Our fascination with comic superheroes is time-tested. Why do we continue to relate to them?
I think it is partly because we are looking for beings that are good and more powerful than we are to protect us from the big bad guys whom we can’t fight on our own. Human beings have always liked myths and pantheons of gods and tales of heros. Think of the stories of the Arabian Nights, and the tales of miracles and prophets and things.
Each hero has his or her own appeal. Teenagers could relate to Spider Man because he was a teenager with problems just like them. Everybody who has ever been bullied by some tough guy in a dark alley wants Batman do come and beat him up and hold them and take them away from it all. Who has not wished to be Superman, a man above all other men? Or Wonder Woman, for the ladies.
Comic book writers (good ones) work with the themes their audience wants. In World War II, there were a lot of patriotic heros. I the 70’s, Green Arrow and Green Lantern tackled the problems of drug abuse and racism. In later days, some wrirters invented a whole pseduo ‘civil rights’ theme around supposed ‘mutants’.
But there’s more. As American civilization had fallen away from traditional religion, we are looking for powerful moral figures who are above us, who will come to rescue us when we need them. When Jimmy and Lois are saying „Where are you, Superman? We need your help!”, are they not praying in the most essential sense of the word…? Check out a book called The Gospel According to Superman (I forget the author, but you can find it on line.) And what goes for Superman goes for many other heros as well.
Then there are the anti-heros, not bad guys but flawed good guys, for flawed people, who think that because they themselves are not perfect that there could be no perfect super heroes, either. Hulk, Wolverine, Daredevil, there are lots of them. People tend to read about heros they can identify with.
These are just a few of the reasons. (cdf-rom)
Many of them are just like us. Take Spider-Man for example, he is a poor geek from Queens who has girl problems. Rogue from the X-Men wants to touch someone, but she cannot, and many teens feel like that. Wolverine is the Universal Solider (search Donovan for that reference). Daredevil is blind, but he can still see and fight better than we normal humans can. The Fantastic Four, they are a blended family who fights a lot, but in the end they go to the park and have fun playing football. The Hulk is what we all have deep down inside of us, our uncontrollable dark side… These characters have each and every one of us written all over them. (Andrea)
Most people get introduced to comics as a kid. Its very rare that adults start reading comic books, only after becoming an adult. In that young age, we let our imaginations run wild, and imagine what all we could have done if we had those powers. We would have rescued that neighbourhood girl, ( whome you had a crush on, but never got the guts to speak to ) from some goon, and earned her love. We desperately wanted to be like those heroes and have those powers.
As Adults, most of us, still cling to that childhood fascination. With todays special effects wizardry, we are able to bring to life and show practically anything we want to, including the powerful talents those super-heroes have. Seeing them come to life, excites the child in us. (Maverick)
Things never really change…time goes around in circles which is why things such as clothing, hair styles, diets, etc…keep popping up every few decades. Heroes have been around since David and Goliath. I think deep down we all need someone to help us look out for one another. Comics were popular in the 30’s and 40’s almost died out in the 50’s, became popular again in the 60’s & 70’s, kind of died down again in the 80’s and became popular again in the 90’s. They crashed again in the 2000’s but are slowly making a come back with series like the ULTIMATE AVENGERS. I highly recommend it. (pipejetter)
It is our human tendency to believe that we are good people. We continue to see those heroes as ourselves.
Comic book heroes especially attract our attention because they have many problems of their own, they make mistakes, and they have feelings like us. Because of that, they are more „human” and more realistic. It tells us that it is okay to be flawed because so are heroes.
Also, in America’s individualistic society, we believe that we are unique and special. We consciously and/or unconsciously put ourselves in the role of the hero.
Lastly, comic book stories have a way of drawing us in so that we care emotionally about the hero’s well-being. Whether the hero falls or triumphs, we eagerly await the outcome.
Long live comic superheroes! (zippo)