Popularity of Superhero Comics in America

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Superhero comics are one of the most common genres of American comic books which gained immense popularity from the 1930s. The growing prevalence of these comic books also paved the way for superhero characters to rise to fame. Today, superhero characters are commonly used to explain the world through fantasy. For this essay, I will adopt the definition of the word myth, which refers to a popular belief that is not true (Cambridge University Press, 2019). In this paper, I hence argue that superhero characters are a form of modern mythology because the notion of time has been disregarded in the creation of the comic books stories and secondly, they are not actual humans but are merely icons which illustrate idealistic goals which are unattainable in reality.

The notion of time which has been neglected in superhero stories has rendered superhero characters to be a form of modern mythology. One prominent example will be that of Superman. The story typically ends once Superman has defeated a villain and accomplished his job and a brand new episode would begin in the next comic book. However, the storyline in this brand new episode does not pick up from where it was left off previously and thus has no relation to the storyline that was constructed in the previous episode (Eco & Chilton, 1972). However, in reality, the sequence of events in one’s life is continuous and their actions today will have an impact on their future life events in one way or another. Furthermore, Eco also posits that since readers have familiarized themselves with the fact that the stories in the comic books take place predominantly in the present, they have also neglected the fact that the stories should have progressed along with time (Andrae,1980). This further implies that Superhero characters are indeed a form of modern mythology as the scriptwriters have developed the stories in a manner which neglects the passage of time such that the readers are perpetually trapped in the present and have overlooked the fact that Superman and other superheroes alike do not age and grow with time. In reality, however, people age and grow with time, presenting numerous changes alongside an ever-changing environment. As the stories in each comic book do not have a clear introduction and conclusion, it led readers to adopt the perspective that superheroes exist but this remains inconceivable in reality as a person is unable to live indefinitely. Hence, superhero characters are seen as a form of modern mythology as the notion of time has been blurred in the comic books and it is perpetually centered in the present.

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Additionally, superhero characters are a form of modern mythology as they are not actual humans but are merely icons which paint an idealistic goal that remains unrealizable in reality. Superhero characters are portrayed as icons as they advocate for a utopian world which is unfeasible in reality. One evident example which illustrates this point closely will be that of Wonder Woman. Wonder Woman is conveyed as a modern myth as she involves herself with salient societal issues that are prevalent in our world today. Wonder Woman is portrayed as a feminist who possesses immense strength and she highlights that men and women can be of equal social standing (Alderman, 2017). Despite the increasing number of feminists today such as Emma Watson who actively seek for the rights of women, gender equality still remains an utopian dream and a modern mythology as gender discrimination is still deeply embedded in society. This also accentuates the notion that there are limits to one’s physical and intellectual capabilities, suggesting that complicated problems resolved by superhero characters still remains largely beyond our reach. Superhero characters thus remain as icons who paint idealistic goals as such powers are implausible in reality and it is impossible to have a Utopian society where everything is perfect. Hence, superhero characters are an icon to signify an utopian society which remains remotely unattainable in modern society.

John Kennedy once said that the great enemy of truth is not the lie but the myth (Kennedy, 2014). Indeed, a myth lies a truth that awaits to be discovered. The superhero characters in comic books are portrayed in a way that led readers to perceive that they are real although they are not. Despite superhero characters being a modern mythology, there are values which could be extracted from them as well. Superman and Batman both took on the role of a vigilante and they both strive to maintain social justice, defeating various enemies so as to bring peace to the mankind (George A. Smathers Libraries , 2004). In conclusion, superhero characters are indeed a form of modern mythology as the utopian dream portrayed by the superhero characters remain unfeasible in reality and it is impossible for one to be bestowed with the powers that the superhero characters are equipped with.

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Popularity of Superhero Comics in America. (2021, Nov 08). Retrieved from


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