Alan Moore thinks Superheroes are ‘a cultural catastrophe’
“To my mind, this embracing of what were unambiguously children’s characters at their mid-20th century inception seems to indicate a retreat from the admittedly overwhelming complexities of modern existence,” he wrote to Ó Méalóid. “It looks to me very much like a significant section of the public, having given up on attempting to understand the reality they are actually living in, have instead reasoned that they might at least be able to comprehend the sprawling, meaningless, but at-least-still-finite ‘universes’ presented by DC or Marvel Comics. I would also observe that it is, potentially, culturally catastrophic to have the ephemera of a previous century squatting possessively on the cultural stage and refusing to allow this surely unprecedented era to develop a culture of its own, relevant and sufficient to its times.”
Somebody had to say it.
Despite being an avid fan of science fiction and fantasy, I have always found the tropes of superhero genre inherently silly. It’s probably a consequence of not reading superhero comics as a child. So with the excaption of the camp 60s version of Batman (Wallop! Blatt! Kapow!), I only encountered the rest of the genre as an adult. And having not grown up steeped in the genre from a formative age it’s a lot easier to recognise the whole thing as selling adolescent male power fantasies.
If people did have superhuman powers, why would they don Spandex and capes and spend their time having fist fights with equally ridiculous supervillans? Why do they always have to have mundane secret indentities? And why would the presence of hundreds of costumed heroes have absolutely no impact on the world’s history or politics?
I’m not alone in thinking this, given the way this post of mine on Twitter (the cartoon isn’t mine) went viral with something like 400 retweets.
What’s wrong wiith the whole superhero genre – pic.twitter.com/JQ2KaLTiaR
— Tim Hall (@Kalyr) January 14, 2014
That cartoon neatly sums up my problem with the genre….