Captain America, Wonder Woman, Superman, Batman, Spider-man. What effect did American superheroes have on the psyche of American society?
Comic books are more than agnostic art, the history of comic books in the USA and particularly of action comics since World War II show that comics can be a medium for political expression. For many years comics have been use to tell the American story and more subtly to promote certain political and social agendas; from war to peacetime politics, from rights movements to changing social norms.
Marvel Comics recently announced the release of a new comic series with a Muslim-American girl as the teenage superhero.
During the Golden Age of comics (1938 to 1950) comics were used to bolster support for Allied forces against the Axis forces. American comic book companies showcased heroes such as Captain America prevailing over the Axis Powers like Adolf Hitler. Superman and Batman, star-spangled Wonder Woman, The Shield and Captain America were all hugely popular during World War II and most US presidents since the Golden Age have featured one way or another in mainstream superhero comics.
And for good reason. Danny Fingeroth, author of Superman on the Couch: What Superheroes Really Tell Us about Ourselves and Our Society thinks he know why comic book superheroes have continued to matter so much to so many of us over the past several decades. He defines a hero as “someone who rises above his or her fears and limitations to achieve something extraordinary…a hero embodies what we believe is best in ourselves”. More so superheroes who have fantastic powers, strength of character and a system of positive values, and a will of steel to defend those values. If ever there was a society that needed the kind of subliminal reconditioning that superheroes can offer it would be Nigeria – today.
That’s what Farafina and Nigerian comic book buff will be discussing today, 5.30pm at a public roundtable discussion at the Bogobiri Festival. Details are:
Venue: Bogobiri, 9, Maitama Sule Street off Awolowo Road (near Falomo), South-West Ikoyi, Lagos
Date: Sat 9th Nov 2013
Time: 5.30pm – 6.45pm
Theme: “Comic books, graphic novels and patriotism: Can Nigerian comic books influence society and politics?”
Panel includes Yona Oyegun-Masade (moderator) of Farafina, publishers of Abraham Oshoko’s June 12: Annulment , Adeniran Adeniji publisher of Uhuru Comics and Ibrahim Ganiyu illustrator of June XII comics.
Right after the open discussion (which takes place in the Bogobiri Gallery), Keziah Jones, in concert, launches his latest album, ‘Captain Rugged’, aptly inspired by the comic book culture. You don’t want to miss either event.