As a sort of continuation from my previous post, Our Obsession with Superheroes…, I wanted to summarize a conversation I had with Shelby “Falcon509” Steiner (site) in the comment section of the article.
Shelby began the discussion regarding the appeal of superheroes with his initial comment stating,
“I think we have a fascination with superheroes because they symbolize the pinnacle of humanity and what we would ideally do with the ability to do so. They’re the perfect example of superego. Similarly, supervillains allow us to have a comprehensible villain (much like how we love to dehumanize our real world villains).”
The powerful draw of this genre seems to stem from its very simplicity. The clear depictions of right and wrong, of good and evil. Shelby sums this desire up further saying, “We desperately want the people who committed inhuman evils to be inhuman themselves, and in contrast, our heroes to be shining examples of humanity that are incapable of doing wrong.”
The problem with this simple picture of black and white is how it reinforces an idea that we can only be on one end or the other. It does not cover the grey area we so often find ourselves in. As such we have created the anti-heroes. The gritty and flawed characters of Jessica Jones and the Punisher are more relatable and human but by design don’t quite fit the “superhero” mold. As Shelby and I speak to below, this sets up a sort of paradox when trying to discuss the source of why this universe is so appealing.
Shelby: “It’s strange to think that we often seem to gravitate towards the superego for our superhero movies yet we seem to love antiheroes that break that mold because they’re closer to our own reality.”
Anidaan: “It seems we want perfection to hold up as a sort of role model but at the same time feel closer to the antiheroes because they are simply more human”
There does not seem to be one clear answer as to why we love worlds of superheroes and villains so much but I wanted to share the above discussion with everyone as I am curious what your thoughts on this topic are.
Why do you think the world heroes and villains is so appealing? Do you see a paradox in our desire for perfect heroes vs. those who are more human?
**Image source: worldartsme.com