I can’t remember the last time I read a comic where the superhero saved someone. Someone other than his supporting cast that is. To be a hero means selflessly risking one’s safety to preserve the safety of another. To save one’s own loved one isn’t selfless, not really. To save one’s home town isn’t selfless either nor is saving one’s home planet. It’s self-preservation.

These days it’s typical for the story to start with the bad guy directly attacking the hero, so the hero is also the victim and there is no selflessness at all, just self defense. And while self defense is rateable or even admirable it’s not heroic. And the superhero concept of hero becomes defined as the guy who didn’t punch first.

“Good guys” who can’t lose being sucker punched by “Bad guys” fighting over nothing of substance with neither side really risking their lives. These aren’t heroes and villains, they’re two armies of vikings in licensed property Valhalla.

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  1. You haven’t been reading Spider-man, then. There’s been a lot of saving civilians going on.

    Comment by Frank — March 21, 2011 @ 6:35 pm

  2. Nope. Still can’t get over One More Day and the quick aging twin children of Gwen Stacy before that.
    But yeah, I can see how Spider-Man would actually save people, the whole Uncle Ben thing is central to the character. But I remember back in the 90s he spent most of his time fighting off Venom.

    Comment by Tone — March 23, 2011 @ 7:47 pm

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