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Superheroes



I'm a nerd. I like superheroes. I like the idea of them, and I like
reading about them. However. Superheroes don't make sense. There
are no superheroes in the real world. Not just because real people
don't look that good in spandex. Not just because no one can fly in
the real world.

Why don't superheroes work in the real world? Why don't we have a
Batman, or at least a Punisher? Superheroes fight crime. It's what
they do. They use thier unique powers, skills, quipment, etc. to take
out the bad guys in ways the cops can't.

The logical flaw there, I think, is that it isn't lack of
superstrength or laser vision that is holding back the police. It's
not that the cops can't get ahold of the necessary firepower. Society
could equip the police with machine guns, flamethrowers, body armour,
etc. We don't though. I think most of us would be pretty
uncomfortable with the idea of the Toronto police force using cutting
edge technology to see through walls, eavesdrop on the bad guys, and
overpower drug dealers with bigger and better weapons.

We don't trust the police to exercise that kind of power. It's not
that the police lack access to power. What our superheroes really
need is super-judgement. Superstrength is really only useful for
becoming a super-stevedore.

You only needs superpowered heroes to fight superpowered villains.
This is what most of modern comics deal with. In the real world, I
suspect we'd end up with most of our super-powered people staying out
of the whole mess, with a small portion working for the military or
other government groups to fight with the small portion using thier
powers for crime, or, more likely, supporting different political
goals. I'd love to see what China Mieville would do with superheroes.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
the_doughboy
Apr. 16th, 2007 07:01 pm (UTC)
Thats one of the hole Chicken and the Egg stories from Batman, are the Super Villians there because of Batman or is Batman there because of the Super Vilians.

Better Crime fighters will breed better criminals in the same way that better antibiotics breed stronger viruses.

notshakespeare
Apr. 16th, 2007 07:14 pm (UTC)
Back when Bill Willingham was writing the Elementals, they didn't know what to do between fighting the super-powered baddies - so they did endorsement deals, opened restaurant chains, etc for some extra cash.

I remember in the intro page Willingham telling a story, "Little Jimmy trips on the escalator. Superman rushes in to help! Thanks Superman! Meanwhile a dozen troops were killed in a fire fight."
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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