News and Tribune


June 20, 2013

MAY: Man of steel


Sometimes things are thinly disguised. Who would have known that a pair of reading glasses probably picked up at Walgreen’s would have protected Superman’s secret identity for more than 75 years? The character of Superman was introduced in June, 1938, as one of several anthology features in “Action Comics #1.” Superman proved to be so popular that a year later he became the first super hero to have his own self-titled comic book. 

Some things are not so easily understood. Consider the “S” on his costume. I would have just assumed that it stood for “Superman.” According to one story line in the comics, the “S” was designed by Jonathan Kent and was in honor of an ancient Native American symbol for healing. In the “Superboy” television series from the 2000s some students tied Clark to a post in a cornfield and painted a red “S” on his chest, standing for “scarecrow,” as a part of a high school hazing tradition. In the latest incarnation of the movie franchise, when asked by Lois Lane what the “S” stands for, Superman indicates that it is not an “S,” but rather the Kryptonian symbol for “hope.”

Life is like that. It takes a special person to see through the get-rich-quick schemes. It requires wisdom and patience to know who can be trusted and who needs to be shunned. 

A hero may not have X-ray vision, but has the ability to penetrate to the core of what makes up a person. Just because there is an “S” on the chest, doesn’t mean the individual is “super.” A true hero knows to be discerning.


— Tom May is the Minister of Discipleship at Eastside Christian Church in Jeffersonville. He is an adjunct instructor in the Communications Department at Indiana University Southeast.

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