Sometimes it surprises me how much Superman is a part of our culture.

As the hype machine shifts into high gear for the upcoming release of “Superman Returns,” some are reading deeply into the film whose hero returns from a deathlike absence to play savior to the world.

“It is so on the nose that anyone who has not caught on that Superman is a Christ figure, you think, ‘Who else could it be referring to?’ ” said Steve Skelton, who wrote a book examining parallels between Superman and Christ.

As one of society’s most enduring pop-culture icons, Superman has often been observed as more than just a man in tights.

I think Superman was just a great idea from a couple of cartoonists, and one can read anything into anything.

Is Superman a Christ allegory?

  1. Vietnam War Hero says:

    I think that people try to hard to find parallels between Christ and everything. Superman, Neo, Aragon, I’ve heard so much crap. Geez Louise, just take things for what they are and enjoy them.

  2. bob says:

    While not necessarily “Christ” in the typical sense, the story of Superman clearly has messianic underpinnings.

    VWH seems to ingore the fact that the writers may have intended for those characters to be messianic in nature. To ignore the traits the writers gave to their characters is to DENY what they really are.

  3. JohnnyM says:

    hey war hero are you Jesus?

  4. Gary Marks says:

    I don’t think Superman was ever necessarily intended as an allegory to Christ. It’s just a great mythic tale, and it’s surprising how similarities start popping up when Good battles Evil. Lord of the Rings has religious parallels as well. Pick one of the many great stories and believe!

  5. Stephen says:

    Superman is from Nietzsche, “Man and Superman.” More fundamentally, its a reflex of our Jungian Archetype to release our fullest potentiality. The “Hero” is the central theme of any Mythology, and Superman is the culmination of that Archetype. Read one of the greatest books in the world, The Hero with A Thousand Faces, by Joseph Campbell. It’s all in there. That’s the book that inspired George Lucas in the writing of Star Wars.
    Having said that, I’m not sure if movies help our hurt. They may divert us away from fulfilling our own lives.

  6. James says:

    Superman may be the suffering hero and all. Perhaps that’s the parallel?

    However, Christ was involved in the making of the world. His suffering was voluntary, and he could have gotten out of it easily had he wanted. He raised the dead, and will raise more later. He’s going to come and judge those who lived, sending many into eternal suffering, rewarding those who love him. He is going to destroy and remake the earth.

    So far, I see only one parallel with superman.

  7. Stephen says:

    Oh, by the way, it is a Christ Allegory, in the sense that Christ was the Hero of a certain myth. Christ and Bhudda are “Spiritual” Supermen in their respective myths. All Heros go on a quest and bring the boon back for the benefit of society. Prometheus brought fire, Theseus slayed the Minotaur that was reeking havoc, but all the Myths and Fairy Tales are trying to tell us something about our own lives, not about something that happened 2000 years ago.

  8. David says:

    Come on, Jesus didn’t even wear a cape.
    What similarites?

  9. catbeller says:

    Superman is as much a Christ metaphor as Christ is a Mithra or a Dionysus or a Demeter metaphor. The half-human demigod who rises from the dead to redeem whatever has been around for over three thousand years… it’s the basis of the mystery cults of the Mediteranean.

    But I’m guessing the two jews who wrote the story might not have had that as a first thought in their heads. Actually, they lifted the concept from a science fiction novel by Wylie written in the 30’s called “Gladiator”, about a man who was altered in the womb by his scientist father to give him the proportionate strength and invulnerability of an insect of the same size (spider-man style). It’s a fascinating read, and a reminder to you yunguns that SF didn’t start with Star Trek. There were these things you read called “magazines” and “books”….

  10. Chris W says:

    Of course there is a tie between the two. The original writers of Superman were both hebrew and were trying to write a more modern story to interest people. They arn’t the first to do this–tons of people do it all the time–George Lucas for one has done it with quite a few of his movies.

  11. Mark T. says:

    Wait a minute. I just heard that Superman was gay in his new movie! And, according to The DaVinci Code, Jesus ran off with Mary Magdalene and had kids. A gay Superman would never do that, now would he.

    Superman = gay. Jesus = hetero. Vis-a-vis, Superman is not Jesus. Thanks for clearing that up, Hollywood!

  12. Raff says:

    Jesus.. robes and birkenstocks..

    Superman.. tights and a cape…

    round 1 jesus..

    Jesus.. Can heal others..

    Superman.. can bend steel with his bare hands..

    round 2 Jesus…

    Jesus… Can turn stick into snakes that eat other snakes..

    Superman.. has x ray vision..

    round 3 superman

    Jesus.. son of God..

    superman can fly…

    round 4 superman..

    Jesus can come back from the dead

    Superman weakened by kryptonite

    round 5 Jesus

    Jesus can make water into wine..


    Jesus one minute thirty two seconds of the 6th round..

    What a knock out…

    well there ya have it Jim..

    Maybe the next competitor should be Santa…

  13. moss says:


  14. Dozer says:

    just watch the trailer for the new movie. It sounds like pretty close to the story of why Jesus came to earth.

  15. joshua says:

    this is sooooooooooo important.
    I have to laugh, it seems the sudden Christ like attributes of Superman came about recently because there has been a bunch of publicity started by God only knows that the character is Gay. The studio got worried because of what happened with Brokeback Mountain(ignored by the favorite target audience of all studios, 14 to 20 y/o boys)….so this new angle was put out there by a studio hack PR guy to change the subject.
    Personally, I go with the Gay theory over the Christ theory. How many Christ-like guys run around in form fitting blue tights with a cape?

  16. John Paradox says:

    9: catbeller
    Another predecessor to Superman was Doc Savage, the ‘Man of Bronze’ (as Kal El/Kal-L) is ‘the Man of Steel’. Funny, but Doc, though human and raised to the peak of physical and mental perfection from birth, also had a Fortress of Solitude (in the Arctic,too). He was in pulps in the early 1930’s – whereas Superman was in the late 1930’s.


  17. Awake says:

    This whole talk about the Christ -> Superman relationship comes from a new movie trailer that is on some DVD’s, where Superman’s father says at the very end of the trailer, as his son is shipped off to earth, the words “And so I must send these beings my only son…”
    Most trailers also include the statement by his father “Even though you are being raised as a human being you are not one of them”. And also “You have a mission.. to save them…”
    Superman has deep qualms about being a saviour, but he considers thimslef one “He wrote that these people do not need a saviour, but every day I hear the people crying for one.”
    All very Christ like, and of course, the voice that Superman hears (his father’s) is very God-Like.
    To say nothing of the other minor similarities and allegories, such as
    – Luther being a similar name to Lucifer
    – The words in “Lois Lane” being separated by just one letter from “Mary Magdalene”, and also having repeating initials.
    – Clark and Christ both start with the letter ‘C’

  18. Geoff says:

    Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

  19. Will says:

    The messianic aspects of the Superman story were topics of discussion quite some time ago, this is nothing new. In terms of his original powers he was virtually identical to the protagonist of Gladiator, as #9 mentioned. The pulp SF devices they added to their character change things, however, as does his name. He’s the Last Son of Krypton, sent from space (the heavens, if you will) to serve the forces of righteousness, and his birth name, Kal-El just happens to mean “Vessel of God” in Hebrew. You can’t convince me two Jewish kids named Siegel and Schuster didn’t plan that.I think Superman is a secularized image not of Jesus, but of the Jewish Messiah.The wish fulfillment fantasy of two boys on the eve of the Holocaust struck a nerve, and here we all are debating the meaning of a cartoon. I also have to add that Superman squeezing coal into a diamond beats water into wine easily:Pc

  20. Mr. H. Fusion says:

    #15, joshua, I think your post makes SO much sense, I like it. I give it a good probability for being smack on.

    But I like #18, Geoff’s for its brevity, sharpness, and pointed innuendo.

  21. Gary Marks says:

    I’ve always thought that the Shroud of Turin would make a great cape for Jesus. It’s not at all ostentatious.

  22. Neal Saferstein says:

    Remeber what happen to John Lennon, when he started comparing the Beatles to Christ.

    Neal Saferstein

  23. Chris says:

    I am a Superman fan and I honestly don’t see that much of a parallel between the story of Christ (God) and Superman. The only similarities I can see are they both were “sent” to earth and both “save” people (but in very different ways).

    Here are some great differences.

    1. God sent his son to save mankind so we could have eternal life.
    1. Jor-El sent his son to earth so he wouldn’t die when planet Krypton exploded, not to save people of earth.

    2. Jesus tells people about himself and sacrifices himself on the cross so we can have eternal life.
    2. Superman catches people falling from buildings, saves people from burning planes and stops Lex Luthor from taking over the world.

    3. Jesus is indestructible. No one harmed him until he allowed himself to be killed on the cross, by his own choice.
    3. Superman is vulnerable to Kryptonite.

    4. Jesus’s mother was a virgin.
    4. I assume he was Jor-El and his wife’s son.

    5. Jor-El was a scientist on Krypton and was killed when Krypton exploded.
    5. God is an omnipotent spirit and can’t be killed, or so I have heard…

    6. The Pharisees and Saducees (church leaders) wanted to kill Jesus.
    6. Everybody loves Superman and the only person that wants to see him dead is Lex Luthor.

  24. Wilson says:

    Yo anyone see superman returns? I loved that movie and i cant wait to pick up the dvd and game for xbox 360….i heard theres a code in the dvd that lets you play as bizzaro in the game, that should be pretty tight. Im lookin forward to gettin it at the end of the month.

  25. charmz says:

    Jesus was born in a manjor….superman grew up on a farm…
    both had surrogate parents…and both were sent to the earth…
    the main resemblence is their consciousness – Christ’s morality is pure.

    Supermans powers are very selective….i wonder why they gave him the powers that he has?? there must be a reason why the guy can burn things with his eyes……..


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