Why Do People Love Superheroes?
Is it because they show us how a single person has the capacity to make the world a better place if he puts his powers to good use? Is it because we know who is good and who is bad; because the heroes and the villains are easily identifiable?
Do we love superheroes because we all want to think we might be rescued someday? A day when the super villains seem to teeter toward having the real power — unless the superhero gets the signal to appear and save us from the villain’s evil plan? Don’t we all want the caped crusader to suddenly appear and save the world, no matter how perilous it seems?
There are hundreds, if not thousands of theories as to why people love superheroes. In 2017, five of the 10 highest grossing films were about superheroes. Superheroes pervade television shows, too; spin-offs of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, etc.. Mainstream shows like Big Bang Theory bring comic books and superheroes to the forefront and weave in elements of the stories, movies, and stars that populate popular media.
Even I’m not immune.
Our Inner Nerds
We all know those stereotypes of the nerdy boys who like to read comic books and play virtual reality games; the science geeks that grow up to rule the world. Their obsession with fictional characters with superpowers seems quirky and down-to-earth. There’s an acceptance that superhero fandom is actually pretty cool. Batman, Ironman, Captain America, the Green Lantern — they’re all pretty cool, aren’t they? They all have a pretty good story.
Maybe that’s why we love them? Maybe superheroes are like a modern version of Greek or Norse heroes? Maybe popular culture wishes we had a little more of this magic escapism in our everyday lives.
Big Bang Theory and Comics
Most of what I know about comic book superheroes comes from watching Big Bang Theory. Which is to say, I don’t know much. So when I entered the Hall of Heroes museum, I was relieved to see a more familiar face right there at the counter: the face of Stuart Bloom, actor Kevin Sussman, whose autographed pictures were for sale as well.
“He’s pretty cool,” the clerk told me. “He actually worked in a comic book store in real life before the show.”
That is cool. Apparently, he liked to read some of the comic books while on set, too. But whether they were Marvel or DC, I don’t know. It was because of Big Bang Theory that I even knew DC Comics versus Marvel was a debate.
Wondering who the guys on Big Bang Theory chose? It’s never overtly stated, but the characters so wear more DC t-shirts and Stan Lee makes a guest appearance on the show more than once. And — Warner Brothers, who owns the show, also owns DC Comics. So, I’m guessing DC wins this round.
Hall of Heroes
The Hall of Heroes was the organic creation of Allen Stewart. He collected comics as a child and, in fact, got a job delivering two paper routes just to feed his insatiable appetite for more issues.
Stewart eventually joined the military and later — BAM! POW! — auditioned for the role of Robin in the first Batman movie in 1989. Imagine making a dream like that come true?! PIFF — he didn’t get the role. Chris O’Donnell did.
I know the whole story. I read it in the comic book they cleverly created to share the Hall of Heroes history.
Marvel or DC Comics?
The Hall of Heroes is divided evenly down the middle with rows of files cabinets filled with comic books. On the left side, the displays are all things Marvel. On the right: DC Comics. Obviously, there is something that appeals to everyone there.
We started with Marvel’s Captain America display — my daughter-in-law’s favorite. In addition to comic books, figurines, and all sorts of other collectibles, they showcased one of the shields used in the filming of the Captain America movie.
There were movie props all throughout the museum, including two impressive movie props donated to the museum: the ’65 Shelby Cobra that Robert Downy, Jr. was sprawled across in the blockbuster Iron Man. For a small fee, you can lay there and have your picture taken in the same spot.
Or, sit on the Hell Cycle motorcycle made famous in Ghost Rider and pose like Nicholas Cage.
The Hall of Heroes is packed with all types of memorabilia relating to comic book characters and superheroes. They also sell comics, of course, and showcase stars like Kevin Sussman, William Katt from Greatest American Hero, Dean Cain from TV’s Lois & Clark, and Richard Rawlins of the show Fast -N- Loud who donated the ’65 Shelby Cobra.
It’s amazing what a childhood dream can turn into. Having all of this history and memorabilia packed into one fantastic museum is a testament to the creators of these marvelous characters and the fans who love them.
Who is your favorite superhero?
Such fun although I’m not a comics fan. Love the movies. Latest, The Old Guard, just released on Netflix is a great, gritty, but bloody, departure.
Interesting. I’ll have to check it out.
We all need heroes, Juliann. Tarzan was mine growing up back in the 50s. 🙂 He and Robinhood. Then I graduated to gunslingers of the Old West. Grin. –Curt
Kind of interesting to me that yours were all still costumed, to some degree. At least in popular depictions. I agree that we all need heroes. I was never drawn to superheroes and have often wondered if it was more of a “boy thing” when I was young?
Interesting on the costumes, Julia. Tarzan’s was a bit on the brief side. 🙂 Cowboys were pretty much cowboys. I think of green when I think of Robin Hood. I asked Peggy about her childhood heros. Heidi she responded. There are a lot more models for them out there, now. –Curt
Definitely lots of model characters now. Peggy’s was Heidi, huh? Mine was Helen Keller. 🙂
Can’t go wrong with Helen Keller. Grin. Peggy did end up teaching the deaf as an important part of her career in education. Not blind, but close. –Curt
What an impressive collection, thanks for this fantastic tour!
The Hall of Heroes looks like a fun stop. So many of the characters that we all grew up with, which adds a personal relationship to a visit. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks. I know I had fun looking at the old comic books, lunchboxes, action figures and reminiscing about things my brother and I played as kids. It was also interesting to see some of the comic book covers from the 1940’s and the various allusions to WWII on those.
My father introduced me to Westerns; books and movies. Then some where along the way I learned about greek mythology. That makes me think about Wonder Woman. Superman along with Popeye was big in our house growing up too. My mister has introduced me to superheroes (Iron Man is a favorite) as well as my parents introducing us to The Big Bang Theory. Great Post today – brought back some good memories! Happy Day – Enjoy 🙂
Popeye!! That’s a blast from the past! We loved Popeye. He was a superhero of sorts, too, wasn’t he?
I would say he is a superhero of sorts. There tends to be some fighting with superheros saving the day and doing away with the bad people. Even Popeye.
I was an X-Men girl all the way, growing up. I think a lot of minorities and other “outsiders” identified with them.
These days I’m a lot less interested in superheroes, and a lot more interested in the “ordinary.”
That’s so interesting about “outsiders” being drawn to X-Men. I know very little about them. I must say, if a superhero could sweep in and fix the world right now, I’d be onboard with that!
My knowledge of superheroes is mostly limited to those featured in the Marvel movies, though I did enjoy cartoons that featured superhero characters when I was a kid. But regardless, a museum like this sounds like it would be really fun and fascinating! Like you said, all the characters have interesting stories and I can always appreciate a good bit of charactering building. 🙂
They do have interesting stories. My son shared the background of Captain Marvel with me. Apparently he was created because Marvel comics didn’t have a character bearing the “Marvel” name. The backstories of many of the villains is so interesting to me, too.
Superheroes and villains (for me at least) are sometimes people I can identify with the only difference is their powers and skill sets . while you’re reading this would you mind checking out my blog I do monologues of different characters from comics, anime, manga and TV shows! It would help a lot!
My buddy Richard is the biggest comic-book nerd, he would go nuts for this place! So much cool memorabilia!!
They often hold events and have guests come to the store. Tell him to check it out. 🙂
Thank you for the great article. We will be sharing it on our Facebook page.
I’m honored. Thank you! 🙂
I’m going to settle this for you, Marvel is better than DC and it isn’t close. Batman is cool and all, but DC’s main heros are dweebs. That being said, I’ll still go DC on this one and pick Rorschach from Watchman because, he has layers.
Okay! I think you’ve given this some thought, lol. It’s funny how divisive this can be.