I’m more than a bird...I’m more than a plane, More than some pretty face beside a train...

Sunday, February 26, 2006 Craig Grobler 0 Comments

Whilst on a jaunt around London yesterday I had the opportunity to visit Orbital Comics . A comic shop I had been led to believe had closed. Paul & I had just left Gosh and I thought while we were in the area we should check it out. With Paul navigating we soon arrived at an unmarked door, followed by a steep staircase receding into a basement, the entranceway covered with comic memorabilia. I almost expected Joaquin Phoenix (w/ Flock of sea gulls hairdo) to appear and offer us some under the counter goods. I was pleasantly surprised to find the shop well stocked and laid out, focus is on back issues. The team were knowledgeable and did not treat me with the Clerk like disdain usually reserved for us lowly money spending customers.

Browsing a comic shop for the first time is always a bit of a buzz for me. I always live in the hope that I will find an undiscovered gem overlooked by the regular browsers.

To my astonishment I found a copy of the first issue of Comics The Extraordinary League. In its self a decent acquisition, however this particular copy was signed by the man himself, Mr. Allan Moore. Certainly an earlier than expected addition to the portfolio. The only decision remaining, did I store it in a long box with my existing signed AM treasures or in my secure Samsonite portable safe (known as an aluminium briefcase in some circles).

Whilst in the shop I discovered a box of original artwork for a Judge Dredd comic strip (not 2000AD). We also discovered that Paul's initial investment on Marvel's Secret War #1 was showing a healthy return of about 23.3% in the 18 months since he purchased it. Discussion soon lead to the increase in value on comics. We briefly chatted about my Ultimate Spiderman #1 CGC 9.6. I made a mental note to check in on its current value. This morning while trawling through some comic sites to a get big picture on the value of the afore mentioned Spiderman. I came across some comic trivia regarding the writers origins of Superman.
Superman, aka "The Man of Steel", is a fictional character and superhero who first appeared in Action Comics #1 in 1938, and has for several decades been one of the most popular and well-known comic book icons.

The character, created by Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel for National Comics (today DC Comics), subsequently appeared in various radio serials, television programs, films, and video games. Superman was born Kal-El on the planet Krypton. He was sent to Earth in a rocket by his scientist father Jor-El moments before Krypton exploded, landing on Earth outside the town of Smallville, where he was discovered and adopted by the amiable Jonathan and Martha Kent. As he grew, he discovered that he possessed superhuman powers. When not fighting the forces of evil as Superman, he lives disguised as Clark Kent, a "mild-mannered reporter" for the Daily Planet. Clark works alongside reporter Lois Lane, with whom he is romantically involved. In current comics continuity, they are married. However, he had several other relationships during his years in comics. The character's adventures are today published in a number of comic books.
I grew up knowing Superman was Jewish and was always surprised when discussing Superman with my peers that most were not aware of Superman's origin. Occasionally when faced with disbelieving opposition (Yids as well). I understood why Supes roots may have been blurred. Would he have been as popular if his religious undertones were blatant. Anyway with the new Superman film around the corner I thought I'd look into the facts and explore why I had this belief.

None of the following are my own words I just eclectically copied and strung them together.

Some background:
In 1934 the US was in the midst of the Great Depression and the Nazis were in power in Germany. Joe Shuster, who moved from Canada to Cleveland, met his long lost cousin Jerry Siegel when he was 16. They immediately became close friends as they both shared a passion for science- fiction and comic books. Flash Gordon and Little Nemo were their favourites. Both were Jewish, shy and wore glasses. Joe had already published several cartoon illustrations in his Junior High School paper, while Jerry had published "Cosmic Stories" at 14. The name for their character came from the German philosopher Frederich Nietzsche's book "Thus Spoke Zarathustra" in which he introduces the concept of "Superman". The great-souled hero who transcends the enslavement of Christian morality by his "will to power". The original model for the character was based on the actor Douglas Fairbanks Senior. Both Siegel and Shuster loved the movies he played in, especially "The Mark of Zoro" and "Robin Hood". The actor's stance was used as a model for the drawings of Superman. The pose now famous is that of the hero who stands with his hands on his hips and his feet apart. On the other hand the model for the diminutive reporter Clark Kent was that of Harold Lloyd.

The first mythical analogy that springs to mind is that of Moses' early days. He too was saved by his parents from the murderous hands of the Pharaoh who had ordered to kill all the Hebrew newborn males. Moses' mother put him in a watertight reed basket and set him afloat on the Nile. The child was found by the Pharaoh's daughter who was bathing in the river nearby. She recognized him as one of the Hebrew children and adopted him. Moses grew up in the royal court and he too shared a double identity: as an Egyptian prince and as the great liberator of the Jewish people.

Superman's original name on Krypton was Kal-El and his father's was Jor-El. The suffix of both names has a biblical significance as well. One of the oldest Semitic appellatives of God is "el". The designation has been widely used in ancient Israel. It can be found in words like Isra-el, Ishma-el, Samu-el, Gabri-el, Micha-el, etc... Michael is also the mythical warrior angel who opposed Satan i.e., the "adversary". As such he is Superman's biblical alter ego.

With so much Jewish symbolism inherent in the character it is reported that Joseph Goebbles, the Nazi Minister of Propaganda, branding a comic book in his hand during a cabinet meeting, furiously denounced Superman as a Jew. What Goebbels did not understand is that the core of Superman's persona is that of the immigrant: an alien coming from another place. So Goebbels ended up antagonizing not only Jews, like Siegel and Shuster, but all Americans. Because, with the exception of the native Indians, every American was an alien at one point or another.
So there you have it. Some of the above is a bit tenuous, but c’mon Jerry Seinfeld has an image of Superman in every single episode, coincidence I think not.

By the way one of the Comic showcase team could have been the basis for a comic shop version of Joaquin Phoenix's character.