The Incredibles and the superhero ethic

Alex Wainer at Breakpoint has written an intelligent analysis of the movie The Incredibles that he calls What Makes the Incredibles Superheroic? Heroism in Character, Not Abilities. Wainer discusses Nietzsche’s Superman, the anti-heroic inspiration for two Jewish writers:

[Nietzsche] informed the creation of two Jewish teenagers, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster from Cleveland, when they wrote a story, “The Reign of the Superman”. Writing at the Jewish Virtual Library website, Blair Kramer says, “…Siegel’s first Superman was an evil mastermind with advanced mental powers.” Written in 1933, the same year that Hitler came to power in Germany, the two young men watched the Nazi application of the Superman concept expressed as Ayran superiority to horrifying measures against Jews and other minorities. They did a complete philosophical reversal on their character’s values, and, as Kramer explains, “they changed their Jewish-created Superman to a force for good.” Now, their character imbued with moral ideals, “Superman obeys the Talmudic injunction to do good for its own sake and heal the world where he can.” And of course the rest is comic book history: The first superhero that became the template for all that would follow him.

Thanks to Kathy Shaidle for the link.

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