Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Superheroes: A Modern Mythology

Atonement with the Father: Superman
The roots of a superhero career - the all-important 'origin story' - go back to adolescence, and the character's development as a superhero must encompass evolving relationships with parents or substitute parental figures.

Approval by the father is witheld time and again by the absence or unavailability of the father-figure.

Sky - male, Earth - the female.

"Small events in the child's life which make him feel dissatisfied afford him provocation for beginning to criticize his parents, and for using, in order to support his critical attitude, the knowledge which he has acquired that other parents are in some respects preferable to them...the child's imagination becomes engaged in the task of getting free from the parents of whom he now has a low opinion and of replacing them by others, who, as a rule, are of a higher social standing."

Living in the new Middle Ages
A key ideological myth of the superhero comic is that the normal and everday enshrines positive values that must be defended through heroic action - and defended over and over again almost without respite against an endless battery of menaces determined to remake the world for the benefit of aliens, mutants, criminals, or sub-aqua beings from Atlantis. The normal is valuable and is constantly under attack, which means that almost by definition the superhero is battling on behalf of the status quo.

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