Well, just received an AP report saying that Kirk Alyn - the first actor to play Superman in ANY format, be it stage, screen or radio - passed away today. It saddens me greatly.
Mind you, I didn’t even know he was still alive. He dropped out of sight completely after Superman II, and even that was only an uncredited cameo that only the most die-hard cult followers of the films even recognize. But still, it’s been a hard couple years for fans of the Man.
Joe Shuster (co-creator, original artist) passed away some time ago, but Jerry Siegel (co-creator, original writer) died just a year or two ago. Arguably his definitive artist, Curt Swan, my personal hero, shuffled off the mortal coil not long ago, following Sheldon Mayer who’d been responsible for bringing Superman to the publisher’s attention in the first place. And then of course, Chris Reeve’s accident a few years back.
It tears me apart that an icon I so adore, which brings me such great joy, seems punctuated by these moments of loss and sadness … and worse that a hero who flies so high and alludes to such great possibilities in the human spirit should be so often touched by this fragile, mortal sadness.
So I’m sad again today. When I go back to my drawing table and put pen to paper, I’m going to find myself staring at the faces of my creations, my renderings, wondering if they will outlive me, and what forms they would take in the hands of others. Hoping I can be proud to have been the integral part of them …
And this weekend, as is tradition when we lose “one of our own,” a bunch of us will gather at my house and talk about all the heroes we’ve lost, and dread the day we lose even more … and toasting in their honor, we’ll remember that one day we too will die, and so we mourn the chinks in our armor of perceived immortality.
There should be a word for the longing created when a representation of your ideals is gone …
Sad, sad, sad Jonny today.
-An epistle most prosaic, courtesy of Calamity Jon.