — has over 74 years grown so vast and deep and (in its rare best examples) sophisticated that it has outgrown Superman, antiquated him. Keeping him on top of that has proven to be a serious creative challenge.
On film, Bryan Singer's Superman Returns in 2006 is an obvious case in point. While I like the movie and will defend it to its detractors, I concede that some big choices behind it (#1 being its awkward linkage to the Chris Reeve series) resulted in a final product that aimed for worthy ends and was artfully crafted, but landed broken and underpowered. It's to the DC film "canon" what Ang Lee's Hulk is for Marvel: noble aspirations ground between the gears of big-money movie-making.
Until this past week, when Max Landis — son of John and screenwriter of Chronicle — released his "educational parody" titled The Death and Return of Superman. He recounts what happened in 1992 when DC decided to kill, then resurrect, Superman. Landis breaks it down for us hilariously, aided by a justice league of Elijah Wood, Mandy Moore, Ron Howard, Chris Hardwick, Simon Pegg, and more.