Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Superman is not a Role Model

A question was asked by somebody in this Facebook group I'm in, with fellow Guam comic book fans, about who is the better role model, Batman or Superman?

The common consensus among the group was Superman, at least the vocal majority. Citing examples that he uses his powers for good, unselfish, and defends the weak. He's a benevolent man who seems to have no noticeable dark side, but struggles like a real human being. Unlike Batman, who is considered more to channel such morally wishy-washy values like vengeance, and making sacrifices for the greater good. So, people should be more like Superman, it's not what you are, but what you do with what you have that defines you.

Ok I'm all for this real romantic and super Golden-Age view, but the truth, the realistic kind and not the justice, of the matter is that Superman is a terrible role model, for the simple fact he is not human. He is Kryptonian, and if we are to follow the question, who would make a more exemplary role model for us humans, to model our lives after?

A Greek God with no human flaws? Or a man who worked hard, albeit with his unlimited resources because you can't devote your life to training to be a bad-ass without having money for food and board, and became something that would make a young Bruce happy.

I'm not the biggest fan of Batman, but I'd take him in a heartbeat over the Man of Steel.

Remember the question, kids, or anyone really, that try to emulate Superman, are just setting themselves up for failure. He can circumnavigate the world in minutes and never gets tired, and that is something we will never be able to experience. Rappeling off buildings walls is something that grueling physical training can guarantee, to make a comparison.  

His heroic deeds are nice of course, but other people defend the weak and help the helpless, without the help of Kryptonian biology and yellow sun rays. In the DC universe, people like Green Arrow and Batman, and in our world, we got Firefighters and EMTs. There is a question that needs to be asked, and is that when Superman saves someone from an erupting Volcano, is it even a courageous act? He is no chances of getting hurt, no way his identity is being compromised, and basically no risk. For someone like him, is this even something commendable, from a weak human's POV? All things in the world too, disease and famine, why is he not helping the largest causes of death? All valid questions.

Also, if we are abide the stories of the comics, as instructed by the topic presenter, all these super powered villains who have the ability to destroy Earth, face it, because they are the people that are supposed to be present threats to Superman, these are all end game individuals because the way Superman is written, he is unstoppable. This has been a philosophical cycle that has been presented in the medium since the 1970s, and it's basically supervillains exist because superheroes exist.  Creatively, and from a writer's perspective, this is obvious, because this is how you establish conflict and some sort of realistic tension. But this brings up something else I don't like about the character, too one-dimensional, and just contradictions happening all over the place because Superman is just simply a God.

Gods are not role models, at least in my mind. People who have no problems bending over for authority or for omnipotent figures might disagree with that statement. 

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