Thursday, 12 December 2013

Superheroes and childhood wishes

Warning - I’m about to surface analyse a bunch of stuff and may be stating the obvious. I has cold.

Superman is at his core a combination of several obvious childhood wishes. “I wish I could fly!” “I wish I was really strong!” “I wish I could see through things!”

So is Batman. “I wish I could catch all the bad guys!” “I wish I could run around all night!” “I wish bullies were scared of me!”

The Flash is a very basic wish. So is Green Lantern - also a perfect one for comics and cartoons.

Wonder Woman is the creation of more grown-up wishes, which may be one reason why she’s harder to sell.

Aquaman... maybe this is why Aquaman has such a low reputation. “I wish I could talk to fish” is pretty low on the scale compared to the rest of the Justice League.

Captain Marvel (DC) is the very kid-centric wish to be an adult, mixed with... “I wish I was Superman!”

Captain America comes from a pretty era-specific wish which happens to still work today - “I wish I could punch Hitler!” Other dictators are available, but punching Hitler still works.

Later Marvel characters tend to more “wouldn’t it be cool if...”

Walking on walls like a spider is more this than a wish - the real wish-fulfillment parts of Spider-Man are being really strong while looking like a skinny kid and swinging through the city like Tarzan.

Having a suit of armour that lets you do about a third of what Superman does is more cool notion than wish.

All of the Fantastic Four are like this, with the proviso that these things would be cool temporarily and you’d want to be able to turn them off - which is where the Thing’s core dramatic hook comes from.

Wolverine is a more adolescent idea - having swords coming out of your hands.

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