The Superman Meme

El superhéroe o el súperhumano es una idea poderosa y de orígenes antiquísimos: de historia oral a literatura escapista a noveno arte a ficción especulativa a fórmula cinematográfica a vertiente del entretenimiento alternativo a metáfora de la condición humana.

Todo un mecanismo y prisma narrativo, adaptable y sobreviviente, primario y sofisticado, que polariza y galvaniza a la vez. Mimetizado y memetizado por el zeitgeist.

Entretenimiento mortífero. Genocidio cultural. Colonizando la aceptación de las masas. La ficción de realismo social del futuro. U decide!

“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Ours is a society that is entertaining itself to death. And we go deeper into the grave with every shovel of Marvel franchise and comedy reboot.”
— David Simon, autor, periodista y creador del siempre influyente show de televisión The Wire (2002-2008).

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“El problema es que a veces pretenden ser profundas, basadas en algún tipo de mitología griega. Y para ser sinceros, son bastante de derecha […] Siempre veo a los superhéroes como gente que mata a otra gente porque no cree en lo que dice creer, o porque no son aquello que quieren que sean. Lo odio y no respondo a ese tipo de personajes. Este genocidio cultural es como veneno, porque los espectadores padecen una sobreexposición de este tipo de tramas y explosiones y mierda que no habla para nada de lo que significa ser humano […] Si de verdad analizas estas películas, en realidad tratan sobre gente rica que tiene poder y que hace el bien y que mata al malo. No me gustan filosóficamente.”
— Alejandro González Iñárritu, realizador y ganador del Premio de la Academia por Birdman (2014) y The Revenant (2015).

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“Notice how the fictional super-people—who always know when to evacuate from a disaster area—are heading out of comics like rats leaving the Pentagon basement. Fifty years ago, these fictional supermen rocketed to safety from the doomed pulps, arriving in the immensely popular millions-selling comic book medium to be nourished by generations of kindly creators. The super-meme was too strong for other ‘genres’ and all were swallowed by the viral spread of the costumed heroes. Now the supermen are making the next jump: from sinking page to lifeboat screen.

It’s important to understand that the superhero is a very powerful living idea. The superman mega-meme locates and colonizes vulnerable niches in the media environment, always creating stepping stones to wider and wider cultural acceptance. When I say living idea, I mean these words literally of course. Why do I write superhero comics? Why does Mark Millar write superhero comics? Why, in spite of himself, does Warren Ellis do his best writing on superhero titles? I think it’s because we are all good and useful carriers/hosts for this incredibly voracious 21st century meme.

‘Rendering technology’ in movies, which once diminished the supermen into joke special effects, has finally caught up with imagination, making films a far more efficient carrier… which is why comics are going the way of the pulps and why superheroes are bailing out of the monthly titles and onto the silver screens.

The next stage for the superman meme, of course, is to make the long-awaited jump from screen to reality. This will happen within a decade or two, I predict, and seem normal by 2050. Which is why superhero stories are the true social realist fiction of tomorrow, demanding the serious attention of our finest imaginative minds right now.”
— Grant Morrison, guionista de comics, ensayista, columnista y autor de libreto teatral, cinematográfico y televisivo.