Sunday, April 7, 2013

The Man of Steel & The Dark Knight

And now some superhero drawings, first tackling the most iconic of all — the Man of Steel, Superman. I tried to go for a slightly more flat and graphic look than I usually do.

Of all the superheroes, Superman is throne that perhaps works best as a cultural icon than a character, functioning for us the way that Achilles functioned for ancient Greeks. He represents what is essentially the purest form of virtue: when given unlimited power, would one still strive to be a moral person? It’s a philosophical issue that goes all the way back to Plato, describing the Ring of Gyges (a ring that turns the wearer invisible, perhaps an influence on Tolkien). Superman is how most of us WISH we would act if given limitless power.

As a character, and perhaps I just haven’t read enough of his stories, he doesn’t have many personality flaws, and his weakness, Kryptonite, is so singular that the only tension he can have is how someone will sneak a bit of Kryptonite into Clark Kent’s morning coffee. I'd think that this would make him rather dramatically inert, but the character has been with us for so many decades that I think it's more a case where his character serves the same narrative function as the lead character to "The Shawshank Redemltion" or "Forrest Gump", wherein the protagonists themselves don't change, but the effects f their presence or actions changes those arid them.

The second image is a quicker sketch of Batman, the dark flip side of Superman's cultural function (Superman is gifted with supernatural powers, Batman is merely wealthy and disciplined, Superman is motivated by high-minded ideals, while Batman is motivated by vengeance and a loathing for criminals). I don't think the Batman sketch is terribly successful, but it was fun enough that I'm going to try another crack at the character...

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