As I was listening to an episode of Fatman on Batman (A Kevin Smith podcast); the hosts were talking about comics and something struck me like a bolt of lightning (pun intended). To be a superhero, one has to have either superpowers or be incredibly rich. Stop and think about that for a minute. Right now you are racking your brain trying to think of a superhero that has no superpowers that is not rich. Batman? Rich. Green Arrow? Rich. Iron Man? Rich. Iron Fist? Rich. Even the Green Hornet is rich. Both Robin and Nightwing have money by association, as does the new Ant-Man. Why then are there not more stories about the everyday man without superpowers who decides to fight crime?
Ok, I get it, there are exceptions to this rule i.e. Kick-ass, Punisher, or Falcon. But those exceptions are few and far between. Why is this? Perhaps it has to do with the fact that outside of the last 20 years, there has not been an abundance of minority superheroes. Or maybe it is the fact that the comic book producers think that the everyday person does not want to be reminded of his or her menial place in life. Either way I think that comic book companies are missing a major opportunity to develop a hero for the common person.
Those of you reading this who have seen the HBO documentary “Superheroes” know that there is a market out there for people who want to root for the underdog, the average joe who does above average things to protect his or her city from danger. If you have not seen the documentary, it is about groups of ordinary citizens who put on a wide variety of masks and risk their lives to protect their communities, with a wide range of results. If that isn’t the public asking for a working-class hero, then what is?
So, I say this to the comic book artists, writers, and publishers. Let’s see if we can create a true hero without superpowers that is willing to put it all on the line to protect his community and more importantly the world. Well, maybe he or she can have one superpower, courage.