The Pilgrim’s Progress: Gary Groth
The child is father to the man…or else there is always room for redemption and wisdom, Saul of Tarsus style.
A few weeks ago, Jeet Heer unearthed a newspaper profile of Fantagraphics co-publisher Gary Groth at the age of 17. The young Groth was even then interested in publishing — the profile was published in no less an outlet than the Washington Post — but his feelings then were somewhat…well, unevolved.
As Steve Duin shows with an editorial on Superman from Amazing Heroes a mere 16 years later, things had changed.
Superman is an American Symbol, though; notwithstanding his humble beginnings at the hands of Siegel and Shuster, Superman was sold to the American public by a company who couldn’t care less for “courage and humility,” and stands as the successful marketing of pop mythology, and like a political candidate who offers image, bombast, and demagoguery over substance and ideals, Superman has come to stand for values he never consistently realized as a creation. He’s the ultimate America icon — he can be sold, marketed, and merchandised, whose image can be replicated on everything from pillowcases to beach balls to underwear.