In chapter 4 of the myth of superman by Umberto Eco he explains that superman has a huge variety of superpower from unlimited strength, flying, x-ray vision, and super hearing. Superman is able to relate to normal people because he plays the role of a journalist who is despised by a coworker.
Eco argues that there is a “fundamental difference in superman and traditional heroic figure of mythology and religions”. With traditional religions, the character followed a unchangeable destiny. This story shaped how the public saw the character in the story. He compares these ideas to Hercules, Roland, gothic cathedrals’, and renaissance churches. We already knew the story behind them. The mythological character superman is in the same position.
Aristotle explains that a plot in a story must have a character involved in a number of events, reversal, recognitions, and terrifying cases that end in catastrophe. The problem with superman is that this does not happen. He has no adversary or weakness besides kryptonite but he allows finds a way around it. This makes the superman stories short.
Eco argues that superman cannot be immortal because that would make him a god and that would hurt his double identity. Superman then is inconsumable and consumed. He is a myth without regards to time, but is allowed because his role as man in everyday life. Superman is able to do this because he does not start off from the point he left. He jumps right into a new story every time.
The writers of superman can then take the characters stories and retell them. For example super boy, super girl, super baby, are told and are similar to superman. Also it is important in superman to have a story that involves love. Robert Giammanco then talks about the sexual nature of character like superman and batman.
Superman can relate to problems of causalities, temporality, and irreversibility of events. The writers of superman did not intend this though. Superman gives us a way of telling stories that govern how societies should work.
Superman is the best know and most talked about hero argues Eco. He argues that all other heroes from comics are gifted just like superman and are kind and honest. These stories show the triumph of good the downfall of evil. Superman though is only limited to his hometowns. He never protects the rest of the world. Eco then discuss how superman uses all his energy to protect and do good deed when he could be using his powers for something different.
In Up, Up, and Oy Vey, Superman is compared to people from the bible. These people all did good moral deeds. This compares to eco’s ideas because eco discusses how superman was the perfect hero. He never used his powers to destroy the world. Also eco’s talks about how superman only is limited to protecting his home towns. This is what the people of the bible did. They were only limited to certain areas.