How do our Superheroes define us?

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Kids and delayed adolescents aren’t the only Americans drawn to Superheroes in comic books and multiplex theaters.  Serious scholars are studying the mythological archetypes that get contemporary audiences to spend so much money.  Out of all the available archetypes, which ones are going out of style—and who’s most likely to make a comeback?   

Students of cultural archetypes say that superheroes rise and fall in popularity according to the needs of their times. Batman’s been very big since September 11th—the angry avenger who’s willing to bend the rules in order to get things done.  Is it time for a change?  Options include the empowered underdog, like Spiderman.  Or the Trickster represented by Iron Man.  Is Superman just two squeaky clean for a comeback? What mythology will most appeal to American audiences in an era of economic uncertainty and political polarization? 




Warren Olney