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Alienation and Evil in Supermen

Superman is a hero routinely derided as one-note. A good boyscout who is always by the books. For this topic the writer should look into the myriad supermen.

Mainly focused on characters such as Man of Steel Superman, One Punch Man’s Saitama, and Watchman’s Dr. Manhattan.

Shared between these characters is a distinct sense of alienation. Not just from their friends but from the people they protect as "heroes"

Understanding the origins of each of their alienations and possibly comparing them to "evil" over powered characters such as Plutonian (Irredeemable), Homelander (The Boys) and Omni-Man (Invincible)

What elements make for a character’s alienation that wouldn’t lead into their collapse into villainy?

  • See also Ultraman from DC Comics' "alternate universe" stories: he's literally Superman with slight alterations in his backstory that made him a villain instead of a hero. Perhaps compare to mutants in X-men as well. Apocalypse and Magneto have superiority complexes pushing them to try to take over the world, similar to Omni-Man and some of the other evil Supermen. Professor X, on the other hand, is just as powerful but does not share that philosophy. – noahspud 1 year ago
  • Umm i think thats a bit too broadening. Marvel has a bunch of direct Superman analogues such as Blue Marvel, Hyperion, and Sentry. Bringing in Prof X and Magneto and Apocalypse is a bit off topic. – Sunni Ago 1 year ago
  • I enjoy how Lex Luther and Superman understand each other as being two sides of the same coin, in much the same way that Doomsday Superman can't -- being being an identical polar opposite they are literally two side of that coin in strength, etc and so can only annihilate and not triumph over the other. This is ultimately unsatisfying. Lex Luther adds the dimension of an unfortunate childhood, family, daily pressures and a superior mind which Superman can relate to though never condone. – anthonyzed 1 year ago
  • I think this would be particularly interesting if one touchd upon Arthur Miller's essay on Tragedy and the Common Man. This kinf of alienation (being larger than life, greater good, not strictly 'human' but more than human) is exactly what Miller speaks about - and why this kind of heroism might be losing its appeal because it's not relatable to the 'Common Man'. – Janhabi Mukherjee 9 months ago

Art and Alienation

The Brazilian professor Newton Duarte stated recently that Art should "express reality and elevate human subjectivity beyond everydayness". Contemporary art movements, go against these principles making irrational and subjectivist artistic objects disjointed from human history. Also, it has become bad tone to put these problems to question in contemporary productions. If art is taken only as a celebration of diversity, as pointed out by Newton, then everything can become an artistic expression and much of it now in the mass media so is considered. Newton goes further, saying that much of the philosophy of the twentieth century, like art, is also alienating theories, which modeled on an epistemological skepticism deny us the opportunity to deepen their knowledge of reality and what it means to be a human being.

  • I do partially agree with Prof. Duarte; art historically expressed reality in some ways, often metaphorical rather than literal, and it did usually go beyond the everydayness (hense a rise of mythological or surrealistic genres). But I don't agree totally with contemporary art movements denies us the opportunity for human exploration and reality. If anything, the current popular opinion to break down reality and create something as far from history as anyone can understand, is a part of human exploration. It's possible, that what it means to be a human being, is to try and disjoint from what has already been done. How can contemporary art not explore reality and human existence if it is created by a human in some way? I think deepening our understanding of reality and human nature is to also understand even a skeptic, disjointed reality, is still a human one; it is still being created by people, an attempted break from human history is very much part of our current human psyche. - C N Williamson – C N Williamson 9 years ago