Superboy and the Search for Truth

Today, while browsing YouTube in an effort to keep a 3-year-old-boy with an unknown-but-unfriendly stomach ailment amused, I happened across this intriguing video clip:

My boys have several of the Superman comic book compilations from the 40’s and 50’s, and there are a handful of Superboy stories in there, so I’m familiar with the overall idea of a teen-aged Kal-El. and his canine sidekick, Krypto. There were a couple of interesting things I noticed about the cartoon itself, though.

First, the show’s efforts to keep the opening consistant with (if slightly modified from) the older versions is amusing — “Clark Kent, mild-mannered foster child.” Second, the significant decline in animation quality. In spite of their fairly painful racist and jingoistic tendencies, the 1940’s serials were surprisingly well made. (Getting a high-quality copy is another story altogether.)

And lastly, I was struck by the opening monologue’s tagline — “the prevention of crime, the preservation of peace and the pursuit of truth” — which seems unlikely to have made it through modern-day focus groups. “The American Way” already fell by the wayside; anyone think “truth” would be more acceptable?

I’m not even sure we know what it means any more.

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Joseph Susanka has been doing development work for institutions of Catholic higher education since his graduation from Thomas Aquinas College in 1999. Currently residing in Lander, Wyoming -- "where Stetsons meet Birkenstocks" -- he is a columnist for Crisis Magazine and the Patheos Catholic portal.

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