Superheroes are, in essence, a conservative idea. The concept of embodying personal, individual responsibility, rather than relying on the state, whilst also retaining your privacy. Standing up, doing the right thing, rather than relying on some kind of collective decision making. Bearing arms – even if they are your fists. Mixed in with a smattering of might makes right, hitting first, a little more action, a little less wishy washy empathy and understanding.
However the people writing the comics have, over the years, been far more likely to be liberal-minded. Which can lead to a strangely compelling disconnect regarding how the two worlds connect. The books remain conservative in nature but in individual execution can be very liberal in message.
I understand that at a recent mini-summit for DC Comics writers at the Burbank offices, politics came up. There was a recognition that DC’s audience had expanded with newer, more progressive titles, such as Batgirl, Prez and Gotham Academy.
But there was also the worry that the core classic DC Comics audience was feeling abandoned in the face of this promotion. And that DC Comics should try to retain a more conservative voice amongst a number of its central titles.
So. The current thinking is to revive some of DC’s classic but now unpublished titles, as a place where more conservative ideas could flourish, especially in regard to the rest of the world, throwing a different light on superheroics, and raising the question of whether heroes do too much or too little?
So this may be DC’s mission for 2016. Continue the expansion of more progressive titles, after all this may be well be where their future audience are – but also continuing to develop and maintain their more conservative base.
Either that or have a superhero team based on the current Republican Presidential nominees…. anyone fancy sketching some designs?