"Like Hercules, Superman faces a never-ending series of labors," Beane continues. "He defends a people that he could destroy. Like the Greek gods in general, he is personally bold in his heroics—he wears no masks. But, also like the gods, he dons a mortal guise for his personal interaction with them."
Now, a comic-book character in tights whose main weaknesses are journalism, Kryptonite and Lois Lane is a far cry from the guy who cleaned more horse shit in a single day than, well, anyone else. But Beane's got some great points that illustrate why a character like Superman, even in these Punisher anti-hero days, is so appealing to the angels of our better natures, who do yearn for heroes and justice.
"He comes from Krypton (Olympus), a secret place in the sky where powerful beings and their emotions, intelligences and corruptions dictate the fate of worlds," Beane says, really pulling out the research when he mentions that in Greek, Kryptos means a "hidden, secret place."
Superman also has other similarities to Prometheus (helping humanity at personal risk, etc.) and Apollo and the other sky gods, Beane continues. "He has also been the subject of a somewhat-famous dissertation on similarities between himself and the Changeling of Greek myths: non-humans raised by humans who become their champions. Hell, the greatest admitted Superman rip-off of all times—Captain Marvel—spoke a magic word ("SHAZAM!") to get his power that was an acronym for almost entirely Greek mythological figures, including Hercules, Achilles, Zeus, Atlas and Mercury."
The S stands for a Jew: Solomon. But don't get me started on them.
The Medea Project at Hunger Artists Theatre, 699-A S. State College Blvd., Fullerton, (714) 680-6803. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m. $12-$15; Oedipus at Colonus at Chance Theater, 5552 E. La Palma Ave., Anaheim Hills, (714) 777-3033. Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 6 p.m. Through June 13. $15-$17; Insurgo Theater Movement presents Superman the Musical at Maverick Theater at The Block At Orange, 20 City Blvd. W., Orange, (714) 634-1977. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m. Through June 13. $13-$18.