The superhero movie is now a Hollywood staple, one corporations and advertisers want a piece of. But what is it selling?
…SCOTT There is something paradoxical about the modern ascendance of the superhero: world domination is what these guys were born to fight, and here they are chasing after it in a fairly literal way. Their rise is partly, like the rise of Hollywood itself, a great American success story. Back in the 1930s a bunch of writers, illustrators and entrepreneurs discovered a fertile and profitable intersection between the old pulps and the emerging youth culture. The creators of the first superheroes were outsiders — the children of immigrants or Jewish refugees from Europe — and their creations were marginal to everything respectable in the culture. Elite opinion regarded comic books as juvenile, disreputable, even dangerous, according to Dr. Fredric Wertham’s influential “Seduction of the Innocent,” which inspired Senate hearings in 1954….
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