I hope you enjoyed last weeks review from Man on the Silver Mountain! He’ll be back many times in the future, so look out for more posts from him!
In other news, I spent my time researching and came across Superheroes Decoded. It talks about the story of America and the history in conjuction with the Superhero story. From the 1930s to the blockbuster films of today, it details how they evolved to become a modern mythology – Superman equating to Hercules. The documentary includes film clips, vintage comic artwork and interviews with creators, experts and fans – including new creators such as Patty Jenkins, the director of 2017’s Wonder Woman, as well as George RR Martin or Neil Degrasse Tyson the scientist. They also have Stan Lee on, which is amazing because he literally wrote half of the Supers we know today!
This documentary is amazing. It goes into some of the immense detail of each superhero, linking them to the history of the time.
Our first superhero, Superman, became a run away hit for Action Comics (later DC). He’s first seen throwing a car over a cliff. He was the first superhero to have a television and radio show, his own merchandise – his popularity was through the roof. His origin story is a modern legend – everyone knows that Jor El sends his son to Earth to save his life.
Our next big superhero was Batman, a complete opposite from Superman. Not a symbol of hope but almost a symbol of darkness. “Bring me something like superman but not Superman” – Batman is a superhero with a dark side.
Our next big supers were during the 1940s, which were our favourite captain, Captain America. The attack on Pearl Harbour threw Cap into the forefront of World War II comics. He is created as a super soldier, but his super power existed way before the serum was injected into him. Wonder Woman was created in 1941, empowering women to fight against Nazis and enemy spies at home.
This episode was a real indepth look into how our supers were formed, and it was an amazing watch. I found out things I never thought I would have known!
Episode one talks about our love of Legends, the Superheroes that have stayed with us forever. Episode two however talks about those breaking the mould. Not every hero wears a cape! This story is about the outsiders that were made to redefine what it means to be a superhero – think Defenders, Guardians of the Galaxy etc.
For instance, the X-Men are one of our rebels. The foundation of the Xmen; “We’re different but the same as everybody else.” The Sentinels were supposed to be bigots – the X-Men theme of fighting prejudice was an allegory about society, about how blacks fought back against whites. There are two factions in the X-Men; Charles Xavier who believes that they can all get on and Magneto who believes that X-Men are better than humans. This story is the story of the relationship between Martin Luther King and Malcolm X – King wanted an integrated society whereas Malcolm X wanted to keep fighting against society. Storm became the first female and black leader of a team, made to subvert the idea that only white men could be leaders. Jean Grey, no longer the token female, was changed into the super powered woman she was today – the woman we know as Phoenix. She has to be one of my favourite characters, her struggle for power, a woman that eats stars, versus her strive to do good. The heroes and antiheroes of the X-Men really helped bring everyone together!
This brings us to The Falcon – Stan Lee wrote this to change the stereotypical idea about blacks and whites. He was significant, he was there to show that blacks and whites can and should work together. According to the documentary, he was made just after the Civil Rights act, the bringing together of people.
And what about Luke Cage? The man with the most amazing fashion sense and the best catch phrase “Sweet Christmas!” Cage’s origin is a man treated unfairly, going to jail for something he never did.
If there’s one thing I recommend you do, it’s watch Superheroes Decoded because if I explained EVERY SINGLE THING I wouldn’t have enough time to write everything! Catch it online or repeated on the History channel!
Catch the scene about the sexualisation of women in the ’90s below!
Did you see Superheroes Decoded? What was your thoughts – love the history or don’t really care? What was your favourite fact? Leave a comment below!
[Header Image: Superheroes Decoded, History, 2017]