In the essay "Superman and Me" by Sherman Alexie, the author, a Native American from the Spokane Indian Reservation in eastern Washington, writes that he learned to read by reading a Superman comic. He gives an example of one of the comic panels in which Superman is shattering a door, and he imagines what is written in the caption and what Superman must be saying. The door in the panel is symbolic of the discouragement and lack of opportunities that afflict most of the inhabitants on the reservation, and Alexie shatters this barrier through reading and writing, which in the essay are equated with superpowers. Just as Superman can shatter the physical door with his super-strength, Alexie can shatter the barriers of poverty and despair with the superpowers of knowledge and education.
Alexie credits his father with his early love of books. His father loved books, and Alexie loved his father so much that he developed a love of books as well. His father recalls Superman's father Jor-El, who creates the starship that saves the baby Superman from the dying planet Krypton and propels him safely to Earth. In various comics and films, Jor-El appears as a simulacrum and educates Superman about his heritage and powers.
Learning to read at a precociously early age is the start of Alexie's superpowers. He begins at the age of three, and by the time he is in kindergarten he can read complex novels. On the reservation, his superpower of knowledge causes him to be feared and ridiculed, and as a result he gets in daily fights. However, he refuses to fail, which is another aspect of heroism that Superman also manifests. Reading empowers Alexie, so he continues to accumulate strength by reading at every spare opportunity.
And then, abruptly, through all of his reading, which is a type of preparation, he acquires a new superpower: writing. Writing, in turn, leads to another superpower: the ability and desire to teach others.
We see, then, that Alexie uses the Superman story as a metaphor for the empowerment that reading, writing, and teaching impart.