Our class discussion this past Tuesday intrigued me. It was about what physical traits and moral values and ideas superheroes. For most people, a superhero is a strong, physically well built man in a tight iconic costume who fights off crime and the bad guys and only does what is right to protect the people. For the most part we think of superheroes as male but there are female superheroes too. They too like their male counterparts are almost always physically attractive with great sex appeal. Batman and Superman are irresistible to women. The female heroes have tight fit bodies with low-cut revealing clothing. Take Wonder Woman for example, she is sexy. For the most part I have not seen an ugly superhero so I guess being physically attractive is mandatory for being a superhero even though looks have nothing to do with fighting crime and saving people’s lives. The sex appeal too has nothing to do with protecting the human race.
Superheroes are designed this way to make them the utmost idea of perfection for they are not average like the rest of us common folk. With their good looks they also contain super powers and/or amazing abilities. Superman with his great strength and super-human powers makes him a great threat for the bad guys. Batman being highly intelligent like that of a detective with all his awesome gadgets and being incredibly wealthy to afford the best technology, lab, car and weapons, he doesn’t need super powers. Spiderman gets his strength and powers when he is bitten by a radioactive common house spider and Iron-man, like Batman, does not have super powers but has the means to afford him awesome equipment and a suit that can defeat anything and transforms him into this unstoppable machine.
Other common traits in superheroes is that they usually tend to have love interests. Batman and Iron-man always have some girl waiting and drooling for them. Batman also can get caught up with the wrong girl like Catwoman or Poison Ivy, women that can be dangerous and have sided with the villains. Superman has a thing for Lois Lane and Wonder Woman at times. Spiderman loves Mary Jane. Superheores need love too because why if they didn’t, why would they fight crime if they had no love in their hearts?
Some heroes and anti-heroes can come from troubled or hard pasts and their way of coping is to fight crime. Batman’s family was murdered by the insanely demented Joker and the Hulk, whether he is considered a hero or an anti-hero, had his mother murdered by his own father who horribly abused him throughout his childhood. I think their pasts are something that makes the hero a bit more human. They have gone through sadness and grieve. They know what loss is like and I believe that is what makes them better heroes because they turn that pain into compassion for the other civilians who are in danger. Superman’s Kryptonite is his weakness and like I said, having a weakness or a hard past make the heroes more likeable and people can relate more to them.
Lastly, I believe every superhero needs an equally impressive villain that can match up to their superhero rival or the stories would be seriously boring. Batman’s villains are iconic and memorable; Penguin, Joker, Catwoman, Poison Ivy, Mister Freeze, Two-Face and The Riddler are all extremely easy to identify and remember. Superman with Lex Luther, they are always fighting it out. And Spiderman has an enormous group of villains. Too many to count. Alistair Smythe, Big Man, Big Wheel and Beetle to name a few.
For so many reasons, the list is endless of what makes superheroes superheroes. What traits do they have, what their stories are, who they are with, who are their enemies and so on. For one thing I am sure about is that they will continue to entertain us and keep us wanting more of them.