It's all right, You can all sleep sound tonight

My wife is a huge fangirl for Superman. She loves the old Christopher Reeve movies, especially, Superman - The Movieand Superman II, gives me withering looks when I disparage Lois & Clark - The New Adventures of Superman (tho she does admit the series is almost as crappy as Superman IV), and has watched Smallville religiously. I've always liked Batman a bit more, what with his humanity, darkness and general willingness to go a bit further than that goody-two-shoes Supes who won't kill a human even if the world depends on it.

But lately I have to admit it's rubbing off. I loved Superman: Red Son, and particularly enjoyed the interplay between Batman, earth's coolest human superhero, and Superman, the √úbermensch who acts almost in a "Father Knows Best" fashion towards us frail mortals in Batman: The Dark Knight Returns.

That's why I particularly enjoyed the post from Waiter Rants on The Man of Steel. To Quote in part:

"So I rented the 2006 film Superman Returns last night and watched it on my big plasma TV. And when I saw Superman sonic booming though the skies to save a fiery plane from crashing that smile retuned. Now many critics panned the film, saying the director overplayed the whole Superman as Jesus thing. But what those dolts didn’t remember is that Superman is a reincarnation of a very old myth. Yes, Kal-El was sent to Earth by his father to be humanity’s savior, sort of dies, wakes up and flies into the heavens. I get the comparison. Jesus kind of had superpowers too. But the myth even predates the Gospels. Remember Hercules, the strongest man in the world? The son of Zeus who performs great feats, journeys to the underworld, cheats death and ascends to Mount Olympus? Sound familiar? So when the twentieth century rolled around we recycled an old myth and put it tights and a red cape. And that’s why I think so many people love the idea of superheroes and The Man of Steel in particular. It touches on something primal and endless; our secret wish that there’s a benevolent being greater than all of us – someone who will save us from ourselves."


It's an excellent summation of the links between ancient dying god myths and modern superhero legends, particularly Superman. One quote that has stuck with me, though I don't know who it came from, was (paraphrase) that "Batman is Bruce Wayne's alter-ego. He puts on a cape and pretends to be stronger than he is. Clark Kent is Kal-El's alter-ego. He puts on a pair of glasses and pretends to be weaker than he is. Clark Kent is Superman's commentary on the human race."

Comments

Dan said…
I don't remember the overt Jesus themes in the latest Superman movie, but if you want to be hit over the head with Christian imagery you should just watch the last Matrix movie on repeat.

Scratch that. There's no reason to watch the last Matrix movie.

Thanks for the heads up about Red Son. I'll have to check it out.
PennedInCrimson said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Drew K said…
Well, like I said a few weeks ago, I've never been very interested in American comics. I do plan to expand my horizons in that area, but as a fan of science fiction, cyberpunk, and video games, I'm always glad to see someone looking into the philosophy of art forms which are generally dismissed as adolescent tripe.

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