Superheroes!

Thus begins my next 20 day cycle.  The topic for the next 20 days will be superheroes!  Yes, the entire 20 days… Probably.  Leaping buildings in a single bound (or flying if your artists get lazy), running faster than the speed of light, losing control and hulking out, and all other forms of hackneyed awesomeness are the order of the day.  (I’ll get to the hackneyed later.)

Why superheroes?  Because a good friend suggested it.  Also I need an excuse to buy my first graphic novel that isn’t also a popup book (I’ve read Moby Dick and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea).  Besides, superheroes are popular again.  No longer the realm of nerds, basement dwellers, and totally normal/cool people with eclectic tastes, superheroes are again mainstream.  It’s a wonderful time to be alive.  It’s like the 50s! Only Russia isn’t threatening the world with nuclear weapons anymore, but North Korea is.  The resurgence is probably the result of movies, like the excellent Avengers cycle and the Nolan Batman trilogy.  It may also reflect a change in our culture.

There is some temptation to talk about superheroes as if they’re a new thing, but most people remember that the golden age of superheroes was in the 30s, 40s, and 50s.  Both Batman and Superman have been with us since the late 30s, Captain America joined us in 1941, and Spider-Man and rest of the Avengers  joined us in the 60s.

But even that is very modern.  Our first superheroes emerged in Ancient Greek stories — stories that were expanded by the Romans.  I’m referring to the super powered demigods that appear in Homer’s writings like Achilles and Odysseus.   Heracles is our first character imbued with amazing super strength.  You may also count Theseus and perhaps the entire Pantheon.

My posts will mostly stick to the relatively modern superheroes, but I really want to dig at our 3,000 year long obsession with the amazing.  So tell me, why are you into superheroes and why do you think other people are too?

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