Superman = Jesus?

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Other than some superficial parallels, I just don’t see it. What do you think?

Nietzche said God is dead.

Jor-El died with Krypton.

I’m convinced. :smiley:

When I saw the teaser trailer, the first thing that popped into my head was a quote from Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy (the original radio play version):

Whether the film studio wanted people to think that the movie would be a “Superman = Jesus” portrayal is debatable. But it doesn’t take a marketing expert to predict the way that much of the American public would interpret the “I am sending you, my only son” voiceover.

I’ve heard it before, but with the more interesting spin of how a person with Superman’s abilities might view himself. It might not be that much of a stretch for such a hypothetical person to assume that he was the Messiah. Clearly the character as conceived by Jerry Seigel and Joe Shuster (both Jewish) doesn’t have a Christ connection (though putting an infant child on an uncertain voyage away from certain doom certainly invokes Moses), it’s merely an effort by others to latch their beliefs onto a widely recognizable image. Author Steve Skelton obviously timed the release of his “Superman = Christ” for maximum financial gain (coinciding with the first Superman film in a number of years) and I’m willing to bet a serious Superman fan will instantly recognize all the times Skelton plays up minor elements that support his theory while he ignores larger elements that disprove it.

If anything, it would be braver to propose that Superman represents the Jewish Messiah (citing evidence in support), while saying Jesus definitely does not (citing evidence against him).

What I always wonder about, but admittedly have never seen any research that explores it, is how much the idea of “passing” (i.e. the practice of jewish folks passing themselves off as gentiles) had to do with the creation of his ‘Clark Kent’ identity? In the 1930s, anti-semtism was fairly widespread, and many jewish folks did adopt ‘secret identities’ to hide their true roots. Even though Siegel & Schuster did not pass themselves off as black irish (or whatever), they must have been familiar with the practice.

I mean really, why would a man so superhumanly powerful feel the need to pretend to be an ordinary shnook? (And bare in mind that all the backstory about Superboy, Ma & Pa Kent and Smallville was added on several years AFTER the fact - not part of the initial conception of the character, as was his Clark Kent alter ego. None of that could account for Superman’s Clark Kent ID in 1938.)

I would accept any statement by the previous poster as pretty much authoritative.

Yes. The Christ imagery is definitely there, and has been an intentional part of the character’s treatment for quite some time. Remember, Siegel and Shuster haven’t had control of the character for decades, and he’s changed quite a bit in the time since. In Kingdom Come, a comic with many overt religious references, artist Alex Ross even painted Superman carrying a heavy beam with three huge nails in his pocket.

He’s a perfect man that came from the sky, and only wants to help. He died and came back. Much of his imagery revolves around “salvation”, of a physical sort, to be sure, but Superman Saves just like Jesus does.

If you need proof, listen to Jor-El’s monologue in Superman I (especially as excerpted in some of the trailers for Superman Returns):
“They can be a great people, Kal-El, they wish to be, they only lack the light to show them the way. For this reason above all, their capacity for good, I have sent them you, my only son.”

That’s just blatant, right there.
Also, Jimmy Olsen=St. Peter

The other metaphor Superman does, and admittedly the one closer to his creators’ hearts, is the asimilated immigrant. He flees a troubled homeland, and uses his native talents in the service of his beloved adopted country.

Heh. I honestly did not think of that.

Does that mean Lois Lane is Mary Magdalene?

Luthor = Lucifer? Or perhaps he represents the Pharisees? Or Pontius Pilate (Hmmm, Pontius Pilate - Lex Luthor, that might work.)

How about Krypto as John the Baptist? (Jor-el launched him into outer space first in order to test the rocketship he planned to launch Kal-el off in.)

And Perry White must be Saint Augustine! Perry’s a newspaper publlisher who runs lots of headlines about Superman, Augustine famously wrote early christian philosopy!

And Supergirl! How does she fit in? Unless she’s Joan of Ark!!!

And then there’s Bizarro! He must be the anti-christ!

(FTR, I’m being facetious in this post.)

‘Superman as a Christ Figure’ has one problem that I, personally, consider fatal to the concept - the most important, central part of the Christ story is a late addition to the Superman story, and of secondary importance.

The most important part of the Christ story is his sacrifice. While there have been a number of imaginary stories/Elseworlds/possible futures wherein Superman was killed in action, or otherwise sacrificed himself, and they finally put a real death in continuity in the 90s, even making it an actual part of his history, it’s not nearly so important to his story.

Stories - particularly among the aforementioned imaginary stories and Elseworlds - have been written that use him as a Christ figure, but he isn’t one, at his core.

He’s more of an angel - both a guardian angel and a messenger angel - than the Christ - a powerful entity from the heavens who protects us, and inspires us.

In the Elsewolds Batman graphic novel “Holy Terror”, Batman fights for justice in a modern puritan America. Toward the end he discovers a lobratory that houses metahumans for study. He finds a room where an alien is being held. It’s Superman in a christ pose tied to a table. He even has a wound on his side.

With the exception of ‘Aw, come on.’ the same line appears in the book version. :slight_smile: (As far as I can tell, it’s essentially the same scene.)

My question is pretty simple. Why would 2 Jewish guys create a comic based on an allusion to Christianity?

Is it time to revisit the whole Gospel of Star Wars wankfest?

Luke vs. Kal-El in an epic battle of messianic importance.

If I’m going to read anything into the story of Superman, I side with Menocchio’s assimilated immigrant metaphor. The impact may have faded by now, but to a couple of young Jewish men in the 1930s, it would have been powerful.

One can ask the same thing about Spielberg and ET, and that one’s a lot more blatant (since ET dying and coming back is an inherent part of the core of the character, not just a much later afterthought).

They wouldn’t; they created a comic based on a sci-fi version of Hercules, Tarzan, Hugo Danner and other fictional tough guys, with a bit of Moses thrown in. In the hands of other, later, non-Jewish writers (once they got past the excessively straitlaced Comics Code days) I can see the Christ imagery being irresistible.

Skelton’s observations that Superman has many similarities to Christ is thus one of the biggest “duh” moments of recent history - of course he does, he’s written that way.

[Homer Simpson]I’m not normally a religious man, but if you’re up there, save me, Superman![/Homer Simpson]

The comics aside In Superman the Movie it was absolurtely teh writers intention to make Superman a Christ figure. Hell he said so much in the commentary on the DVD. All of Jor El’s lines were an allusion to that. his whole “The son becomes the father and the father becomes the son” line is pretty obvious…

Weird…my sister and I got caught in traffic the other day, and just this subject came up.

Well, actually, it turned to the topic of how you could literally do a “Superman as Jesus” alternate-history story. Mary and Joseph—a childless impotant man and a young virgin—are going to Bethlehem, when they come across the downed spaceship with baby Kal-El inside. They don’t know what the hell it is, so they figure God has sent them a child. (A young Kal-Yeshua later goes back to the ship, sees the Jor-El hologram, thinks it’s God…you see where that’s going.) Walking on water, bringing people back from the dead, etc., and all the other miracles quickly become explained by Kryptonian powers. (Also figuring that one of the disciples was actually The Flash, who thought by faking the miracles SuperJesus couldn’t do, he was just doing God’s will.)

The conversation degenerated into Mary Magdeline being a reporter for the local Acta Diurna, the evil Lex Pilatus having SuperJesus crucified with meteoric nails, the local centurion piercing his side with a lance, and the irradiated alien blood spashes on his face, bleaching his skin, twisting his face into a rictus, and dying his hair a hideous green…

Yeah, it runs in the family.

I wonder what it says about me that the extrainious details bother me more than the blasphemy?

(I think it could be done without Jor-El as God or St Barry the miracle-faker. The rest is a cool idea, though. >_>)

Well, c’mon. Anakin Skywalker is obviously Adam, Man tempted by the Adversary (Palpy) and fallen from his greatness in the Force. So the Force incarnated Itself in the mortal flesh of Anakin’s descendant, and through the suffering of Luke, Anakin was redeemed, Palpatine fell “like lightning from heaven”, and Anakin went to his rightful place in the Force.

O loving wisdom of the Force!
When all was sin and shame
A second Anakin to the fight
And to the rescue came.