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A Comparison Of Percy Jackson: The Lightning Thief And Eric Shanower'S Age Of Bronze: A Thousand Ships

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In Peter Coogan’s book “The Secret Origin of a Genre”, he outlines the main elements that he believes are the definition of what a superhero is. These categories involve: an identity or costume (when people see him/her do they recognize who they are), a prosocial mission (a mission that benefits people around them), super abilities (highly physical abilities beyond normal human capabilities), and whether they fit the superhero genre. I believe that the Chris Columbus film version of Percy Jackson: The Lightning Thief, Percy follows these aspects as well as Shanower’s book “The Age of Bronze: A Thousand Ships”. I would definitely argue that Percy Jackson excels in the hero genre inferred by Coogan because he incorporates all elements. Firstly, Percy’s has two identities demi god and normal human boy. Although with living a normal human life rather than his fated life; his true origin of being the son of Poseidon is not revealed to him until he is forcibly taken to Camp Half- Blood. As far as costume resembling his identity, he does wear regular human clothes although he also carries a disguised pen sword, shield, and flying sneakers that were given to him by the son of the messenger god Hermes which could be considered part of his superhero persona. By the end of the film he does possess a trident to symbolize his mythological identity. He definitely meets the criteria of a prosocial mission in two aspects. First, when a minotaur abducts his mother and Hades gives him the ultimatum to bring him Zeus’ (accusedly) stolen lightning bolt in exchange for his mother. And second, when later on the prosocial mission is to saving the world because the gods begin to get agitated and cause natural disasters to happen all around the world. He fulfills the abilities aspect because Percy inherits the control of water from his father, as well has intense battle strategy from his ADHD issue in the human world. Therefore, most of the qualities of Coogans elements of a heroic figure is definitely shown within the character of Percy in this mythological film.

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In terms of characters in Coogan’s superhero genre, like Percy, Achilles in Shanower’s Age of Bronze shows an uncanny case. When Agamemnon is told of Achilles existence, he is told by prophecy that he requires the “greatest warrior” in order to defeat troy. Achilles identity comes from this prophecy. To add there, his identity can also be known as a daughter named Phyrra as a sub “secret Identity” to keep him safe. As for costume to resemble his identity, he wears his father’s armor in the battle of troy. In my view, the prosocial mission initiates when he is told by his mother that if he joins the war he shall have an “- early death, but glory everlasting”. Even though he chooses the short victorious life over a safer path of fate, this counts as his prosocial mission. This is because above all his thirst for battle and victory, he is going beyond his own interests to help the Greeks to defeat Troy while. The super abilities or highly developed physical skill would definitely be that he has a highly heightened ability to fight in battle. In conclusion, this character as well fits in the description of a superhero.

The difference between these two characters that really appealed to me is the way they are contrasting in the categories of what makes them super. Percy’s costume emphasizes his identity by utilizing certain objects of mythological gods, whereas Achilles receives his father’s armor and it is known to be unpierceable and Achilles’ presauge. In Percy’s prosocial mission, it was to initially to save his mother by returning the lightning bolt and creating peace on earth. In differential, Achilles prosocial mission is when he is called upon destiny to live a short but victorious life and therefore helps the Greek army to defeat Troy.

The last point of opposition is their abilities. Where Percy’s powers are in inherited from his father and are of a mystic nature such as the ability to control of water, Achilles as well is born from a god’s descent, however his powers/abilities are that he was a highly skilled and a proficient warrior, never being defeated. I believe that these slight differences are important because they help diversify the types of heroes in the genre. In conclusion, Coogan makes an outstanding argument of what a superhero requires and I believe that these two characters very well fit in place to its guidelines.

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