It was a grey Sunday afternoon that turned brighter, once I watched a lecture (from Dan Hassler-Forest) on how superheroes fit in the society, in which the the hero gained popularity. How the Captain America comics were released after the second world war as a hero that was the defeating the Germans. How the Batman movies, gained a lot of heat after Bush declared the war on terror after 9/11.
Batman shows the sides to the political decisions that had to made back then. Decisions like spying on your citizens and torturing to gain information. He is faced with the same problems. How far can he go to protect his people? What is morally justified?
In the Dark Knight, Batman is spying on all of
Gotham City to look for his enemy. He is one of the ‘darker’ superheroes. And at the same time one of the most interesting.
It’s many years later now. And a superhero that conquered the television since 2014 is The Flash. The Flash is about Barry Allen. He works at the CSI and one day gets hit by lightning as a result of a particle accelerator explosion. This accident gives him a lot of speed, he becomes the fastest man alive.
The series is based on comics from DC Comics and it’s not the first time it was adapted for television. In 1990 the first season of a previous tv adaptation was released. This was also it’s last season. I accidentally watched an episode a while ago. I thought it was one giant flashback (pun intended) and after half an episode figured it out.
In 2014 DC Comics tried again. And with the technology available today it turned out great. It looks awesome. But content wise the rebirth of this superhero is far more interesting. The series starts with a particle accelerator explosion and the scientific aspect doesn’t stop there. The main part of the characters have a scientific background and they often use ‘new’ (scientific) theories to explain how things happen. You would almost think it can all really happen. Science, after all consists of a lot of unproven and not disprovable theories.
If we go back to how superheroes fit in our society The Flash does perfectly. Also in the society of the 90’s by the way. The Flash shows us the possibilities of science, how far we have come and everything we can do. The superhero was ‘modified’ by accident but they also deal with modifying on purpose. Which plays a huge role in our society today with the developments on genetic modification.
The series shows us how science is something to invest in because it can save lives and make the world a better place. How it can lead to differences in power and ‘villains’. And how rational thinking and science can in turn solve that. Science has a lot of value in the series and in the world we live in today.
The Flash also shows us how scientist can be social and funny and breaks the stereotype (wears glasses, is isolated) in the most wonderful way. It also breaks stereotypes like women in science and interracial couples. The series does this in a passive way. They don’t actively reference to the stereotype they are breaking when they are breaking it. Which in my opinion makes it that much stronger.
We don’t constantly get reminded of the stereotype and it isn’t kept alive. In stead it’s so integrated and not seen as abnormal that it will in turn be integrated in our society as well.