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Why do humans need comic book heroes and villains, and what can be learnt from them?

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Media Essay Why do humans need comic book heroes and villains, and what can be l learnt from them? " Superman! Help" a beautiful, hysterical blonde cries desperately into the smog of the fire. Her leg is trapped, and her throat is becoming hoarse. Just as she passes out, a massive, muscular caped figure descends from the smoke, easily heaving aside the huge iron pillar, freeing her, before tenderly lifting her away from the wreckage, wrapping her arms around his strong neck and flying away to safety, as the maniacal laughter of Lex Luther echoes through the warehouse as he burns. Children since the beginnings of fiction, have been comforted on wild nights by stories of good champions, who will vanquish the evil-doer, thus saving the world from terrible suffering. These stories, meant to comfort and placate a young child's mind, have been set up through the media of speech, television and the $12 billion comic book industry. But often these ideas of heroes are carried through life into a person's adult mind; where, in today's fraught society, many still cling to the fantasy that good will always triumph over evil. Heroes, such as Batman, the X-Men and Spiderman, all represent basic human morality, paragons to live up to and emulate. Predictably they will always win, delivering messages of hope, and often clich�d, much-repeated morals. Often these heroes are alter egos of themselves, for example Spiderman, a weak and subservient person, pushed around by many, suddenly becomes strong and athletic, ...read more.


Wolverine, the rebellious outcast among outcasts, embodies the side of humans that many wish they could have the strength to be. His uncontrollable nature and quick thinking make him the main character, and envied for his ability by other mutants and mere humans alike. The seeming indestructibility of all comic book creations also gives hope in that it, again subtly, influences the reader into believing that they too, are unbreakable, giving confidence, and not necessarily that they won't die, but also gives assurance to face up to people, to take a chance, even if they believe they are only mirroring the actions of their heroes, it can still make a difference. Women are not often represented fairly in cartoon, stereotypically typecast as blonde and slow witted, usually being captured and in need of rescuing by the strong, invincible man. However, one strongly feministical character noticeably challenged these perspectives, Wonder Woman. Being completely feminine and beautiful, not even having a male parent, her lasso could enforce truth, and her never ending ethically correct messages of sharing and unity, she showed the world that girls could do just as much as boys, and sometimes even better. Large scenes featured her breaking any bonds or shackles on her, symbolising the freedom of women from bondage, both physical and emotional. However, the opposite of the heroes, their enemies, the 'baddies' exude ferocity and maliciousness, turning everyone but their army of brainwashed minions against them. ...read more.


taking assurance from the one, fundamental certainty, that good, whatever its incarnation, will always triumph over evil, however it is represented, whether in a colossal fight between two preternaturally powered super beings, or simply that a court case has been won and justice served. However, what makes a hero or a villain is their reactions and decisions resulting from these similarly life-shattering events, the hero is only a villain who has made humanistic choices, and a villain is simply a hero who opted for malevolence. Heroes are essentially average individuals, who have overcome their limitations, whereas villains are still mediocre beings, who choose to hide behind these limitations instead of turning them into positive episodes which can be reflected on positively to be learnt from and beneficial to the development of a persons character and values. The examples and illustrations within comics and cartoon serve to exhibit the inner capabilities inherent within each person's spirit, because heroes and villains, whoever they are, are simply the extremes and personifications of human nature and its strongest and weakest points. As they fly into the sunset, she sighs and leans her head against the broad expanse of his chest. Cradling her protectively in his arms he soars above the dark city, as another entrancing day in Metropolis draws to a close. Superman has again vanquished the villain, saved the world and his love, all using his amazing preternatural talents. Tune in same time, same channel tomorrow, for some more 'butt-kicking' action. Robyn Drummond 10.4/DB ...read more.

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