Superman vs. Batman

The L.A. Times did an interesting interview with comic book writer Grant Morrison.  He points out the class distinction between the superheroes:

GM: Superman is very bright and optimistic. It’s all the simple things. He’s of the day and of the sunlight, and Batman is the creature of the night. I’m interested in the fact that they both believe in the same kind of things. But Batman is better. He’s screwed up. That what makes him cool. Even though he’s solved all his problems in his own head he is — as I see him — a man with a very dark sense of humor and a very dark view of the world. He has to overcome that constantly. He’s forever fighting to make the world better, which means it’s never good for Batman. The rest of us have good days. We don’t fight everyday. Batman fights every single day. He has that dark Plutonian side.

GB: The public personalities of Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent don’t seem as polarized as their alter egos.

GM: Bruce Wayne is a rich man. He’s an artistocrat. Superman grew up as Clark Kent on a farm bailing hay, and he’s got a boss that shouts at him if he’s late to work. He’s actually more human; Batman is the fetish fantasy psyche of the aristocrat overlord who can do anything he wants, and that’s fascinating. The class difference between the two of them is important.

GB: I’ve never thought much about the class distinctions between the two.

Superman by Jim Lee GM: You’re an American; you live in Los Angeles! You don’t have to think of class distinction in the same way we Brits do. But there is very much a distinction between the two. People often forget Superman is very much a put-upon guy. Bruce has a butler, Clark has a boss …

GB: True, but Clark also owns real estate in the Arctic, flies for free and can crush coal into fist-sized diamonds. He doesn’t need to have a boss.

Batman by Jim Lee GM: Yeah, but he so wants to be like us. He pines after one girl while Batman has a whole host of fetish femmes fatale at his beck and call.

GB: The ladies love the car, I think.

GM: Of course. He’s got everything. I like that. He’s our kind of dream of the aristocrat. He’s even better than the Tony Stark/Iron Man thing; he’s got that as well as the dark side. That’s the difference between Superman and Batman. There both interesting to write, but Batman is the sexier one, definitely.

via Batman versus Superman as class warfare? Grant Morrison: ‘Bruce has a butler, Clark has a boss’ | Hero Complex | Los Angeles Times.

So which was or is your favorite, Batman or Superman?  (Me:  Superman.)  D. C. or Marvel?  (Me:  D.C.)  (Today, judging from a recent sampling of comic books today,  D.C. has become Marvel!  And both have become more so.  Everybody in the comic book world is angst-ridden, taking little pleasure in the cool things they can do.)

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Josh V.

    Batman was my favorite at one point, but in more recent years it has become Superman. Superman is all about doing the right thing no matter what, while Batman is always lingering around in that morally gray area. In fact, in the comics, Superman is usually the one keeping Batman in check, morally. I like both, but the scales are definitely tipped in the Big Blue Boy Scout’s favor for me.

    I enjoy the DC Universe over the Marvel Universe of heroes much, much more. However, Spider-Man (Marvel) is definitely one of those characters that stands among the Supermen and Batmen of the DC Universe.

  • Josh V.

    Batman was my favorite at one point, but in more recent years it has become Superman. Superman is all about doing the right thing no matter what, while Batman is always lingering around in that morally gray area. In fact, in the comics, Superman is usually the one keeping Batman in check, morally. I like both, but the scales are definitely tipped in the Big Blue Boy Scout’s favor for me.

    I enjoy the DC Universe over the Marvel Universe of heroes much, much more. However, Spider-Man (Marvel) is definitely one of those characters that stands among the Supermen and Batmen of the DC Universe.

  • Joe

    The right answer is Spiderman – I’m a Marvel kid.

  • Joe

    The right answer is Spiderman – I’m a Marvel kid.

  • Tom Hering

    No, the right answer is “Hot Stuff, the Little Devil” and “Magnus, Robot Fighter 4000 A.D”. – I was a Harvey and Gold Key kid in the ’60s.

  • Tom Hering

    No, the right answer is “Hot Stuff, the Little Devil” and “Magnus, Robot Fighter 4000 A.D”. – I was a Harvey and Gold Key kid in the ’60s.

  • kerner

    Marvel, not DC.

    When I was a kid, Batman wasn’t very dark. None of the DC heroes were.

    What I always liked about the Marvel heroes is they had feelings more consistent with those of real people.

    Eg., when Clark Kent fooled Smallville by pretending that he was the class nerd, the only feelings he displayed were a secret pleasure at having fooled everybody. Peter Parker hated pretending to be a nerd. The obnoxious jocks tormented him, and there was nothing he could do about it but swallow his pride and keep up the pretense, as the hot cheerleader bounced off with the bully who had just humiliated him. Peter Parker was by far the more realistic and interesting character to me.

  • kerner

    Marvel, not DC.

    When I was a kid, Batman wasn’t very dark. None of the DC heroes were.

    What I always liked about the Marvel heroes is they had feelings more consistent with those of real people.

    Eg., when Clark Kent fooled Smallville by pretending that he was the class nerd, the only feelings he displayed were a secret pleasure at having fooled everybody. Peter Parker hated pretending to be a nerd. The obnoxious jocks tormented him, and there was nothing he could do about it but swallow his pride and keep up the pretense, as the hot cheerleader bounced off with the bully who had just humiliated him. Peter Parker was by far the more realistic and interesting character to me.

  • WebMonk

    Batman for me. The angst Supes goes through has always seemed too artificially generated for me. Batman has the distinct lack of superpowers, which makes his general exploits all the more impressive.

    And Josh V, I’m not sure I would say Supes keeps BM on the straight and narrow. In the general sense, sure, he tends to be an inspiration to BM of someone who always does the highest-road path. But the writers seem to enjoy having BM be the one who steps in at the last minute to keep Supes from doing something wrong.

    DC mostly bombed the Blackest Night storyline by going with the Care Bears, er, I mean the multi-color rings. So I can’t say I’m the biggest DC fan right now, but in general I’ve liked them better than Marvel.

  • WebMonk

    Batman for me. The angst Supes goes through has always seemed too artificially generated for me. Batman has the distinct lack of superpowers, which makes his general exploits all the more impressive.

    And Josh V, I’m not sure I would say Supes keeps BM on the straight and narrow. In the general sense, sure, he tends to be an inspiration to BM of someone who always does the highest-road path. But the writers seem to enjoy having BM be the one who steps in at the last minute to keep Supes from doing something wrong.

    DC mostly bombed the Blackest Night storyline by going with the Care Bears, er, I mean the multi-color rings. So I can’t say I’m the biggest DC fan right now, but in general I’ve liked them better than Marvel.

  • http://thefragrantharbor.blogspot.com Catherine

    I’m a DC girl, though I don’t read comics very much. I love Batman a LOT, to the point where I’ve even made a Batgirl costume (Cassandra Caine, for those of you comic buffs out there) to go with my friend’s Spoiler costume that she made.

  • http://thefragrantharbor.blogspot.com Catherine

    I’m a DC girl, though I don’t read comics very much. I love Batman a LOT, to the point where I’ve even made a Batgirl costume (Cassandra Caine, for those of you comic buffs out there) to go with my friend’s Spoiler costume that she made.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    See I never got into comic books. So I can’t say D.C. Or Marvel.
    However, I have always hated Superman.
    Batman has always been more fun for me.
    More recently I have learned not to like Superman because it is just more anti-Lutheran propoganda. The villain is Lex Luther. The hero is Nietzche’s Uber-mensch cleverly translated and disguised as a Jew, which part I would like if the the Villain wasn’t name Lex Luther. It is just more blaming Luther for the Holocaust. Make all the assaults on Nietzche you want. Some say his sister edited his manuscripts to put in all the anti-semitism. But having read the reader it seemed the anti-semitism was integral to his philosophy, or at least the meta-history behind it. So I’m skeptical on that. It would have been a better comic if the villain was named Adolph or something.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    See I never got into comic books. So I can’t say D.C. Or Marvel.
    However, I have always hated Superman.
    Batman has always been more fun for me.
    More recently I have learned not to like Superman because it is just more anti-Lutheran propoganda. The villain is Lex Luther. The hero is Nietzche’s Uber-mensch cleverly translated and disguised as a Jew, which part I would like if the the Villain wasn’t name Lex Luther. It is just more blaming Luther for the Holocaust. Make all the assaults on Nietzche you want. Some say his sister edited his manuscripts to put in all the anti-semitism. But having read the reader it seemed the anti-semitism was integral to his philosophy, or at least the meta-history behind it. So I’m skeptical on that. It would have been a better comic if the villain was named Adolph or something.

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com/ John

    Batman, hands down. What separates Batman from Supes is that Batman has a proper conception of human nature. He is dark, but he is dark because humanity is. As such, he is strangely more fulfilled than Superman. Supes expects people to take the moral high ground. Batman does not. And Batman is right. Yeah, have to go with Batman. But Wolverine is a close second.

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com/ John

    Batman, hands down. What separates Batman from Supes is that Batman has a proper conception of human nature. He is dark, but he is dark because humanity is. As such, he is strangely more fulfilled than Superman. Supes expects people to take the moral high ground. Batman does not. And Batman is right. Yeah, have to go with Batman. But Wolverine is a close second.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    I think I will flip a coin. Although I would say I identified more with Peter Parker/Spiderman than Batman or Superman. You know the whole guilt ridden nerd thing there.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    I think I will flip a coin. Although I would say I identified more with Peter Parker/Spiderman than Batman or Superman. You know the whole guilt ridden nerd thing there.

  • Tom Hering

    Re: Superman is less human than Batman or Spider-Man. Uh, yeah – he’s an alien. As in “from another planet.” Adapted to life on Earth, but underneath it all, alienated from the rest of us. A stranger in a strange land. Someone who can never really feel like he “belongs.” Wanting him to be more human misses the whole point of his story.

  • Tom Hering

    Re: Superman is less human than Batman or Spider-Man. Uh, yeah – he’s an alien. As in “from another planet.” Adapted to life on Earth, but underneath it all, alienated from the rest of us. A stranger in a strange land. Someone who can never really feel like he “belongs.” Wanting him to be more human misses the whole point of his story.

  • Tom Hering

    Also, there are more biblical parallels in the Superman story. He, like us, has been cast out of his place of origin – Eden/Krypton. He, like Christ, has come down from above to defeat evil – selflessly, for our sake.

  • Tom Hering

    Also, there are more biblical parallels in the Superman story. He, like us, has been cast out of his place of origin – Eden/Krypton. He, like Christ, has come down from above to defeat evil – selflessly, for our sake.

  • Louis

    Neither – I always preferred Asterix.

  • Louis

    Neither – I always preferred Asterix.

  • Richard

    Daredevil–a blind guy who’s an attorney. What’s not to like about him?

  • Richard

    Daredevil–a blind guy who’s an attorney. What’s not to like about him?

  • http://meanderinglutheran.blogspot.com Ryan O

    For me it changes constantly. It really depends on the decade of the hero. Comics have a wonderful adaptability to interpret the times. Think the nice clean campy ’50s Batman and Superman compared to the ’80s Batman that became darker to present time and age. Even Superman goes through those changes. Comics are a great study of many people because they are designed to be a mythology of American culture, where anyone can take and interpret that mythology for themselves. We see this especially in Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman (think the graphic novel Trinity!)

    The one exception, in my mind, is Spider-Man. Instead of a mythology, Spider-Man seems to be driven by narrative. Of course there are some points within the Spider-Man series that take up those elements, but for the most part Spider-Man seems to be of a different thread.

    Oh and Bror(#7) I believe both Lois and Jimmy are Lutheran! Clark was raised protestant, Methodist I believe.

  • http://meanderinglutheran.blogspot.com Ryan O

    For me it changes constantly. It really depends on the decade of the hero. Comics have a wonderful adaptability to interpret the times. Think the nice clean campy ’50s Batman and Superman compared to the ’80s Batman that became darker to present time and age. Even Superman goes through those changes. Comics are a great study of many people because they are designed to be a mythology of American culture, where anyone can take and interpret that mythology for themselves. We see this especially in Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman (think the graphic novel Trinity!)

    The one exception, in my mind, is Spider-Man. Instead of a mythology, Spider-Man seems to be driven by narrative. Of course there are some points within the Spider-Man series that take up those elements, but for the most part Spider-Man seems to be of a different thread.

    Oh and Bror(#7) I believe both Lois and Jimmy are Lutheran! Clark was raised protestant, Methodist I believe.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Sure, make the hero a methodist, that makes things better…

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Sure, make the hero a methodist, that makes things better…

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Your funny Feldman.
    No bias there.
    Changing the spelling does not change the intent of the name.
    And Lutherans are not responsible for Germany’s great evils. Many dead Germans who never listened to a word of Luther’s are.
    One might look to the resistance movements of Denmark, and Norway, and even Germany to see that those who shared the same faith as Luther actually tended not to endorse Hitler’s crimes against humanity and often lost their lives for it.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Your funny Feldman.
    No bias there.
    Changing the spelling does not change the intent of the name.
    And Lutherans are not responsible for Germany’s great evils. Many dead Germans who never listened to a word of Luther’s are.
    One might look to the resistance movements of Denmark, and Norway, and even Germany to see that those who shared the same faith as Luther actually tended not to endorse Hitler’s crimes against humanity and often lost their lives for it.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Feldman,
    take your bigoted shirer myth somewhere else. It shows that you have read as much Luther as the Germans who supported the third reich.
    I might give you a couple primers. One might start with reading “luther and Calvin on Secular authority” a careful read of that book, really two primary sources put side by side will show Luther’s view substantially diferentiated from that of Calvin’s, which was the view in vogue in Germany since even before Kaiser Wilhelm.
    Then one might read a book like “tyranny and resistance” by mark Whitford, which will show how Lutheran theology inspired many resistance movements including the American Revolution.
    Finally, one might read “The Fabricated Luther” by Uwe Siemon-Netto, which exposes the Shirer myth that you have swallowed.
    Other than that the Superman Comic books are what they are. You can enjoy them if you like. I can’t stand them formore reason than their anti-Lutheran bias. It is just shallow.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Feldman,
    take your bigoted shirer myth somewhere else. It shows that you have read as much Luther as the Germans who supported the third reich.
    I might give you a couple primers. One might start with reading “luther and Calvin on Secular authority” a careful read of that book, really two primary sources put side by side will show Luther’s view substantially diferentiated from that of Calvin’s, which was the view in vogue in Germany since even before Kaiser Wilhelm.
    Then one might read a book like “tyranny and resistance” by mark Whitford, which will show how Lutheran theology inspired many resistance movements including the American Revolution.
    Finally, one might read “The Fabricated Luther” by Uwe Siemon-Netto, which exposes the Shirer myth that you have swallowed.
    Other than that the Superman Comic books are what they are. You can enjoy them if you like. I can’t stand them formore reason than their anti-Lutheran bias. It is just shallow.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Bror, you’re … not kidding? I really thought you were kidding at first (@7). Um … really?

    I never read any comic books, really, so my knowledge is solely from the movie corpus (which I’m certain will cause all the fanboys here to roll to sigh so heavily it will affect weather patterns).

    But I don’t see the appeal of Superman. He has too much power, too many abilities, and one single weakness. Who can relate to that? If you want to take it to a ridiculous level, you could argue that he’s like the unapproachable Jesus of certain Christian heresies: here to show us the right way to do things, and fix some things that we screw up, but fundamentally not like us, not human. Oh sure, he’s faking it a bit, trying to look human, but he’s not. You should be more like him, but you can’t, because he’s not human. Ahem.

    Batman, on the other hand, isn’t a God figure at all. He’s more like us (at least in the past few decades, he has been). He has all these wonderful gifts, but he struggles with using them correctly. And he knows that he isn’t going to save the world, no matter what he does, though he can help some people. I can relate to that.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Bror, you’re … not kidding? I really thought you were kidding at first (@7). Um … really?

    I never read any comic books, really, so my knowledge is solely from the movie corpus (which I’m certain will cause all the fanboys here to roll to sigh so heavily it will affect weather patterns).

    But I don’t see the appeal of Superman. He has too much power, too many abilities, and one single weakness. Who can relate to that? If you want to take it to a ridiculous level, you could argue that he’s like the unapproachable Jesus of certain Christian heresies: here to show us the right way to do things, and fix some things that we screw up, but fundamentally not like us, not human. Oh sure, he’s faking it a bit, trying to look human, but he’s not. You should be more like him, but you can’t, because he’s not human. Ahem.

    Batman, on the other hand, isn’t a God figure at all. He’s more like us (at least in the past few decades, he has been). He has all these wonderful gifts, but he struggles with using them correctly. And he knows that he isn’t going to save the world, no matter what he does, though he can help some people. I can relate to that.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    tODD,
    Well… half hearted kidding. Which means half serious. The thing is it is there as a sub text. Someone years ago pointed it out to me and ever since, well it makes sense. So now I don’t watch superman, for the same reason I only visited the holocaust Museum in D.C. once.
    Even if Superman was created in the 30′s long before world War II the general gist is there, Luther was already being targeted as the cause of antisemitism in Europe and America, so the villain takes on his name.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    tODD,
    Well… half hearted kidding. Which means half serious. The thing is it is there as a sub text. Someone years ago pointed it out to me and ever since, well it makes sense. So now I don’t watch superman, for the same reason I only visited the holocaust Museum in D.C. once.
    Even if Superman was created in the 30′s long before world War II the general gist is there, Luther was already being targeted as the cause of antisemitism in Europe and America, so the villain takes on his name.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Feldman,
    The LCMS has also apologized on behalf of Luther’s antisemitic remarks. And far be it from me to defend them.
    But blaming antisemitism and the holocaust on Luther is hardly accurate or helpful.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Feldman,
    The LCMS has also apologized on behalf of Luther’s antisemitic remarks. And far be it from me to defend them.
    But blaming antisemitism and the holocaust on Luther is hardly accurate or helpful.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Bror (@22), how … is Clark Kent … Jewish (“The hero is Nietzche’s Uber-mensch cleverly translated and disguised as a Jew” @7)?

    Anyhow, according to my extensive Internet research, some parts of the Superman ouevre make Luthor out to be an Episcopalian, at least when he was younger. And, though I am inadequately knowledgeable about either Luthor or Nietzsche, it seems to me that Luthor is a better candidate for the title of Übermensch than Superman.

    I also found this quote from Elliot S. Maggin, “the principal scriptwriter for DC Comics’ Superman titles during the 1970′s up until the mid-1980′s”[1]:

    I give all my characters religions. I think I always have. It’s part of the backstory. It’s part of the process of getting to know a character well enough to write about him or her. Jimmy Olson is Lutheran. Lois is Catholic. Perry is Baptist. Luthor is Jewish (though non-observant, thank heaven). Bruce and Batman are both Episcopalian and I said so in the text though it was edited out erroneously. Clark — like the Kents — is Methodist.

    So Bror, I find your claims of anti-Lutheran bias in Superman far less credible than, say, the claims of overt Marxism in the Smurfs.

    [1]adherents.com/lit/comics/LexLuthor.html

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Bror (@22), how … is Clark Kent … Jewish (“The hero is Nietzche’s Uber-mensch cleverly translated and disguised as a Jew” @7)?

    Anyhow, according to my extensive Internet research, some parts of the Superman ouevre make Luthor out to be an Episcopalian, at least when he was younger. And, though I am inadequately knowledgeable about either Luthor or Nietzsche, it seems to me that Luthor is a better candidate for the title of Übermensch than Superman.

    I also found this quote from Elliot S. Maggin, “the principal scriptwriter for DC Comics’ Superman titles during the 1970′s up until the mid-1980′s”[1]:

    I give all my characters religions. I think I always have. It’s part of the backstory. It’s part of the process of getting to know a character well enough to write about him or her. Jimmy Olson is Lutheran. Lois is Catholic. Perry is Baptist. Luthor is Jewish (though non-observant, thank heaven). Bruce and Batman are both Episcopalian and I said so in the text though it was edited out erroneously. Clark — like the Kents — is Methodist.

    So Bror, I find your claims of anti-Lutheran bias in Superman far less credible than, say, the claims of overt Marxism in the Smurfs.

    [1]adherents.com/lit/comics/LexLuthor.html

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Criminy, Feldman (@24), look up the history of the label “Lutheran”, at least! Lutherans originally called themselves “evangelicals”.

    And are you honestly arguing that anti-Semitism : Luther :: WW II : Mussolini? Are you even trying to be fair?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Criminy, Feldman (@24), look up the history of the label “Lutheran”, at least! Lutherans originally called themselves “evangelicals”.

    And are you honestly arguing that anti-Semitism : Luther :: WW II : Mussolini? Are you even trying to be fair?

  • Tom Hering

    I’m waiting for someone to claim that Aquaman promotes the total-immersion Baptist faith.

    La La, la la, la la, la …

  • Tom Hering

    I’m waiting for someone to claim that Aquaman promotes the total-immersion Baptist faith.

    La La, la la, la la, la …

  • Tom Hering

    Don @ 28: :-)

    It’s all fine and well to discuss how the culture influences and changes comics, but to think that comics influence and change the culture – that there’s even the slightest possibility of them doing so (and through hidden religious agendas at that!) – is totally whack.

  • Tom Hering

    Don @ 28: :-)

    It’s all fine and well to discuss how the culture influences and changes comics, but to think that comics influence and change the culture – that there’s even the slightest possibility of them doing so (and through hidden religious agendas at that!) – is totally whack.

  • Joe

    Of course comics both reflect and influence culture – does any written work not? Stan Lee the creator of Spiderman and so many other books and characters is wide open about that fact that he intentionally drew many parallels to the civil rights movement and other contemporaneous social issues of the day. The X-Men is the civil rights movement – Charles Xavior is Dr. King and Magneto is Malcolm X. The story arc of the book is about how the outcast mutants should seek to interact with the normal humans. Xavior advocates dialog and patients and appeals to justice and fairness to ultimate inclusion in a society that treats all equal. Magneto, on the other hand, advocates using their superpowers to crush the normal folk into submission.

    This is comics 101, Captain America got his start fighting Nazi’s (including the Red Skull). As good pop-art should, comics draw on the culture and attempt to be apart of the dialog.

  • Joe

    Of course comics both reflect and influence culture – does any written work not? Stan Lee the creator of Spiderman and so many other books and characters is wide open about that fact that he intentionally drew many parallels to the civil rights movement and other contemporaneous social issues of the day. The X-Men is the civil rights movement – Charles Xavior is Dr. King and Magneto is Malcolm X. The story arc of the book is about how the outcast mutants should seek to interact with the normal humans. Xavior advocates dialog and patients and appeals to justice and fairness to ultimate inclusion in a society that treats all equal. Magneto, on the other hand, advocates using their superpowers to crush the normal folk into submission.

    This is comics 101, Captain America got his start fighting Nazi’s (including the Red Skull). As good pop-art should, comics draw on the culture and attempt to be apart of the dialog.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Joe,
    It’s funny. I don’t read comics. I hardly ever see a movie based on a comic. And yet I am amazed at how many people write them off as not reflecting or influencing culture. I am also amazed at how many people don’t see the obvious parallels and stereotypes being thinly masked and played out in them. Mind boggling to me really.
    And then to think they don’t have any influence when they are targeted at the demographics most vulnerable to their kind of influence.
    In any case tODD. I’d posit that I don’t really care what the writer of the 70′s did to the comic when it originated in the 1930s and the parallels from that time still play into the modern in the use of names and stereotypes that haven’t been changed much even if Lex is made to be an Episcopalian.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Joe,
    It’s funny. I don’t read comics. I hardly ever see a movie based on a comic. And yet I am amazed at how many people write them off as not reflecting or influencing culture. I am also amazed at how many people don’t see the obvious parallels and stereotypes being thinly masked and played out in them. Mind boggling to me really.
    And then to think they don’t have any influence when they are targeted at the demographics most vulnerable to their kind of influence.
    In any case tODD. I’d posit that I don’t really care what the writer of the 70′s did to the comic when it originated in the 1930s and the parallels from that time still play into the modern in the use of names and stereotypes that haven’t been changed much even if Lex is made to be an Episcopalian.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Joe,
    Of course as of late just seeing the previews to the X-men movies it seems the civil rights movement has given way to the Gay Rights Movement in that series.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Joe,
    Of course as of late just seeing the previews to the X-men movies it seems the civil rights movement has given way to the Gay Rights Movement in that series.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Bror (@31), you’ve lost me. What, exactly, are you claiming are the “obvious parallels and stereotypes being thinly masked and played out” in Superman that makes it so clearly anti-Lutheran?

    All I can make out so far is that the protagonist’s archenemy has a last name that is pronounced like, but spelled differently from, that of Martin Luther.

    Add to that that I can’t find that anyone else on the Internet has made this connection you find so obvious. I mean, do a Google search on Smurfs and Communism, and you’ll find no end of sites expounding the parallels. That argument has some merit. But this anti-Lutheran thing, you’re the only one I can find that’s figured it out.

    What lessons are the kids being taught? And are you limiting this claim to only a certain section of the Superman oeuvre? You appear to be, given that you “don’t really care what the writer of the 70′s did to the comic when it originated in the 1930s”. And yet, you also seem to disclaim pretty much all knowledge of comics or movies based on them.

    So do you want to be taken seriously on this issue or not? If someone were tarring Lutheranism with the same sweeping brush and lack of knowledge with which you’re tarring Superman, would you stand for it?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Bror (@31), you’ve lost me. What, exactly, are you claiming are the “obvious parallels and stereotypes being thinly masked and played out” in Superman that makes it so clearly anti-Lutheran?

    All I can make out so far is that the protagonist’s archenemy has a last name that is pronounced like, but spelled differently from, that of Martin Luther.

    Add to that that I can’t find that anyone else on the Internet has made this connection you find so obvious. I mean, do a Google search on Smurfs and Communism, and you’ll find no end of sites expounding the parallels. That argument has some merit. But this anti-Lutheran thing, you’re the only one I can find that’s figured it out.

    What lessons are the kids being taught? And are you limiting this claim to only a certain section of the Superman oeuvre? You appear to be, given that you “don’t really care what the writer of the 70′s did to the comic when it originated in the 1930s”. And yet, you also seem to disclaim pretty much all knowledge of comics or movies based on them.

    So do you want to be taken seriously on this issue or not? If someone were tarring Lutheranism with the same sweeping brush and lack of knowledge with which you’re tarring Superman, would you stand for it?

  • Tom Hering

    “Of course comics both reflect and influence culture – does any written work not?” – Joe @ 30.

    The vast majority of written works don’t influence the culture.

    “Stan Lee … is wide open about that fact that he intentionally drew many parallels to the civil rights movement and other contemporaneous social issues of the day.” – @ 30.

    That would be an example of the culture influencing comics. Do you have a provable example of it working the other way around?

    “And then to think they don’t have any influence when they are targeted at the demographics most vulnerable to their kind of influence.” – Bror Erickson @ 31.

    I would think the only influence with any real, lasting impact on a kid is a father (or the lack thereof). A father’s example is going to establish the values a kid brings to his reading of comics. Any kid that can be negatively influenced by comics is either a kid without a father, or a kid with a father who’s a bad example, or just a kid who’s unusually weird.

  • Tom Hering

    “Of course comics both reflect and influence culture – does any written work not?” – Joe @ 30.

    The vast majority of written works don’t influence the culture.

    “Stan Lee … is wide open about that fact that he intentionally drew many parallels to the civil rights movement and other contemporaneous social issues of the day.” – @ 30.

    That would be an example of the culture influencing comics. Do you have a provable example of it working the other way around?

    “And then to think they don’t have any influence when they are targeted at the demographics most vulnerable to their kind of influence.” – Bror Erickson @ 31.

    I would think the only influence with any real, lasting impact on a kid is a father (or the lack thereof). A father’s example is going to establish the values a kid brings to his reading of comics. Any kid that can be negatively influenced by comics is either a kid without a father, or a kid with a father who’s a bad example, or just a kid who’s unusually weird.

  • Joe

    Tom wrote: “That would be an example of the culture influencing comics. Do you have a provable example of it working the other way around?”

    I think it is an example of both. X-Men came out in 1963. The civil rights movement was not a piece of history that was drawn on as inspiration. It was the issue of the day. And along comes a book that parallels the movement in an obvious fashion and advocates an “correct” outcome. And, you expect me to beleive that it did not have an impact on the readers of the book? I think you have the burden to prove it didn’t because it seems obvious to me that it would. In reality, neither you nor I will ever prove it one way or another because there is no data to study.

  • Joe

    Tom wrote: “That would be an example of the culture influencing comics. Do you have a provable example of it working the other way around?”

    I think it is an example of both. X-Men came out in 1963. The civil rights movement was not a piece of history that was drawn on as inspiration. It was the issue of the day. And along comes a book that parallels the movement in an obvious fashion and advocates an “correct” outcome. And, you expect me to beleive that it did not have an impact on the readers of the book? I think you have the burden to prove it didn’t because it seems obvious to me that it would. In reality, neither you nor I will ever prove it one way or another because there is no data to study.

  • E-Raj

    For me, it’s always been Batman. I must confess, I still read Detective Comics regularly…it’s the only comic I still follow. I like Spiderman, too, but if I had to choose between the two, Batman would win every time. I like how Batman never believes that the world will can be some kind of utopia. He isn’t fooled into thinking he can make the world better…he just keeps it from getting worse.

  • E-Raj

    For me, it’s always been Batman. I must confess, I still read Detective Comics regularly…it’s the only comic I still follow. I like Spiderman, too, but if I had to choose between the two, Batman would win every time. I like how Batman never believes that the world will can be some kind of utopia. He isn’t fooled into thinking he can make the world better…he just keeps it from getting worse.

  • http://infinityandjellydonuts.com Steve

    I prefer Batman over Superman, but disagree with Morrison. The Batman I grew up with in the 70′s was not as screwed up, but a master detective. I enjoy that aspect more than the angst.

    But my number one hero is Green Lantern. Shining light into the darkness and all…

  • http://infinityandjellydonuts.com Steve

    I prefer Batman over Superman, but disagree with Morrison. The Batman I grew up with in the 70′s was not as screwed up, but a master detective. I enjoy that aspect more than the angst.

    But my number one hero is Green Lantern. Shining light into the darkness and all…

  • Tom Hering

    Joe @ 35, no, there’s no data either way – that I’m aware of. But how about some anecdotal evidence? It would be enough if you’d just point me to the remembrances of a couple of people who recall reading X-Men in the early ’60s and marching for civil rights as a result. I’d then have to give more credence to the assertion that comics influence the culture (beyond our tastes in entertainment).

  • Tom Hering

    Joe @ 35, no, there’s no data either way – that I’m aware of. But how about some anecdotal evidence? It would be enough if you’d just point me to the remembrances of a couple of people who recall reading X-Men in the early ’60s and marching for civil rights as a result. I’d then have to give more credence to the assertion that comics influence the culture (beyond our tastes in entertainment).

  • Cincinnatus

    tODD: Were the Smurfs communist or fascist? I’ve heard both theories: either they represent the perfectly blissful soci@list commune or they express, in sinister fashion, the solidarity and communal ethos of the Master (Blue) Race.

    As for me, Batman is better–for reasons articulated above.

    I’ll also pose the question to Bror: other than the apparent parallel in their surnames, how exactly does Lex Luthor represent a pejorative parody of the Lutheran Church? Regardless of whether the German Lutheran Church was complicity in the crimes of the Nazi regime (sadly, some elements of it were), does Luthor actually do anything in the comics that would suggest a purposive connection with the Church? Does he do anything “Lutheran”? I haven’t read the comics, but, from my rudimentary knowledge of the Superman storyline, I can’t think of anything Luthor said or did that would indicate any intentional caricature of Lutheranism, whether correctly or incorrectly understood.

  • Cincinnatus

    tODD: Were the Smurfs communist or fascist? I’ve heard both theories: either they represent the perfectly blissful soci@list commune or they express, in sinister fashion, the solidarity and communal ethos of the Master (Blue) Race.

    As for me, Batman is better–for reasons articulated above.

    I’ll also pose the question to Bror: other than the apparent parallel in their surnames, how exactly does Lex Luthor represent a pejorative parody of the Lutheran Church? Regardless of whether the German Lutheran Church was complicity in the crimes of the Nazi regime (sadly, some elements of it were), does Luthor actually do anything in the comics that would suggest a purposive connection with the Church? Does he do anything “Lutheran”? I haven’t read the comics, but, from my rudimentary knowledge of the Superman storyline, I can’t think of anything Luthor said or did that would indicate any intentional caricature of Lutheranism, whether correctly or incorrectly understood.

  • http://blog.captainthin.net/ Captain Thin

    I’m rather disconcerted that a question asking whether one identifies more with Superman or Batman somehow ended up being a debate over Lex Luthor’s being (apparently) an anti-Lutheran symbol. I’m guessing the connection was made because one of the co-creators of Superman was Jewish, perhaps? As a graphic novel aficionado (read comic book geek), I’m having a very hard time understanding why that would be the case. When Lex Luthor was introduced into the comics, he was a mere mad scientist; nothing particularly religious about him. Though maybe – and this seems dubious to me – the fact that in his first appearance (in 1940) he is attempting to provoke a war in Europe between fictional countries could conceivably make him a “German” villain (though his appearance is still a year earlier than USA’s entrance into WW2, when “Germans” became standard comic book villains). Luthor’s following appearances are concerned solely with destroying Superman so that he (Lex) can take over the world.

    Even if we were to buy the idea that in his original appearance, his name was intended as a slight against Luther (which I am far from believing), the fact remains that his character was drastically changed shortly after its creation (in his third appearance). He was recreated to be a citizen of Metropolis, an overt atheist, etc. To suggest that the character throughout the fifties, sixties, seventies, all the way up to today has been portrayed as having anything in common with Luther (or even a vilified Luther) is nonsense. (And I say this as an person with a degree in English;. It’s my academic work to make nonsense interpretations of books/movies believable, and even I can’t think of anything in the last sixty years that would make a case that Luthor is Luther).

    Oh, and I choose Batman. Unlike Superman, his character is flawed and broken. He doesn’t always do the good he wants, if I might put it that way. He’s a sinner/saint. Like me. And (since we’re talking about Luther’s antisemitic remarks) like Luther too.

  • http://blog.captainthin.net/ Captain Thin

    I’m rather disconcerted that a question asking whether one identifies more with Superman or Batman somehow ended up being a debate over Lex Luthor’s being (apparently) an anti-Lutheran symbol. I’m guessing the connection was made because one of the co-creators of Superman was Jewish, perhaps? As a graphic novel aficionado (read comic book geek), I’m having a very hard time understanding why that would be the case. When Lex Luthor was introduced into the comics, he was a mere mad scientist; nothing particularly religious about him. Though maybe – and this seems dubious to me – the fact that in his first appearance (in 1940) he is attempting to provoke a war in Europe between fictional countries could conceivably make him a “German” villain (though his appearance is still a year earlier than USA’s entrance into WW2, when “Germans” became standard comic book villains). Luthor’s following appearances are concerned solely with destroying Superman so that he (Lex) can take over the world.

    Even if we were to buy the idea that in his original appearance, his name was intended as a slight against Luther (which I am far from believing), the fact remains that his character was drastically changed shortly after its creation (in his third appearance). He was recreated to be a citizen of Metropolis, an overt atheist, etc. To suggest that the character throughout the fifties, sixties, seventies, all the way up to today has been portrayed as having anything in common with Luther (or even a vilified Luther) is nonsense. (And I say this as an person with a degree in English;. It’s my academic work to make nonsense interpretations of books/movies believable, and even I can’t think of anything in the last sixty years that would make a case that Luthor is Luther).

    Oh, and I choose Batman. Unlike Superman, his character is flawed and broken. He doesn’t always do the good he wants, if I might put it that way. He’s a sinner/saint. Like me. And (since we’re talking about Luther’s antisemitic remarks) like Luther too.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Cincinnatus (@39), the Smurfs “express, in sinister fashion, the solidarity and communal ethos of the Master (Blue) Race”? I could see someone finding the Smurfs’ community to be “sinister”, yes, but the show itself seems to quite obviously smile on their Marxist utopia. Gargamel does want to capture the Smurfs in order to make gold, after all — the show’s allegorical capitalist, if ever there was one! — and he is the clear antagonist.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Cincinnatus (@39), the Smurfs “express, in sinister fashion, the solidarity and communal ethos of the Master (Blue) Race”? I could see someone finding the Smurfs’ community to be “sinister”, yes, but the show itself seems to quite obviously smile on their Marxist utopia. Gargamel does want to capture the Smurfs in order to make gold, after all — the show’s allegorical capitalist, if ever there was one! — and he is the clear antagonist.

  • http://puttingoutthefire.blogspot.com/ Frank Gillespie

    tODD, “But I don’t see the appeal of Superman. He has too much power, too many abilities, and one single weakness.” The strength and powers of Superman increase and decrease with the writers. John Byrne in the 80’s made him a lot more human than the Superman that move planets of the sixties or seventies. Byrne made Superman Clark’s secret identity as opposed to the man of steel needing to hide among us human beings here on his adopted home planet.

    “how … is Clark Kent … Jewish” Superman has always been portrayed as more or less nondenom. Every now and then he’ll slip back into the Kryptonian god worhiping lingo: “Great Rao!” but that isn’t every front and center. His creators however were Jewish and gave him a name, Kal El, that means from God.

    So which is it for me? Right now DC has the strongest writers and the best teams putting out quality comic books month after month. When I was growing up I liked Superman better than the Batman and Spider-Man better than them both. Nowadays however I lean more towards the Dark Knight.

  • http://puttingoutthefire.blogspot.com/ Frank Gillespie

    tODD, “But I don’t see the appeal of Superman. He has too much power, too many abilities, and one single weakness.” The strength and powers of Superman increase and decrease with the writers. John Byrne in the 80’s made him a lot more human than the Superman that move planets of the sixties or seventies. Byrne made Superman Clark’s secret identity as opposed to the man of steel needing to hide among us human beings here on his adopted home planet.

    “how … is Clark Kent … Jewish” Superman has always been portrayed as more or less nondenom. Every now and then he’ll slip back into the Kryptonian god worhiping lingo: “Great Rao!” but that isn’t every front and center. His creators however were Jewish and gave him a name, Kal El, that means from God.

    So which is it for me? Right now DC has the strongest writers and the best teams putting out quality comic books month after month. When I was growing up I liked Superman better than the Batman and Spider-Man better than them both. Nowadays however I lean more towards the Dark Knight.

  • Tom Hering

    The Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Character Lex Luthor.

    The above link will lead you to a whole lot more than you ever wanted to know about Lex Luthor’s beliefs. No mention of Martin Luther at all, except by commenters – who are joking.

  • Tom Hering

    The Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Character Lex Luthor.

    The above link will lead you to a whole lot more than you ever wanted to know about Lex Luthor’s beliefs. No mention of Martin Luther at all, except by commenters – who are joking.

  • kerner

    One thing I’ve never quite gotten about Lex Luthor is his gross over-reaction to being accidentally rendered bald by Superboy.

    OK, so young Lex thought it was done deliberately. OK, so it required a bit of an adjustment, fashion statement-wise. (an adjustment which, incidentally, Jean-Luc Picard and Benjamin Sisko seem to have made pretty successfully)

    But grounds for a life long vendetta? Geez, Lex. Get a little therapy. Grow a goatee and, maybe, buy an earring, and fit right in among 21st century middle aged men.

  • kerner

    One thing I’ve never quite gotten about Lex Luthor is his gross over-reaction to being accidentally rendered bald by Superboy.

    OK, so young Lex thought it was done deliberately. OK, so it required a bit of an adjustment, fashion statement-wise. (an adjustment which, incidentally, Jean-Luc Picard and Benjamin Sisko seem to have made pretty successfully)

    But grounds for a life long vendetta? Geez, Lex. Get a little therapy. Grow a goatee and, maybe, buy an earring, and fit right in among 21st century middle aged men.

  • kerner

    Which brings me again to the reason I preferred marvel to DC so much as a kid in the 60′s.

    Ben Grimm (the Thing) resented the quirk of fate that turned Reed Richards into and elastic human, gave Sue Storm the power of invisibility, and made Jonny Storm (already a golden boy type) into the even more glamorous “Human Torch”, but simultaneously turned Ben Grimm into a big ugly orange pile of rocks.

    So Luthor was bald. Big deal. “The Thing” was REALLY ugly. He was too embarassed to even think about a girlfriend (until he met an affectionate blind woman), and the local hooligans (the Yancy Street Gang) tormented him. But did The Thing develop some maniacal grudge against super heroes? No. He perservered in his heroism. He could have torn Manhattan apart to get back at the Yancy Street Gang, but instead he let them get away with throwing garbage at him rather than harm innocent people by going after them. The Thing’s attitude was truly heroic, especially compared to the patronizing efforts of a god-like being in blue tights or a neurotic millionaire playboy.

    I think the Jewish creators of Marvel Comics eventually revealed The Thing to be Jewish. But, given the way he pursued his vocation in the face of adversity, he should have been Lutheran.

    Another small point. DC heroes lived in made up places. The Fantastic 4, at least, lived in New York, a real place. I always liked that too.

  • kerner

    Which brings me again to the reason I preferred marvel to DC so much as a kid in the 60′s.

    Ben Grimm (the Thing) resented the quirk of fate that turned Reed Richards into and elastic human, gave Sue Storm the power of invisibility, and made Jonny Storm (already a golden boy type) into the even more glamorous “Human Torch”, but simultaneously turned Ben Grimm into a big ugly orange pile of rocks.

    So Luthor was bald. Big deal. “The Thing” was REALLY ugly. He was too embarassed to even think about a girlfriend (until he met an affectionate blind woman), and the local hooligans (the Yancy Street Gang) tormented him. But did The Thing develop some maniacal grudge against super heroes? No. He perservered in his heroism. He could have torn Manhattan apart to get back at the Yancy Street Gang, but instead he let them get away with throwing garbage at him rather than harm innocent people by going after them. The Thing’s attitude was truly heroic, especially compared to the patronizing efforts of a god-like being in blue tights or a neurotic millionaire playboy.

    I think the Jewish creators of Marvel Comics eventually revealed The Thing to be Jewish. But, given the way he pursued his vocation in the face of adversity, he should have been Lutheran.

    Another small point. DC heroes lived in made up places. The Fantastic 4, at least, lived in New York, a real place. I always liked that too.

  • WebMonk

    kerner, the real-world aspect which Marvel uses is one of its biggest attractions over DC, IMO. Having names of real places pop up is fun, and can sometimes add a bit of impact over a threat to New Troy or Smallville.

    As for the Thing, I’ve always come away with the impression that the writers were forcing the Oh-I’m-A-Hideous-Monster aspect onto poor Ben. The FF4 movie made it a lot more real when Ben’s wife ran screaming when she saw him, but I’ve never gotten the same sort of impact out of the comics on that issue – in the comics it always felt a bit forced to me.

    YMMV.

  • WebMonk

    kerner, the real-world aspect which Marvel uses is one of its biggest attractions over DC, IMO. Having names of real places pop up is fun, and can sometimes add a bit of impact over a threat to New Troy or Smallville.

    As for the Thing, I’ve always come away with the impression that the writers were forcing the Oh-I’m-A-Hideous-Monster aspect onto poor Ben. The FF4 movie made it a lot more real when Ben’s wife ran screaming when she saw him, but I’ve never gotten the same sort of impact out of the comics on that issue – in the comics it always felt a bit forced to me.

    YMMV.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Alright, yesterday I got caught up examining the serious side to a half hearted joke I had made.
    This is what I have learned. People take comics seriously while claiming they don’t. They are willing to put much more research in to defend a comic strip they “don’t like,” than I am willing to do to defame a comic strip.
    However, tODD and Tom, Superman started in the 30′s not the seventies or eighties. I really don’t care what later redactors have done to the story line. I suspect they probably even changed Lex’s (by the way latin for law, not just short for Alex) last name in an effort not to confuse him with Xavior, I mean Martin Luther King Jr.
    It was begun by a Jew in Cleveland who was exploring his quest to fit in, in doing so it was also meant to combat anti-semitism of the age. The two whipping boys of which are Nietzche and Luther. For the most part, having read plenty of Nietzche, I think he gets what he deserves. Ubermensch, becomes superman, only superman is not the Nietzchian Ubermensch, but a Big Blue Boyscout espousing the the Judeo Christian ethic Nietzche despised, to add salt to the wound, Superman is drawn in the stereotype of a Jew, Black and somewhat curly hair, not sure about the blue eyes. (but then in high school I dated a Rabbi’s daughter who had blue eyes and blond hair, so much for stereotypes ). on the reverse side Lex LuthOR, (law of Luther?) is given over to Nietzchean ambitions.
    That in any case was the discussion I had with an English major many years ago now. Maybe there is nothing to it, but I tend to think there is, again as I said, despite what later redactors have done to the story line.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Alright, yesterday I got caught up examining the serious side to a half hearted joke I had made.
    This is what I have learned. People take comics seriously while claiming they don’t. They are willing to put much more research in to defend a comic strip they “don’t like,” than I am willing to do to defame a comic strip.
    However, tODD and Tom, Superman started in the 30′s not the seventies or eighties. I really don’t care what later redactors have done to the story line. I suspect they probably even changed Lex’s (by the way latin for law, not just short for Alex) last name in an effort not to confuse him with Xavior, I mean Martin Luther King Jr.
    It was begun by a Jew in Cleveland who was exploring his quest to fit in, in doing so it was also meant to combat anti-semitism of the age. The two whipping boys of which are Nietzche and Luther. For the most part, having read plenty of Nietzche, I think he gets what he deserves. Ubermensch, becomes superman, only superman is not the Nietzchian Ubermensch, but a Big Blue Boyscout espousing the the Judeo Christian ethic Nietzche despised, to add salt to the wound, Superman is drawn in the stereotype of a Jew, Black and somewhat curly hair, not sure about the blue eyes. (but then in high school I dated a Rabbi’s daughter who had blue eyes and blond hair, so much for stereotypes ). on the reverse side Lex LuthOR, (law of Luther?) is given over to Nietzchean ambitions.
    That in any case was the discussion I had with an English major many years ago now. Maybe there is nothing to it, but I tend to think there is, again as I said, despite what later redactors have done to the story line.

  • kerner

    Webmonk @ 46:

    Maybe you have a point. But it might be because comics were primarily written for children back then. I remember thinking that the Thing seemed a little too worried about his looks. I thought losing normal looks but gaining super strength seemed like a good trade off. But I was nine and getting girlfriends wasn’t a major consideration to me then.

    But another unusual feature of the Fantastic 4 was that they had no secret identities. For the Thing, this was of necessity. He couldn’t just put on a fake pair of glasses and get a job at a newspaper. And this made him familiar. If you saw a big orange pile of ricks walking around Manhattan, you knew who he was and could be pretty sure he wouldn’t hurt you. So, if you were so inclined, you could make fun of his looks with impunity. You could be happy to see him when there was trouble, but ignore him socially.

    The others had no similar problems. Johnny had a big fan club, and loved it. Sue was considered kind of a glamor girl. It was part of the story line when she changed her hair style. Reed was a respected scientist. And none of them tried to hide who they were.

  • kerner

    Webmonk @ 46:

    Maybe you have a point. But it might be because comics were primarily written for children back then. I remember thinking that the Thing seemed a little too worried about his looks. I thought losing normal looks but gaining super strength seemed like a good trade off. But I was nine and getting girlfriends wasn’t a major consideration to me then.

    But another unusual feature of the Fantastic 4 was that they had no secret identities. For the Thing, this was of necessity. He couldn’t just put on a fake pair of glasses and get a job at a newspaper. And this made him familiar. If you saw a big orange pile of ricks walking around Manhattan, you knew who he was and could be pretty sure he wouldn’t hurt you. So, if you were so inclined, you could make fun of his looks with impunity. You could be happy to see him when there was trouble, but ignore him socially.

    The others had no similar problems. Johnny had a big fan club, and loved it. Sue was considered kind of a glamor girl. It was part of the story line when she changed her hair style. Reed was a respected scientist. And none of them tried to hide who they were.

  • http://meanderinglutheran.blogspot.com Ryan O

    It’s been interesting reading all of the comments.
    I believe that it furthers my concept that comics (esp. DC) really create a contemporary mythology that changes and adapts to the times so that each generation can ‘recreate’ the hero for their generation.

  • http://meanderinglutheran.blogspot.com Ryan O

    It’s been interesting reading all of the comments.
    I believe that it furthers my concept that comics (esp. DC) really create a contemporary mythology that changes and adapts to the times so that each generation can ‘recreate’ the hero for their generation.

  • Tom Hering

    Bror, let’s assume for a moment that Superman’s creators had Martin Luther in mind when they came up with Lex Luthor. How many kids have made that connection over the decades? Let’s assume, again, that some kids have. How many of them checked out Martin Luther’s biography, and searched for parallels with Lex Luthor, to see if they were right about the connection? Let’s assume, yet again, that some did. How far did they get before concluding, “Nope, can’t be – there aren’t any parallels”? Therefore: no damage done.

    Only an English major who’s read both Nietzsche and Shirer, and is looking to make an original statement about pop culture, would convince himself the connection is real. In the absence of any documentation that Luther/Luthor parallels were what Siegel and Shuster had in mind.

  • Tom Hering

    Bror, let’s assume for a moment that Superman’s creators had Martin Luther in mind when they came up with Lex Luthor. How many kids have made that connection over the decades? Let’s assume, again, that some kids have. How many of them checked out Martin Luther’s biography, and searched for parallels with Lex Luthor, to see if they were right about the connection? Let’s assume, yet again, that some did. How far did they get before concluding, “Nope, can’t be – there aren’t any parallels”? Therefore: no damage done.

    Only an English major who’s read both Nietzsche and Shirer, and is looking to make an original statement about pop culture, would convince himself the connection is real. In the absence of any documentation that Luther/Luthor parallels were what Siegel and Shuster had in mind.

  • Tom Hering

    Re: Marvel’s real place names versus DC’s fictional place names. The latter don’t bother me, as I’m aware I’m enjoying a work of fiction. In fact, made-up place names contribute to the wonderful, escapist quality of some fiction.

    Maybe Marvel fans want realism and relevance. While DC fans (at least those of the old school) want a sense of wonder.

  • Tom Hering

    Re: Marvel’s real place names versus DC’s fictional place names. The latter don’t bother me, as I’m aware I’m enjoying a work of fiction. In fact, made-up place names contribute to the wonderful, escapist quality of some fiction.

    Maybe Marvel fans want realism and relevance. While DC fans (at least those of the old school) want a sense of wonder.

  • WebMonk

    Yah know, there’s a really easy way to lay Bror’s fears to rest. Ask the creator of Superman and Lex Luthor himself.

    And guess what! He has told people what the inspiration for Lex Luthor was! A mad scientist!!!! A classic villain archetype of the time! Gasp!! Oh the tortured connections! The grand conspiracy! The evil plot to discredit Martin Luther!! Oh oh….

    Oh never mind. There isn’t any convincing some people.

    Toss in the fact that he didn’t even have a first name in the beginning decade, Bror’s ravings get even more ludicrous. Toss in the minor detail that his name follows a common pattern of “LL” initials, and the grand conspiracy about Lex Luthor intended to be some sort of aspersion against Martin Luther move past the realm of bizarre conspiracy theories and enter the area of lunatic ravings.

  • WebMonk

    Yah know, there’s a really easy way to lay Bror’s fears to rest. Ask the creator of Superman and Lex Luthor himself.

    And guess what! He has told people what the inspiration for Lex Luthor was! A mad scientist!!!! A classic villain archetype of the time! Gasp!! Oh the tortured connections! The grand conspiracy! The evil plot to discredit Martin Luther!! Oh oh….

    Oh never mind. There isn’t any convincing some people.

    Toss in the fact that he didn’t even have a first name in the beginning decade, Bror’s ravings get even more ludicrous. Toss in the minor detail that his name follows a common pattern of “LL” initials, and the grand conspiracy about Lex Luthor intended to be some sort of aspersion against Martin Luther move past the realm of bizarre conspiracy theories and enter the area of lunatic ravings.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Webmonk, Feldman, Tom,
    Sorry to make you lose sleep. You can have Superman if you like.
    Just wondering though, if comic books don’t influence culture, why is this conversation continuing? Seriously, I’m not going to spend a day researching Superman to back up my thoughts here. But I find the Coincidences striking.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Webmonk, Feldman, Tom,
    Sorry to make you lose sleep. You can have Superman if you like.
    Just wondering though, if comic books don’t influence culture, why is this conversation continuing? Seriously, I’m not going to spend a day researching Superman to back up my thoughts here. But I find the Coincidences striking.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Feldman,
    1. I am not a purported Lutheran Pastor. I am a Lutheran Pastor.
    2. I couldn’t really give 2 licks about Superman. So though I think the literary theory explained to me is kind of fun. I don’t hold to it “tightly.” I just haven’t seen anything in this conversation that serves to prove or disprove it.
    3. I would like to know what prejudices you think I am holding to before I get out of this conversation for good. What are you seeing as a “prejudice” and then what is baseless about that “prejudice?”

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Feldman,
    1. I am not a purported Lutheran Pastor. I am a Lutheran Pastor.
    2. I couldn’t really give 2 licks about Superman. So though I think the literary theory explained to me is kind of fun. I don’t hold to it “tightly.” I just haven’t seen anything in this conversation that serves to prove or disprove it.
    3. I would like to know what prejudices you think I am holding to before I get out of this conversation for good. What are you seeing as a “prejudice” and then what is baseless about that “prejudice?”

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Feldman,
    In short yes, thats the jist of the literary theory, that Superman perpetuates the Shirer myth and was meant to.
    In anycase Wikipedia, does say that Superman was supposed to reflect the status of a Jewish immigrant trying to fit into American culture. “An influence on early Superman stories is the context of the Great Depression. The left-leaning perspective of creators Shuster and Siegel is reflected in early storylines. Superman took on the role of social activist, fighting crooked businessmen and politicians and demolishing run-down tenements.[34] This is seen by comics scholar Roger Sabin as a reflection of “the liberal idealism of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal”, with Shuster and Siegel initially portraying Superman as champion to a variety of social causes.[35] In later Superman radio programs the character continued to take on such issues, tackling a version of the KKK in a 1946 broadcast.[36][37] Siegel and Shuster’s status as children of Jewish immigrants is also thought to have influenced their work. Timothy Aaron Pevey has argued that they crafted “an immigrant figure whose desire was to fit into American culture as an American”, something which Pevey feels taps into an important aspect of American identity.[38]”
    But I never considered disliking a comic for perpetuating a political/ ideological myth as being a prejudice. I despise the Shirer myth. I think it distasteful, unscholarly, and unhelpful in the prevention of future atrocities when Luther is blamed for the Holocaust. Especially when his most devout followers did what they could to put an end to the Holocaust.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Feldman,
    In short yes, thats the jist of the literary theory, that Superman perpetuates the Shirer myth and was meant to.
    In anycase Wikipedia, does say that Superman was supposed to reflect the status of a Jewish immigrant trying to fit into American culture. “An influence on early Superman stories is the context of the Great Depression. The left-leaning perspective of creators Shuster and Siegel is reflected in early storylines. Superman took on the role of social activist, fighting crooked businessmen and politicians and demolishing run-down tenements.[34] This is seen by comics scholar Roger Sabin as a reflection of “the liberal idealism of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal”, with Shuster and Siegel initially portraying Superman as champion to a variety of social causes.[35] In later Superman radio programs the character continued to take on such issues, tackling a version of the KKK in a 1946 broadcast.[36][37] Siegel and Shuster’s status as children of Jewish immigrants is also thought to have influenced their work. Timothy Aaron Pevey has argued that they crafted “an immigrant figure whose desire was to fit into American culture as an American”, something which Pevey feels taps into an important aspect of American identity.[38]”
    But I never considered disliking a comic for perpetuating a political/ ideological myth as being a prejudice. I despise the Shirer myth. I think it distasteful, unscholarly, and unhelpful in the prevention of future atrocities when Luther is blamed for the Holocaust. Especially when his most devout followers did what they could to put an end to the Holocaust.

  • WebMonk

    Good luck Feldman. Bror is convinced that Superman was written to perpetuate Shirer’s ideas and nothing so silly as facts are going to sway him.

    If you press him on it, I’ll bet you can even get him to claim Jerry Siegel had a time machine to go forward in time to find out what the Shirer’s ideas were going to be, and then returned to write Superman years before WWII ever broke out all in preparation to “perpetuate” ideas that hadn’t arrived yet.

    You’ll get the exact same sort of behavior from 9/11 and alien cover-up conspiracy theorists. There’s nothing rational behind the opinions, so rational facts don’t make a dent on them.

  • WebMonk

    Good luck Feldman. Bror is convinced that Superman was written to perpetuate Shirer’s ideas and nothing so silly as facts are going to sway him.

    If you press him on it, I’ll bet you can even get him to claim Jerry Siegel had a time machine to go forward in time to find out what the Shirer’s ideas were going to be, and then returned to write Superman years before WWII ever broke out all in preparation to “perpetuate” ideas that hadn’t arrived yet.

    You’ll get the exact same sort of behavior from 9/11 and alien cover-up conspiracy theorists. There’s nothing rational behind the opinions, so rational facts don’t make a dent on them.

  • Tom Hering

    But where’s the documentation that proves the Luther/Luthor allegation? All we’ve been given is the fact that an unnamed somebody once said it was so.

  • Tom Hering

    But where’s the documentation that proves the Luther/Luthor allegation? All we’ve been given is the fact that an unnamed somebody once said it was so.

  • kerner

    ome of you guys are taking Superman and his Jewish authors way too seriously. If I may refer you to a Saturday Night Live Parody of the old movie “Superman”, the SNL writers speclated what would have happened if Kal-El had landed in rural Germany instead of Iowa. The result was “Ubermann”: Dan Ackroyd in blue tights with a big “U” (with umlaut) on his chest, defender of truth, justice, and the German way. with one line I will never forget:

    Lois Langhoff:

    “Ubermann, mit your x-ray vision, can you see through my clothes?”

    Ubermann:

    “Ja! Und his too! (Pointing at Jimmy Olnsteyn’s pants) He’s a Jew!”
    :) :) :) :)

    JUST KIDDING!!!

  • kerner

    ome of you guys are taking Superman and his Jewish authors way too seriously. If I may refer you to a Saturday Night Live Parody of the old movie “Superman”, the SNL writers speclated what would have happened if Kal-El had landed in rural Germany instead of Iowa. The result was “Ubermann”: Dan Ackroyd in blue tights with a big “U” (with umlaut) on his chest, defender of truth, justice, and the German way. with one line I will never forget:

    Lois Langhoff:

    “Ubermann, mit your x-ray vision, can you see through my clothes?”

    Ubermann:

    “Ja! Und his too! (Pointing at Jimmy Olnsteyn’s pants) He’s a Jew!”
    :) :) :) :)

    JUST KIDDING!!!

  • Tom Hering

    The speculation has been put forward here that Superman’s creators were anti-Lutheran because (A.) they were proto-Shirer Jews and (B.) politically left-of-center. Is there something not worthy of serious discussion in all that?

  • Tom Hering

    The speculation has been put forward here that Superman’s creators were anti-Lutheran because (A.) they were proto-Shirer Jews and (B.) politically left-of-center. Is there something not worthy of serious discussion in all that?

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Yes Webmonk the time machine idea works.
    The fact is that The ideas now associated with Shirer, and now given his name as their most ardent proponent, predate Shirer and had a fair amount of currency before him. But your a smart boy and could figure out that explanation by yourself. That is people were blaming Luther for the anti-semitism of Europe before WWII and the Holocaust.

    I don’t know Tom. I’ll freely admit I don’t as of right now have any documentation for the Luther/Luthor connection. Except for a very similar name that is all but pronounced the same. And I probably won’t because aside from the Wikipedia article I read, I’m not going to research any further. It just doesn’t matter to me that much. Perhaps it was just an unfortunate coincidence.

    I don’t like Superman. I don’t like comics. I’ve spent to much time on this the way it is. And am dumbfounded that I am accused of being prejudice for disliking Superman.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Yes Webmonk the time machine idea works.
    The fact is that The ideas now associated with Shirer, and now given his name as their most ardent proponent, predate Shirer and had a fair amount of currency before him. But your a smart boy and could figure out that explanation by yourself. That is people were blaming Luther for the anti-semitism of Europe before WWII and the Holocaust.

    I don’t know Tom. I’ll freely admit I don’t as of right now have any documentation for the Luther/Luthor connection. Except for a very similar name that is all but pronounced the same. And I probably won’t because aside from the Wikipedia article I read, I’m not going to research any further. It just doesn’t matter to me that much. Perhaps it was just an unfortunate coincidence.

    I don’t like Superman. I don’t like comics. I’ve spent to much time on this the way it is. And am dumbfounded that I am accused of being prejudice for disliking Superman.

  • kerner

    Given the lack of evidence on point, not much.

    Getting from “the authors were Jews” to “Superman was intended to be anti-Lutheran propaganda” seems to me to be almost pure speculation (a good word used by Tom). And speculation is the antithesis of srious discussion.

  • kerner

    Given the lack of evidence on point, not much.

    Getting from “the authors were Jews” to “Superman was intended to be anti-Lutheran propaganda” seems to me to be almost pure speculation (a good word used by Tom). And speculation is the antithesis of srious discussion.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Bror, once more, I don’t see how you can, on the one hand, decry Feldman’s uninformed attack on Lutheranism vis-a-vis the Holocaust, and on the other hand, perpetuate your own uninformed attack on Superman. Are you for or against uninformed screeds with little basis in reality?

    Frankly, you appear to be more than a little hung up on the “Shirer myth”. As far as a correct understanding of Lutheranism and a full understanding of historical context goes, that’s quite understandable. But I have to say that, given your similar emphasis on the fact that Superman’s creators were Jewish (@47, 59 — other than the name Luthor, this appears to be the bulk of your argument), I’m not sure you’re really doing your argument any favors. That is to say, the best way to convince people that Lutheranism was not responsible for the atrocities visited upon the Jews is not to turn around and claim, as a Lutheran pastor, that it’s those Jews that are slandering us with their subtle, mischievous media influence.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Bror, once more, I don’t see how you can, on the one hand, decry Feldman’s uninformed attack on Lutheranism vis-a-vis the Holocaust, and on the other hand, perpetuate your own uninformed attack on Superman. Are you for or against uninformed screeds with little basis in reality?

    Frankly, you appear to be more than a little hung up on the “Shirer myth”. As far as a correct understanding of Lutheranism and a full understanding of historical context goes, that’s quite understandable. But I have to say that, given your similar emphasis on the fact that Superman’s creators were Jewish (@47, 59 — other than the name Luthor, this appears to be the bulk of your argument), I’m not sure you’re really doing your argument any favors. That is to say, the best way to convince people that Lutheranism was not responsible for the atrocities visited upon the Jews is not to turn around and claim, as a Lutheran pastor, that it’s those Jews that are slandering us with their subtle, mischievous media influence.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Feldman (@69), no doubt the Lutheran Church of Bavaria’s statement does “speak for itself”. Your mistake is in assuming that it speaks for anyone else in Lutheranism, much less the beliefs that comprise Lutheranism — which, you have yet to demonstrate you understand, does not consist in every statement made by Luther, labels notwithstanding.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Feldman (@69), no doubt the Lutheran Church of Bavaria’s statement does “speak for itself”. Your mistake is in assuming that it speaks for anyone else in Lutheranism, much less the beliefs that comprise Lutheranism — which, you have yet to demonstrate you understand, does not consist in every statement made by Luther, labels notwithstanding.

  • kerner

    Feldman:

    There certainly were Lutherans in Germany who were complicit with the Nazis. There were many others in Norway, Denmark, and maybe Latvia who opposed the Nazis. There were certainly many Lutheran’s in the United States who died opposing the Nazis.

    The fact that the government sponsored Lutheran Church had clergy that supported is probably a greater condemnation of state sponsored religion that it is of confessional Lutheranism. Only a small fraction of Luther’s writings are included in the Lutheran Confessions. And the majority of the Lutheran Confessions were written by someone other than Luther.

    As for the man, himself, he did many good and brave things, and changed history. He also did many bad things, and some of his more egregious writings are condemned today. I, for one, deeply regret any pain or damage caused by anyone who acted on some of the things Luther wrote about the Jews. But since neither I, nor my synod (to my knowledge), are among those who persecuted Jews, I don’t think holding us dierctly responsible is quite fair. On the other hand, I don’t see any connection between a comic book villain and a reformation theologian either.

  • kerner

    Feldman:

    There certainly were Lutherans in Germany who were complicit with the Nazis. There were many others in Norway, Denmark, and maybe Latvia who opposed the Nazis. There were certainly many Lutheran’s in the United States who died opposing the Nazis.

    The fact that the government sponsored Lutheran Church had clergy that supported is probably a greater condemnation of state sponsored religion that it is of confessional Lutheranism. Only a small fraction of Luther’s writings are included in the Lutheran Confessions. And the majority of the Lutheran Confessions were written by someone other than Luther.

    As for the man, himself, he did many good and brave things, and changed history. He also did many bad things, and some of his more egregious writings are condemned today. I, for one, deeply regret any pain or damage caused by anyone who acted on some of the things Luther wrote about the Jews. But since neither I, nor my synod (to my knowledge), are among those who persecuted Jews, I don’t think holding us dierctly responsible is quite fair. On the other hand, I don’t see any connection between a comic book villain and a reformation theologian either.

  • kerner

    Feldman @68:

    ok, ok, so I hedged my bet by saying “almost”. Sorry, Bror, but I really don’t know where you came up with the Luthor=Luther stuff.

  • kerner

    Feldman @68:

    ok, ok, so I hedged my bet by saying “almost”. Sorry, Bror, but I really don’t know where you came up with the Luthor=Luther stuff.

  • Cincinnatus

    kerner: He made it up–which is a frequent exercise of literary critics. The problem with his theory (and similar literary criticisms) is that it’s not plausible, afflicted with a paucity of evidence from the author (who implicitly disclaims any connection with Luther by offering a different “theory”) and the text. It’s a fun thought exercise, I suppose, but to persist in one’s maintenance of this interpretation is silly.

    So far, we have turned up literally no evidence of a Luthor-Luther connection. What evidence we have discovered as to the meaning of Luthor’s character is that he actually has no relation to our Protestant forebear.

    Nice try. Please insert two tokens to play again.

  • Cincinnatus

    kerner: He made it up–which is a frequent exercise of literary critics. The problem with his theory (and similar literary criticisms) is that it’s not plausible, afflicted with a paucity of evidence from the author (who implicitly disclaims any connection with Luther by offering a different “theory”) and the text. It’s a fun thought exercise, I suppose, but to persist in one’s maintenance of this interpretation is silly.

    So far, we have turned up literally no evidence of a Luthor-Luther connection. What evidence we have discovered as to the meaning of Luthor’s character is that he actually has no relation to our Protestant forebear.

    Nice try. Please insert two tokens to play again.

  • WebMonk

    It’s classic conspiracy theory thinking, kerner. The thinking that “it all ties together” in spite of all evidence is a common aspect of the mindset. The smallest and most bizarrely disjointed coincidences (ie. two words sounding alike combined with the race of the authors) is held as solid evidence without anything else being needed, and are sufficient to maintain the opinion even in the face of mountains of disproving evidence.

    It’s not a rational way of thinking, and so no one outside of Bror’s mind will ever be able to understand how he gets Luthor=Luther-so-Superman-is-an-anti-Lutheran-propaganda-piece.

    It’s as logical as saying Bror’s parents named him so because Bror=Boar and so Bror was intended to be anti-Jewish because everyone knows Jews don’t eat pork.

    It all has the same logic.

  • WebMonk

    It’s classic conspiracy theory thinking, kerner. The thinking that “it all ties together” in spite of all evidence is a common aspect of the mindset. The smallest and most bizarrely disjointed coincidences (ie. two words sounding alike combined with the race of the authors) is held as solid evidence without anything else being needed, and are sufficient to maintain the opinion even in the face of mountains of disproving evidence.

    It’s not a rational way of thinking, and so no one outside of Bror’s mind will ever be able to understand how he gets Luthor=Luther-so-Superman-is-an-anti-Lutheran-propaganda-piece.

    It’s as logical as saying Bror’s parents named him so because Bror=Boar and so Bror was intended to be anti-Jewish because everyone knows Jews don’t eat pork.

    It all has the same logic.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Alright guys. I’ve had fun. I give it up. Your right the theory has as much going for it as the Shirer Myth. And it has been fun showing it.
    Feldman, ”
    @71. Thanks. I hardly have grounds for holding you “directly” responsible for persecuting anyone. My point was that, collectively, Lutherans [and all Germans, to some degree] are implicated in what the Bavarian Church acknowledged. For that matter, white Christians, like my family, in the South are, collectively, responsible [commission and omission] for the horrific damage done to blacks there for centuries. Sure, there were and are wonderful individual exceptions, but it’s the exceptions who usually are the ones who most understand the need to confess communal responsibility.”
    Please. Given the many Lutherans who died in WWII, the many Lutherans (by the way not at all synonymous with German) I hope you can see how bigoted your statement comes off. The many Lutherans who did so because of the faith imparted to them by Luther even, who took his teachings seriously.
    It’s almost funny, but it seems you would have me take the history of a comic strip more serious than actual history. I would ask you to read “The Fabricated Luther” if nothing else.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Alright guys. I’ve had fun. I give it up. Your right the theory has as much going for it as the Shirer Myth. And it has been fun showing it.
    Feldman, ”
    @71. Thanks. I hardly have grounds for holding you “directly” responsible for persecuting anyone. My point was that, collectively, Lutherans [and all Germans, to some degree] are implicated in what the Bavarian Church acknowledged. For that matter, white Christians, like my family, in the South are, collectively, responsible [commission and omission] for the horrific damage done to blacks there for centuries. Sure, there were and are wonderful individual exceptions, but it’s the exceptions who usually are the ones who most understand the need to confess communal responsibility.”
    Please. Given the many Lutherans who died in WWII, the many Lutherans (by the way not at all synonymous with German) I hope you can see how bigoted your statement comes off. The many Lutherans who did so because of the faith imparted to them by Luther even, who took his teachings seriously.
    It’s almost funny, but it seems you would have me take the history of a comic strip more serious than actual history. I would ask you to read “The Fabricated Luther” if nothing else.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Webmonk,
    “It’s classic conspiracy theory thinking, kerner. The thinking that “it all ties together” in spite of all evidence is a common aspect of the mindset. ”
    I want to point out a subtle flaw here. The genius of this conspiracy theory is that it is in spite of a “lack of evidence” not in spite of evidence. But that is another thing.
    But I have enjoyed seeing the way you work and what you consider to be evidence. Truly enlightening.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Webmonk,
    “It’s classic conspiracy theory thinking, kerner. The thinking that “it all ties together” in spite of all evidence is a common aspect of the mindset. ”
    I want to point out a subtle flaw here. The genius of this conspiracy theory is that it is in spite of a “lack of evidence” not in spite of evidence. But that is another thing.
    But I have enjoyed seeing the way you work and what you consider to be evidence. Truly enlightening.

  • kerner

    Feldman! Baby! Subscription to the BOC is what makes you a Lutheran. Period. The end.

    Everything else is negotiable. Clearly, being sinners, the erroneous writings of all the Saints in Christendom are rejected when they deviate from God’s Word.

  • kerner

    Feldman! Baby! Subscription to the BOC is what makes you a Lutheran. Period. The end.

    Everything else is negotiable. Clearly, being sinners, the erroneous writings of all the Saints in Christendom are rejected when they deviate from God’s Word.

  • kerner

    Oops. I meant to add that Luther is no exception to the rule about rejecting unbiblical errors, whatever their source. And all human theologians make errors. Sometimes really serious errors.

  • kerner

    Oops. I meant to add that Luther is no exception to the rule about rejecting unbiblical errors, whatever their source. And all human theologians make errors. Sometimes really serious errors.

  • Tom Hering

    “And all human theologians make errors.” – kerner @ 80.

    “Everyone has their faults. Mine’s in California.” – Lex Luthor (Gene Hackman), Superman the Movie (1978).

  • Tom Hering

    “And all human theologians make errors.” – kerner @ 80.

    “Everyone has their faults. Mine’s in California.” – Lex Luthor (Gene Hackman), Superman the Movie (1978).

  • Tom Hering

    Alternative theory: Luthor was portrayed in his first appearance (Action Comics #23, April 1940) as a mad scientist who dominated European nations by using fantastic weaponry, which he wielded from a flying city supported by a dirigible. Hence LuTHOR, the god of thunder. Superman’s creators probably didn’t want to name their new villain something as facile as “Dr. Thor.”

  • Tom Hering

    Alternative theory: Luthor was portrayed in his first appearance (Action Comics #23, April 1940) as a mad scientist who dominated European nations by using fantastic weaponry, which he wielded from a flying city supported by a dirigible. Hence LuTHOR, the god of thunder. Superman’s creators probably didn’t want to name their new villain something as facile as “Dr. Thor.”

  • Tom Hering

    Of course, Superman’s creators still named their new villain something that sounded a lot like LuthER. Why? Maybe they toyed with “Dr. Lu.” Oriental super-villains were popular in the 1930s. Then maybe they toyed with “Dr. Thor.” Then maybe they just combined the two names and said, “Yeah, that sounds European. Even Germanic/aggressive. (They started WWI, didn’t they?) And everyone knows LuthER was a thundering kind of guy. It’s a good association for our purposes.”

    Well, that’s my theory-without-evidence, which is at least as good as that other theory-without-evidence. :-)

  • Tom Hering

    Of course, Superman’s creators still named their new villain something that sounded a lot like LuthER. Why? Maybe they toyed with “Dr. Lu.” Oriental super-villains were popular in the 1930s. Then maybe they toyed with “Dr. Thor.” Then maybe they just combined the two names and said, “Yeah, that sounds European. Even Germanic/aggressive. (They started WWI, didn’t they?) And everyone knows LuthER was a thundering kind of guy. It’s a good association for our purposes.”

    Well, that’s my theory-without-evidence, which is at least as good as that other theory-without-evidence. :-)

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Tom,
    Your pointr is what? After rterading. Your last twi posts I’m. Inclined to think my original proposition might have merit.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Tom,
    Your pointr is what? After rterading. Your last twi posts I’m. Inclined to think my original proposition might have merit.

  • Tom Hering

    Bror, for my own theory-without-evidence, I’m starting with the text of Action Comics #23 (first appearance of Luthor) rather than the fact that Superman’s creators were Jewish. The point being that mine is a better speculative approach – given the complete absence of any evidence that Siegel and Shuster were anti-Lutheran. What they obviously were is creative, and like most creative people, they probably enjoyed playing around with history, historical figures, etcetera – with the idea of having fun and making money in mind. There’d be nothing unusual about that … no good reason to think they had any other motives.

  • Tom Hering

    Bror, for my own theory-without-evidence, I’m starting with the text of Action Comics #23 (first appearance of Luthor) rather than the fact that Superman’s creators were Jewish. The point being that mine is a better speculative approach – given the complete absence of any evidence that Siegel and Shuster were anti-Lutheran. What they obviously were is creative, and like most creative people, they probably enjoyed playing around with history, historical figures, etcetera – with the idea of having fun and making money in mind. There’d be nothing unusual about that … no good reason to think they had any other motives.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Tom,
    I’m sorry for traumatising you, and questioning Superman comics.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Tom,
    I’m sorry for traumatising you, and questioning Superman comics.

  • Tom Hering

    Bror, I can deal with the trauma. It isn’t easy, but I can. And there’s nothing wrong with questioning anything. It’s just nice when theories are backed up by something more than The Protocols of the Elders of Krypton. ;-)

  • Tom Hering

    Bror, I can deal with the trauma. It isn’t easy, but I can. And there’s nothing wrong with questioning anything. It’s just nice when theories are backed up by something more than The Protocols of the Elders of Krypton. ;-)

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Tom, Heres the deal. It obviously meant quite a bit to you.
    I heard a theory, some years ago, that seemed to me at the time to have some plausibility. I threw it out here. I’d like to think we have all had a bit of fun and learned a bit.
    The theory has a lack of evidence to back it up. At least currently. But I sure as h*ll am not going to lock myself up in the Library of Congress for a month to see if there is any more evidence for the theory.
    tODD and Cincinattus have convinced me that it may not be as plausible as I thought it was at first so I dropped it. However Webmonk came in and said I was holding to a theory despite all the evidence. And that isn’t true. It was despite a lack of evidence. There was no evidence I saw that was actually against the theory in general.
    Feldman who has showed the contempt for Luther and Lutherans in the Jewish community gives some creedance to the theory. and your assertion that :”What they obviously were is creative, and like most creative people, they probably enjoyed playing around with history, historical figures, etcetera – with the idea of having fun and making money in mind. There’d be nothing unusual about that.”
    Would do nothing but add to the plausibility that they were playing around with history, since Luther not Thor or Dr. Lu was an historical figure.
    However, I have no evidence that the creators of Superman shared the same comtempt for Luther and Lutherans that Feldman has. And I really don’t care to drudge any up. or continue this conversation.
    Cincinnatus is right it is the product of a literary criticism exercise and doesn’t have much merit.
    I still don’t like superman, but mostly because I hate the acting in Smallville, and can’t seem to pull my wife away from it.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Tom, Heres the deal. It obviously meant quite a bit to you.
    I heard a theory, some years ago, that seemed to me at the time to have some plausibility. I threw it out here. I’d like to think we have all had a bit of fun and learned a bit.
    The theory has a lack of evidence to back it up. At least currently. But I sure as h*ll am not going to lock myself up in the Library of Congress for a month to see if there is any more evidence for the theory.
    tODD and Cincinattus have convinced me that it may not be as plausible as I thought it was at first so I dropped it. However Webmonk came in and said I was holding to a theory despite all the evidence. And that isn’t true. It was despite a lack of evidence. There was no evidence I saw that was actually against the theory in general.
    Feldman who has showed the contempt for Luther and Lutherans in the Jewish community gives some creedance to the theory. and your assertion that :”What they obviously were is creative, and like most creative people, they probably enjoyed playing around with history, historical figures, etcetera – with the idea of having fun and making money in mind. There’d be nothing unusual about that.”
    Would do nothing but add to the plausibility that they were playing around with history, since Luther not Thor or Dr. Lu was an historical figure.
    However, I have no evidence that the creators of Superman shared the same comtempt for Luther and Lutherans that Feldman has. And I really don’t care to drudge any up. or continue this conversation.
    Cincinnatus is right it is the product of a literary criticism exercise and doesn’t have much merit.
    I still don’t like superman, but mostly because I hate the acting in Smallville, and can’t seem to pull my wife away from it.

  • Tom Hering

    Bror, the theory you brought to this discussion is that Siegel and Shuster were guilty of anti-Lutheranism. A theory without evidence, as you admit. So it isn’t really a theory, literary or otherwise – just a baseless accusation.

    Now, I’m well aware you no longer give this accusation the same credence you did at the beginning. But you also seem to be keeping your powder dry, just in case evidence supporting the accusation should show up some day. In effect, you’re waiting for hard evidence that Siegel and Shuster were not anti-Lutheran.

    So, the heart of the matter is: “guilty until proven innocent” isn’t how “truth, justice and the American way” works. :-)

  • Tom Hering

    Bror, the theory you brought to this discussion is that Siegel and Shuster were guilty of anti-Lutheranism. A theory without evidence, as you admit. So it isn’t really a theory, literary or otherwise – just a baseless accusation.

    Now, I’m well aware you no longer give this accusation the same credence you did at the beginning. But you also seem to be keeping your powder dry, just in case evidence supporting the accusation should show up some day. In effect, you’re waiting for hard evidence that Siegel and Shuster were not anti-Lutheran.

    So, the heart of the matter is: “guilty until proven innocent” isn’t how “truth, justice and the American way” works. :-)

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Tom,
    Seriously? What ever. I’m done. I don’t care if the powder is dry or wet. I suppose if evidence were to arise it would be dry, but who gives a rip.
    And innocent until proven guilty does not stop and investigator from looking for evidence. And no one knows what evidence there is until one looks for it. But whether there is evidence either way. I’m not waiting for it Tom. You can have Superman back, he is watching over you when you sleep, don’t worry.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Tom,
    Seriously? What ever. I’m done. I don’t care if the powder is dry or wet. I suppose if evidence were to arise it would be dry, but who gives a rip.
    And innocent until proven guilty does not stop and investigator from looking for evidence. And no one knows what evidence there is until one looks for it. But whether there is evidence either way. I’m not waiting for it Tom. You can have Superman back, he is watching over you when you sleep, don’t worry.

  • WebMonk

    As for the lack of evidence against it, there’s that little detail about the author’s own statement that Lex Luthor was supposed to be a classical mad scientist, but slowly changed over the years. A couple decades later, he even went back and changed Luthor’s story to move him away from that original mad-scientist concept. There’s also the little detail that the name of Lex Luthor is precisely in line with all the other LL names in the Superman universe which are in line with many of the other names which have similar designs (ex. Clark Kent). And then there’s the fact that Luthor wasn’t put in for many years, and even then was only an infrequently recurring bad-guy and not an arch-nemesis until decades later.

  • WebMonk

    As for the lack of evidence against it, there’s that little detail about the author’s own statement that Lex Luthor was supposed to be a classical mad scientist, but slowly changed over the years. A couple decades later, he even went back and changed Luthor’s story to move him away from that original mad-scientist concept. There’s also the little detail that the name of Lex Luthor is precisely in line with all the other LL names in the Superman universe which are in line with many of the other names which have similar designs (ex. Clark Kent). And then there’s the fact that Luthor wasn’t put in for many years, and even then was only an infrequently recurring bad-guy and not an arch-nemesis until decades later.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    webmonk,
    Perhaps. You know more about it than I do. I’ll leave it at that. Though I find the reasoning faulty. I’ll just leave it at that. I’m tired and have no desire to defend the thesis anymore. I have come to the conclusion that for lack of evidence tying Siegel and Shuster to the same anti-lutheran rants that Feldman espoused here which seem to be common in the Jewish community. I am guilty of breaking the eighth commandment. I’m certainly not going to try to drudge up anything to defame them further.
    If you can leave it at that. So will I.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    webmonk,
    Perhaps. You know more about it than I do. I’ll leave it at that. Though I find the reasoning faulty. I’ll just leave it at that. I’m tired and have no desire to defend the thesis anymore. I have come to the conclusion that for lack of evidence tying Siegel and Shuster to the same anti-lutheran rants that Feldman espoused here which seem to be common in the Jewish community. I am guilty of breaking the eighth commandment. I’m certainly not going to try to drudge up anything to defame them further.
    If you can leave it at that. So will I.

  • Cincinnatus

    Bror: Yes, I forgot to add that I don’t condone Feldman’s absurdity. According to him, all current white Americans are morally culpable for slavery, all current Lutherans (regardless of synodical affiliation) are culpable for the actions of Hitler, and, by extension of his logic, I assume that all Muslims are culpable for the events of 9/11, and so on down the line. In short, I assume that I am culpable for the sins of my father, and every human being is culpable for the sins of every other human being.

    Moreover, if I choose to ascribe to the beliefs or ideas articulated by some thinker, I am culpable for that person’s bad or immoral ideas as well.

    It must be hard living in a world where one is responsible for so much for which one is actually not responsible.

  • Cincinnatus

    Bror: Yes, I forgot to add that I don’t condone Feldman’s absurdity. According to him, all current white Americans are morally culpable for slavery, all current Lutherans (regardless of synodical affiliation) are culpable for the actions of Hitler, and, by extension of his logic, I assume that all Muslims are culpable for the events of 9/11, and so on down the line. In short, I assume that I am culpable for the sins of my father, and every human being is culpable for the sins of every other human being.

    Moreover, if I choose to ascribe to the beliefs or ideas articulated by some thinker, I am culpable for that person’s bad or immoral ideas as well.

    It must be hard living in a world where one is responsible for so much for which one is actually not responsible.

  • Cincinnatus

    Also, on an entirely unrelated note, I find it highly amusing that the comment filter blocks the word “soci@lism,” but we are free to bandy about words like “Nazi,” “Hitler,” and “holocaust” to our hearts’ content.

    I can’t tell if someone hailing from the Right or Left programmed this filter. Either way, it’s built as a paradise for Godwin’s Law.

  • Cincinnatus

    Also, on an entirely unrelated note, I find it highly amusing that the comment filter blocks the word “soci@lism,” but we are free to bandy about words like “Nazi,” “Hitler,” and “holocaust” to our hearts’ content.

    I can’t tell if someone hailing from the Right or Left programmed this filter. Either way, it’s built as a paradise for Godwin’s Law.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Feldman,
    I have no problem with the Jewish community. I have a problem with a very common and misguided belief in the Jewish Community, a belief that you share.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Feldman,
    I have no problem with the Jewish community. I have a problem with a very common and misguided belief in the Jewish Community, a belief that you share.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Brickwall

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Brickwall

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Feldman (@97), you’re hilarious. The only Lutheran confession you’ll apparently pay attention to is one of wrongdoing. I’m not even sure you’ll get why that sentence is funny.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Feldman (@97), you’re hilarious. The only Lutheran confession you’ll apparently pay attention to is one of wrongdoing. I’m not even sure you’ll get why that sentence is funny.

  • Joe

    Nicely done tODD.

    How many other times have we broken 100?

  • Joe

    Nicely done tODD.

    How many other times have we broken 100?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Joe (@101), 13 times this year, according to my calculations.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Joe (@101), 13 times this year, according to my calculations.

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  • Gregory

    Make Mine Marvel. But only the Marvel of the first 25 years from 1961– to 1986. As for DC I love Superman and DC is great but only up till just before Crisis. After Crisis its just to chaotic to keep up.

  • Gregory

    Make Mine Marvel. But only the Marvel of the first 25 years from 1961– to 1986. As for DC I love Superman and DC is great but only up till just before Crisis. After Crisis its just to chaotic to keep up.

  • Gregory

    by the way Superman’s adoptive parents are episcopal
    Captain America is evangelical protestant
    Daredevil is Roman Catholic
    Electra is Orthodox (Greek church),
    Black Widow also Orthodox (Russian church)
    and the Thing is jewish!

    There is a site on the net that discusses the hero’s religions. Im sorry I dont have the link but you can find it if you google enough.
    Stan lee in an interview said he purposely made sure that when the Fantastic Four Sue and Richards married it was at a Christian church (in an early issue they actually say grace at dinner). He wanted the comics to be like real life where many people are religious. This seemed to offend the atheistic interviewer at which Stan just shot his winning smile and said some of the bad guys were atheists! LOL
    (actually if any atheists are reading this Quasar from Marvel is atheist).

  • Gregory

    by the way Superman’s adoptive parents are episcopal
    Captain America is evangelical protestant
    Daredevil is Roman Catholic
    Electra is Orthodox (Greek church),
    Black Widow also Orthodox (Russian church)
    and the Thing is jewish!

    There is a site on the net that discusses the hero’s religions. Im sorry I dont have the link but you can find it if you google enough.
    Stan lee in an interview said he purposely made sure that when the Fantastic Four Sue and Richards married it was at a Christian church (in an early issue they actually say grace at dinner). He wanted the comics to be like real life where many people are religious. This seemed to offend the atheistic interviewer at which Stan just shot his winning smile and said some of the bad guys were atheists! LOL
    (actually if any atheists are reading this Quasar from Marvel is atheist).

  • Gregory

    and Quasar was a good guy/hero.

  • Gregory

    and Quasar was a good guy/hero.

  • Gregory

    also in case your wondering Mr. Veith about Lutherans: Jimmy Olsen is Lutheran ! (as told in the long running comic series from the fifties to seventies “Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen”)

  • Gregory

    also in case your wondering Mr. Veith about Lutherans: Jimmy Olsen is Lutheran ! (as told in the long running comic series from the fifties to seventies “Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen”)

  • Gregory

    oops correction: superman’s adoptive parents are Methodist
    its batman’s background that was listed as episcopal/catholic

    (I have it saved on notepad but not the link if anybody can find it please post it.)

    I know this is all off topic but I thought you guys might appreciate it.

  • Gregory

    oops correction: superman’s adoptive parents are Methodist
    its batman’s background that was listed as episcopal/catholic

    (I have it saved on notepad but not the link if anybody can find it please post it.)

    I know this is all off topic but I thought you guys might appreciate it.


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