Heck, even the prime minister is about to get comic book treatment. The original's alter ego was Tom Evans, a secret agent with superhuman powers who lives in the futuristic year of where Canada is the most powerful country in the world hey, we can dream, right?
Cycle 7, Abstract: The industry of superhero films has ballooned over the past ten years or so, expanding into massive franchises under the leadership of longtime comic book producers Marvel and D.
Comics and drawing larger audiences than ever. I researched the history of superhero popularity in America in order to better understand why the industry is experiencing such unprecedented success in our current moment.
I analyzed these historical periods of superhero popularity, as well as the theories of scholars such as Marc DiPaolo, Laurence Maslon, and Andreas Rauscher, who attempt to explain this popularity.
From this research, I will argue that the s and s have provided fertile ground for the expansion of the superhero industry due to a combination of social, political, technological, and marketing factors.
Over the past ten years, superheroes have gone from garnering a narrow audience of children and a few nostalgic adults to achieving worldwide acclaim as a wildly successful, multibillion-dollar enterprise with a level of popularity never seen before.
Superheroes And American Politics. By Laurence Maslon and Michael Kantor. is how did costumed comic book adventurers smash through the walls of American culture and come to our rescue. But. Photography and Camera News, Reviews, and Inspiration. Heroes, Villains, and Pop Culture Characters Go ‘Super Flemish’ in 16th Century Style Portraits. Why America Worships Superheroes. by. Julian Sancton; July Email. “The comic book is an American invention. “there was no shelving space in the culture for superhero movies. You.
In alone, Marvel Studios and DC Entertainment, as well as a multitude of other production companies, released six live-action films and more than ten television shows featuring superheroes.
Superheroes have been depicted in comic books since Superman took flight inand they have experienced many fluctuations in popularity over the past century. Superheroes in american culture the past, the reason for superhero popularity has been fairly clear: Featuring entertaining storylines and boosted by contemporary relevance, superheroes have soared to notoriety as a coping mechanism during times of hardship; watching fictional heroes defeat enemies inspired by reality can provide comfort in the face of real threats.
The current status of superhero fame seems to break with this mold, which held true for much of the past century. Although the United States currently faces conflicts both within our borders and overseas, superheroes have captured the attention of a much larger demographic than ever before and have become increasingly prevalent in film, television, and commercial products every year.
I set out to discover whether the factors influencing superhero popularity in America have changed over the last decade and came to the conclusion that the current popularity of superheroes can be attributed to Superheroes in american culture combination of factors, including some old ones, like political and social tension, and some new ones, like computer-generated imagery CGI technology and franchising.
A Brief History of Superhero Popularity In order to understand how superhero popularity has changed, we must first trace the development of superheroes and the justifications provided by scholars for their past popularity.
The vast majority of the superheroes that are popular today were created in the s through the s, so to understand the factors that have influenced their popularity in the past and continue to do so, we must comprehend the context of their creation and rise to success.
In the past, the popularity of superheroes has been primarily influenced by social and political factors including World War II, the Cold War, and the Civil Rights Movement.
The Nazis and the Japanese posed formidable threats, and the heroes who took them on needed to be extraordinarily powerful. The main scholarly consensus is that this need for all-encompassing powers generated heroes like Superman, Captain America, Wonder Woman, and Captain Marvel: Scorned by some for his unfailing moral compass and politeness, Captain America may not be the most complex character, but he definitely appealed to his time period.
The next time period that spurred a significant superhero boom occurred as America faced a new external threat: This era of ideological conflict and the subsequent arms race fought between the United States and U.
Since superheroes of each time period reflect the issues of the era, the Cold War generated heroes implicated in the fight for atomic power. Returning to Earth with new abilities to stretch, disappear, self-immolate, and destroy, the members of the Fantastic Four initially experience terror and social isolation as results of their metamorphosis.
After some training, however, they learn to harness their powers with the goal of protecting society.
Similarly, Spider-Man gains the ability to generate sticky webs and cling to walls after being bitten by an irradiated spider, and the Hulk morphs into a destructive, green behemoth after contact with gamma rays. Just as Americans used comic book heroes to grapple with the international conflict of the Cold War, other superheroes emerged to address the battles happening simultaneously within the borders of the United States: The mutants who comprised the X-Men team were a group of people with extraordinary abilities who were constantly persecuted for their otherness, a theme borne out of the social change and civil rights efforts of the time period.
In the society of the X-Men, racism has been usurped by speciesism, as the mutants are classed under the new species of Homo superior.
Therefore, the mutants must constantly work toward attaining recognition and respect from Homo sapiens. Magneto, like Malcolm X, uses more violent and angry, though definitely justified, tactics to combat the speciesism of Homo sapiens toward Homo superior.
According to scholar John M. Once again, the superheroes of a given time period related directly to the pressing political issues of the contemporary society. Within the last decade, superhero popularity has flourished once again, with the releases of blockbuster films, action-based television shows, and a multitude of other products including apparel, toys, and videogames.
On the one hand, scholars such as Marc DiPaolo argue that superheroes always reflect the social and political environment of their time period, which I assume means that he would attribute the current rise of superheroes to social and political factors as it always has been in the past.
On the other hand, Laurence Maslon asserts that superheroes have recently experienced a surge in popularity due to the advent of movie technology such as CGI in the s, which made the heroes appealing to new demographics. Andreas Rauscher strikes a compromise between these viewpoints, maintaining that superheroes have experienced so much success because of the combined factors of political relevance, marketing, and filmmaking advancements.
My own view aligns with Rauscher; I believe that the recent popularity of superheroes results from the intersection of the political atmosphere that has always made superheroes relevant to their contemporary audiences and the new film effects and franchising of the twenty-first century.
In his book War, Politics, and Superheroes: Ethics and Propaganda in Comics and Film, Marc DiPaolo analyzes many superheroes in social and political contexts over time. They rise in appeal, he argues, because of the way they relate to the issues of the real world.
DiPaolo is of the mindset that all depictions of heroes can be interpreted as commentaries on society and politics. I assume that he would then believe the current popularity of superheroes to be tied to modern politics. Laurence Maslon takes a different perspective with his assertion that the modern wave of superhero popularity involves a factor never seen before in comic book culture: By bringing superheroes to the big screen with the assistance of 3D, computer-generated imagery, and other technologies, Marvel Studios among others has created a market for superhero movies among demographics who would not ordinarily be drawn to simple comic books Maslon.Winner, American Book Award, Before Columbus Foundation, Super Black places the appearance of black superheroes alongside broad and sweeping cultural trends in American politics and pop culture, which reveals how black superheroes are not disposable pop products, but rather a fascinating racial phenomenon through which futuristic expressions and fantastic visions of black racial identity.
From Superman to Spider-Man to Spawn, American culture has a strong relationship with superheroes. KJZZ's Steve Goldstein talks with DC and Marvel Comics artist Tony Parker about why we're drawn to . Enter the superheroes: american values, culture, and the, enter the superheroes is a valuable and unique contribution to the field of comics' studies the authors' knowledge of the medium shines through in the many and varied examples of the.
Superheroes have long been agents of hegemony, fighting for abstract ideals of justice while overall perpetuating the American status quo. Yet at the same time, the book explores how the genre has also been utilized to question and critique these dominant cultural assumptions.
Reflecting Culture: The Evolution of American Comic Book Superheroes was presented by the Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation. Additional support was provided by the David and Susan Bershad Foundation, the Vance Wall Foundation, the Karma Foundation, Annie sez and Mandee Stores, Exhibition Angels Bobbi Brown & Steven Plofker, Rose & John Cali, Carol & Harlan Waksal, Margo & .
Jan 09, · When you think of superheroes, most of the ones that come to mind are American. Batman, Superman, Spiderman. But across the globe there are many examples of superheroes very different from the familiar characters from Marvel and DC.