18 June 2009

History, Biblical History & More History

Chapter four, The Myth of Superman written by Umberto Eco, discusses how heroes from “Hercules to Siegfried, from Roland to Pantagruel, all the way to Peter Pan” have been equipped with powers that are not common to men (107). The myth of Superman is describing the many differences in the structure and the “civilization” of the novel (109). According to Eco, the main interest of readers in a “civilization” modern novel is how the plot of the story gains the attention of the readers (109). He discusses that in order to understand the plot of the story/comic the character must be defines for the readers to understand what is expected and how the story will play out. In a novel the hero is characterized with events that lead to catastrophe. In Superman it is a little more difficult because it was published only in weekly editions with a couple of pages where the problem was identified, he solved the problem and it things were back to normal. It kept the readers waiting till the next issue was released. Unlike a novel that tells the whole story in one book and does not end until the book is finished. The reading myth of Superman, included: Superman as a model of ‘heterodirection’, civic conscious and political consciousness, and the role of the reader.
As if I was not already confused about comics we read the Myth of Superman that incorporates the history comics and superhero’s with Superman as a model, heterdirection, civic conscious and political conscious and the role of the reader came about. I tried to be open minded and learn from the reading but after reading it three times I realized that I must be stupid because it made no sense to me. Maybe while discussing the reading in class I can understand something of what I read.
In the Up, Up, and Oy Vey written by Simcha Weinstein, the author tells us that there were superpatriachs and supermatriarchs of the Bible before any of our superhero’s like Superman, Spiderman, and Batman. Jewish Americans were amongst the first to created superhero’s that were going to conquer evil. They created hero’s that represented Jewish traditions like Superman personifies integrity, Batman personifies justice, Captain America was identified as personifying patriotism, Hulk as anger, Spiderman as responsibility and redemption and so forth. Jewish people are under the assumption that if the word “man” is written afterwards a last name it’s probably that they are Jewish or a superhero.
I was amazed to see the origination of our superhero’s and how they carry values that represent good and noble behaviors. When these comics were created it seems that they were created to inspire young children and teach moral values. I enjoyed the religious aspect of the reading as well I never really thought of Moses, Aaron, Joshua, David, Samson, and Elijah as hero’s. I just knew that they protected and served their people.


  1. You are in no way stupid for not understanding The Myth of Superman. It was a dry read and I question the relevance of it all. At least you could explain what you read.

  2. Well, so far, it looks like you're the first person to really try grappling with Eco! Well done. You're definitely hitting on Eco's two main points abot Superman; he's a terrible literary character because of te nature of his stories (never really ending and never really developing the character); but like all those other heroes with superhuman powers (Hercules, Peter Pan, etc.) he's an excellent mythic hero--we just have the bad luck of not knowing him as a myth :-(

    And I think you too are missing the point of the whole "-man"/"-mein" suffix. It was joke pointing out that a lot of Jewish surnames end with "man," just like a lot of superheroes' names.