Why Do We Go Wild for Superheroes? - The UOS Times
The UOS Times
Why Do We Go Wild for Superheroes?
Choi Yu-hyun Editor-in-Chief  |  saera92@uos.ac.kr
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[117호] 승인 2012.09.07  
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Feeling hopeless……?
Feeling like there is no light at the end of the road you are walking down…..?

What do you do, when there seems to be no way out, no possible solution to your hopeless situations? When I find myself in these kinds of situations, most of the time, I ask for help from an almighty existence, God. In this sense, I think that this may be the reason why so many people saw and went wild about the superhero movies that came out this past summer.


A superhero is a character in a cartoon or a film that has extraordinary or superhuman powers and protects the public against evil. The word ‘superhero’ first appeared in 1917. It is actually a trademark co-owned by DC Comics and Marvel Comics, the largest comic book companies in the market.
Many of you have been watching superhero cartoons and films since childhood. Before I begin talking about why so many superhero movies came out this summer, I would like to ask a fundamental question. Who was the first superhero to make its debut? It was Superman. In 1938, the first comic book from the ‘Action Comics’ series, by DC Comics Inc., was ‘Superman.’ From Superman, the history of superheroes and comic books began. Superhero stories were first made into films in the early 1940s. Though Superman was the first superhero to appear in comic books, it was Captain Marvel, created by Marvel Comics, who first appeared on film. Then in 1943 ‘Batman,’ in 1944 ‘Captain America’ and in 1948 ‘Superman’ were also made into films.

Summer of Superheroes

In May, ‘The Avengers,’ a superhero movie based on a Marvel Comics’ original comic series, was a huge hit bringing in huge profits. Following the success of The Avengers, ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ and ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ were released. Looking at it simply, we can see that the sudden reappearance of superhero movies can be explained as filmmakers wanting a share of the massive profits these films generate. Consequently, it is not a stretch to expect that more superhero movies will be made in the future.
So why do audiences go wild about superheroes movies? Is it just because there was a limited option of movies shown in the theaters at the time? If we look a little deeper, we can see that there are several explanations as to why so many people go wild about superhero movies.
First, the most basic explanation is that the movies remind people of their own childhood. While growing up, many people read superhero comic books and watched superheroes cartoons on TV. I myself used to watch the Superman drama series during my elementary school years. Superheroes have been with us since the 1930s. We grew up with them. They continue to exist at our side. This is why adult audiences are enthusiastic about superhero movies. They are lost in the memories and the innocence of childhood when they actually believed in the existence of superheroes.
Secondly, the thrill when superheroes easily solve complicated problems allures people to watch superhero movies. In everyday life, we are swamped with various problems. Some of these can be resolved, but others cannot be. Human beings have so many physical and social limitations. In contrast, superheroes leap over those limitations and solve complicated difficulties easily with their superpowers. While watching superhero movies, audiences equate themselves with the superheroes and feel a sense of relief when the superheroes solve world-scale problems like it is a piece of cake. In other words, for the audience, superhero movies act as a channel to relieve stress.
Lastly, superheroes in movies resolve irrationalities of society. Our actual lives are filled with unfair moments. In superhero movies, in battles between good and evil, good always wins. At the end of superhero movies, good is rewarded and evil is punished severely. However, the world that we live in is not as pretty as the world in movies. In reality, justice and good are often defeated by evil. In this unfair society, most people do not have the courage to stand up against injustice. However, superheroes in the movies always punish evil and strive to maintain justice. By watching superheroes do the things that we cannot do, audiences experience a sense of vicarious satisfaction.


Strangely enough, the boom of comic books and superheroes matches the time when the United States was going through difficult times or was at war. There are many analyses explaining that the appearance of superhero movies reflects the social situations of the time. When a society experiences hard times, people long for movies that have distinct story of good defeating evil. When superheroes punish villains, audiences get compensation for their hopeless situation through the movies. Relying on superheroes for every problem that we have in life is a big problem because obviously superheroes do not exist in reality. However, to forget, just for a short moment, about the frustrating world that we live in, where we have so many limitations, identifying yourself with superheroes while watching movies is highly recommended. It will definitely relieve your stress.

Who Is Your Favorite Superhero?

I cannot talk about all superheroes since there are so many of them; Hulk, Iron Man, Captain America, Batman, Superman, Spiderman, etc. Each character has a totally different view of the world based on their respective traits. I will talk about some interesting facts, that you might not have known about three superheroes that I have chosen to discuss; Superman, Spiderman and Batman.

We all know that Superman is from outer space, can fly really fast and is super strong. I think that Superman’s best ability is that he is completely bulletproof; including his eyeballs. He saves people by flying really fast around the world. He can see through things and has extraordinary hearing. He can even hear things from the other side of the globe. His hairstyle changes whenever he wears his Superman suit. Superman does not have to wear a mask because oddly, no one notices him to be Superman when he wears glasses and his hairstyle changes.

Spiderman is the poorest superhero according to ‘The Superhero Rich List’ by Empire, the English Movie Magazine. His assets are estimated to be £0.50 and a bag of crisps (potato chips).’ Peter/Spiderman’s enemies are always related to him in some ways. Green Goblin is the father of Peter’s best friend, Harry. Doctor Octopus is a scientist that Harry introduced Peter to. Sandman is the robber who killed Peter’s uncle. In ‘The Amazing Spider-Man,’ the villain Lizard is a co-worker of Peter’s father. Lastly, his costume is easily torn, burnt and also the color fades if it is washed.

Batman/Bruce Wayne does not have special powers. He trained his mind and his body by himself. He is very intelligent. He only tries to protect and solve the problems of Gotham City. He has many fancy suits, weapons, vehicles and always has access to the latest technology. He is the second richest superhero, Iron Man is first, according to ‘The Superhero Rich List,’ until Bruce Wayne went broke in this latest movie, ‘The Dark Knight Rises.’ The interesting thing about Batman is that his voice changes whenever he is in his Batman suit.

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