Superman's Second Coming
The parallels between the Man from Nazareth and the Man from Krypton are unmistakable.The Gospel According to the World's Greatest Superhero."
Superman is the Jesus Christ of superheroes. At first glance, with the second coming of Superman upon us in the form of "Superman Returns," one might read that line and wonder just what Christian evangelicals are up to now. As one recent post on "Superman Returns" atrottentomatoes.com
asked, "Can't we leave God out of this for once?"
It depends on who the "we" is. In this case, that line--"Superman is the Jesus Christ of superheroes"--comes from none other than the director of "Superman Returns," Bryan Singer, in an interview withWizard magazine
. And if those words don't carry enough Christic resonance for you, when asked what "Superman Returns" is about, Singer told Entertainment Weekly magazine, "It's a story about what happens when Messiahs come back."
One might wonder just what Singer is up to. Why are the movie makers promoting Superman as a Christ figure? One reason is because the Superman storytellers always have; that spiritual history started almost in the beginning.
In the late 1930s, we first learned the identities of the kindly Kansas couple who take in the special star child when Pa Kent turns to Ma and says, "Look Mary! It's a child." With Mary as the mother, it is little surprise later on when we learn Pa's middle name: Joseph. While Mary was later changed to Martha, Joseph continues to be Jonathan's middle name today.
In 1942, George Lowther, narrator, writer and later director of the highly successful Superman radio show wrote the first Superman novel, "The Adventures of Superman." In his novel, Lowther gave Superman and his father the last name of "El"--a Hebrew word for God. So from that point forward, with the father christened Jor-El and the son christened Kal-El, the Superman story became one of El (God) the father sending El (God) the son to save the Earth.