So in the wake of Bryan Singer saying that Superman's a savior (duh), I find that two more Marvel superheroes will be making their way to the screen in a short while. Ghost Rider, starring Nicolas Cage (official site; be sure and look at The Rider Revealed), hits screens early next year, and Iron Man, directed by Jon Favreau, is expected in 2008. (Another Hulk movie is apparently in the works, too, a blessing since Ang Lee was too busy thinking about Brokeback to shoot a decent film.)
But about Ghost Rider… If Superman's a savior, Ghost Rider is the ultimate sinner. Not a bad man, you understand, but a modern-day Faust whose deal with the devil (played by Peter Fonda), goes horribly wrong. (If you never read the comic, here's your primer.) Anyway, it's another iteration of the comic book movie formula, which demonstrates the redemption possible when tragedy reveals (or creates) the tools for triumph.
Think about it: The Fantastic Four are exposed to cosmic rays, but instead of killing them, they are empowered to fight for the values of humanity. Same with Spider-Man, and the Hulk, and countless others.
You can just as easily flip that alliteration around a bit and say that sometimes tragedy reveals (or creates) tools for terror. Think of many arch-villains, and what you have is someone who experienced horrible tragedy but instead of redeeming it, used his or her grief as a weapon.
What it boils down to is the comics' proponence of the humanist ideal: what we are is what we are, and stress or tragedy or whatever can only reveal who we really are, not make us anew. But that is the promise of the gospel, that though we were one thing, we need not remain that thing. We can be transformed, like Paul, or John Newton, or Alice Cooper (apparently, :)). This, too, wants more than I have time to give. But this'll have to do.