My Enduring Relationship with the Man of
My "relationship" with
Superman began at age seven, when he swooped into my
living room in the person of George Reeves. It was
reignited at 19, when Christopher Reeve stepped into those
bright red boots in Superman, The Movie.
The movie filled me with a pang of
longing. I wanted to be part of the energy, excitement and
adventure I saw on the screen. By then, I was working at
my first newspaper job and on my way to a life of Lois
Lane assignments. I could relate to the romance of the
The anticipation and affection between
Superman and Lois in the movie were another draw. I liked
the idea of having an important career and an important
super hero kind of guy who could be there at the drop of a
hat -- or helicopter, as it were. As a romantic fantasy,
the Supes had one thing most mythic men can't beat -- a
day job at a major metropolitan newspaper. To an
aggressive cub reporter, there was nothing as exciting as
a man with a press card.
I went about the business of building my
career, secretly harboring the desire to someday find my
own Superman -- or at least a Clark Kent to share a juicy
journalistic life with -- and to develop my own strengths
and powers as a reporter.
I temporarily fell off the path in 1986,
when I married a guy who could best be described as a
Caveman. Like Supes, he too hailed from a place which, at
the time, seemed like another planet, Romania. He swore he
stood for truth, justice and the American way, but he was
no son of Jor-El. He turned out to be insanely possessive
and physically abusive. In the darkest days of marriage
the Caveman's tendency toward violence made it clear that
I had to leave.
It was in 1988 that my Super Obsession
really took flight. That was the year Superman turned 50
and I got divorced. Supes was getting a lot of media
attention and I was looking for a fantasy to hang my hat
on, while searching to recover my own power and
confidence. A newspaper I worked for sent me to cover
Superman's 50th Birthday party, hosted by D.C. Comics at
the famous Puck Building in New York, and the moment they
allowed the press to walk through a Fortress of
solitude-like tunnel, where the theme song from Superman
blasted, I felt as if I'd come home.
I had my picture taken with huge comic
book blowups of Supes, Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen; I
watched Superman clips on video. I interviewed women about
whether they were still waiting for Superman to come and
swoop them up and found that the fantasy was very much
alive. The excitement and yearning I'd felt when I first
saw Superman, The Movie was reigniting me. I was so high
and happy from the experience at this fun celebration, I
I went home and decided to "superize"
my life. I bought a nearly lifesize Superman poster and
had him mounted so he could stand. I bought videos of
Superman movies and started collecting Superman
memorabilia. I used the red, blue and yellow colors to
bring brightness into my life. When I was lonely, I'd pop
a Superman movie into a VCR. When I was scared, I imagined
myself surrounded by a shield with a huge S on it. And
when I felt powerless and lost, I'd strike the pose of the
poster, imitating the fierce look and determined chin, the
powerful upright stance and clenched fists.
Changing my physiology to model
Superman's and redirecting my mind from distress to super
powers truly assisted me in changing and redirecting my
entire life. There was more to it than mere fantasy. I
knew in my heart that sometimes we must pretend something
is true before it actually is in order to get to where we
are going in life: Fake it till you make it. To me,
Superman represented a man who could not hurt me and a
strength that dwelled within me. I was determined not only
to utilize my affinity with the Man of Steel to get
through my first year of divorce; I decided to become a
Supermanologist of sorts, and have lots of fun while doing
By the summer of 1988, my search for
Superman started in earnest, and built in leaps and
bounds. I discovered Superman was so much a part of our
culture that he does exist in very tangible ways.
Sometimes, in the least likely places, like Metropolis,
When I discovered Superman had a
hometown, I got on the next flight and traveled to the
southern tip of the state to meet with Clyde Wills, editor
and publisher of The Metropolis Planet and with Mike Boyd,
the super volunteer Superman who since has turned in his
tights. I fell in love with the place and wrote several
stories about going to Superman's hometown and meeting the
great people of Metropolis.
When I returned home, I happened into a
Manhattan store and discovered a gorgeous denim jacket
painted and studded with Austrian crystal that depicted
Superman flying out of Metropolis on the back and had a
huge sparkling S on the front. It was so extravagant and
expensive that it was decadent. I bought it. That was on
October 18 -- the one year anniversary of the break-up of
The jacket became my trademark outfit
and I wore it like Superman wears his cape -- it never
came off. I wore it right into the D.C. Comics exclusive
Christmas party that year (I sort of crashed, having been
given an extra invitation by a Batman fan friend of mine)
and Julius Schwartz, Superman's long-time, semi-retired
editor came up to me and showed my coat off to the D.C.
Big Deals. It was like being a kid in a candy store, there
I was at the source of Superman. I met Superman's editor,
the amazing Mike Carlin; and Superman's artists, inkers,
writers. Later, artist Frank McLaughlin was nice enough to
give me as a gift three panels of original, signed
Superman comic book art.
1988 melted into 1989 and a new super
possibility loomed on my horizon. I continued getting up
close and personal with the people who had in various ways
been behind the legend. By now, the need for a fantasy had
turned into a real passion for the past and current
history of the man of Steel. I found so much joy in my
explorations that I began to write about them. I made an
agreement with myself to include a reference to Superman
in every article I wrote for a year (did) and started
doing a column for Women's News, in which Superman was
always a topic.
The big breakthrough came when I
launched Star Reporter News Service by syndicating my
first article -- Superman's hometown, Metropolis,
Illinois. The news service took flight as the piece ran
in: The Chicago Sun-Times, NY Daily News, The Denver Post,
The Boston Globe, San Antonio Express-News, The Miami
Herald, Philadelphia Inquirer, Grit and even the
Australian magazine called Pics. My interview with
Metropolis Superman Mike Boyd appeared in Women's News and
Comic Buyer's Guide.
By then, I'd become a seasoned
Supermanologist. My collection of Supes memorabilia was
growing because people kept giving me gifts; I boned up on
the comic book legend and continued my search for
Superman. My friend, Edie Hand, a cousin of Elvis Presley,
put me in touch with Noel Neill, an original Lois Lane
from the TV series. When Kirk Allyn, who played Superman
in the serial that served as a pilot for the TV show, was
in town for an event I interviewed him. I covered a
celebrity baseball game that Margot Kidder, of Lois Lane
fame, played in.
My Superman antics became a charming
little joke among friends, and a point of intrigue among
professional contacts; even an editor of Playgirl asked me
to share my personal adventures with Superman in her
magazine in 1989 -- who knew I would later end up on the
staff of the same magazine that printed my romantic
tribute to The Man of Steel?
My ultimate fantasy was to live out my
favorite scene in the first Superman movie -- where Lois
Lane interviews Superman for the first time and gets to
fall all over him, be a sexy babe, and get her scoop. It
was a part on the film I nearly wore out on my VCR from
rewinding it so much.
On December 7, 1989 my friend Hank
Dolmatch got tickets to an event at the 92nd Street Y in
New York where Christopher Reeve was speaking about his
career after a screening of his movie Street Smart, in
which he plays a sleazy reporter.
I must admit my heart sank to discover
that Reeve was not the biggest Superman fan on the planet
at that point. He seemed to think that the movies that
made him also tainted his career because, as we all know,
people tend to think Christopher Reeve is Superman, yours
truly among them.
"Part of the Superman legacy in my
life is that people think, maybe we can prevail upon this
guy; maybe this guy can really do something to bail us
out," Reeve said. "After the first movie, it was
quite overwhelming. People were making requests for me to
show up in costume. People thought I was really
Uh-oh, I thought, this may not be a
match made on Krypton. I almost got depressed but instead,
wanted to meet him. I wanted to look my fantasy right in
the eye -- and ask him a Lois Lane question. I could die a
happy woman after that.
Donned in my Superman jacket, I snuck
through a stage door and made my way through a number of
people who were waiting for him to come out! When he did,
I stood momentarily unable to move and propelled myself on with
all the Lois Lane courage I could muster.
I made my way up to him, the bright
"S" on the front of my jacket glittering with
every step. If he thought I was a crazed Superman fan, he
didn't let on. He was nice, I could see how he developed
the Super character from his own personality; and patient,
as I monopolized him, showing him the back of the jacket,
giving him a photo of a wall menu that had a sandwich
named after him on it, trying not to get too excited. I
asked him a question that I do not recall and barely took
a note on when he answered because I was looking him
directly in those very appealing blue eyes.
I walked away on a cloud -- thank you
Christopher Reeve! -- and felt I had achieved the ultimate
-- an interview with Superman and a distinction between
fact and fiction, real people and actors. My Lois Lane
fantasy had been accomplished.
It was a healing experience that brought
closure to the fantasy part of my Super quest. And it
helped me to see that while there was always a part of me
that wanted to be with a Superman, what became more
prevalent was the part of me that wanted to be like him.
After all, Superman has given us a role model with
qualities that we mortals can emulate without having to
bend steel with our bare hands -- fortitude, integrity,
honesty, humanity. I think there is a super being that
dwells within us all.
My son came flying into the world at
10:13 a.m. one October morning in 1991 and we named him
Alexander Kent. One of the first gifts received by our
little boy of steel came from his Aunt Rikki -- a tiny
Superman pajama suit with cape. He was born with one leg,
and an amazing spirit, and when he was a baby I would
surround him with the Big "S" -- hats, gloves,
pillows, scarves, shirts, sheets -- because I saw it as a
symbolic way to pass along the power and strength. I think
it helped because he grew to be such a super kid.
My son was about four when word came
that Christopher Reeve had been injured in a riding
accident. The first reaction of many people was pity ...
that his life was done.
But I insisted -- "Now he really
will get to be a Superman. I know that he will triumph and
teach us all a little something about the power of the
human spirit." I really believed in him. First,
because I believed in Superman. Then, because it became so
clear that Christopher Reeve was truly a super soul.
It's been many years since I first
leaned on Superman to help me through a divorce and to
empower me to find my own balance, confidence and place in
the world. Over time, in the natural course of things, I
put my Superman collectibles away and moved on to other
stages in life. I left journalism for ministry and
officiating weddings. I began to research the world's
religions and study the Divine Feminine of the world
traditions. I was awed when I discovered how many
Goddesses have the powers and attributes I first heard of
in association with Superman. I realized that Superman,
all along, represented an ancient archetype that helps we
mortals have hope and faith in the greater good -- and
helps us believe in a super power that works with us to
make the world a better place. By the late nineties, I was
walking a completely new path ... yet I can see now how my
relationship to Superman had actually prepared me for it.
I always thought Christopher and my son
Alexander should and would meet. Sure enough, one day at
Yankee Stadium, Alexander met Christopher and had his
photo taken with him. I knew it was a significant moment
that punctuated our Super journey.
As someone who once had a serious crush
on comic book hero, and got over it, I knew I would
someday find my own real life Super Guy. I was blessed to
meet my beloved, Vic, in seminary the year I enrolled. One
of the first things I discovered about him was that he too
loved the Man of Steel when he was younger. Vic and I got
married in late September 2004. Two weeks later he woke me
up one morning to gently tell me "There is sad news
today -- Christopher Reeve died."
I cried. And cried. And cried some more.
My mind flashed to times when he was young, and standing
tall, and swooping Lois Land into his arms while flying up
the side of the Daily News Building in NY. I remembered
his kindness with a pang of sadness that it would be gone
from the world. Then I realized the gift I had been given:
Christopher Reeve had deeply touched my life, since I was
19 years old. When he was flying -- when he was graciously
standing before me -- when he was sitting in his
wheelchair -- when he was speaking out on the issues --
when he took a photo with my son -- and when he was
leaving this earth for another home.
And that was only my little perspective
on it all! There were millions of people who had been
moved by him. Ironically, he had, in fact, become as well
known as Superman. And in our eyes -- whether he asked for
it or not -- had become a true hero for our times -- an
inspiration in times when there were so few to truly
inspire us and remind us of our strength and abilities.
He stirred us on the deepest levels ...
moved us to look beyond our petty issues ... and inspired
us to think big, bigger, beyond what we had conceived. His
platform was seeking ways to improve the lives and
possibilities for people with disabilities and spinal cord
injuries. Yet the essence of who he had become in our
world went beyond a cause; he became an icon for
Two days after his passing, I lit a blue
candle in his honor. The tears stopped and instead I felt
such gratitude and peace. I prayed that his loved ones, in
their grieving, feel uplifted by the love that is
surrounding them from all corners of the world. Though his
life on this physical plane was short, he leaves a legacy
that will live on far beyond his years on earth. And he
will always be remembered with love.
© Copyright 2004 Rev. Laurie Sue
Brockway. All Rights Reserved. Photos of Rev. Laurie Sue with Christopher
Reeve by Hank Dolmatch.
Do you have a tribute to Christopher Reeve?
Reverend Laurie Sue's Past Columns:
- Septeptember 2004 - "Move Forward … Make Change …"
2004 - "Meet the Amazing Alexander Kent Garrett"
2004 - "13 Steps for Making Your Romantic Dreams
2003 - Bring Light and Healing to Your Family
for the Holidays
2003 - "Even In Midlife,
We Can All Use A Fairy Godmother"
2003 - "The Secret to Serenity"
2003 - "A
Gathering of Goddesses: Our Girlfriends Keep Us Real"
2003 - "Love Has Its Own Schedule"
2003 - "A Spring Time Reawakening To Soulful Love
and Self Love"
2003 - "Marry Yourself First..."
2002 - "Who is the Goddess?" & "The
2002 - "How to Clear Your Love Clutter"
2002 - "How to Mourn a Broken Heart and Lost
2002 - "Relationships That Nurture and Inspire
Growth of the Soul
2002 - "Finding Peace in a Turbulent World"
2002 - "Sacred Sexuality For Modern Men and
2002 - "When Someone You Love Pushes Your Buttons"
2002 - "When Life Has You Down, Remember You Are
2002 - "Plan a Valentine's Day Team Date"
2002 - "Do I Hear Him Knocking … From the Other
2001 - "How Do We Make Our Love Dreams Come True?"
2001 - "What is the Future of Love?"
2001 - "Getting to Know
the Goddess of Good Fortune"
2001 - "Can't Hurry Love... It Will Happen in Its Right Moment"
2001 - "Family Rituals Help Us Grow Into Loving Beings"
2001 - "Dreams Warn It’s Time To Own Your Power"
2001 - "A Fun Visual of Your Favorite Romance"
May 2001 - "Someday
Your Mystical Soul Mate Will Come"
2001 - "Enjoy the Merriment and Fun of An Ancient Love
2001 - "Nourish Yourself On a Date for One"
2001 - "Get Ready for Soulful Love"
Rev. Laurie Sue Brockway is
an interfaith minister who is often called upon to
teach, speak and write about women’s spirituality and
The Feminine Faces of God. She is author of, A GODDESS
IS A GIRL’S BEST FRIEND: A DIVINE GUIDE TO FINDING
LOVE, SUCCESS AND HAPPINESS, from Perigee Books,
For more information:
or to join "The Goddess
List" for inspirational and informational
electronic message, Email: GoddessLaxmi@aol.com
TO SOULFUL THOUGHTS