In the “Function of the Superhero at the Present Time” by Sean Carney he states that “superheroes…are allegories for the human ability to create forms that are larger than humanity itself and that humans then need to struggle with and repossess as their own agency” pg 102. The majority of superheroes are essentially beings that are not human. Thus, the human mind is not able to comprehend how someone that is not human is able to do good deeds which then comes the notion that maybe they started the problem themselves in the first place in order to come out and appear as human. For example, in “Marvels” by Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross there is one scene in which the subway was leaking. The people that were in danger were happy to be saved while others questioned “who’s to say that he didn’t start the flood in the first place.” What humans don’t understand gets dismissed or judge easily with their own imaginations and assumptions.
Humans tend to be calm or pessimistic about seeing something that is inhuman. When they finally come to terms with it its only in the image of when that super powered being does something that makes sense to humans such as their history. For example, in “Marvels” while they have the Human Torch and the other superhuman they also have Captain America. Captain America is fighting with fellow Americans against the Nazi’s. In several scenes after you see humans being very positive and unquestioning vs. when they see the Human Torch fighting the superhuman that controls water for their sake. Thus, this notion of a super being fighting for a cause that people are familiar with is something that humans feel they can come to terms with and understand easily leaving humans to not ponder on the thought that there are other beings among them. As a result, humanity fails to understand superhuman beings and move on with their lives with what they are comfortable with. For example, in “Marvels” there was a scene in which a movie stared by the Human Torch and the other Superhuman are using their powers to fight the Nazis and the crowd is happy about it. In this way humans forget the questions, hate, concerns that they once had in a being that is different than them.
Humanity itself needs to understand and adapt to the notion that someone superior then them is out there saving the world thus saving them. The fact that humanity has a hard time understanding that is what they need to work on. For example, in “Marvels” when the Human Torch got out of his cell some people screamed in fear that the thing that is not human might harm them others said it just the trick of the light or propaganda by Germans because the Germans are people they are going to war with. In order to calm down their fear, in order to calm down their lack of understanding, and their will to understand what they really saw and make sense of it they fail to struggle, understand, and come to terms with the fact that these are super beings larger then humanity itself that these beings can only be accepted if humans are willing to understand and adapt to the notion that something other themselves, that something larger then themselves exist. In order to do this, humans will have to change as well as challenge their own consciousness in what they perceive humanity to be. Once they have this understanding then they will be able to move with the world instead of against it because as they live their lives the superhuman beings that they have yet to comprehend or accept are changing America’s history/consciousness as they know it to be.
“Marvels” isn’t about superheroes saving the world but about how humanity should come to terms in understanding that something different than them exist. How humans should change their ideologies of what being human means.
What instances in “Marvels” can you point out in which humanity is struggling with the concept of acceptance and why?
“Marvels” is also about the aspect of how humanity goes about its own history.
According to Sean Carney “Busiek focuses instead on the social symbolism of the superhero as a mediating figure who happily resolves the problem of history.” Pg 106 As a result, the world is changing, and America has no choice but to change with it.
Do you think it’s in this way that the people of America feel that the world is moving too fast for them to comprehend? If so why? Or why not.
Sean Carney states “their social function as Marvels is quite simply to challenge that which humans take as given, self-evident, and familiar to consciousness. Throughout the narrative the marvels constantly function to interfere with American national consciousness through the intrusion of that which is larger than consciousness. This manifest itself as the loss of innocence” pg 108.
What does he mean by “loss of innocence”?
What does he mean by “marvels constantly function to interfere with American national consciousness through the intrusion of that which is larger than consciousness.”?