I believe this is because Grant Morrison taps into what every man, woman, and child on Earth desperately wants: Hope.
For me this is special. Because as I came to understand, and what I must now force myself to believe every day, is that what I want in Superman is already available in Jesus Christ.
Since his inception, Superman has evolved to include savior-like imagery to the tune of a Semitic messiah, mainly Jesus of Nazareth. So I take pride in the idea that I can tell someone the Gospel by leaning on Superman's origin story and get almost there. (Emphasis here on "almost" because all allusions and allegories fall short of describing the true nature of the Christ and his relationship to us and to the other members of the Trinity.)
Still I find it wonderful that this is a thing.
I also find it disturbing, that sometimes I lend more affection to Superman than Jesus. That something demonstrably imaginary moves me (at times) more than genuine article. I struggle to make amends with this wild disconnect. Simultaneously, I must remind myself that, like the pagans of old, culture often brings us closer to the Gospel, because God has breathed his Spirit into us, and has made us in his own image and likeness. And when we struggle to comprehend him, we attempt to do so in the same language used to explain how we experience life and the cultures that evolve from our own society throughout the ages.
So instead of feeling despair, perhaps I should feel wonder? My God does not speak in spite of culture but from the mouth of culture.
From Superman's own mythos I can adapt the famous quotes because of this:
"Live as one of them, Kal-El, to discover where your strength and your power are needed. Always hold in your heart the pride of your special heritage. They can be a great people, Kal-El; they wish to be. They only lack the light to show the way. For this reason above all, their capacity for good, I have sent them you... my only son." (Superman, 1977)
“Truth, justice, and the American way” (Adventures of Superman, radio series, 1942.To this:
(The Father, declaring) "Live as one of them, my Son, to discover where your strength and your power are needed. Always hold in your heart the pride of your special heritage. They could be a great people, Jesus; they wish to be. They only lack Our light to show the way. For this reason above all, their capacity to worship, I have sent them you... my only son.
“I am Truth, Justice, and the Way and the Light"Syncretism aside, attributing cultural expressions to God in light of culture is nothing new. How Should We Then Live? does a far better job cataloging the depiction of God, of ourselves, and of our achievements in classical and modern art, demonstrating that the mediums communicate, at least subconsciously, our collective consciousness.
This week my church is doing a vacation bible school, which I am super excited about. While I've had my share of harrowing experiences at these camps in my youth, mostly due to the use of bad theology and emotional manipulation, Reality Santa Barbara possesses the awareness to acknowledge the aforementioned. The timing of this writing, my meditations of Superman and Jesus, are rather fortuitous it would seem.