Why Superheroes Matter: Understanding the Mythology of Now
Superheroes accomplish something outside of simply following mythic structure—they augment mythology itself.
The creation of superheroes and the books in which they are found function as part of our own modern mythology; just as folktales, fairy tales, and ancient myths say something about the cultures from whence they spring, superheroes are part of a uniquely American mythology. While comics and superheroes are no longer solely an American property, the invention of these things says a lot about the culture and attitude of our culture.
Comic books are the American mythology, and, much in the same way Zeus and Poseidon and Perseus come down to us from the Greeks, Superman and Batman and the X-Men represent the culture that birthed them.
These are our Gods and Heroes, our stories—and our commentary on our society.
The early days of comic books clearly show the aspiration and American idealism of the time in which they were written—the feel-good resolutions, the perfect heroes, the general attitude of optimism. Comic books have chronicled our history, and touched on World War II, the War on Drugs, the current climate of terrorism.
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