I sketched this one out this past week and decided to experiment with painting and coloring in Photoshop, with mixed results. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. 😉
Why We Hate Superman
A lot of people hate Superman. What was once an icon for the American Dream, a believer in truth and justice an the American way, is now looked at as a boy scout out of touch with humanity. Countless internet comments I’ve read over the past few years celebrate the humanity of Batman and despise the bland character of Superman. Why is this?
Superman isn’t Realistic or Relatable
Superman comes from another planet. His parents are aliens. He can throw cars into the air like you and I would throw groceries into our trunk. His assortment of super powers is a list so vast it becomes laughable.
Batman on the other hand is a regular man. He has no super powers, just relying on his knowledge and ability to get the job done.
Of course, people like to forget that Bruce Wayne was born into money, the son of a billionaire family. I would say I have much easier time relating to a guy who grew up on a farm in a small town than I do with a wealthy socialite who watched his parents get murdered.
It’s too easy to be Superman
Superman has it so easy. He has all these powers and really no equal on this planet. So therefore it must be easy to be him.
That’s why I liked the recent Man of Steel film because it showed the scope of Superman’s problems. Batman has to protect Gotham from the criminal element within. Superman has to protect the planet from itself and external threats. And in many instances of the canon, he has to do this while people distrust and even hate him. Superman is an alien, so not only are his problems global in scale, he also is the last of his kind and lonely because of it. Lois Lane, or no Lois Lane, no one can really understand how he feels. He is the Last Son of Krypton.
Superman is a Religious Metaphor
Superman is a metaphor of the messiah in Judeo-Christian terms: The only son of a ‘distant father’ sent to earth to protect, defend and save it from itself. Even in the comics he lays down his life to save the world from Doomsday, then resurrects later.
Just listen to this voice over by Jor-El (Marlon Brando’s Jor-El of course) in this teaser trailer for Superman Returns. It feels to me like it could’ve been pulled out of a passage from the New Testament.
I think in this day and time, earnestness and hope are not admired qualities. People would prefer the cynical, truthless choices of Batman than the vision of Hope and attainable peace that Superman endeavors to offer. What it comes down to is that Superman hasn’t changed with our culture, but Batman has. Superman feels like a relic of American exceptional-ism and less like the new post modern dichotomy between right and wrong that Batman embraces.
But Superman offers us a goal to strive for, a hope to grab onto and a peace that could be attainable if we were to accept our own idealism and exceptional quality.
The top 3 lies artists tell themselves. An introspective look at insecurity and passion. Great piece by KW illustrates.
I often wish I could turn off my brain. It is so easy to psych myself out before even picking up a pencil, charcoal, paintbrush, or wacom pen. Too much stuff starts sloshing up there between my ears. I realize that most of it is just lies brought about by fear. But like I always tell my kids, courage is doing something despite being afraid. So I present to you….
My top 3 lies that an artist needs to banish from his head and how to combat them.
- This has been done before.
Maybe so but not by YOU. Everyone has a different perspective. There is room in the world for your unique perspective.
- Other artists are better than me.
Also might be true but who cares? How do artists get better? By doing. That’s how anyone gets better at their craft. Enjoy it. Be excited about learning. Be inspired…
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Lessons We can Learn from the Government Shutdown
1.) Don’t be indebted to others
“Neither a borrower nor a lender be;
For loan oft loses both itself and friend,”
Okay, so Polonius was kind of a jackass, but he has a point here. Politicians have become so tied to their interests, whether corporate or their direct constituents (the people who voted for them in their district), that they fail to make good decisions for the most americans in favor of their sliver of the pie.
Don’t be a slave to your contributors. A donation is not a company investment, it is a sacrifice made on good faith that decisions will be made for the common good.
2.) What is the common good?
Ideology is important. It’s inspired revolutions of many kinds. It’s also promoted genocides.
In the popular meaning, the common good describes a specific “good” that is shared and beneficial for all (or most) members of a given community.
Somewhere along the way, both parties have lost track of what this actually means. We pass reforms for small niche groups that infuriate entire swaths of regions and people.
Now, there are many cases where this is important. The common good shouldn’t become code for “oppress minority opinions”. However, discussion of hard issues has dissipated in favor of bombastic press releases, name-calling and finger-pointing. The common good is a tension to be managed between the needs of the many and the needs of the few.
How do we meet this middle?
3.) Compromise isn’t a dirty word.
Somebody took out a stick and made a line in the sand. Battle lines have been drawn. And whoever crosses into “enemy territory” gets eviscerated by their fellow party allies and the press for being a flip-flopper or a vacillator. These “flip-floppers” are trying to be pragmatic and fulfill their oath to get the best for the most. They’re trying to compromise.
That is a dirty word now in politics. People want their opinions etched in stone like the 10 commandments. And that is not how good decisions are made. Compromise does mean that nobody gets everything they want, BUT it does mean that more people get some of what they want.
This was the problem with the affordable healthcare act in the first place: a democratic majority railroaded the legislation into being, and the other side got angry. Now we are in the mess we have: both sides won’t budge and both are just powerful enough not to compromise us all into gridlock.
Compromise is important to decision making.
Prepare yourself for a really random rant… sorry for the stream of consciousness.
The problem with getting our way is that our way usually means that someone else isn’t getting theirs. Life is constantly seeking equilibrium, and, like a pendulum, swings back and forth until it can resolve the tension of its energy.
We think we have control over life’s events when we are pushing our agenda, pushing that pendulum toward our goal. It’s not until the force becomes too great, the weight of our agenda so crushing, that we realize that the pendulum will come back around.
Life is seeking balance, chaotically swinging back and forth until it can meet its middle. When we push our agendas, we are generating even more force and energy into a system that is desperately seeking a moderate stillness. And the pendulum doesn’t care who gets hurt on its way back around. We push it to its very apex and then become surprised when it comes back around to someone else’s agenda, when we should be trying our best to find a middle ground.
By the time 2014 kicks the bucket, I’d like to have done some stuff. And a lot of stuff. So I’d rather not wait for January 1 to roll around before I start pontificating my agenda on the new year and start unpacking it now. It should be a year for AWESOME.
Lots of Conversations
I would like to make a habit of getting into conversations with people about what I see is their passion center. (It’s kinda like the juicy center of a starburst. More on that later. Actually no. I probably won’t talk about starbursts anymore.)
If you’re on this list, I’m sorry that I’ll be tracking you down and trying to get at the core of your spirit for whatever it is that you’ve been called to do. (okay, you got me… totally not sorry.)
– Doug Robins and urban leadership.
– Joe Cavazos and graphic design.
– Mark Richard and Andre Jennings about the creative process.
– My father, George, about theology. (and I mean father in the paternal way not the priestly way. He’s actually my dad)
– Rey Lopez about writing.
– David Saathoff about long term leadership.
– John Witte about story, the Bible and how we all connect with that.
– Jon Pyle and Sandrine about Community and making something infectious.
– Rick Lopez about art, design, sketching and how it all boils down in the pot.
– Carlos Maestas about Freelance work.
– Humbie Cervera about production.
– Scott Clinton about worship, musicianship.
I’ll probably uncover some awesome secrets, find out what motivates people, and maybe eat a starburst with someone (tried to go for the callback… it didn’t work.)
Learn a New Skill
Whatever I do next year, I better be learning something. Without learning, we atrophy. We get sluggish, stop testing ourselves and inevitably break down. I’ve pulled up some contenders for these new skills.
– 3D Modeling
It’s been a topic I’ve already found intriguing, and I’ve dabbled in its dark arts, but I think I’d like to dive in headfirst to figure this 3D modeling thing out.
– Comic artistry
I’ve been working at this recently (if you recall earlier posts with cartoony goodness), but I haven’t really taken the time to immerse myself in the comic book atmosphere. I think graphic novels (even webcomics) have a way of giving society another way to look at itself. Just look at the popularity of comics now (the Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises, even the Walking Dead). I want to see if I have stories to tell in this medium.
Take on a New Challenge
I think I may have already filled in this category. I tend to do this too often. Maybe I should stick to a challenge instead.
Take on Stick to a New Challenge
(there that’s better) I tend to find things that don’t work for me; roles that I could play that just don’t pan out. Right now, I think at work, I’m running about 3 roles (designer, creative and marketing) that fit because they have a certain amount of synergy to them. My 2014 Bucket List should have me sticking to these guns and robbing the train of success. (Okay, we’ll put that analogy into the trash bin and chalk it up to the excessive caffeine this morning)
If all goes well, 2014 should be a fantastic year. Now, I just have to unpack all of these things and figure out how to get at them. Of course, God will always come in and show me some new thing and take whatever planning I’ve done and use some and discard the rest (like these joke attempts no doubt).
If you’re not on this list, I wouldn’t worry too much. You can always bring me some starbursts (which I don’t think I really even like all that much) and we can talk. Some of the most powerful conversations of my life have been unplanned.
If you want to start a project together drop an email in my inbox, tweet @robfike, send smoke signals… however you want to do it. (I probably won’t see the smoke signals though. sorry.)
Some more Tweets. Come get ’em!