As a pop-icon, Superman has had to put up with a lot of people misinterpreting him and drawing parallels about his character that are just not supported. And since the release of ‘Superman Returns’ more of these conclusions are being drawn about the big guy.
Let’s first address the gay issue. A lot people want to say Superman is a role model for gay men. Their theory about him goes something like this: Superman leads a double life. One as Clark Kent and the other as Superman. His "true" identity he has to keep secret from the world (in "the closet" as it were). Now I’m not saying it’s wrong for gay people to have Superman as a role model, but Superman clearly is not gay. Lois Lane has been in the picture since the birth of the comic and will most likely remain as Superman’s love interest for as long as the comics are around.
Now, onto the whole Superman/Jesus thing..
I believe religion has as much of a right to be in comics as it does in our public schools. I’m being totally serious. It just doesn’t mesh right. Every time I hear people drawing parallels or making comparisons about comic book characters to biblical stories I get queasy and almost puke. I mean why ruin a good story by making something it clearly is not. If I really wanted to be immersed in religion and spirituality I would read the source texts and not some comic books. Besides, last time I checked Jesus is still pretty popular and I don’t think his image needs to be revamped or his story needs to be told in a way to attract audiences (of course, Mel Gibson might say otherwise).
"The Christian allusions are recent innovations that compromise the integrity of the Superman myth..This does not need to be a consistent cultural form from its beginning to its present, but something has to be maintained," (Amy Pedersen, who is writing her doctoral thesis in art history at the University of California, Los Angeles, on superhero comic books.)
So I guess the point I’m trying to make here is this: Because Superman is this popular cultural icon he will be admired and looked up to by a lot of people young and old. The character and the Superman story will continue to be reinvented and retold for new generations, but it will also rely on the core story of his creators. It isn’t wrong for young comic book readers to want to be like Superman or for anyone to relate Superman stories to other things, but we shouldn’t examine everything about him under a microscope and categorize him into groups. Because if we do this, the story no longer is for everybody. If anything at all, the Superman story was made to be accepted by everyone. I think that is the reason he’s been around for so long.
Here it is. The big, bad, and the ugly stuff thats out there about Superman:
(Be careful! Like I said before, if you’re like me, reading these articles might make you puke uncontrollably)
• The Kryptonain Gospel – this one in particular caused me to throw up on my keyboard.
• Interview with Stephen Skelton – AKA ‘the real life Lex Luthor’