Longing for Superman

superman (1)

There is a certain nostalgia in remembering the superheroes of your youth. I just heard a song that triggered a moment of nostalgia at 34,000 feet somewhere between Detroit and Las Vegas.

Superman’s Song – Crash Test Dummies 1

Tarzan
Wasn’t a lady’s man
He’d just come along an scoop em up under his arm like that
Quick as a cat in the jungle

Clark Kent
Now there was a real gent
He would not be caught sitting around in no jungle scape
Dumb as an ape doing nothing

Chorus
Superman never made any money
Saving the world from Solomon Grundy
And sometimes I despair the world will never see another man
Like him

Hey Bob
Sup had a straight job
Even though he could have smashed through any bank in the United States
He had the strength, but he would not

Folks said
His family were all dead
Planet crumbled, but Superman he forced himself to carry on
Forget Krypton and keep going

Chorus

Tarzan
Was king of the jungle and lord over all the apes
But he could hardly string together four words
“I Tarzan you Jane”

Sometimes
When Sup was stopping crimes.
I’ll bet that he was tempted to just quit and turn his back on man
And join Tarzan in the forest

 But he
Stayed in the city and kept on changing clothes in dirty old phone booths
Till his work was through
And nothing to do but go home

 Chorus

 And sometimes I despair the world will never see another man like him


I’m old enough to remember watching the black & white Tarzan series on TV as a kid. It came on before Batman, which came on right before Star Trek. Tarzan really was awesome. Batman scored even higher on the awesome scale than Tarzan. Yet I am in complete agreement with the Dummies: neither come close to the awesomeness of Superman. There is something about the pure selflessness of Superman that is hard to compare to any other superhero. Tarzan always had his jungle. Batman had the bat cave, and all the privilege that Bruce Wayne’s money could buy. But Superman was so much more.

Superman condescended to live among men as though he were a mere mortal. Sent with a special commission from his father to spend his life in the service of a fallen world. He was raised by adoptive parents that loved and adored him. But Superman never forgot who his father was, or why he was sent to Earth. Though the men he was sent to save were weak and prone to evil, he saw something in man worth fighting for. He truly was a man on a mission. Accordingly, his wants and needs always came secondary to those of his father and the people he was sent to save. His enemies were certain that they would prevail; yet despite all their machinations, they never could. To be sure, there were stressful moments in every confrontation, but the outcome could never be seriously doubted. Most beautiful of all was was Superman’s humility. He thought no more of himself than of any other man. Outwardly he was an ordinary working stiff. But on the inside, he was the hope and the salvation of mankind. 2

Maybe it’s a sign of old age, but superheroes today just don’t measure up to those of my youth. And, as I inch closer to Vegas in the middle seat between two full-size men, it’s hard to imagine another superhero that ever will measure up.

“And sometimes I despair the world will never see another man like him.” 3


 

  1. Crash Test Dummies are a Canadian folk-rock/alternative band from Winnipeg, Manitoba. This song, written by lead vocalist Brad Roberts, was featured on their 1991 debut album The Ghosts That Haunt Me
  2. In 1933 when Superman was first conceived, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster were high school students in Cleveland. Raised by Jewish immigrants, there was no deep messianic symbolism in their story. This makes the similarities between the life and mission of Jesus Christ and the legend of Superman all the more staggering. In Moses 6:63, Jesus Christ said “all things are created and made to bear record of me, both things which are temporal, and things which are spiritual; things which are in the heavens above, and things which are on the earth, and things which are in the earth, and things which are under the earth, both above and beneath: all things bear record of me. ” I guess this observation also extends to comic books.
  3. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. 1 Corinthians 15:19
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