Speaking with a voice that belongs to a character and not to you is a skill many actors have developed. Actors and voice actors might bring a voice to life, but in the beginning, it is the writer who creates the voice of a character. A recent argument about what Superman would be allowed to say in the current political environment took place between actor Dean Cain and comic book writer Tom King.
There is a scene in the television series The West Wing that describes a similar problem with the Presidential voice. Jimmy Smits is working to become the first Latino president. An upcoming debate will reveal whether or not he has the prowess to rise above the other primary candidates.
The campaign consultant played by Mary-Louise Parker he is working with is trying to create the mindset that will make the voice occur naturally. After a series of frustrating attempts, Parker says, “The thing about the presidential voice,” and pauses, “is that you have to be president to use it.”
Cain portrayed Superman on Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. The show featured a romantic-comedy approach to the Man of Steel and his soulmate Lois Lane. It aired from 1993- 1997. Cain is now a reserve officer for the Pocatello Police Department in Idaho.
Many actors have portrayed Superman. Kirk Alyn was the first. He donned Superman’s costume in 1948 for a movie theater serial. George Reeves pulled on the blue tights for the Superman television show from 1952-1958.
Christopher Reeve wore the cape from 1978-1987 and defined the character in the eyes of many fans. Cain was next, followed by Brandon Routh in 2006, and Henry Cavill in 2011. Tyler Hoechlin most recently portrayed Kal-El on Supergirl and will star in a spin-off in 2020.
Superman has had numerous voices portray his likeness for radio, television, and animated movies. Embodying the beloved hero’s voice for listeners is a mark of distinction for a small club of exclusive members.
But the voice of Superman began with creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster in 1938. Action Comics #1 brought their creation to the masses. It defined the character and mythos upon which all other versions were based. One of the earliest was a result of the
To their credit, many writers built the identity of Superman around the best qualities we all aspire to see in ourselves and others. Creators like John Byrne, Mark Waid, Alan Moore, Gardner Fox, Marv Wolfman, and George Pérez.
Tom King recently penned Superman: Up In The Sky. He responded to the comments made by Cain by sharing a page from one of his Superman stories on Twitter. In the issue, Superman is transported into the past and loses his memory. He takes up with legendary soldier Sgt. Rock on a campaign during World War II.
By the end of the issue Clark Kent regains his identity and helps Easy Company complete its mission. Before he takes the only chance available to get home Superman thanks Rock and Easy Company for being the soldiers willing to go “through another day, up another hill” without regard for any recognition.
King’s argument is that a soldier like Rock doesn’t usually have that much that he can believe in after seeing the horrors of war. But he believes in The American Way and he believes in Superman. It appears that Superman and the voice telling his story believe in the best values of America and are not afraid to say so.
The backlash Cain has received following his statement is a throng of ardent supporters of the Man of Steel. They have joined their voices with King to form a chorus. Superman’s legacy will always have new faces and new voices to share his neverending story. Unfortunately for Dean Cain, there might not be another chance to share that honor.