All-Star

All-Star

Thursday, November 17, 2016

The operative word is fascism

And it's the theme of this article by Glen Weldon, who wrote a book about Superman a while back. On NPR.


Although conceived in a progressive spirit, the superhero genre's central narrative has always been one of defending the status quo through overpowering might; in the vast majority of those cases, the one doing all that defending and overpowering is a straight white male. (This is just one of the reasons that the superhero genre, which has a knack for distilling American culture to its essence, can get a little on-the-nose, sometimes.)
More often than not, the straight white male in question has a square jaw and killer abs and holds vast amount of power but chooses not to use it to subjugate others, simply because he's a Good Person.
Which is to say: historically, the genre's organizing principle is that the only thing keeping fascism from happening is that straight white dudes are chill.
But slowly, incrementally, as comics (and movies, and tv shows, and games, t-shirts and coffee mugs) start to fill up with more characters like Ms. Marvel (a Pakistani-American teenage girl from Jersey City), the visual iconography of superheroes, and what those superheroes mean to the culture, will force the genre to do something it has historically resisted.
It will change.

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