Columns

The Superhero Substitution

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2016-05-05-1462415681-9859308-captainamerica

Comic book superheroes have come to dominate popular culture as never before: of the ten top opening weekends in Hollywood history, seven of them featured superheroes from Marvel or DC comics. Most recently, Iron Man and other luminaries from the Marvel galaxy co-starred with Captain America in CIVIL WAR, which earned nearly $200,000,000 in its first three days of release. These familiar figures, each with distinctive powers, personality and back story, function like Olympians for the ancient Greeks, or Norse gods for the Vikings; in fact, the popular THOR movies feature a Norse God.

Is it a coincidence that the power of these comic book gods has increased just as the authority of the Biblical God seems to have dissipated – with an unprecedented 20% of Americans now describing themselves as disconnected from organized religion?

Batman and Superman may be beloved figures, but they offer a feeble substitute for the more significant, more richly human figures in Scripture.

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  1. Shawn  •  May 16, 2016 at 3:41 pm

    This assertion is too simplistic. Through out history cultures have always had heroic figures such as Hercules, Achilles, King Arthur, Roland, Beowulf, and too many to name. The reasons for the decline in people who believe in God or who attend church may have more to do with the sullied mixture of Republican free market economics and conservative Christian values. The exaltation of obscene wealth which has been married to supposed Christian values. In the right wing media the least among us is commonly mocked, ridiculed and demonized. I think the reason for the explosion of superhero movies has more to do with the advancement of special effects. For decades the portrayal of superhuman feats on the screen have been clunky and sometimes humorous. Finally after so long CGI has allowed storytellers to flesh out what once was enjoyed only on the pages of the comics.

    • Rick  •  Jun 3, 2016 at 11:21 pm

      If the reason for the decline in religious belief and practice in the USA has to do with combining free market idea and conservative christian ideas, then why has the same thing happened in Europe where there is no such mixture? Your idea is very simplistic, so it is funny that you called Medved's idea simplistic.

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