I remember reading an article regarding Superman and his link to the Christian religion. Religion and comic books have always been tied. In the X-Men comics Professor Xavier is supposed to symbolize nonviolent Martin Luther King while Magneto (the villian) is supposed to represent Malcolm X. That’s the general idea but nonviolence doesn’t sell so both sides become violent.
But getting back to Superman this is something that should be known by Muslims as it really allows us to reflect on Islam. You see the very notion of Superman is something that is so moving and emotionally packed that you will be hard-pressed to find someone who actually hates Superman. He not unlike Jesus (as) in Christian societies. Both are from another world and both are guided by an unseen father-like figure. They both must suffer trials and yet both possess awesome powers. Ultimately the image of a saviour is powerful one. The list goes on:
Stabbed in side with Kryptonite – like Jesus stabbed with spear
Empty hospital room – empty tomb of Jesus
Falls to Earth, arms outstretched – Crucifixion-like
Cradled in mother’s arms – like Michelangelo’s Pieta
Superman says world needs saviour
Superman’s five years in space echoes the Ascension
Shown with weight of world/sin on shoulders
“They [mankind] only lack the light to show the way. For this reason above all, their capacity for good, I have sent them you, my only son.” (Superman’s father, Jor-El) Doesn’t that sound like the God of the Bible?
Superman’s adoptive mother cradles him in her arms at the start of the film is a deliberate echo of images from the Renaissance of the Virgin Mary and the dying Christ such as Michelangelo’s Pieta.
There are some even more blatant connotations. Superman’s arch-villain Lex Luthor sounds very similar to Lucifer. The name given to Kal-El which is Hebrew for “All God”. Superman also experiences a death, resurrection and second coming. What is of concern here is not exactly the connections but what they mean. What has developed now in our day is what is known as the “Superman Curse.” To play Superman in a film is seen as one of the best acting roles one could have but many have declined.
The creators of Superman did not become millionaires–but had to battle for credit and money for their creation. George Reeves played Superman and the day before his wedding committed suicide. Richard Pryor developed multiple sclerosis after playing a villain. Marlon Brando who played the part of Superman’s father suffered from numerous diseases and his children committed suicide among a number of other acts. Even the character who played the baby version of Superman died at the age of 14. The list goes on.
I don’t want to jump to conclusions but this makes me reflect on what Allah says:
And the Jews say: ‘Uzair (Ezra) is the son of Allah, and the Christians say: Messiah is the son of Allah. That is a saying from their mouths. They imitate the saying of the disbelievers of old. Allah’s Curse be on them, how they are deluded away from the truth! (Quran 9:30)
Subhana kallahumma wa bihamdik ash-haduana la illaha illa ant astaghfiruka wa atubu ilayk. Ameen.