Last few days, I had a chance to read an article named What makes Superman so darned American? written by Gary Engle. He concluded that Superman embodies the values of American because he is referred as a first immigrant in the US, the icon that every US citizens dream to become. But his arguments sound not satisfied to me, Gary Eagle missed out the great statue of America's hero, Captain America.
Superman who come from DC Comics tends to be more like to Jesus than Americans. He is an alien who sent to Earth when his planet Krypton exploded and adopted by an American couple, Jonathan and Martha Kent. According to some stories about Superman's origins, the authors described that all the Kryptonians have the same power as Superman does, so when he landed on Earth his natural power became special and unique to the trivial human: superhuman strength, x-ray or heat vision, mobility, cold breath, super speed, enhanced hearing and nigh-invulnerability In the Bible, Godfather sent his son, Jesus to Earth to save his helpless people from the sin so does Superman, his parents sent him to our Earth for the better life and the fate led him to protect the weaker. Even the real name of Superman, Kal-El has the biblical meaning. Kal can mean light or easy but the authors refer it as voice, while from the Bible El is short term for Elohim which means God so Kal-El can be simply understood as the voice of God.
Let's sideway our respectful Superman for a while, we have the other hero come from Marvel Comics named Captain America, the role model for Americans. Captain America is a patriotic super soldier who fought against the Axis Powers during World War II. He was born in New York, during the Adolf Hitler's rise to power, he had a weak and frail body but wanted to enlist and contribute for his country, instead of volunteering for another position at the war such as at the military hospital to take care of the injury soldiers, he volunteered for the dangerous medical experiment and received the serum made by Dr. Abraham Erskine that transform a normal Steve Rogers into the perfect human being with agility, endurance and strength, in brief the serum enhanced all of his bodily functions to the peak of human efficiency. Captain America embodies the sacrifice of an American soldier. The reason why Captain is more similar to American is that during the Marvel's Civil War, the government once passed the law that request all the superheroes to register so it would be easier for the government to control them and summon them when they need help, but Captain led the movement that went against this law, he believed that the government was violating the individual freedom. For a long time ago, the Americans themselves always desired for their right and freedom by a lot of documents: the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Right, the Constitution,... Even his costume is modeled as an American flag whilst Superman costume simply has similar color.
The essential difference between Captain America and Superman can be detected by their power. One is a superman while the other one just the only normal man. The power that Superman got was there inside his blood, handed down from generation to generation, and due to the new life conditions his power is emphasized and highlighted. Superman only accepts his fate, it granted him that superpower, he must use it to help the other. Whereas was born with a weak body, Captain America fought against his fate, chose his own life and decided to reach the chance that can help himself become better though it is not safe enough. He suffered a lot to get his enhanced power and to reach the human limits. In addition, when leading the team, Superman is not a person who comes up the plan for his member but Batman, he is only attended by his unlimited power. While our hero Captain America with the experiences from being a super soldier, he has his followers and becomes a excellent leader. In short, if the power is taken away from both heroes, Superman is just an only human but Captain is still a leader.
However Superman and Captain still have some commons. But the most remarkable thing is both of them do their best to serve this America country. Superman is an immigrant but he soon adopted the values of this countries, he is americanized and so he tends to love this country more than his original planet, he uses his granted power to protect the weaker people in the US particularly and all over the world generally. While Captain is the son of Irish immigrant couple but he was born in New York so he is a USA citizens. He is also a patriotic american soldier who readily sacrifice for his countries when the World War II came in, he ignored the risk that the serum could cause to his body just only to make a greater contribution to the war.
Ultimately, Superman is the larger than life hero, no one can be like him in real life. But Steve Rogers is a hero that can inspire the people, the hero that everyone can aspire to be. We do not need to take serum, but we can try our best to reach our highest potentials and create more chances for life to serve ourselves and other.
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