06 March 2012

Wait, how old is Superman?

According to Umberto Eco's article "The Myth of Superman" Superman could and has been described as a mythic character. However, Eco uncovers how the mythic character, Superman, also embodies characteristics of what a character from a novel may have. Eco also points out how Superman is still the most popular and ongoing superhero in the United States even though he was created in the late 1930s and looks as though he hasn't aged a bit.
Another important aspect that Eco brings up about Superman is how because Superman has an alter ego, the writers have to include part of Clark Kent's life story in the comic. If the story were to only be about Superman, he would not be relatable to not only the citizens of his city but also with the readers. Umberto then goes on and explains how Superman continues to show characteristics of a mythological story because the story is so predictable. However, that particular characteristic can create some difficult problems for the writers of the comic because the ending of every Superman story will end with Super always defeating the evil villain, but that story can only be told differently only for so long.
The last subject Eco mentions about Superman is how his heroic actions must always be on a small scale. The reason for that is because, if Superman were to rid the city or world of all evil, there would no longer be any need for Superman, thus ending the story forever. The reason why Superman has been so popular for so long is because not only is he a relatable character, but it is being written in a way where it has become almost timeless. With the writers constantly making Superman relatable and creating new ways to tell the same story, Superman will continue to live on. 
Umberto Eco helped me finally understand why Superman has been the most popular superhero since he was created. It also made me look closer at Superman to see how it is not just a myth but it also has some components of a novel. I thought the things that Umberto Eco did point out in his essay were very good and important to understanding Superman and its stories. 

1 comment:

  1. All excellent points, Nancy, except for maybe the last one. Eco is not saying Superman is still popular. In fact, it's kind of the opposite.

    Also, how does this text relate to another?