Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Gospel According To Stan Lee

For three weeks in a row, Captain America has not just saved the world, but ruled the box office. It's not the first time in recent memory that super heroes have been pushed to the top of the charts, pop culture-wise. Coinciding with this past weekend's ticket sale triumph was the end of Holy Week: Good Friday, Easter, Passover. It started me thinking.
It made me wonder if the folks who started telling those stories way back when were the comic book writers of their time. Moses, John the Baptist, Jesus. Those are some pretty amazing heroes with some extraordinary powers. Lots of water manipulation, for sure. And the foes they were up against: Pharaoh, Herod, Pontius Pilate. These were bad guys who would have had no trouble standing up to The Joker and Doctor Doom. They were willing to exterminate an entire generation to get what they wanted. Bank robbers? Let the local constabulary deal with them. To stand up to these kind of maniacs, you really needed some Super Heroes. The robes may not have been as sharp as the tights they seem to favor these days, but if I were looking for someone to save the day, I would like some otherworldly help when it came to battling hate and oppression like these guys did.
Fast forward a couple thousand years, and we find ourselves transfixed by the adventures of a group of extraordinarily gifted individuals who are on a mission to preserve truth and justice. Captain America and his pals on the Avengers have gathered together on more than one occasion to save the planet, with promises of at least another five or six movies worth of galactic calamity, all of which will be dealt with by these heroes who tend to hide out most of the time by blending in with us, but always ready to leap into action when the threats become real.
In another two thousand years, will our ancestors be reading our comic books and watching our movies as a third testament? Will this newer word be taken as some sort of literal account of this age, or will it be viewed as an allegory for the times in which we looked to guys in capes and masks to save us, often from our own hubris. Or maybe they will take their clues from the revealed word: American Idol.

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