James McPherson's Media & Politics Blog

Observations of a patriotic progressive historian, media critic & former journalist

  • By the author of The Conservative Resurgence and the Press: The Media’s Role in the Rise of the Right and of Journalism at the End of the American Century, 1965-Present. A former journalist with a Ph.D. in journalism, history and political science, McPherson is a past president of the American Journalism Historians Association and a board member for the Northwest Alliance for Responsible Media.

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Can a Christian lesbian Latina superhero save us?

Posted by James McPherson on March 18, 2009

An interesting report today discusses the value of comic book superheroes for the American psyche in dealing with tough times such as economic depression and war. “In our own times, the public is turning to costumed heroes again in record numbers,” CNN reports. “Movies based on comic books are box office leaders; comic books themselves remain a strong and growing industry.”

Well, maybe. But you may have noticed that just a week after a big opening, “Watchmen” dropped by a somewhat remarkable 67 percent, falling faster than Superman if he’d smacked into a plane full of Kryptonite.

“Watchmen” was bumped from the top spot in the ranking by a Disney remake of “Race to Witch Mountain.” Considering that film, and the fact that the comic book characters who have been popular in recent movies are old favorites, it seems to me that moviegoers are seeking comfortable nostalgia more than reassurance from superheroes.

I have to admit that I haven’t read a comic book since I was a kid. I don’t read graphic novels, and know next to nothing about Manga. But if we really need superheroes, perhaps its time to update them. Maybe they should be multi-racial, not just multi-colored. Maybe more women (though Congress and the superhero community seem to have the same shortcomings in that regard). Maybe crime-fighting Christians. Or lesbians. Or, considering the state of the economy, accountants. Or all of the above.

Since inordinate numbers of old superheroes seem to have derived their powers from nuclear accidents or scientific experiments gone awry, perhaps the return to science by the federal government–and the effort to reduce reliance on oil–also provides new hero-creation possibilities. Somehow I don’t see a superhero being created from wind or solar technology, however, or even “clean coal.” But maybe I just lack comic imagination.

On the other hand, maybe the misadventures of the Bush administration should have taught us that traditional superheroes can’t always save us, that might can’t always make right, and that it’s time for us to put away the comic books and grow up.

Friday update: Come to find out, a Christian lesbian Latina superhero already exists in comics: Renee Montoya, aka “The Question.”

11 Responses to “Can a Christian lesbian Latina superhero save us?”

  1. zelda said

    hahahaha…….yep…..I read that article also.

    Well you have to admit it’s an interesting development borne out of the human condition.
    Comic book heros give us a feeling of being able to overcome those things that we can’t control .
    I find it interesting also that on the same day info comes out in the news that the Fed is buying up US treasury bonds to the tune of $300 billion buckaroos.The article comes off as the Fed being an all caring benevolent benefactor in the scheme of things.Not so…………
    The Fed has been manipulating this country and therefore many others for years and years!!! They are not nice guys…………they control our every move if you just follow the money.
    Do you see the correlation?Wellllllllllllllllllllllllllll………………….????
    They are the reason we feel helpless to big business, wars, politics in general,elections,violent children. moral depravity,and a host of other things that screw up our lives. Hence the return to comic strip hero thinking.It gives the “little person” a feeling of slaying the dragon.
    It’s all smoke and mirrors……….
    Thanks! Zelda the mighty Woman for the People! Up up and awaaaaaay!

  2. James McPherson said

    Thanks, Zelda. In terms of finances, you also reminded me of something else that I might have included with this post–a story a first-issue Superman comic selling for more than $317,000 through an online auction. For that price you’d think is was a corn flake shaped like Jesus, or something.

  3. zelda said

    I saw that also………..who decides the value of something like that?

    The dumbing down idea is alive and well.

  4. […] McPherson, whose focus is on the intersection of media and politics, reacted to that CNN story with a post entitled, “Can a Christian lesbian Latina superhero save […]

  5. psf said

    “who decides the value of something like that?”

    the last person bidding on the item.

  6. zelda said

    right you are psf………….

  7. […] Can a Christian lesbian Latina superhero save us? […]

  8. amy said

    Check out *this* female superhero out of Texas!


  9. Zelda said

    I loved the video.
    UP UP and AWAAAAAAAY!!!!!!

  10. […] don’t know who said it.) Thinking more about it though, it occurred to me that since I am all for gender equality, I should look at some evidence. I then posted my findings on Facebook, […]

  11. […] on issues of race or gender.  (Examples on race can be found here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here. Examples relevant to gender here, here, here, here, here, here, […]

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