META: Notes on a Genre I Love

EDMLite robrogers72 at
Mon Mar 9 15:43:47 PDT 2009

As Tom points out, there are a lot of wonderful reasons to
love super-heroes and super-hero comics.  I have often thought
about the reasons why I remain interested in these characters
and concepts, particularly as I try to justify shelling out
$4 for a funnybook.

I can think of at least two:

1). I like the idea that a person with extraordinary abilities
and talents, who desires nothing more than to help others,
could be completely unable to function in the normal world.
Clark Kent, Peter Parker, Bruce Wayne... they're all a bit of a
mess in dealing with interpersonal relationships, and it's only
when a crisis comes up that they're able to be themselves.
That's something I identified with as a kid... and to be honest,
it's something I can still appreciate today.

2). I think comics work very well on a symbolic level.  I don't
pick up a comic with Daredevil fighting Wolverine because I care
about "ho'od win;" I pick it up because I'm interested in two
contrasting points of view: a character who identifies with the
concept of legal justice versus a character who believes in a
rougher style of "frontier justice."

So maybe it's a combination of those two reasons -- characters
divided between who they are and who they believe they have to
be to function in society, whose larger-than-life adventures
showcase a clash of ideas -- that keeps me reading stories
about grown men and women who run around in their underwear.

Or maybe it's Power Girl.  You never know.

--Rob Rogers

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