Remembering Superman: Christopher Reeve’s Legacy

This past weekend, Man of Steel opened up in theatres, earning millions of dollars and entertaining audiences around the world.  Man of Steel is of course the latest adaption of the comic book hero Superman, an American icon that has been around for 75 years. It’s only fitting that a new Superman movie would be released at the height of the current superhero film craze.  After all, it was out of the Superman franchise that the modern comic book blockbuster was born.   In 1978, Superman: The Movie was released in theatres with the tagline that told audiences “You’ll believe a man can fly”. And believe they did. Superman was an enormous success, changing the way people saw comics and helping to cement the tradition of summer blockbusters.  At the heart of this success was Superman himself, actor Christopher Reeve. For millions of people around the world, Christopher Reeve was Superman.  His tall, muscular frame.  His warm smile and sincere attitude.  Even today, Christopher Reeve is the face many people see when they think of Superman. Sadly, tragedy struck Christopher Reeve in 1995 when he was thrown from a horse, injuring his spinal cord and leaving him a quadriplegic.  But rather than disappear into obscurity, Reeve took to the world’s stage once more, this time as an advocate for all who live with disabilities. For the rest of his life, Christopher Reeve spent almost every waking moment building awareness, pushing research advancement, raising funds, and inspiring people all over to live better lives. His personal motto became “We can. We will. We must.” Once more, Reeve became a superhero of sorts to ordinary people across the globe.  He was Superman in a different way.  And though he passed on in 2004, his legacy continues.  The Dana & Christopher Reeve Foundation is one of the most active and influential awareness organizations in the world. Reeve’s own son Matthew Reeve is on the board of the organization and works hard to carry on his father’s legacy as best as he can. Audiences have always been drawn to Superman because he is everything they hope to be.  He is a shining example of truth and justice.  He is strength to those who have none.  These are ideals that drove Christopher Reeve’s life. May we all strive to be a little more like that.

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