Superman fan trims cubicle with Man of Steel gear
By Janie Magruder
GCU News Bureau
Dennis Reiber decked his cubicle long before cube decorating became seasonal.
Reiber, a curriculum designer and developer for Grand Canyon University’s College of Education, adorned his workspace at the 27th Avenue office complex with Superman, not Santa Claus, last spring, months before his colleagues brought in holiday gear to spruce up their desks.
You can’t miss his “Fortress of Solitude,” which is just off the main drag of the building, past the conference rooms but before the bathrooms and on the left. Reiber, a Superman fan since he was a kid in Colorado, brought in some of his memorabilia, including cups, a DC Comics print and, the most special, a Lego robot, a gift from his grandson, Jamison Wettergren. The cubicle is covered by a Superman cape and Bubble Wrap, symbolizing the ice at Superman’s real fortress, and Reiber’s computer monitors have the Superman screensaver, of course.
Like many kids growing up in the 1960s, Reiber loved Superman for his super strength, but he has maintained his allegiance to the superhero for different reasons.
“People tease me about it and say, ‘Aren’t you a little old?’” said the 56-year-old father of three daughters and grandfather of seven. “But one of the biggest problems with adults is we lose a bit of our childhood and forget how to have fun.
“But as I grew older, I also began to realize that there’s more to Superman. Regardless of the situation he was in, he always had a strong moral compass, and that was attractive to me as an adult. As Christians, our moral compass and our faith are very much tied together.”
Reiber and his younger daughter, a Batman fan, have had some heated debates about the comparable worthiness of the two superheroes, and you get the sense that Dad wins most of them. He’s seen all the Superman movies and plans to see the premier of “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” with her during a visit this spring to her home in Kansas.
“How do you compare my guy to a guy who has billions of dollars and all this technology but can still be killed by a bullet and has to use a plane to fly?” he asked. “Batman also lets his dark side drive him, to a point.”
Superman is superior to James Bond, whom Reiber alleges has a wavering moral compass, at best, and Wonder Woman is a suitable mate for Superman because she, unlike Lois Lane, has a personality and abilities that are similar to his.
Reiber, who was a sergeant first class in the U.S. Army, has a large collection of Superman memorabilia at his Avondale home, including about 200 comic books. Like all serious collectors, he purchased one comic book to read and an identical one to keep in the plastic sleeve.
He’s happy GCU management understands that the most creative ideas might not originate within the confines of gray metal cubicles, so dressing them up can promote originality and contentment. Reiber admits his workspace gets a fair amount of attention from passersby, and he’s grateful that his teammates are supportive of his décor.
“Superman has his Fortress of Solitude at the North Pole, hidden under the ice, and he uses it to recharge,” he said. “In my case, it’s where I feel less confined and more comfortable. It’s very relaxing to me.”
Contact Janie Magruder at 602-639-8018 or j[email protected].