Every so often, you read about someone who has decided to walk across the country to gain a better appreciation for the land and its residents. Usually, there’s a charity involved; more often than not, a video camera.
That’s always made me wonder about the value of these walks. Not the charity part, the cameras. How can you truly “experience” anything when you’re being trailed by a camera crew and shot in panorama against the setting sun? Or, to quote Forrest Gump:
“That day, for no particular reason, I decided to go for a little run. So I ran to the end of the road. And when I got there, I thought maybe I’d run to the end of town. And when I got there, I thought maybe I’d just run across Greenbow County. And I figured, since I run this far, maybe I’d just run across the great state of Alabama. And that’s what I did. I ran clear across Alabama. For no particular reason I just kept on going. I ran clear to the ocean. And when I got there, I figured, since I’d gone this far, I might as well turn around, just keep on going. When I got to another ocean, I figured, since I’d gone this far, I might as well just turn back, keep right on going.”
It was just announced this week that another great hero is planning to walk across the country. Superman.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: Why is Superman walking across the country when he could, you know, just sort of fly and … zip … her’ there?
The folks at DC Comics provide the answer: Starting in July 2010, coinciding with the 700th issue of Superman, DC Comics will be celebrating this remarkable anniversary of America’s greatest hero with a historic journey…not to alien worlds or distant galaxies, but through the streets, roads, highways, homes, farms, suburbs, and inner cities of America.
The trip will take more than a year, as the Man Of Steel starts in Philadelphia and passes through Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, California, Oregon and Washington.
Sadly, Superman won’t be walking over the pedestrian bridge across Barnett Road, or from duck pond to duck pond at Lithia Park. His Oregon stop will be within a 50-mile radius of Portland, according to the folks at DC — who have a reader contest as part of the serialized journey.
“The series of issues will examine how Superman sees America, and how America sees Superman,” according to a press release. Strangely, Superman won’t be walking through his adopted home state of Kansas … although it’s hard to go home after becoming a star in the big city. Or a Metropolis.
He’s also ignoring the South, New England, both Dakotas and Arizona (where he might be accused of being an illegal alien). You’d think someone with Superman’s strength and endurance could manage the Lower 48, if not Hawaii and Alaska.
So, why is he doing it? Apparently (and here’s a shocker) to sell comic books. And that’s truth, justice and the American way.