It’s hard to imagine that just 85 years ago, the “superhero genre” barely existed. Today, it’s a cultural institution that has flipped off the pages and into an everyday fixture of modern multimedia storytelling. Each week, faster than a speeding bullet, the companies that own these characters attempt to dazzle us with something new. The heroes of these stories no longer save cats from trees or stop bank robberies. They fight aliens. They wage war. They even sprint across the multiverse. Each new adventure and battle one-ups itself to create a cornucopia of CGI, explosions, and storytelling patterns that desire to overload your corneas to the brim.
In all the fireworks of the superhero genre today, it can be hard to remember what appealed to us about these stories in the first place. Without spectacle, why do they matter? Without consistent loudness, can these stories even make a sound? My Adventures With Superman, created by Jake Wyatt, answers these questions in a back-to-basics approach for the Man of Steel, making it refreshing among its current contemporaries.
My Adventures With Superman feels as familiar as the “S” symbol on its hero’s chest. It’s purposefully simple and straightforward in the best way. Here, a young Clark Kent/Kal-El (Jack Quaid) is just starting his career as Superman but also as an intern reporter at city newspaper The Daily Plant. He’s not alone, working with Lois Lane (Alice Lee), a spunky co-worker, and Jimmy Olsen (Ishmel Sahid), his roommate and friend. The show’s colors are bright and warm, with beautiful animation from Studio Mir (The Legend of Korra), and the score from Dominic Lewis and Daniel Futcher is cheerful and exciting. It embodies all the qualities one would expect from a series featuring a superhero that’s supposed to represent hope.
“A man flew down from the sky and risked his life to save us. Not for a reward or fame, but just because we needed help,” Lois says in the second episode. The writers of My Adventures With Superman embue its titular hero and his co-leads with an optimism that cuts to the heart of why we love the character and superheroes like him. They save people not because they have to, but because they want to and someone simply needs help.
The voice cast is excellent, pushing these qualities to the surface. Quaid is great as a Superman who is finding his way but is rock solid in his belief of doing good. Sahid is also charming as Jimmy Olsen, but the vocal highlight of the show so far is Lee, who gives Lois all the grit and determination that’s core to the character. She also sells the emotional scenes, such as when she opens up to Clark about her dad in a moment of vulnerability. The dynamic and budding romance between Lois and Clark is the beating heart of the show and Lee and Quaid make you invested. Shippers rejoice!
The character of Superman helped start us on the path to where are now with superhero media. He didn’t just make people believe a man could fly, but that we, like him, could ultimately be good, just, and do the right thing. In its super-simplicity, My Adventures With Superman avoids the convoluted spectacle that defines modern-day comic book television and film. It’s a cheerful reminder of why we cared about these characters in the first place, and it’s only fitting that one of the first superheroes in all of comics is the one to show us we still can.
New episodes of My Adventures With Superman air Thursdays at midnight on Adult Swim and STACKTV, with episodes available to stream on STACKTV the following day.