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Political Philosophy in Comics

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The folks I work with remind me of the cast of the Big Bang theory once you get them talking about something other than work. Today was one of those days. It started as an innocuous comment I made about Donald Trump secretly being a superhero (like Bruce Wayne). Three hours later I'm watching with my mouth open as everyone argues about the political leanings of the big two Comic Book publishers.

 

So I knew I had to toss that bone into the Obsidian dog pit.  :lol:

 

So the contention is this: people with a more conservative (in the american parlance) prefer DC comics because the heroes are clearly the "good guys" and tend to be larger than life. The DC story lines are much more good vs evil oriented, and the general tone is more one of individualism and heroism to advance a "greater good". Marvel appeals more to the liberals because the heroes are a bit more morally ambiguous and tend to be portrayed as flawed or complex "every-man" types who suddenly found themselves in the possession of powers. 

 

Now I really have little to add on this because I was only into Spider-man and Alien Legion and haven't read either in almost 30 years. In fact I'm not sure the latter is even around anymore. But I am curious what everyone thinks. Do Marvel or DC have a political leaning that can be discerned? And what would be the political leanings of the characters themselves?


“I was not born to be forced. I will breathe after my own fashion. Let us see who is the strongest.” 
― Henry David Thoreau

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“I was not born to be forced. I will breathe after my own fashion. Let us see who is the strongest.” 
― Henry David Thoreau

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Honestly, you're reading too much into it. These fictional characters are amorphous and any political leanings are going to either be projection of the reader or bias of the writer.

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"Take your child murderin' god and shove his him up his own ass."-Volorun

 

"...the vote of a black redhead disabled homosexual transsexual Jew should probably be worth the same as at least a hundred white heterosexual Christians."-Rostere

 

"i can think of many women i would gladly sleep with, but not a single one that i would want as a girlfriend/wife... neither real nor fictional."-teknoman2

 

"I'm all for killing dogs in film." - algroth

 

"Iselmyr is the one who did GOMAD... Aloth is lactose intolerant" -ShadySands

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Honestly, you're reading too much into it. These fictional characters are amorphous and any political leanings are going to either be projection of the reader or bias of the writer.

Is that true ?

 

Werent comics  originally very political and the early DC comics were about American heroes in  WW2  as WW2 was ongoing 

 

So it wouldn't surprise me  if comics nowadays had an underlying political theme?


"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” -  George Bernard Shaw

 

"What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead" - Nelson Mandela

 

 

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Originally? No not really. During WW2 Superman in particular was but I believe most of the characters around today were created in the post war years. Actually WW2 is one of the reasons why old comics and baseball cards, etc. are so valuable. There was a national effort at recycling to support the war that a lot of printed publications simply did not survive the war. It's scarcity rather than artistic value that makes them a big deal.

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“I was not born to be forced. I will breathe after my own fashion. Let us see who is the strongest.” 
― Henry David Thoreau

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I always had a view years ago that DC was more story driven and Marvel as artwork driven, or at least known for those qualities that stood out for me when I was in a comic shop. Generally, if I wanted a story (eg. Vertigo) I'd read a DC Comic, if I wanted flashy artwork it was Marvel. Now, I think they're pretty much the same and as KP said, it comes down to the bias of the reader or writer.

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I always had a view years ago that DC was more story driven and Marvel as artwork driven, or at least known for those qualities that stood out for me when I was in a comic shop. Generally, if I wanted a story (eg. Vertigo) I'd read a DC Comic, if I wanted flashy artwork it was Marvel. Now, I think they're pretty much the same and as KP said, it comes down to the bias of the reader or writer.

Do they allow comics in Oz? I would have assumed they would have been banned because of there potential violent nature


"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” -  George Bernard Shaw

 

"What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead" - Nelson Mandela

 

 

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0/10

Not even a 1/10?


"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” -  George Bernard Shaw

 

"What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead" - Nelson Mandela

 

 

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Originally? No not really. During WW2 Superman in particular was but I believe most of the characters around today were created in the post war years. Actually WW2 is one of the reasons why old comics and baseball cards, etc. are so valuable. There was a national effort at recycling to support the war that a lot of printed publications simply did not survive the war. It's scarcity rather than artistic value that makes them a big deal.

I'd argue Superman was originally a populist with some anti-business tones and the Fantastic Four was originally packed with cold war paranoia. But for the most part the current situation of superheroes is largely politically neutral, with support for status quo, and mainly about producing IP to make into media and cartoons and games.

 

Of course non Marvel or DC comics(and their sub-publishers) are a completely different story.

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"Take your child murderin' god and shove his him up his own ass."-Volorun

 

"...the vote of a black redhead disabled homosexual transsexual Jew should probably be worth the same as at least a hundred white heterosexual Christians."-Rostere

 

"i can think of many women i would gladly sleep with, but not a single one that i would want as a girlfriend/wife... neither real nor fictional."-teknoman2

 

"I'm all for killing dogs in film." - algroth

 

"Iselmyr is the one who did GOMAD... Aloth is lactose intolerant" -ShadySands

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All authors have political leanings one way or another, and they more often than not can be seen in their work (if the work is sizable enough), even if unintentionally put there.

 

Marvel is owned by Disney, and that's a company that most definitely has political leanings, and announces them fairly publicly fairly often. DC is owned by Time Warner, and that too is a company that most definitely has political leanings, though they are generally not as obviously vocal as Disney.

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As a nipper I think the Eagle was very much of its time, though making enormous strides for the medium, an optimistic and pro everyman publication with obvious sensible conservative undertones. 2000ad (reading as a teenager) however wore its colours and biases on its sleave quite clearly, though without the modern penchant for condescension, spiteful hypocrisy and preaching. Then again almost every form of media was anti Thatcher in those days, even those who had suffered through the mismanagement of the 70s socialist dream/nightmare reality, she was enormously iconic and easily demonised/caricatured.

Edited by Nonek

Quite an experience to live in misery isn't it? That's what it is to be married with children.

I've seen things you people can't even imagine. Pearly Kings glittering on the Elephant and Castle, Morris Men dancing 'til the last light of midsummer. I watched Druid fires burning in the ruins of Stonehenge, and Yorkshiremen gurning for prizes. All these things will be lost in time, like alopecia on a skinhead. Time for tiffin.

 

Tea for the teapot!

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Marvel always struck me as a good deal more liberal with their storylines and characters.  Not necessarily politically so, but just quicker to take risks, try weird things, etc.  DC is usually pretty conservative.  Could Deadpool exist in the DC universe? 

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Marvel always struck me as a good deal more liberal with their storylines and characters.  Not necessarily politically so, but just quicker to take risks, try weird things, etc.  DC is usually pretty conservative.  Could Deadpool exist in the DC universe?

Ambush Bug springs to mind.


"Take your child murderin' god and shove his him up his own ass."-Volorun

 

"...the vote of a black redhead disabled homosexual transsexual Jew should probably be worth the same as at least a hundred white heterosexual Christians."-Rostere

 

"i can think of many women i would gladly sleep with, but not a single one that i would want as a girlfriend/wife... neither real nor fictional."-teknoman2

 

"I'm all for killing dogs in film." - algroth

 

"Iselmyr is the one who did GOMAD... Aloth is lactose intolerant" -ShadySands

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Lobo sounds familiar but Ambush Bug sounds like something you made up. :p  Maybe it is just the readers of Marvel comics embrace the weirder characters more than DC readers?  I'm not a huge comic book guy, but I can name a pretty long list of strange Marvel guys, but I come up pretty empty on DC.

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Ambush_Bug_02.jpg

 

Nope, Ambush Bug is a character created 10 years before I was born.


"Take your child murderin' god and shove his him up his own ass."-Volorun

 

"...the vote of a black redhead disabled homosexual transsexual Jew should probably be worth the same as at least a hundred white heterosexual Christians."-Rostere

 

"i can think of many women i would gladly sleep with, but not a single one that i would want as a girlfriend/wife... neither real nor fictional."-teknoman2

 

"I'm all for killing dogs in film." - algroth

 

"Iselmyr is the one who did GOMAD... Aloth is lactose intolerant" -ShadySands

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Marvel always struck me as a good deal more liberal with their storylines and characters.  Not necessarily politically so, but just quicker to take risks, try weird things, etc.  DC is usually pretty conservative.  

 

Sandman was published by DC. As for political content, you'd be hard-pressed to find a much more left-leaning publication than Hellblazer. Granted, DC isn't continuing either now.

 

Also relevant.

Edited by aluminiumtrioxid

"Lulz is not the highest aspiration of art and mankind, no matter what the Encyclopedia Dramatica says."

 

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Marvel always struck me as a good deal more liberal with their storylines and characters.  Not necessarily politically so, but just quicker to take risks, try weird things, etc.  DC is usually pretty conservative.  

 

Sandman was published by DC. As for political content, you'd be hard-pressed to find a much more left-leaning publication than Hellblazer. Granted, DC isn't continuing either now.

 

Also relevant.

 

 

That link explained it quite well for a comic book ignoramous like me who only own one (1!) comic book and have no idea about medium at large. Kudos.


"Some men see things as they are and say why?"
"I dream things that never were and say why not?"
- George Bernard Shaw

"Hope in reality is the worst of all evils because it prolongs the torments of man."
- Friedrich Nietzsche

 

"The amount of energy necessary to refute bull**** is an order of magnitude bigger than to produce it."

- Some guy 

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Well. Young people tend to be idealistic and left leaning. Old people become conservative and jaded once they realise they aren't going to change anything. Just how the world works not attempting political commentary here. 

 

Everyone wants the 18-25 demographic, but overtly political storylines are just boring. I don't think attacking the establishment even counts as political. It's just one of the features of the establishment, being under constant critique from the arts. 

 

Comic books can take more risks than movies and when they do it sometimes pays off in grand style. V for Vendetta, The Watchmen. Even though Moore is probably at bit past it now those were seminal works and back when they came out everyone I knew had read them. Our parents had their Dylan albums, we had our graphic novels. 

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Marvel always struck me as a good deal more liberal with their storylines and characters.  Not necessarily politically so, but just quicker to take risks, try weird things, etc.  DC is usually pretty conservative.  

 

Sandman was published by DC. As for political content, you'd be hard-pressed to find a much more left-leaning publication than Hellblazer. Granted, DC isn't continuing either now.

 

Also relevant.

 

 

Hellblazer, what a great comic that was. Loved the Garth Ennis run on it and you can see where he got the idea for Preacher. I was collecting both Sandman and Hellblazer at the same time when they came out.

 

DC really pushed the envelope covering a wide range of topics in their super hero titles (domestic violence, sexual orientation, gun violence, homelessness, racism, AIDS) before the Vertigo label came out. I know Marvel did similar but to say DC was conservative back then is a bit head scratching for me. Even Hellblazer and Sandman were released in the late 80s. DC allowed writers to take their characters into so many directions.

 

Also, good link. Explains why I like DC Comics more than Marvel. When I look at the example in the link, I'd choose Kamandi because it comes across as a more interesting story and setting which is what I prefer.

Edited by Hiro Protagonist

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I never cared about the Marvel - DC rivalry.  Mostly because I considered superhero stuff less interesting than fantasy/graphic novel stuff. Notable exceptions aside of course. Generally I would pick the best of either and never notice whether it was published by DC or Marvel. 

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Why has there never been a movie or book pitting DC heroes vs Marvel heroes? I can't believe THAT has never been though of.


“I was not born to be forced. I will breathe after my own fashion. Let us see who is the strongest.” 
― Henry David Thoreau

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Why has there never been a movie or book pitting DC heroes vs Marvel heroes? I can't believe THAT has never been though of.

There's been comics, but there's some issue in getting Disney and WB to agree to a partnership involving films.


"Take your child murderin' god and shove his him up his own ass."-Volorun

 

"...the vote of a black redhead disabled homosexual transsexual Jew should probably be worth the same as at least a hundred white heterosexual Christians."-Rostere

 

"i can think of many women i would gladly sleep with, but not a single one that i would want as a girlfriend/wife... neither real nor fictional."-teknoman2

 

"I'm all for killing dogs in film." - algroth

 

"Iselmyr is the one who did GOMAD... Aloth is lactose intolerant" -ShadySands

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