And at the end of the day, fun is what Superman's always been about. The scene that stands out to me and is the textbook Superman scene was this: In a comic I read, Superman was doing his rounds until he sees an SUV skid off an expressway ramp. He swoops in and catches it with ease, much to the delight of the driver and her son. The son looks out the window and sees who caught them and says "Are you Superman? That is so cool!". Superman replies, "Yes, I am Superman. And, yes, it is cool,". That's the Superman I want to see. A Superman that does his job with a twinkle in his eye. A Superman that loves to be Superman, dispite its hardships and risks. Not doing it with a heavy heart and weary soul.
My response to the "as dark as the character allows" comment, is this:
The character of Superman allows NO darkness.
That is simply not what Superman is supposed to be. He *must* be a nice guy. Somebody who actually smiles and enjoys his work. Somebody everyone can look up to and respect. Somebody who is ALL good and NO bad. The ultimate Boy Scout, as it were. Darkening all that - in any way - would completely ruin Superman as a character.
To paraphrase "What's So Funny About...": People who want a dark Superman really want Manchester Black. And look what happened to him.
I think a "Dark Superman" is a bad way to go, but to show that Superman, like everyone else, has a "dark side" (sorry, people for the pun) is a valid way to approach the character.
Superman in the DCAU (aka the "Timm-verse") was all the good things about Superman, but also very human
, and was capable of sometimes being a little less than perfect. He still did the right thing in the end though.
I remember one memorable bit in JLU when Luthor was goading Superman, trying to get Supes to kill him (as a different dimension's Superman had done earlier in the season) and forever ruin his reputation. He had Luthor by the throat and had his eye-beams heating up and it looked like he was about to do it when he stopped, got it together, and said:
"I am NOT that man...right now I wish to God I WAS, but I'm not..."
Very human AND very Superman at the same time...