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Last updated at 11:59 GMT, Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Superman's career crisis


30 October 2012

One of the world's best-known comic book superheroes, Superman, is about to have a career crisis. No, he's not hanging up his cape and refusing to leap tall buildings in a single bound - but his alter ego Clark Kent is about to turn his back on his newspaper reporting career, in protest at some very real-world concerns.


John McManus



Click to hear the report


Any comic book fan can tell you that when Superman came to Earth as a refugee from the Planet Krypton, saving lives and foiling the plots of evil madmen would be his main day job. But there was also the question of how to keep his alter ego, Clark Kent, occupied, and when the character first came out in print, his creators decided that he would be a newspaper journalist. Very handy, if you want to be the first to know about major catastrophes.

But now the mild-mannered reporter is going solo. DC Comics, which publishes the Superman stories, says that Clark Kent will walk out of his job at the Daily Planet, protesting that hard news has given way to too many soft 'entertainment' stories. It's a scenario that real reporters - and their readers and listeners - might recognise. What kind of stories do the public really want - showbiz gossip, or the latest discussions from the UN? DC Comics has hinted that Clark Kent might even go the way of many journalists and become a blogger, in an effort to get his own, non-super views across to a wider audience. But for fans who think that this is all getting a little bit too much like grim reality, don't worry. In a nod to the changing media landscape of the 1970s, Clark temporarily ditched his notebook for a camera, becoming a cable TV presenter. But he never forgot his real calling - saving the planet.


Click to hear the vocabulary



person who has been forced to leave their country (in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster)



alter ego

secondary or alternative personality


events causing great and often sudden damage or suffering


hypothetical situation

grim reality

unpleasant things in real life

a nod



got rid of