Essay on Superhero: Superhero and New York City

Submitted By canabal21
Words: 982
Pages: 4

Kevin Specht 9/25/2013

Has the idea of a superhero changed over time? Of course the special powers have changed and the story behind each character but are the same morals and themes still alive? I think the answer can go either way; therefore I use Spider-Man as an example because I see his story as having similarities and differences when comparing to the mythic superhero stories. Spider-Man’s life story is completely different than that of mythic heroes such as Odysseus or Hercules but the concept and idea remain the same in that they have special powers or weapons to guide them through protecting people. Differences would be the love life and idea of a sex symbol which have become factors in the transformation of a super hero over time. Spider-Man has become a comic and movie series that has thrilled and intrigued audiences over the years. Starting off as a young, nerdy boy growing up in New York City, Peter Parker did not expect a heroic future. He was socially awkward and bullied at a young age due to an over-powering scientific mind opposed to mythic heroes who began life as strong, powerful children who had futures ahead of them setup for greatness. There becomes a rite of passage for each hero which is very internal for Spiderman because he transforms from his nerdy self into this risky, exciting superhero who people view as very interesting. He seems to enjoy coping with his new self as it brings him away from his old, lonely lifestyle. The ideas relate in that Parker lost his parents at a young age which was valid in most of the mythic stories and he lived with his Uncle Ben and Aunt May. He gets bitten by a radioactive spider at a science exhibit and acquires the agility and proportionate strength of an arachnid. Along with super strength, he gains the ability to adhere to walls and ceilings. Through his native knack for science, he develops a gadget that lets him fire adhesive webbing of his own design through small, wrist-mounted barrels. This differs from mythic heroes who are born with a super power or receive a special weapon from a wise, elderly person. The theme of a heroic story has commonly shown the hero protecting their native city and in this case Spider-Man fights evil in New York City which he puts his label on and the civilians love what he does. This concept was displayed in the Odyssey when Odysseus fights for his city of Ithaca against the city of Troy. Even though Spider-Man specifically fights crime in New York City, it is for his people and to protect his homeland from danger. Superheroes such as Spider-Man, Batman and Superman have used concepts from Greek Mythology but have also added their own twist. Spiderman is a strange concept with his spiderlike powers and tight blue and red suit along with Batman and Superman wearing capes and tight suits yet they change identity and become average citizens which is ironic because they are normally saving average citizens. Modern comics and movies use the Greek mythological idea of “Allegory of the Cave”. Peter Parker, whom comics portray as meek when outside of his uniform, showcases the “Allegory of the Cave” in his transformation into Spider-Man. As Peter Parker, the character is within the cave, and retains his anonymity because it is inconceivable to his friends that he could embody the aesthetic perfection of Spider-Man, showing the same aesthetic beauty as Superman and Batman. The idea of the ‘secret identity’ even reinforces Plato’s allegory, as the beauty in modern superheroes is reached in modern American comic books only after the secret identity is discarded. Peter Parker (Spider-Man) is certainly not the ideal standard of beauty, and the same can be said for Clark Kent