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
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.
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
It will change.