Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Superheroes and Politics

I think superheroes should be more openly political.

Like my man GA Superman did, I want them to deal with real issues and nitty gritty problems, using fantastic powers and extra-legal means to achieve real ends.

Now, this doesn't mean I want them to have my politics. I don't need to be flattered by having Green Arrow be right all the time. I love issues where Captain Atom's conservative, pro-government stance is the correct one, or The Question's terrifying Objectivist libertarianism sounds almost convincing.

And I don't want them talking politics all the time. I came to see them hit stuff. But instead of alien slave masters, how about smacking around a sweatshop owner, or a drug dealer.

I want to see them dealing with "real world issues" is because they seem oddly detatched otherwise, particularly modern Clark Kent. The guy works for a major metropolitan newspaper and his wife is a feminist icon, in the real world and the fictional one. So the fact that he doesn't seem to have a political philosophy, let alone belong to a political party, strikes me as rather naïve.

Couldn't Batman do more to bring down the crime rate as Billionaire Bruce Wayne than a phantom of the night? And Wonder Woman's supposed to be an ambassador who seems to have no interest in international relations.

The big punch outs against mad gods and sinister secret societies are fun, and they should remain the focus of the plots. But the characters should, at least in their off time, have some interaction with the problems of the real world. Otherwise they really do look like children fighting amongst themselves while the grown-ups do all the work.

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