Stan Lee's Useless Gods
Upon his death at age 95, at the conclusion of a very full life, Stan Lee received tributes worthy of only the most important of world figures. And he deserved them. He transformed western civilization. His creations were incredibly profitable and influential. But more than that, it can be said he ranks among the great religious figures of all time, the creator and prophet of a religious mythology that in some measures has overtaken mainstream Christianity.
Stan Lee created gods. True, his gods are not believed in, in a traditional sense. Nevertheless they command worship, as measured by time and money, that in most western countries rivals that of the Christian God.
I do not mean to doubt the legitimate brilliance of Stan Lee. And I suspect that some readers will interpret this as a putdown of traditional religion, which is 180 degrees away from my intent. My point is simple, as people increasingly abandoned worship of the Judeo-Christian God of the Bible, they needed gods to fill the void. This is the explanation for the transformation of imaginary superheroes from the realm of children’s comics, to the most iconic symbols of current western civilization, and whose income-generating ability is unmatched. What people spend their money on is people voting for what is most important to them.
While traditional religion was the pillar that supported society, these cartoon gods are a harbinger of the collapse of western civilization. The first live-action "Batman" was a 1943 serial, and the first live-action "Superman" was a 1948 serial, both crude productions in baggy costumes aimed at children. Serials ranked below even the cheapest of B movies. How did we get from there to where superheroes are the subjects of every top-performing blockbuster?
The year is 1966 and I am nine years old. A classmate tells me how much he loves the "Avengers". But even at nine I am too sophisticated for silly superheroes. I tell him I like Batman, who because does not have superpowers, I consider believable. He, though, is more sophisticated still, he is nine going on 19, and girl crazy even at that age. Not superhero nonsense he says, but the new to the U.S. tongue in cheek and classy spy show that had Emma Peel! It would be another few years before I can appreciate the delectable Mrs. Peel.
But the "Avengers" of Steed and Mrs. Peel ended 49 years ago and produced just one movie flop since. The top twenty grossing Marvel superhero movies, all released between 2008 and 2018, and fifteen using characters from the Marvel Avengers, have had box offices of over $17.5 billion. Add in the top twenty D.C. universe superhero movies and that is another over $10 billion in box offices. Over $27 billion for what in 1966 would be considered fantasy for little children.
Gone With the Wind, for decades after its release the all-time box office champion, would never be green lighted today, and not just because its hero is a Confederate. It would be painfully out of touch with the Avengers battling Ultron via loud CGI current sensibilities. It would not satisfy our need for gods. A need that was met in other places in 1939.
“In Europe, synagogues are protected like fortresses” an article in the Jewish Telegraphic Agency stated after the Pittsburgh murders. A photograph of heavily armed French soldiers, machine guns at the ready, surrounding a small, modest-looking Paris synagogue emphasized the point. But in France and Britain armed soldiers must also protect their cathedrals and churches.
Emptying churches that require platoons of soldiers to protect them amidst booming Muslim calls to prayer -- that is the state of Western Europe in 2018. They have abandoned western civilization and traditional religion, and Spiderman, Superman, Iron Man, or The Hulk will not protect them.
Germany has well over 5 million Muslims (and rising rapidly -- 10% of all births,”refugees” pouring in) eying domination, and 100,000 Jews who should be eying the exit. Recent research conducted at Leipzig University found that 31% of Germans believe “Jews have too much influence” and 29% believe “Jews use dirty tricks more than others”. Apparently those 100,000 Jews are quite a problem for Germany, but I’m sure they will find a solution, a final one. But the bad news for Germany is that even the ultimate Übermensch, Thor, will not save the fatherland.