I was always more of a ‘Victor’ reader than one for Marvel and DC comics. Alf Tupps, ‘the Tough of the Track’ who trained on fish and chips, ran barefoot and yet still won his races was my Saturday comic hero.
That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy the odd superhero story or two. My favourite was ‘The Mighty Thor’ of Norse legend although Batman and Robin were exciting on the tele. Eyebrows would be raised these now about men in tights and capes but they were more innocent days.
Times move on. With us all having mobile phones now where would mild mannered Clark Kent manage to change into his Superman costume for example? And did you realise that flying at the speed he did would shatter all the surrounding windows?
It was German philosopher Frederick Nietzsche writing in ‘Thus Spake Zarathustra’ in 1883 who declared famously ‘God is Dead!’ and who spoke of an ‘overman’ or superman who would replace what he saw as the corrupting influences of Christian teachings. Man would be the superhero of his own destiny.
In many ways his views were a natural outgrowing of Social Darwinism, of the ‘survival of the fittest’, of eugenics and later of the master race philosphy of Nazism.
One of the criticisms levelled at people of faith is that their belief in a greater power is a crutch. Funny then how superhero comics and films remain ever popular. Good old Captain America will always come to the rescue when the going gets too tough and you don’t even have to give up Sunday mornings!
Later this month a new blockbuster will be released: ‘Batman verses Superman’. Yep, the two old good guys are going to battle it out across our screens. It’s enough to make Robin exclaim ‘Holy Oxymoron’s!’
I want to be the ‘Cassocked Crusader’. Just not sure the town is ready for my underpants, though.