They fought Nazis and Reds, beasts trampling urban metropolises, fire-belching aliens scorching the heartlands. Wherever evildoers arose, in war-torn Europe or Ray Bradbury's imagination, screenwriters and comic book artists crafted heroic counterweights that gave hope to the anxious and mythic role-models to kids.
If Aquaman existed he might have intercepted the torpedo that crippled the Lusitania and prevented WWI.
The Human Torch could have dried up the 2004 Tsunami, and the Hulk with the Thing could have sent al Qaeda scurrying into their spider holes where Mighty Mouse could have waited with a giant mallet.
And imagine if we had Superman on 9/11. Picture him nudging away Flight 11 from the North Tower and still having time to divert Flight 175 from the South Tower. Or maybe Superman is all wrong for these missions?
According to Gina Misiroglu, editor of The Superhero Book (Visible Ink), "by the end of the 20th Century, the real world had become a dark place, necessitating a new kind of hero."
It explains why Batman became the most popular superhero in the past 15 years. This week, in Batman Begins, we'll learn how Bruce Wayne got his wings.
In Misiroglu's exhaustive encyclopedia, we see how super heroes changed, soared, and crashed as the mood of the country shifted from the seeming contentment of the '50s to the rebellious, mistrustful '60s and beyond. We asked her about that and whether Batman could take Superman in a fight. . . .
Causes Gina Misiroglu Supports
Doctors Without Borders, American Cancer Society, Comic Book Legal Defense Fund