Michael Shannon portrays General Zod in "Man of Steel."
By Barbara Vancheri Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
1. He's 75 and doesn't look a day over 30.
2. Batman, especially when embodied by Michael Keaton or Christian Bale, turned our heads, but Superman was our first superhero, whether in comic books or on screen. Christopher Nolan, director of "The Dark Knight" trilogy, is producer of "Man of Steel" and shares story credit, an auspicious sign.
3. Superman is the ultimate outsider, born Kal-El of Krypton and raised Clark Kent on Earth by adoptive parents Martha and Jonathan Kent.
4. He's all about hope, which is what the "S" symbol represents in his world.
5. In his book "Still Me," Christopher Reeve said, "I think I was the right actor for the part at the time I played it, but the role is larger than any particular actor and should be reinterpreted from generation to generation." That is why fans can accept a half-dozen or more actors as Supes.
6. Super skills: flight, X-ray vision, super strength, immunity to aging, super-hearing (can hear an ant's footfall), super-breath (can blow out a celestial star) and photographic memory. No TSA lines for him.
7. We all dream of finding an Action Comics No. 1 from 1938, featuring the debut of Superman, and worth $2 million or more in mint condition.
A man insulating a Minnesota house discovered one in the ceiling but argued with his wife's aunt about it and accidentally tore the back cover, reducing its value. Bet he wished he could reverse the Earth's rotation and slide that puppy into a protective sleeve.
8. Clark Kent is a newspaper reporter and even survived "The End of the Planet," a 1952 series in which the daily stopped publication. Editor Perry White became a cab driver, Lois Lane waitressed and Clark peddled vacuum cleaners door to door and discovered a safecracker during a sales call. Superman got the staff back to work, even mashing trees into wood pulp for the newsprint.
9. That "girl reporter." A trailblazing journalist, Lois Lane not only had her own office (that's a fantasy) but a working-woman wardrobe of suits, hats and pearls, plus a nose for news and crush on her favorite newsmaker.
10. "Man of Steel" will shine a light on actor Michael Shannon, who plays General Zod.
Oscar-nominated for "Revolutionary Road," he is part of the winning ensemble of HBO's "Boardwalk Empire" and never disappoints, whether as a mob contract killer in "The Iceman," a father with apocalyptic visions in "Take Shelter" or friend to the "Machine Gun Preacher."
Mr. Shannon appeared at Pittsburgh's City Theatre in the 2002 American premiere of Adam Rapp's "Blackbird" as a Gulf War veteran.