How has the Man of Steel evolved over the past eight decades — and what has made him so popular? Those were the questions that intrigued biographer Larry Tye, whose book Superman tells the story of the red-and-blue-clad icon who Tye calls "the longest-lived American hero of the last century."
"Americans embrace Superman partly because he captured so many things that are part of our psyche and part of our sense of ourselves," Tye tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross. "… He gave us an unwavering sense of right and wrong. He sweeps in to solve our problems. He was a bit like a Messiah in that he descended from the heavens to help us discover our humanity. And unlike all these other heroes — the dark Batman or the fraught Spider-Man — Superman was out there, always like a clear sign of light."