Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Supeheroes are Punch-happy A$$holes that will Ruin Your Car.

For the first time in many, many years I am catching up on mainstream superhero comics and have become increasingly astounded at how quick these supposed grown-up men and women are to punch each other in the face. These super-assholes will fly off the handle at the slightest provocation, imagined or otherwise, and back it up with power-enhanced fist to the mouth. When was the last time that you could only solve a problem by punching things? Yeah? Well, Iron Man solves breakfast by punching things. He'd punch a crying baby if it was keeping him awake.

And superheroes might be here to protect you but they SURE AS HELL DON'T GIVE A DAMN about your personal belongings. One more car payment and it's yours? Not any more. These caped bastards have a mad on for destroying auto-mobiles and I've got the pictures to prove it. Over the last week we've seen leaked set pictures from movies such as Superman: The Man of Steel and The Avengers and it has been like a demolition derby!

Howdy! I'm Captain America! And I'm taking a shit on your car!
Head after the jump for more CARnage and commentary!

If you think I'm exaggerating then I'm not because that word you just thought of isn't even in my vocabulary! I mean, just look at Captain America here in these recently leaked shots from the Avengers set. Despite being surrounded by cop cars, this arrogant ass is bouncing up and down on your vehicle:

At least this time they caught him on camera.

And who did this?

Was it Hulk? Thor? Try telling that to your insurance company.

And look at these shots from the Superman shoot:

He's been flipping out and flipping cars since the 1930's! Don't believe me? He posed for this picture:

Look at the civilians cowering in sheer abject terror! And it gets worse:

Not even Clark Griswold's car is safe!

(All set images from Aint It Cool News and Superhero Hype. There's more damning evidence at the source!).

Seriously though - these kinds of comics feel extremely odd through older eyes - because it all just washed over me as a kid. You know how we look back at attitudes from the 40's and 50's and are kind of appalled? Well, I can't help thinking that the comics of the 90's and even the 2000's are going to be just as hilarious/horrifying to a more enlightened future crowd.

Because it's not even just punching villains. The superheroes spend half their time punching each other! Even in more recent comics, I'm constantly encountering the same scenarios that where prevalent in the sixties, namely:
Hero Group A heads out on a vague mission. Along the way they run into Hero Group B who become immediately hostile and suspicious. Rather than talk to each other ("Oh! Hey! What are you guys doing here?") they taunt each other through gritted teeth and then start wildly beating the shit out of each other. (And in modern comics it's even worse because they actually seem like they're trying to kill! Expect torn throats, stab wounds and missing limbs). And the whole thing's accompanied by overwrought dialogue which is either: school-yard insults, arrogant posturing, self-righteous lecturing, or emo whining. Finally they figure it out. Catch their breaths. Shake hands. And then team up to beat the shit out of somebody else!
I'm astounded at how many supposed heroes act like complete and utter douches, but never have to atone for it. And, as a reader, we're still expected to empathise with them and view them as the hero. I don't even think I'm necessarily criticizing because I honestly find it fascinating. But as a kid I was 100% rooting for these guys but now as an adult I'm not so sure. I think I'll root for Galactus because he's above all that and he eats planets.

I feel like the central message to most superhero stories is:
 "I want to achieve this. And if I believe in it strongly enough then you bet I'm going to do it even if I destroy a lot of property in the process. And  boy howdy you'd better keep out of my way because I'll defend my convictions with my pneumatic fists." 
The heroes are always jumping on some kind of bandwagon cause and then they scream and punch at anyone who opposes them on it. I'm reading Marvel's Civil War right now, and it's crazily enjoyable, but man those assholes were quick to turn on each other. Even Captain America is all, "I think your legislation vaguely infringes on my freedom. Here's a shield in the throat, Tony!" WHAAAM! I mean, didn't they work alongside each other for years?! Aren't they pals? Seriously, Iron Man would punch Aunt May's false teeth back in if they fell out at the table.

That's for drinking all the coffee!
I love comics. I do. And I love all types of comics. I love the ridiculous fun of superhero comics. And many of them have genuinely clever concepts and thought-provoking dialogue in between the obligatory bouts of spontaneous punching. But that's the genre, right? We know what we signed up for. We don't want to see super-powered heroes in outlandish costumes being reasonable. It would only suck the fun out of things. But perhaps it helps us understand why there sadly isn't a growing comics audience. And why the rest of your family still thinks they're silly, violent, kid's stuff.

I think Michael Kupperman explains it best:


  1. I think the thing I love most about Civil War is that it actually does explore the morality of using your powers to try to enforce what you think is right. There's a lot of grey there, and their actions have awful consequences. Of course, the whole storyline with the Dark Avengers etc kind of undoes all that and takes it back to black-and-white goodies versus baddies :P

  2. The problem being that punching me in the face actually hinders me from trying to understand your viewpoint.