Modern pop culture is full of superheroes.
The MCU, Sony’s Marvel Studios releases, CW’s Arrowverse, Warnor Bros DCEU, Netflix’s Jupiter’s Legacy, Amazon Prime’s The Boys… it seems like everywhere you look, you see superheroes.
But what’s the deal?
Why are they so damned popular?
Without getting into the very long, very serious sociology-in-comics lesson the first draft of this post was turning into, let’s get right down to the bottom line…
Supers are the new Epics… the new Sagas… the larger-than-life figures whose fantastic struggles teach us the simple lessons we didn’t know we needed to learn.
Long-time fans are familiar (and often frustrated) with retcon – changing the past of a character/story/team to create a new reason/attitude in current storylines — but there’s a reason for that, too.
The Iliad, The Odyssey, Beowulf… those all took place in a world that – as far as the people in it were concerned – didn’t change a hell of a lot. But the world’s in a very different place than it was 10 years ago… 20 years ago… 80 years ago… hell – we’re in a very different place now than we were 2 years ago!
For these characters to continue teaching life lessons, their lives have to change with ours. However it happens, the hero’s narrative has to align with the world we live in or their lessons are lost.
Sometimes it’s retcon. Sometimes it’s retirement and passing the torch. Sometimes it’s a personal epiphany. Sometimes it’s coming back from the dead.
Whatever the catalyst, the heroes are moved back to a place where we can identify with them. Where their stories can teach us.
Comic books & superhero media give us… something…
Something to strive for… something to emulate… something to fight against… something to believe in…
…and don’t worry if it’s not all falling into place right now – Superman was with us more than 60 years before we found out the “S” meant hope. (You’ve got time.)
Until next time, friends… those struggles you’re facing? You’ve got someone in your corner. It might be a superhero or it might just be me… but you’ve got someone 🤗