1. Superheroics and SMS. You ever wonder why superheroes never capture any ordinary bank robbers any more? Everyday burglars,
thieves, muggers, and the like just never surface in superhero comics
But they used to.
Yes, back when I was but a mere broth of a lad, Superman and Captain
Marvel captured bank robbers and other miscreants to a faretheewell.
Alas, no more.
These days, all the foes of superheroes tend to be super-powered
themselves. Or they are monsters. Or demons of some ilk, billowing
out from subterranean brimstone.
Not an ordinary mortal among them.
And the reason, I submit, for this curious myopia need not long
elude us. If we reflect on Saturday morning television, we will soon
discover the cause: to wit, parental opposition to violence in all
its forms in entertainment ostensibly produced for their offspring.
SMS. Saturday Morning Syndrome.
To properly understand the insidious effects of SMS, imagine what
comic book superheroics would be like if these testosteronic icons
fought ordinary people in their Never Ending Battle against Evil.
Naturally, a hero with super strength would pulverize an ordinary
person every time he bashed one with his fist.
Blood and gore and intestines dribbling all over the place. Messy.
Much too violent.
Yet the genre itself depends for its moral and emotional force upon
some kind of violent action to resolve the conflict in the plot. Why
have super-powered heroes otherwise?
But those super powers seem much less violent if they are deployed
against beings endowed with similar powers. If the superheroes are
matched by supervillains, then the violence they indulge in is less
horrific. To parents.
As for the monsters--well, they aren't human, are they? And
violence is only evil if we can imagine children learning from
witnessing it that they can behave that way with their fellow beings.
If they learn to inflict it on household cats and dogs, that's not
The best solution, however, is invisible violence. Bolts of force
emitted from the palms of superheroic hands, for instance. Since
kids can't imitate the action, it must be harmless.
Life in New York. I was
in the Big Apple last September,
send e-mail to R.C. Harvey
art of the comic book - art of the funnies - reviews - order form - main page