The trouble with Superboy (and Supergirl)

When it comes to making many derivatives of the same character, there’s the risk of redundancy especially when they have the same powers that the solution’s to give them different personalities as with the Flashes and Green Lanterns. Not to mention, when it comes to the history of Superboy and Supergirl there’s the added risk of being made redundant by other characters, even if they don’t share the same relations but occupy similar roles and powers.

To give you the idea, Supergirl’s a female Superman and Superboy’s a younger Superman (Superboy as originally presented was practically Superman as a boy), to further complicate matters Lois Lane’s actually the first Supergirl (actually twice before Kara Zor-El showed up) and that for a long time, barring Superboy Supergirl’s both a younger counterpart to Superman and also his female counterpart.

That’s practically the real reason why the idea of a Superboy who’s not Superman, whilst attempted many times before, had yet to be solidified and be given the same staying power as Supergirl does. A Superboy programme did exist or three, but neither of them featured Conner Kent even though he gained his own fanbase he had yet to appear on telly (it could be argued DCAU Supergirl, having the same personality as he does, is the closest to Conner Kent making an appearing in 1990s telly).

As for Supergirl, whilst interesting in her own right, it would be hard to make her stand out without making her too unrecognisable that the solution’s to give her a brasher, moodier personality than Superman does and this ended up having any real staying power for better or worse. (If true, then that’s also the same with Superboy and they’re both cut from the same cloth to worsen matters.)

Superboy has the other problem, that if he were to grow up he’d become Superman and frankly that’s practically the reason why it took a long time for Superboy to be handed down to another character altogether for good whereas Supergirl gets away with it, even if she’s not without her own problems (to the point where a more abrasive personality’s the personality she ended up with).

His relatives are from the land of fire and ice

As in Iceland has both glaciers, geysers and volcanoes as if its inhabitants have to be put up with the isolation and harshness that spared its neighbours (save for Faroes Islands, but then again Shetland’s significantly closer to Scotland than the Faroes and Iceland are to Norway and Denmark).

Jimmy Olsen has a Scandinavian name and red hair that it could be argued that the late Palle Huld was an unconscious influence on both him and Tintin, though in canon Tintin might just be a redheaded Belgian boy whilst Olsen might’ve had Icelandic ancestors and/or relatives.

If true, then Jimmy Olsen could be an Icelandic American or at least the descendant of Icelanders though it’s never been said or revealed in canon. Then again the Danish model Kenneth Bek has red hair too, so Jimmy Olsen might be of Danish descent and it wouldn’t be a stretch either.

Not quite a natural brunet

As with the case of some actors playing dark-haired characters but aren’t dark-haired themselves (I do recall something about one woman who played Wonder Woman in a live show stating that she had natural blond hair) so logically if I remember, the late Christopher Reeves was assumed to have reddish blond hair.

One might be thankful that other Superman actors had naturally dark hair, though it would take a long time for somebody with at least light brown hair to play the part of blond characters like Barry Allen (Jason Momoa did get his hair bleached to play Aquaman and so did Jessica Alba when playing Invisible Woman).

Nothing Christlike about him

I still think why Aslan fails to be a proper Christ figure’s that he never humbled himself to better reach out to humanity, let alone not any longer to the point where I think a benevolent extraterrestrial posing as a human would be a better analogy or deconstruction. Aslan really doesn’t do that, whereas Superman would willingly appear as the bumbling Clark Kent.

Even if Superman’s not any better, at least he’s a more doable Christ figure in the sense of being otherworldly but raised by humans upon arrival and doing anything to save people. Aslan might do that, Superman must do it which’s the salient difference between two characters. The biggest one’s that Aslan’s meant to be royalty but Superman’s raised by farmers, working as a journalist.

A better Christ figure has to appear in fiction but which Superman’s doable for now.

Not much similarities

I guess some of you might object to my points by saying that Aslan is humble but Jesus and Superman take a step further by willingly appearing as less than what they really are that it seems the real problem with Narnia and why it’s so appealing to Carnal Christians is that the Christ figure needn’t to humble himself when he could show off a lot.

Never mind that Jesus wasn’t that rich in his lifetime and probably doesn’t care about that either, just as Superman willingly appears as bumbling and human as possible. In fact both of them are adopted by humble people and raised as such, whereas there’s not much of a direct counterpart in Narnia.

Had Aslan been raised as an ordinary cat, that would make the comparison clearer but alas it’s not as recurring as Superman appearing as Clark Kent that Superman would be more analogous to Jesus better.

What Superman has taught me

As I said before, Aslan isn’t that as Christlike as some make him out to be but because he actually lacks the humility to appear as one of us any longer and frequently that I think Superman, thought not without his own issues, would be a better alternative. I.e. Superman willingly appears as the bumbling Clark Kent and was raised by farmers, alien but raised as a normal human.

I guess if Superman has taught me something, Moses and Jesus parallel each other in that they’re sent elsewhere to be raised by somebody else, becoming one of those people and doing a lot to save others. In fact, both Jesus’s mother and Moses’s sister are named Miriam/Mary just as Jonathan and Martha are names of Biblical characters (unconsciously or not).

Superman is raised by Jonathan and Martha Kent but he has his own Miriam in the form of Supergirl, who in some stories, was actually sent to look after him but didn’t go as expected. I guess in some regards, Superman is a better Christ figure than Aslan is in the sense of being humble, raised by somebody else and a willing defender.

Aslan might defend some people, Superman and Jesus defend much more.

The Carnal Chronicles of Narnia

I honestly think Narnia doesn’t work that well as a Christian series in that Aslan’s hardly as humble as Jesus was (even DC’s Clark Kent does the same or similar), another problem’s that whilst Aslan makes people come to his world, Jesus and Superman do the opposite and save others. Jesus saves a lot more, Aslan only saves a few.

To the point where Aslan might actually be an Antichrist character: grandiose instead of grounded, arrogant instead of humble which’s what I feel about Aslan and why he never struck me as a convincing Christ figure. I swear, even Superman does some of the things Aslan doesn’t like bothering to save and defend many more.

Trying to be patient with others like Supergirl and Superboy (if I recall), whereas Aslan’s more often than not aloof and stern. I actually think Narnia speaks to Carnal Christians in that the Christ figure needn’t to be humble and grounded when he could be grandiose and haughty. Why bother being a normal person for long when he could still be a lion?

Aslan hardly ever shows the same dedication to be humble and inconspicuous the way Superman and Jesus do, Jesus might be the king but he’s content to ride on a donkey and be working class whereas Aslan lives in a palace. Even Superman’s humbler than him, willingly living as Clark Kent the reporter.

I guess the real problem with Aslan as a Christ figure’s that he’s way too arrogant and proud to pull off true Christlike humility to appear as one of us rather than the aloof, growling creature he really is.

A better alternative

I think the real reason why Narnia is so suspicious to some Christians is really because it doesn’t have a truly convincing Christ figure to the point where a benevolent alien willingly appearing as a normal human would be the better analogy. Something like Superman but that would be saying Aslan doesn’t have the same studied humility to appear as a normal human longer the way Jesus did.

He may turn into a housecat but that’s way briefer and less frequent than Kal-El posing as the bumbling Clark Kent (again I feel benevolent alien hero posing as a human is a better way of looking at Christ than say imagining him as a mean-spirited cat). Somebody at Ex-Narnian did point out the differences but I think the real difference is a matter of humility, Aslan hardly ever appear as a normal human as often as Clark does.

That I think’s the real problem with Narnia.

A better Christ figure

I actually think Superman is a much more convincing Christ figure than Aslan ever was, in the sense that he’s an alien who willingly appears as one of us, doing his best saving people from harm (he even defends folks from the KKK and wife beaters) and not to mention he was raised by normal humans named Jonathan and Martha Kent (Joseph and Mary).

Not only that he’s also a convincing analogue to Moses (the proto-Jesus) who too was sent to live elsewhere, appear as somebody else and was raised by Miriam/Mary. I think the real reason why Aslan fails as a Christ figure in that he doesn’t have the humility and groundedness as the Real McCoy did, especially when appearing as a normal human for an extended time.

If God is one of us, he’d prefer to live as a normal human being for an extended time where I think Narnia fails on this count. I guess the better Christ figures in stories aren’t aloof, arrogant animals but rather humble humans to better reach out to humanity without putting them off.

Narnia and the Carnal Mind

I actually don’t consider Narnia to be a Christian work, at least not on the same level as Pilgrim’s Progress and the Bible is. In fact, Aslan’s not really Jesus in that Aslan is grandiose through and through whereas God/Jesus decides to appear as a normal enough human being. If anything, Superman is a better Jesus analogy in that he’s an alien who assumes the form of a humble person, fighting evil and being sent to earth from space.

I don’t think Aslan is really like this, let alone without taking Jesus’s humility and willingness to appear ordinary and I don’t think Aslan’s that forgiving either. To the point where I’d say if Barry Allen does at least try¬† to forgive Caitlin Snow for killing Iris West in the form of a wolf that’s actually being Christlike as God tells you to forgive your enemies (which’s again things Aslan wouldn’t really do much outside of his followers).

I think what makes Narnia appealing to Carnal Christians is that Aslan doesn’t seem to have the same humility and willingness to appear dour the same way Superman commits himself to appear as the bumbling Clark Kent. Something like being Christlike but without the humility and compassion that ironically characterises some superheroes (I swear, there are some superheroes who try to be kind to their enemies and some who do willingly help people a lot).

Narnia is appealing to Carnal Christians in that the God figure needn’t to be humble and inconspicuous when he could be grand and aloof.