The boys are curious about Superman's powers. He isn't big and green like the Incredible Hulk, or made of rock like the Blue-Eyed Thing or a giant ape like King Kong. He's just a man. (Well, an alien actually.) So how can he be so strong?
"Who's stronger, King Kong or Superman?" Johnny asks.
"Superman," I say.
"But King Kong killed a T-Rex," he says.
"Superman throws bad guys into outerspace," I counter.
"I think they're equal," Johnny says.
"Who's stronger, The Blue Eyed Thing or Superman?" Richie asks.
"Superman," Justin says.
"But the Blue Eyed Thing can hold up a bridge with cars on it," Johnny says.
"Superman can stop earthquakes," Justin says.
"They're probably the same," Johnny says.
"Who would win, the Incredible Hulk or Superman?" Johnny asks.
"Superman," I say.
"I think it would be a tie," he says.
I guess that's what kids like about Superman. He looks so normal that no one can believe he's super. That's why he only needs a pair of glasses as his disguise. And yet, he always saves the day.
You'd think that a superhero that strong would be boring. Where's the conflict? What problem does he have to solve? Besides kryptonite, I mean. Well, love of course. Lois Lane is in love with the strongest man in the universe. Himself. Oh, wait, that's not much of a problem.
But Superman, somehow, is not boring. Oddly, we can relate to him. Everything he does, he does for love. And nobody looks big and tough in the face of love.
Superman is like us. So when Richie puts on his Superman cape, which came in the mail yesterday, and sings "Da da da da da da da..." he's must be just like Superman, too.
The other day, Richie's Nana sent a Superman figure that he forgot in Boston.
"You came back," Richie said.
"I love you," Superman said, through Richie.
You'd never hear the other super-strong heros say that.