“The revolution will be made democratically or not at all. America is beyond the ministrations of Superman. It’s fate, for good or ill, rests with common men.”
Benjamin R. Barber
Superman and Common Men: Freedom, Anarchy, and the Revolution
Sa lahat ng komiks industry sa buong mundo, ang US comics lang yata ang may pinakamaraming superhero stories. Sangkatutak ang mga superpowers ng mga nilalang na galing sa Earth, sa ibang planeta, sa ibang dimension, at kung saan-saan pa.
Naisip ko, hindi kaya repleksyon ito ng kanilang kultura. Masalimuot ang kasaysayan ng United States of America, ilang presidente na ang na-assassinate sa kanila, nangunguna sila sa pagsigaw ng ‘freedom’, ‘democracy’, at ‘end racism’. Sa mata ng marami, ang America ay isang role model, champion ng truth and justice. Sa mata naman ng iba, imperyalistang mahilig makialam sa problema ng mga bansa sa mundo.
Sa madaling salita, ang America ang pinakaingay na nasyon sa planetang ito. Sa ginaganap na Beijing Olympics ngayon, nakatutok din sa kanila ang lahat. Sa darating nilang eleksyon, tinututukan pa rin sila ng halos lahat ng media saanmang panig ng daigdig. Obama man o McCain ang lumabas ay tiyak na malaking isyu pa rin.
Dito sa Pilipinas, ang laki ng papel na ginagampanan ng America, mula pa noong panahon ng Kastila, panahon ng Hapon, at hanggang sa kasalukuyang panahon. At kung tutuusin, sa mata ng karamihan nating pulitiko, ang bansang America ang kanilang sinasamba at itinuturing na kakampi at hindi dapat banggain.
Sa isang article na lumabas sa magasing Philosophy Now na pinamagatang ‘Operation Rebirth: Captain America and the Ethics of Enhancement’ na isinulat ni Major Todd A. Burkhardt, mababasa ang ganito:
By the summer of 1940, it was. In March 1939 the Nazis took control of Czechoslovakia and signed the Pact of Steel with Italy. By October that year, they had invaded Poland and signed the German-Russian Pact of Non-Aggression. By the end of May 1940, they occupied Denmark, Norway, Belgium, Luxembourg and Netherlands. By June 1940. Italy entered the fray on the Axis side and declare war on Britain and France. France capitulated at the end of June. This was strategically important as France was one of only three non-Axis countries with any significant advanced military and the industrial capability for massive war production (England and the US being the other two). Furthermore, that summer, German U-boats wreaked havoc on British merchant ships in the Atlantic: “The rate of German sinkings of merchant ships was more than three times the capacity of British shipyards to replace them, and more than twice the rate of combined British and American shipyard output at that time.” By late summer the Soviets had invaded Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia; and the Germans had launched massive bombing raids against airfields, factories and the civilian population in Britain. These events led to the US passing military conscription bill; Germany, Italy, and Japan signing the Tripartite Pact; and Hungary and Romania joining the Axis powers by the fall of 1940.
France had capitulated; Britain had its back to the wall struggling to survive; Russia had signed a non-aggression treaty with Germany; the Nazi war machine had systematically consumed countries without any culmination in sight. It seems that without question this serious threat was close, in the sense that the United States was the only country that might be able to slow the Blitzkrieg down, and therefore had a duty, in Kantian terms, to try to do so.
In 1940 the odds seemed overwhelming to the US. Men materials needed to be resourced to create an effective fighting machine. This would take time. The longer it took, the stronger the Third Reich would become. Something had to be done quickly.
This something was the engineering enhancement designed by Prof. Reinstein, the creator of the super soldier formula. Once administered, this transformed fragile young Steve Rogers into the finest warrior the world had ever seen: Captain America.
Hindi nakapagtatakang naging repleksyon nga ang komiks ng mga kuwentong gustong ipanalo ng bansang America sa mga kalabang tingin nila ay bumababoy sa kaayusan ng daigdig. Ang American comics ay salamin ng isang lahi na ang tingin sa sarili ay ‘tagapagligtas’ at ‘tagapagtanggol ng mga naaapi’.
Subalit ang pagiging superhero ay kakambal din ng ‘machismo’. Ipinakikita na kaya nitong kumontrol at magmanipula ng mga mahihina. Lalo na sa mga hindi aayon sa gusto nito.
Sa isang superpower na bansa tulad ng America, ang pagiging superhero ay malapit-lapit na sa reyalidad. Sa isang bansang mahirap tulad ng Pilipinas, ang pagiging superhero ay isa lamang pantasya.
At hindi rin nakapagtatakang ang mga Pilipino ay mahilig sa drama.