Superheroes


Marina Santee and Ruby Jones look at the global reach of superhero stories. What does it mean to be a hero?

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Transcript


Voice 1

Hello and welcome to Spotlight. I'm Marina Santee.

Voice 2

And I'm Ruby Jones. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 3

Don't get me angry. You would not like me when I am angry!

Voice 4

With great power comes great responsibility.

Voice 3

My spider sense is tingling!

Voice 4

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No! It's Superman!

Voice 1

These are sayings from some of the world's favourite superheroes. They are the Incredible Hulk, Spider-Man and the original superhero, Superman! In today's Spotlight, we look at some of the most famous superheroes. But first, we look at some of the common qualities of superheroes.

Voice 2

Superheroes are fictitious characters - that is they are not real people. They exist only in stories. But they are the products of human imagination. Most superheroes can travel great distances very quickly. Many of them do this by flying! They travel through the air like a bullet from a gun! Many of them need to learn how to fly. And some wear a cape to help them. It is like a large coat with no arms. A cape helps them catch the wind and fly quicker!

Voice 1

Superheroes use their special powers to rescue people in danger or difficult situations. They must have a strong desire to help.

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Technology is very important to superheroes. They must know how to use many complex machines - and be prepared to create their own if necessary!

Voice 1

Saving the world is a huge responsibility! It is good if a superhero knows how to enjoy life and can laugh sometimes!

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Superheroes do not usually like to tell many people about their special powers. So, they must be good at keeping a secret. This may mean that they do not have many close friends. So superheroes must be prepared to be lonely at times.

Voice 1

Superheroes work very hard. So, they must keep their bodies in top physical condition. This usually involves lots of exercise and eating healthy food. Superheroes must be very self-controlled.

Voice 2

Most superheroes began their existence in stories in comic books. A comic book is a magazine that uses pictures to tell stories. There are two main American Comics - DC Comics and Marvel Comics. In the world of superheroes, these are called ‘universes'. Many of the most common superheroes come from either the DC Universe or the Marvel Universe. The DC Universe includes Superman, Batman, and WonderWoman. The Marvel Universe includes Spider-Man, Iron Man, Wolverine and many more! In recent years, another company has taken some of the most popular superheroes to India. That company is the Gotham Entertainment group - or Gotham.

Voice 1

Gotham is one of the leading providers of international comic magazines in India. DC Comics and Marvel Comics have given Gotham the rights to publish their superheroes in India. And so, meet Pavitr Prabhakar. Outside India, you may know him as Peter Parker - the original Spider-Man!

Voice 2

Pavitr Prabhakar is a poor Indian boy. He moves from his village to the city of Mumbai. Here, he lives with his relations - Auntie Maya and Uncle Bhim. Pavitr is not popular at school. He only has only one friend, Meera. One day, Pavitr meets an old religious man with spiritual powers - a yogi. The yogi gives him the power of a spider to fight the evil that threatens the world. Through different events, Pavitr learns that with great power comes great responsibility.

Voice 1

Indian Pavitr and American Peter are similar characters. But they are part of two different cultures. Pavitr wears a dhoti, the long traditional clothes of a poor Indian man. Peter Parker wears western clothes. Pavitr gets his power from a Hindu religious man. Peter Parker gets his powers after a nuclear spider bites him. But both Peter and Pavitr learn the same hard truth: ‘With great power comes great responsibility.'

Voice 2

Other countries have their own national Spider-Man too. There is a Japanese Spider-Man and a Dutch Spider-Man.

Voice 1

DC and Marvel Comics have made billions of dollars from their superheroes. Adults and children enjoy watching their favourite superhero destroy evil, fight for justice - and save the day! But where did the idea of a superman come from?

Voice 2

Some people say that the idea of a superhero first came from a German thinker, Friedrich Nietzsche. Nietzche lived in the 19th century. He is famous for saying, ‘God is dead and we killed him.' He said the idea of ‘God' and religion was no longer able to provide moral guidance for people. Nietzche wrote about the idea of ‘Ubermensch'. This is German for ‘over man', a kind of ‘superman.' Nietzche painted the Ubermensch as the ideal human being. The Ubermensch was better, stronger and more intelligent. He was able to control his own future. The Ubermensch was able to overcome difficulties alone. He did not need help from God or anyone else.

Voice 1

There are not many imaginary characters that have created as much debate as Nietzche's Ubermensch. Adolf Hitler used the term Ubermensch to describe the master race he hoped to create. And so the Ubermensch got a bad name. People connected the Ubermensch with the idea of a master race - that involved the killings of less important beings. Such ideas may have been far from Nietzche's original character.

But Hitler's dream of a master race showed the weakness in the Ubermensch idea. It showed that any social group without a moral system risks moral failure. And so removing God and his laws from society seems to come at a high price.

Voice 2

Some people say that the Superman we see today in the DC Universe was originally based on Nietzche's idea. However, the comic's Superman is not concerned just about himself and his strengths. He is there to help people in trouble. His aim is to fight evil in the world and to free people from danger. He works for the good of the whole society, not just for himself. And maybe that is what being a hero is truly about. We finish today's programme with a thought from a man famous as a champion in sport and in social work, Arthur Ashe:

Voice 4

"Being a true hero is not very exciting. It is not very eventful. It is not the desire to be better than others, no matter what the cost. It is the desire to serve others, no matter what the cost."

Voice 1

What do you think it means to be a hero? Does your country have any special superheroes? Write and tell us! Our address is radio@radioenglish.net.

Voice 2

The writers of today's programme were Marina Santee and Ruby Jones. The producer was Ruby Jones. You can find this, and other programmes on our website at www.radioenglish.net. This programme is called: ‘Superheroes'. Thank you for joining us for today's programme. Until next time, goodbye.

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Question:

If you could have a superpower like a superhero, what would it be?

Comments


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reflexivo
said on October 07, 2010

well, is a beautyfull program,i like the comic books and i try to make ilustrations of them. thank you.

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Sima
said on July 01, 2019

Hi. Our superheroes in Iran are Rostam, Sohrab, Arash kamangir(like the Arrow), Pourya-ye Vali and even Afrasiab! They had GREAT power and could fight alone with many people at the same time, they were so clever, loved their country and their people and would do everything to keep them from harm.

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Honneur
said on July 01, 2019

No. We do not have superheroes but only corrupt and liars. If I had superpowers, they would be the powers of intelligence and tactics to save people from poverty and ignorance, the only way to save them from the dishonest domination by the “fathers of the fatherland.”

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kenhieuloilam
said on July 04, 2019

We are cared for and taught in family. We are educated in community. We live to be good persons. We live to love one another in life. Superheroes have special powers. Superheroes defeat evil and protect life’s peace. We are taught and educated. We say no to not-good things and we help everyone with our own abilities in life. We are cared for and taught in family. We are educated in community. We wish to have special powers to do big things. We wish to have special powers to protect life’s peace.

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Dela
said on July 07, 2019

No doubt, we imagine superheroes have the superpower and moreover the big responsibility to fight evil in the world or rescue people in danger. Of course, the real superpower should be only utilized for keeping peace around the world so that all people, in particular children could live in calm, safety and happiness too!