05 March 2012

Superman: Man of the Hour

"Before Superman, Batman, and Spiderman, there was the superpatriarchs and supermatriachs of the Bible  and heroic figures named Moses, Aaron, Joshua, David, and Samson- not to mention the miracle-working profit Elijah and those Jewish Wonder women Ruth and Esther just to name a few. They all wielded courage and supernatural powers to protect and serve their people"- Simcha Weinstein

"The Myth of Superman" by Umberto Eco explores the idea of whether superman is truly a myth. Superman was created in 1938 by two Jewish teenagers that were looking for an outlet to express their hopes for a savior, and he still remains popular today. In order to keep Superman alive and popular, the readers must feel like they can relate to him. Although his story isn't entirely relatable, he is from a different planet and has supernatural powers, but he is also able to die and faces conflicts we too must face. Superman in Eco's analysis is described as living in an“Aesthetic universality”, which means we all behave and have similar feelings. Superman is confident when he is being a superhero and is nerdy and shy as Clark Kent. He has a thing for Lois Lane and the comics go on to explore that relationship. Superman embodies the dreams of the normal office worker, that some day they too will realize they have super powers and won't be normal anymore.
 According to Eco, the mythical creator must follow certain  rules: the story line must be part predictable, can't hold surprises, the character wants to be ordinary and what happens to him is just as unpredictable as what happens to us. Superman like other mythological characters is an archetype, he embodies others aspirations, and is a visible representation that symbolizes integrity among other things.Superman comics face no narrative development along with character development. Narrative development because stories are composed and all in that one story it is presented, developed, and resolved and character development because Superman is a superhero without an adversary and has no possibility of development. Although Superman faces these two issues, he is still widely popular because human life is based on making plans, finding a way to make them happen, and then actually having them happen. Supermans comics “the evercontinuing present”, allows superman to have endless stories that follow no chronological order. Superman has many times gaps, Superman has his normal comics an then there is superboy and superbaby, and there are the untold stories and imaginary tales in which things don’t really take place. Supergirl who is Supermans cousin is also another story created, and comics are rewritten where she helped but wasn't mentioned. By continually rewriting and adding and changing the comics, Superman can continue to target new readers. Superheroes are gifted with great powers where they could take over the government and defeat the army. Although they can, they don’t, they are kind and believe in the good triumphing over evil. The all have moral integrity.Superman is able to to change the world if he chose to, he has infinite ability and chooses to only focus on things in a community level, this is similar to that of a normal person. Normal people have a better chance of changing things at the community level compared to the national. By making Superman fight issues at a smaller level, it shows he isn't a Godly figure.

"Every generation needs archetypal heroes of its own, larger than-life characters who evoke the eternal themes found in the Bible." - Simcha Weinstein
In Simcha Weinsten's article, Up, Up, and Oy Vey, Superman is compared to many Biblical figures. Superman knocks down pillars similar to Samson, is sent away from home with the hopes of a better life similar to Moses, and fights evil similar to angels. Superman has been around for 70+ years in comic form, but has always been around, a hero able to save souls and embodies the aspirations of others. Superman is a myth just like the other heroes such as Hercules. Where there is a need for a hero, there will always be one.


  1. Nice post!

    Just proofread! It's not Louis Lane; it's Lois! Louis would be a whole other story ;-) And "Superman" is a name; it should be capitalized!

  2. Good job. I think you could elaborate on how the biblical aspects of the first reading are related to this reading. You say that they are related but you dont really explain how. But overall good job.

  3. I have to agree with you that Superman is compared to many biblical figures. When our class had that discussion last week I had no idea how much of a relation Superman has to Moses. He is also a myth because no one can really completely relate to him.

  4. I really liked your blog. It described enough to understand what the relationship is between all the heroes share. I really liked how you gave a quotation from one of the readings into your blog to start off your discussion.
    I too agree how intriguing it is to compare superman to such historical heroes which were extracted from some sacred texts. The tales of all the heroes share so many examples with superman’s story.