The age of the anti-hero
There is almost an unexplainable feeling of exhilaration watching our favorite super-heroes dish out justice to super-villains, the wicked, and evil people of society. But wait, what if our favorite super-heroes are not that all “good” to begin with? Even that be the case, we still root for them. What does that make of us?
Indeed, we are part of a “fractured” society that has allowed comic book characters such as Deadpool to become pop culture icons.
Let me go on record and say that when I first got to see and read of Deadpool in a Marvel comic book namely “X-Force” # 2, which was the second appearance ever of Deadpool, I never thought this said character was even remotely great, or anything like that. I still have that prized comic book.
Look, in the early 90’s there was a lot of comic book characters that wielded a sword and a gun and were the mercenary type so Deadpool for me got lost in the milieu of things. Were it not for his cool looking costume, though, I am sure I would not have remembered him at all.
As a kid, I just liked Deadpool’s costume. But I found his dialogue to be a bit weird. He really did not stand out much during that time because there were so many awesome X-Men related characters, to begin with. For me, Deadpool went under the radar. It was only decades later when practically everyone began to know who he is even though they never got to read a Marvel comic book in their life were it not for the Deadpool movie.
Nowadays, when I think of the mass appeal and worldwide popularity of a comic book character like Deadpool, it does not surprise me any longer why most of us rally behind an anti-hero like Deadpool.
Why so, you ask? It is because in many ways Deadpool is the antithesis of what our definition of an anti-hero is now in our day and age. Clearly, he is psychopathic, deranged, disturbed. And yet, with all of that said, he is still capable of helping the innocent, weak, and defenseless.
Am I missing something here? Because it should not make sense but for some reason it still does. Can you imagine a comic book character like Deadpool existing during The Golden Age of Comics from the early 40’s to early 60’s? That is simply unimaginable to think of. It would not even have happened or taken place because comic book artists, writers, and editors at the time had a very clear sense of what makes a super-hero exactly one.
Put it this way. What if Superman punched a hole through a criminal’s head or started massacring every super-villain he could get his hands on? If a Superman like that had existed back in the 40’s in the decade when he first appeared, he would not have made it into this decade because parents would have banned their kids buying such a comic book! And Superman would have been relegated to infamy instead of becoming a globally beloved super-hero that spans the ages and a timeless one also.
Had Deadpool’s mind been in Superman’s body with all of the latter’s superpowers, that would have been catastrophic for several reasons. In a few issues, Superman’s main archenemy Lex Luthor would have been dead. Oops, scratch that. in a few pages, Lex Luthor would be dead. Well, that would have been good for Superman but bad for us comic book readers and collectors because with the main archenemy gone, it would most likely have spelled the end of the series for Superman. And that would have been one very quick run for the comic book title.
First of all, a real super-hero stands up for justice and not vengeance. A real super-hero is a good and positive example of what people in an upright and morally correct society should be. I can go on and on. A perfect example of such a super-hero is Superman, of course. He is always the first comic book character that pops into my head when I think of what, ideally, a super-hero should be.
On another note, and interestingly enough, of all the Marvel comic book characters that made the jump onto the big screen in the recent years, it is only Deadpool whose costume they got right and did not ruin or modify too much. His twisted personality, they got it too. Practically everything from his physical appearance to his behavioral traits… the producers, director, and writers of the Deadpool movie got right.
But when it comes to other comic book characters whose personalities exhibited that of a just and good nature such as Superman’s, those responsible for making the movies seem to always mess them up or give the comic book characters some kind of deep-rooted issues or psychological flaws which never existed originally in the comics.
Sometimes the tendency to make comic book characters who belong to the side of good have a complex and flawed personalities ruins the long known image of the said super-heroes, disrespects their creators, and disconnects us comic book readers and collectors to their comic-based origins. It not only pisses us off because we are fans of the comic book characters. It can become downright frustrating as well to see the comic book characters portrayed on the big screen in such bad light. We want the generation of kids now to see who these comic book characters really are, or were before, and why we are fans of them in the first place.
Yet, someone as demented as Deadpool is the one more people embrace and enjoy seeing on the big screen. For most of them, they see nothing wrong in Deadpool. Nothing at all. The guy is a flipping lunatic but entertaining for anyone who has a twisted sense of humor and enjoys mass amounts of violence.
Truly, we exist in the age of the anti-hero.
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