Thursday, 25 February 2010

Kerrpow! Thwam!

It's funny how everything I'm learning really changes my view of things - even comic book characters!

A couple of years ago I watched Iron Man (Robert Downey Jnr), the first movie of the Marvel comic book hero. I thought it was great - very funny in places, loved his humour and just silly escapism really. Watched it again last night and still felt the same about it.

Then this morning it hits me - the body as a site of cultural representation!!! Iron Man, Batman, Spiderman etc. all the superheros (and baddies) all fit into this project! They are all respectable men during the day and superhero on demand - divided souls, split identities, struggling to find meaning etc, etc, etc! But in the interview feature of the dvd, Stan Lee points out that when he wrote Iron Man, it was the height of the Cold War and the character was created as a defender of all things American at that time; his two arch enemies are The Crimson Dynamo (Russia) and The Mandarin (China).

These characters were used to reach an audience who would not otherwise be reading newspapers or taking an interest in the politics of the time. The body (the character in his rubber suit - ok, his titanium plated, something coated whatever ...) representing the powers of good against the powers of bad (cultural representation of the time).

Ok, I know it's a bit of a leap ... but, if you can leap tall buildings in a single bound...!!!


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