Around Our Colorful City, Superman

CHELSEA — Superman, now 75, has a lot in common with Harlemites.

Wait, hear me out on this. All around Harlem, you have big and little boys giving mad, bro-love to the man of steel.

Corey Ortega, special assistant to Assembly member, Richard L.T. Wright (70th District) is a self-confessed comic book geek and Superman fan and he made me look at that fascination and connection in a very different way.

"He is one of my favorite Superheroes." Ortega confessed. "And I will tell you why. One, has the little people's back, so you know he would be welcome uptown and treated like one of our own. Two, he is an immigrant.  Three, he is an unregistered alien; trying to work and hiding in plain sight.  We understand him." 

Sunday, January, 26, the Center for Jewish History celebrated the 75th anniversary of the iconic comic figure.

Superman, who first appeared in 1938 was created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster who were both Jewish.

"Superman at 75: Celebrating America's Most Enduring Hero" also had a discussion panel which was hosted by Larry Tye, author of Superman: The High-Flying History of America's Most Enduring Hero.

Tye shares:  "In addition to having Jewish creators, there are hints that Superman himself is Jewish," he explained.

When Superman came from Krypton, his name was Kal-El, which in Hebrew means vessel or voice of God. That's not accidental."

Superman's origins — escaping Krypton in a small pod and being adopted by Gentiles — also has echoes of Moses' escape from death as a baby in Exodus.

"Plus, there's my favorite reason," Tye added. "If your name ends in the word 'man,' you're either a superhero or Jewish — or in this case, both."

The exhibit will also featured Shuster's 1945 sketches of Stanley Weiss, a New Jersey dad who the Superman co-creator thought was the spitting image of Superman, on display for the first time.

Paul Zapata, video journalist and creator of the new, digital pop culture show RFP-NYC extended the invitation and my curiosity accepted. 

A native New Yorker of Puerto Rican heritage, the recent SVA graduate, and son of a New York Police Lt., has a personal connection with feeling like an outsider and being the object ridicule.

"I was bullied in school and there were many moments that I wanted to be superman or wish he was related to me." shared Zapata. "He spoke to the scared, little boy and now, he speaks to the geek in me." 

He is one of many Superman fans that are anxiously and obsessively waiting for the new, slick and improved hero to hit the big screen.

This wait is short because Warner Bros. has rebooted the character in this summer's upcoming Superman movie, Man of Steel, which is produced by The Dark Knight Rises director Christopher Nolan. 

Sitting in Ortega's office, at the Harlem State Building on 163rd, both men let out their enthusiasm for the new movie full throttle:  "O-My-Gosh," both Ortega and Zapata shouted in union:  "We are so there on opening day!"

The unveil of Superman 2013 is authentic.  Here is a hint about the super secrecy around the new film, not a single executive at DC Comics has seen anything.  That includes DC Comics President, Jeanette Kahn, who I suspect, would have shared if she could.  Says Kahn, I've have seen nothing not even a script. Honestly."

My X-ray bullshit detector said she was telling the truth so I will keep any eye open for anything new.