Inquiry Topic

The first writing here is my digital essay. In it, I discuss how comic books keep record of and impact western culture both in the past and today. I'm really proud of this one. I'm also hoping that the pictures add something to the essay. Enjoy!

What do you think of when you hear somebody talk about comic books? Do you think of geeky guys in some secluded storefront arguing about whether or not Superman is worthy of picking up Thor’s Hammer or some such hypothetical situation?
Is this what you were thinking of?
Do you think of entertainment for little kids with no impact on the real world? Maybe you think of summer blockbusters that gross billions, but are just more mindless entertainment for summer moviegoers. I ask this because I’m fairly certain that what’s furthest from your mind when you think of comic books is the culture of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. However, it is my firm belief that since their invention, modern comic books have been reflective of their culture and have impacted culture in their own ways. Stop laughing, I’m serious. Comic books have left a tremendous impact on our culture. The best way to show this is to look at the various eras of comic books and examine how the comics reflect the events and attitudes of the time.
            In their beginning, comics were anthologies. They didn’t tell one cohesive story throughout the book, but rather separate stories all published in one book. This was because comic books started out as compiled reprints of newspaper comic strips. In these nascent comic books, there were western stories, detective stories, horror stories, morality plays, and funny animals. However, in 1938 a new type of character would show up in comics. That character was the super hero. He was faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. His name was Superman and he was the first super hero.
Action Comics #1- The first appearance of Superman
Superman’s first appearances are an interesting look at culture in the late thirties for a few reasons. The first is that he was the brain child of two Jewish immigrants, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. Superman’s origin is the immigrant’s story. His homeland was in turmoil, so he was forced to leave it and go to a strange new place. He had to leave behind the old name of Kal-El (which almost sounds Semitic) and adopt the very American name of Clark Kent. The immigrant’s story was something many Americans could relate to, but another reason why Superman was so timely was his position as a power fantasy. In his first appearance, Superman beats up a corrupt business man. This was the perfect fantasy for everybody who had lost something in the depression. Superman stood for the people. He fought for social justice. He was the ultimate escape from the hardships of the Great Depression. He also ushered in the beginning of modern comics, or, as it is better known, the Golden Age. However, another hero showed up soon after Superman. His story was another that was all too relatable, but he was something different entirely. He was Batman.
Batman in his early appearances
Batman’s origin was yet another story that people knew all too well. He was orphaned by a random and desperate act of criminal violence. Batman offered a darker power fantasy than Superman. He didn’t fight for any kind of social agenda; he just fought criminals in all their many forms. He fought to protect young boys in dark alleys. Both Batman and Superman proved to be wildly popular with readers, so more super heroes began to pop up. National Comics (later DC) had Batman and Superman. Timely Comics (Later Marvel) had The Sub-Mariner and The Human Torch. Fawcett had Captain Marvel. The list goes on and on. Comic book super heroes gave kids a way out of the dreary depression, but their focus was about to change as a real-world evil grew in prominence. In Europe, Hitler was becoming hard to ignore. Every other day it seemed like he took another country. War broke out in Europe in 1939, but America wasn’t in it just yet. That is, American troops weren’t in it yet. In the comics, heroes had already begun the fight against the Nazis. According to comic book legend Stan Lee, “We (the comic book industry) were fighting Hitler before our government was fighting Hitler…We could all just see what a menace Hitler was…It wasn’t just what he was doing to the Jews, it’s what he was doing to the whole world. He was gobbling up countries.” (Comic Book Super Heroes Unmasked).
 The Sub-Mariner, an anti-hero king of the under-water nation of Atlantis who hated humanity, had begun waging a one-man war on the Nazis and the Japanese. In a Superman story published in Look magazine, Superman took the fight directly to both Hitler and Joseph Stalin. Wonder Woman showed up at this time too and in her first appearance she fought against the Nazis. Most notably however, was Captain America, who debuted in 1940. The cover of his first appearance depicted him punching Hitler in the face.
This would be par for the course throughout the war
The Nazis were the primary enemy that Captain America fought against. Once America was in the war, the super heroes began to fight the Nazis with full force. Comics were sent to the GIs while they were fighting in Europe and the Pacific and they fell in love with the cartoonish depiction of the war and the fact that the good guys always won. These World War Two stories are mostly infamous for their very racist depiction of the Japanese and Germans. The Japanese soldiers were depicted with yellow skin, buck teeth or even fangs. Racism in these early comics was quite common. African Americans, Asians, and Native Americans were all depicted in very racist ways. African Americans would be drawn with large, puffy lips and their dialogue would often be reminiscent of Uncle Remus.
Asian characters would all have yellow skin, squinty eyes, thin mustaches, buck teeth and round glasses. Native Americans were shown as being unsophisticated savages. Even the very diverse comic book industry, which was made up of largely Jewish, Italian and Irish immigrants, was not immune to the racial attitudes of the time.
Eventually, World War Two came to a conclusion and the Americans returned home victorious. However, many GIs who loved comics during the war were tired of the violence. They wanted humor books or romance books or western books. The violence had been too real for them during the war. They didn’t want to see some ludicrously powerful being solve all his problems with his fists. Comic books began to change to reflect these tastes. Many super heroes faded into obscurity, but things would only get worse as the Golden Age ended and the Silver Age began.
Post-war America was a fearful place. They had just witnessed the might and power of the atomic bomb. We also had a new enemy; Communism. The fear that Communists had infiltrated our country kept many people up at night and was propagated by the media and the government. Most notably in the government was Senator Joseph McCarthy, who encouraged people to report suspected Communists. The news was filled with stories about ousted Communists and potential Communism in Hollywood. Another fear that plagued America was the fear of juvenile delinquency. Kids were listening to rock and roll and rebelling and becoming loose with their morals. There were plenty of boogiemen to place the blame on. There was rock and roll, James Dean and even comic books. A psychiatrist named Frederick Wertham went hard after comics in particular. He had performed what turned out to be a very flawed study on juvenile inmates in prisons and determined that they were there because they read comics and published a book on the evils of comics entitled Seduction of the Innocent.
This one book nearly destroyed comics
This spawned massive parental outrage at comic books and even congressional hearings on the depictions of violence, crime, sex, and horror in comics. To avoid government censorship, the comic companies banded together to form the Comics Code Authority. The Comics Code was a strict set of guidelines that prevented comics from depicting graphic violence, horror, sex, or any immoral activity.
This seal appeared on every approved issue
It was a rigid code, but fear of censorship made companies willing to adhere to it. As a result, comic books became little more than children’s amusement when the Silver Age came around. At what was now DC Comics, many characters vanished except for the core characters of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman who were all made over to be more in line with the code. Out of fear of allegations that super heroes would be accused of spreading Communism, the creators went out of their way to make Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman outspoken American patriots. That’s how Superman’s catch phrase went from “Superman fights a never-ending battle for truth and justice,” to “…truth, justice and the American Way,” (Comic Book Super Heroes Unmasked). That’s also how Batman became a fully deputized agent of the Gotham City Police complete with his own badge (Comic book Super Heroes unmasked). However, the public had lost interest in super heroes. Instead of the escapades of super heroes, people read about the antics of Archie and Jughead or the adventures of the cowboy Bat Lash or the romantic escapades in any number of romance books that featured a rotating cast of characters.
By the end of the fifties however, things began to look up for comics. Science fiction had proven popular in books and in film, so it soon found its way into comics. At DC, characters like The Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkman and The Atom who had been casualties of poor post-war sales all received science fiction make-overs.
These sci-fi updates would make up the Justice League
As the fifties became the sixties, Marvel (formerly Timely) had its own science fiction-themed heroes with The Incredible Hulk and The Fantastic Four who were products of the atomic age and the space race respectively. These characters also fell into another category at Marvel; they were real people with real problems. The Hulk became a giant, rampaging green monster when he got angry. The Fantastic Four were constantly quarreling and arguing. The Hulk and The Thing, a member of the Fantastic Four, both saw themselves not as heroes, but as monsters. Heroes had always been self-confident and powerful. Marvel had changed that. Marvel also did something revolutionary when they created the character of Spider-Man. He was not only a person with real problems and issues, but he was a teenager. Marvel also explored issues such as prejudice with The X-Men. In the sixties, Marvel emerged as the more mature, more thought-provoking company that addressed real issues in the world. They had their finger on the pulse of unrest and angst in the youth of the 60’s. They even incorporated the counter-culture into their books. Doctor Strange and Nick Fury: Agent of SHIELD both used psychedelic imagery and surrealism in their art. In popular culture, psychedelic drugs were all the rage. The hippie movement was in full swing and kids were listening to bands like Pink Floyd, The Doors and Iron Butterfly. Additionally, Andy Warhol was one of the most popular artists around. Steve Ditko and Jim Steranko, who worked on Doctor Strange and Nick Fury respectively, understood these trends and incorporated them into their art styles.
The surreal art of Jim Steranko
DC, however, was still stuck in the rut of telling silly stories for kids. This wouldn’t last forever though. Soon the sixties ended and the seventies would usher in the Bronze Age.
In the seventies, comics began to get their edge back. At DC, the young duo of Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams had brought Batman back to his dark roots after the campy days of Adam West’s TV series. They also brought social commentary into comics with Green Lantern/Green Arrow. In Green Lantern/Green Arrow, the two titular characters travel across the country and deal with issues of racism, religious persecution, and most powerfully, drugs. In the story, Green Arrow’s former sidekick ends up hooked on heroin and Green Arrow kicks him out.
The cover to Green Lantern #85 (the drug issue)
Both DC and Marvel took a hard look at the increasingly popular world of drugs with Marvel publishing a Spider-Man story about Peter Parker’s friend Harry Osborn overdosing on pills. Another issue that comics were addressing was race. Beginning in the sixties and continuing strong into the seventies, African Americans not only got more respect in comics, but also became heroes in their own right. The Black Panther started the wave in the late sixties and was soon joined by Luke Cage, Black Lightning, Blade, Mal Duncan and John Stewart. In an issue of the always controversial Green Lantern/Green Arrow, an older African American man confronts Green Lantern on how he’s always ready to help the green skins, the orange skins, the purple skins, etc. (referring to the alien races protected by Green Lantern), but that he’s neglected the “black skins” on his home planet. In an interview, writer Denny O’Neil said that he did this because “I knew that for my generation it was too late, but maybe we can get a real smart twelve year old and get him thinking about racism,” (Comic Book Super Heroes Unmasked).
This is one heavy panel.
Comics once again had their finger on the pulse of society when it came to race relations, which had become drastically different since the forties. Not only were comics becoming more aware of social issues, but characters were beginning to reflect the cynicism of the seventies. Both Wolverine and The Punisher were very much products of their time as far as their characters are concerned. They were angry, violent men of action who killed enemies. Comics were getting darker, but it would take the eighties and nineties to bring them fully into the dark modern age of comics.
The Punisher wages a one-man war on crime.
Comics in the eighties were very much about one man standing against a mass of evil. To put it another way, they were a product of the Reagan era. Ronald Reagan very much presented himself as a tough-as-nails world leader who would defy the Soviet Union and comics took their cues from him. The Dark Knight Returns is a story about an aging Batman who fights against a new gang that has overtaken Gotham as well as old enemies and even old friends. He stands alone against insurmountable odds and doesn’t blink. At this time, however, other countries began to release comics, most notably the British reacting to the Thatcher era. Margaret Thatcher, the Prime Minister of the UK, was extremely conservative, especially for a British politician. Many in England were happy with her, but many weren’t as well. One of those who were unhappy was writer Alan Moore.
V's Guy Fawkes mask has become
a symbol of anarchy
In the eighties, Moore released two comics that critiqued both Thatcher and Reagan. These books were V for Vendetta and Watchmen. V for Vendetta contrasted fascism, the extreme of right wing politics, and anarchism, the extreme of left wing politics, with one another while Watchmen was a straight up critique of Reagan and Thatcher. The heroes of Watchmen are highly flawed with some even being psychotic with the theme being that if you place your faith in a flawed human being, eventually he will let you down.
One of the most important comics of all time.
By the nineties, pop culture had become all about flash and violence. The same went for comics. Image comics, a company dedicated to publishing creator-owned characters, put out several books that featured heavily muscled, gun-toting lethal heroes who had more in common with The Terminator or Rambo than they did with Superman.
And let's be honest, the art was horrible
New topics like gun violence, gangs, homosexuality and AIDS were now commonplace in comics as well. Gun violence and gangs were familiar territory in many of Batman’s stories, while characters like Northstar in X-Men and Apollo and Midnighter in The Authority were homosexuals. Comics had come full circle and once again proved that they could be topical and relevant for more than just children’s entertainment. They had become intelligent pieces of art as well as mindless entertainment. They had become a record of culture and even had an impact on culture.

Now, as you may have gathered, comic books are really good at capturing culture. How have they effected culture though? Take a look around you. Open up the internet. Go to your local movie theater. What do you see? Chances are, one or more people might have on super hero shirts. Online you’ll probably see news about a super hero comic book, video game or movie. At the theater you’ll see poster after poster advertising the latest summer super hero adventure or a movie inspired by a comic book like Kingsmen: The Secret Service.
The first Avengers film made over a billion dollars.
The second one is on track to do so as well. 
Today we see super heroes everywhere from movies to video games to t-shirts. They have become a part of our cultural DNA. Go up to a stranger and ask them who Superman is. They’ll know. I guarantee it. The comic book is the Modern Greek myth. They aren’t just silly little stories. They’re a cultural institution that everybody knows about. They inform us of our past and can even have an impact on our future. Maybe now you won’t see this summer’s big super hero blockbuster as more mindless fun. Maybe when you pass a comic book store, you’ll look inside and see if you can find a book that speaks to you. Maybe a book will grab you and inspire you to change things. That’s what they have done for almost eighty years after all. 

   This is an infographic that I made for the topic. The theme of it is comic books and historical events.

And Here's part 2.

This next piece I did for a group project involving my inquiry topic as well as the topics of two other people from my class. There was a slight problem though; their topics had to do with Japan. I wasn't writing about manga, I was writing about comics, dammit! However, I had to work with my group, so I focused in on the most Japanese thing I could think of. Eventually, I came up with this piece on racism in World War Two comics.

Anybody offended yet? 

One of the things that I’ve come to love about comic books in my study of them is that they are often a perfect time capsule preserving a record of attitudes, outlook and culture in the era they were written. Sometimes, however, comics can indicate attitudes and outlooks that we should be ashamed of. Early comics were often incredibly yet casually racist toward African Americans, Native Americans, and Asians. You will find no better example of this than in American comic books published during the Second World War.
            Americans often look upon the German propaganda posters with horror, but what they don’t realize is that if they picked up a comic book from the World War Two era, they wouldn’t have to look much further than the cover to see somewhat horrifying American propaganda. Now, I don’t want it to sound like I’m directly comparing the two. They don’t directly correlate. For one thing, the German propaganda was state-created. The comic books were not subsidized by the government of the United States. All that you see in those books was done by the comic industries own volition. The comic companies also had noble intentions. Stan Lee himself said that they felt obligated to support the war effort in whatever way they could (See: Comic Book Super Heroes Unmasked produced by the History Channel). Stan Lee did also say that the comics contained “So much pro-American propaganda that you almost thought they were subsidized…”
This was done voluntarily
by the comic companies.
In these comics, The Americans were always the heroes while the Japanese and Germans were portrayed as monsters. However, it was the Japanese that got it the worst. The Japanese soldiers’ skin was always colored yellow. They often had thin mustaches, round glasses and squinty eyes. They were also drawn with buck teeth, fangs, or claws.
"Oh, 1940's casual racism"
- Linkara 
Sometimes, they were just portrayed as yellow-skinned anthropomorphic dragons. In the comics, they were always called Japs or yellow or any number of derogatory terms. In one comic, Captain America himself declares “I’ll get you for that, you yellow monkey!” as a Japanese soldier hits him with the butt of his rifle.
Not cool, Cap. Not cool.
To us, these images are shockingly racist, but to people back in the 40’s, this was commonplace. After all, we were at war with Japan and Segregation was still going strong. We had even placed several Japanese Americans in internment camps. Racism against the Japanese wasn’t anything new. Thankfully, though, super hero comics didn’t stay racist. As the culture changed, so too did the comics.
            These days, comic creators not only have respect for other cultures, but are made up of many other cultures. There’s even an entire Japanese comic book industry. The racism of those World War Two comics is shocking and abhorrent, but as filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro once said about similar racism in the stories of HP Lovecraft “It serves as a fossil record.” Who knows what generations to come will be shocked and appalled by when they take a look at comics published today? 

I was really tickled about this next piece. The assignment was to write some kind of academic work related to our topic, so I decided to writer a philosophical/historical op-ed about X-Men and how it relates to discrimination. Yea, I kinda went for the low-hanging fruit, but I felt like I cranked out a good piece on the subject with a lot of historical parallels. I've added pictures for your enjoyment. 

This image kind of evokes the feeling of
being hunted in somewhere like Nazi Germany.
In the 1960’s, society was changing. Feminism, civil rights, war protests, and distrust of the government were daily growing in prominence. Ostracized groups were organizing and demanding that their voices be heard.
In the wake of all of that, a comic book company called Marvel was taking readers by storm. In contrast to DC comics, their biggest competition, Marvel embraced flawed and imperfect heroes. DC’s pantheon of heroes was made up of extremely powerful beings like Superman and Wonder Woman or millionaires like Batman. They were adults who always had a handle on the situation. Outside of their costumes, their lives were stable. In contrast, Marvel’s Fantastic Four was a team of super heroes who often didn’t get along. Spider-Man was a teenager dealing with the stress of work, school and being a super hero as well as being an outcast. Chief among these imperfect heroes though, were The X-Men. The X-Men were and to this day still are the standard-bearers for the downtrodden.
Their stories, while varied and numerous, often address the issues of discrimination. The X-Men are so much more than just another team of young super heroes; they’re a voice for the outcasts.
Created in 1963 by industry legends Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, The X-Men were mutants, teenagers born with powers that often times brought more pain that pleasure to their lives. They were students at the Xavier School for the Gifted where their teacher, Professor Charles Xavier (Professor X), taught them to control their powers and use them for the good of both human and mutant kind. There was just one small problem. Mutants are seen as weirdos at best and extremely dangerous at worst. The world’s reaction to the X-Men is a mixture of being grateful for their heroic actions and classifying them as dangerous and unpredictable. Not helping the public’s view of the X-Men is the Brotherhood of Mutants, an organization led by a mutant called Magneto that views mutants as superior to humans and seeks the conquest of the world.
The Brotherhood!
One faction of the mutants seeks peace and good for all mankind while another faction seeks war and reverse discrimination. Does this sound familiar to you? That’s right; Professor X and The X-Men are Martin Luther King Jr and his followers while Magneto and The Brotherhood are Malcom X and the Black Panther Party. Think about it historically. The Black Panthers rhetoric was inflammatory.
A Black Panther Police Patrol
They carried guns on the streets of Oakland and said things like “Off the pigs!” In contrast, Dr. King and his followers did peaceful demonstrations and talked about all people living in harmony.
Dr. King's peaceful demonstrations
The Black Panthers were scary. They inspired fear and mistrust among the white population while Dr. King is hailed as a hero and, upon his untimely death, a martyr. Want more parallels? Aside from The Brotherhood, The X-Men have fought with government-commissioned, mutant-hunting robots called Sentinels and a paramilitary hate group called The Purifiers; basically, government paranoia and, well, a hate group. Even getting away from physical threats, The X-Men have to deal with the fact that they stand out. While many of them can blend in with regular people, others can’t. Does that make them a monster? Does it make them inferior to everybody else? It’s these real struggles that The X-Men face that make them so popular both now and then.
Now, this isn’t anything new. I’m definitely not the first person to draw these parallels. Also, many writers take cues from the events that happen around them at the time of writing. However, what’s interesting to me is the angle that Stan Lee and every other writer take on these parallels. Namely, that peace and coexistence is the right path to equality and that violent action leads to either chaos or a different inequality. Again, you might be thinking that this is very played out, but think about how revolutionary this is when it comes from a medium that’s mainly made up of characters who take violent action. Super heroes punch criminals in the face and leave them for the police to collect or, in the case of the more extreme heroes, kill them.
The typical super hero solution.
Now think about what The X-Men, who are also super heroes, are saying. To boil it down to the bare essence, the X-Men are saying that violence should not be your first answer. Don’t misunderstand me, The X-Men use violence. They just use it to defend themselves, humans or other mutants. However, the message of The X-Men is that peace is the better option. Now to tie this back to discrimination and prejudice, it would appear that what a person who feels ostracized should take from The X-Men is that forcing your agenda or your ways on other people and expecting them to be ok with it will only make things worse. Advocating change and striving for it is good and commendable, but the second it becomes forceful, then it will backfire.
In other words, don't be these people.
The X-Men also shows us something that, unfortunately, is universally true. Whether or not they’re the majority, the extreme group will always be the loudest and most visible. In these stories, the regular humans seem to think that The Brotherhood speaks for all mutantkind. Just like how a lot of times we seem to think that The Westboro Baptist Church speaks for all Christians or ISIS speaks for all Muslims. The extremists will ruin it for everybody, but in the end, you just have to show the world that the extremists don’t speak for everybody.

The X-Men was and still is a very intelligent and accurate look at what it’s like to battle discrimination. Some people will want peace, love and understanding while some will want violent upheaval of the system.
What's so funny 'bout
Peace, love and understanding, guys?
When it comes down to it though, violence doesn’t make anything better. In fact, in this situation, it will make it worse. So if you’re feeling ostracized or oppressed, follow the example of The X-Men. It may be a long struggle, but in the end you may find that it was worth the waiting.          

This is the last piece from my inquiry topic. It's another op-ed, but this time it's about how super heroes and comic books have endured so long in our culture of ever-changing trends.

    While working on my latest YouTube video about yet another comic book movie, a thought occurred to me. Super heroes have been around for close to eighty years now, but they’re more popular than ever. Why is that? Think about all the trends and fashions and interests that have come and gone just over the past twenty, ten or even five years. What makes super heroes so special that they can defy almost a century of trends and still be popular, recognizable and iconic? I thought long and hard about it and, with a little help from a quote from comic industry legend Jim Steranko, I was able to come up with an answer. I was watching the documentary mini-series Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle when, at the end of the show, Steranko closed with a remark about how super heroes were able to survive all this time because of their ability to adapt. After much thought, I’ve concluded that Jim Steranko is absolutely right. Super heroes will always resonate with people, because they can be whatever the people need them to be. Think about this, Superman went from being a social crusader to the ultimate symbol of America to a bastion of strength, courage and kindness in the face of complete and total darkness. Superman is more than just an alien in blue tights who flies around punching things. Superman is whatever we need him to be. Characters in comics have expanded and changed to reflect the times. Roy Harper, Green Arrow’s sidekick, became a drug addict, a single father, and even an amputee in his lengthy history in comics. Not only did these things grow his character from a literary standpoint, but they brought relevant and relatable issues to the pages of comics. They humanized him. In the end, that’s what people want to see. They want to relate to characters on some level, even if that character exists outside the realms of possibility. Time passes in super hero comics too. Comics aren’t still set in the 30’s or 40’s. They’re modern. They address modern problems like the Iraq War, government surveillance, and gay rights as well as the typical comic book problem of super villains wanting to do evil. In spite of all the evidence of change and evolution in the world of comic books and super heroes, there are still people who believe that they’re nothing more than fun for children. These people balk at violence and mature subject matter in comics simply because they have a backwards way of thinking. They aren’t able to look past the tights and bright colors to see the subtext of the stories being told. They can’t see an allegory for civil rights in X-Men because they refuse to accept anything wrapped in the package of super heroes as intelligent. For those people, there isn’t any arguing or convincing. They just have another outdated way of thinking that will eventually either evolve and see the hidden brilliance of comics or die out.
The other way that super heroes have adapted is into other forms of media. Had super heroes stayed just in comics all these years, we probably wouldn’t know about them. However, super heroes have had their own cartoons, radio shows, toys, t-shirts, TV shows, movies and most recently video games. These things expand the audience that a character has and draws people back to their roots in the comics. That’s how the industry has survived the multiple slumps it has hit over the years. Think about how an ancient myth would spread. Myths would be passed along orally. They would be told for entertainment in taverns and from father to son. That’s what super hero stories have done but with a more modern twist. To reach children, they become Saturday morning cartoons. To reach gamers, they become video games. To reach your average everyday person, they become big-budget blockbuster movies. The internet has helped them spread even more since it combines all of the previously mentioned mediums into one.  
Today, you don’t have to go to a comic shop or a news stand to see super heroes. Turn on your TV. Open up the internet. Go to your local cinema. Go to Wal-Mart even. You’ll be inundated with super heroes because they’ve gotten into the cultural bloodstream. Super hero stories have been able to adapt so that they’re always relevant. It’s because of that that I, seventy-six years after his creation, know who Batman is. It’s because of that that maybe when it’s been a hundred years since his creation, people will still know who Batman is. Comic books and the super heroes who populate them aren’t going away anytime soon. So long as they keep changing with the times, there will always be a place for them. 

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