the tao of jaklumen

the path of the sage must become the path of the hero


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A Hero’s Journey: Norrin Radd, the Silver Surfer

The trial period for the spinal cord stimulator is over; the leads have been out for three days now. Since I’m waiting to see about the permanent implant and I’m not sure how much wrestling I’ll do with pain until then, I’ll be reworking and reposting some series I’ve done earlier. This week I am reposting, reworking, and continuing the Silver Surfer and the Hero’s Journey series.

He is sometimes called “Christ on a surfboard”, but I have yet to see many writings that tie this Jack Kirby comic book character to Joseph Campbell’s Monomyth.

Especially compelling is his origin story, which fairly quickly traces elements of the Hero’s Journey in his transformation from Norrin Radd to the Silver Surfer.

The Silver Surfer gazing on the world he dared to protect

But even in extended stories such as the Infinity Gauntlet (which is said to really be about the Surfer, despite affecting all characters in the Marvel universe at that time), there are still emphases of the Monomyth.

Both ideas will be explored in future posts. Previous articles from this blog will rise to the present again (some have already), to show that the current focus I have taken here has had seeds planted in musings of the distant past. Perhaps eventually I will show you, dear readers, of why I find the Silver Surfer such a personally compelling figure…

NEXT POST IN THE SERIES: A Hero’s Journey: Summary of the Silver Surfer

 

 

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Leave a comment

A Hero’s Journey: Norrin Radd, the Silver Surfer

He is sometimes called “Christ on a surfboard”, but I have yet to see many writings that tie this Jack Kirby comic book character to Joseph Campbell’s Monomyth.

Especially compelling is his origin story, which fairly quickly traces elements of the Hero’s Journey in his transformation from Norrin Radd to the Silver Surfer.

The Silver Surfer gazing on the world he dared to protect

But even in extended stories such as the Infinity Gauntlet (which is said to really be about the Surfer, despite affecting all characters in the Marvel universe at that time), there are still emphases of the Monomyth.

Both ideas will be explored in future posts. Previous articles from this blog will rise to the present again (some have already), to show that the current focus I have taken here has had seeds planted in musings of the distant past. Perhaps eventually I will show you, dear readers, of why I find the Silver Surfer such a personally compelling figure…

NEXT POST IN THE SERIES: A Hero’s Journey: Summary of the Silver Surfer


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A Hero’s Journey: Superman & the Ordeal

Challenges & Temptations revisited: the Ordeal

Challenges & Temptations revisited: the Ordeal

I will admit this selection is probably not an obvious one.  This scene from Superman III is near the middle of the movie, and is not especially set up well for a Monomyth interpretation by other story elements.   I think it is easier to understand, however, from the ideas explored in the previous movies.

Juxtaposed images of Superman and Clark Kent

Juxtaposed images of Superman and Clark Kent (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The original challenge and temptation was the love of Lois Lane.  In both her discovery of his identity and his decision to become mortal as she, it was a Refusal of the Call of sorts.  Although his return to the Fortress of Solitude (see Superman & the At-One-Ment With the Father) led to atonement with Jor-El, Kal-El was not fully reconciled with his dual roles as Superman and Clark Kent.  Having failed the original challenge, another Ordeal was required.

The junk yard fight had a physical element: a human-synthesized kryptonite did not weaken him in the same way as the true fragments of his home world.  Instead, it left him vulnerable to mortal vice.  Perhaps this is one element why Superman has been compared to Christ: Kal-El had not fully experienced mortality until briefly succumbing to its fallibilities and shortcomings.  And it is not Superman who triumphs, but Clark Kent, who subsumes him; and then the Transformation is complete, as Kal-El is fully ready to be champion of the people of Earth.