Icon vs. Superman, as told by Evan Narcisse

Comic writer and journalist Evan Narcisse wrote a piece on the Icon/Superman crossover from “Worlds Collide”, an intercompany crossover event from 1994 where characters from Milestone Comics met with Superman. Part 4 of the series featured Icon (#16, August 1994)

An alien ship lands on Earth. Its occupant gets raised as human, hiding special abilities for fear of reprisal. But when the superpowered extraterrestrial becomes an adult, Truth, Justice and the American Way mean something very different. Because this strange visitor from another planet is black.

If you like Black superheroes, check out my crowdsourced list of them.

Superman as Clark Kent as Superman

Superman changes to Clark and then back and forth

This scene is one of my favourite scenes in movie history. It shows Christopher Reeve as Superman in Superman II playing Superman, Clark Kent, Superman again, and then Clark Kent again. All it took was a change in body language and vocal tone and he was both characters.

Here’s what Ben Kuchera from Polygon had to say about it:

There are many remarkable things about the first Superman film, up to and including the obvious influence on every comic book movie that came later. There wasn’t much of a blueprint in pop culture for what a serious look at a comic book character should look like. There were not yet giants who had shoulders on which Superman could stand.

But what really made the film so special was the performance of the late Christopher Reeve, the only actor who could make the idea that no one recognized Clark Kent as Superman due to his glasses even remotely plausible. His performance as both Clark Kent and Superman kept the characters distinct, and it was done through his body. Christopher Reeve was his own best special effect.

One scene shows this transformation perfectly.

It happens after Superman takes Lois flying, right before her date with Clark Kent. He nearly tells her the truth, and shifts into the part of Superman to prove he is who he’s about to say he is.

The amazing part of this performance is how clearly you can see Christopher Reeve shift his body from Clark Kent to Superman. His voice changes a bit, sure, but it’s all there in the body language. It’s a powerful, physical performance that doesn’t require a change into the costume or any of the special effects that went into the flying scene. The burden is on Reeve to sell the transition, and holy hell does he do it convincingly.

Shout out to the Alexander Technique, which Reeve and a host of other actors and authors used (although there is no scientific proof of its alleged health benefits—I have to make that clear).