Comics inspire our generation


Mary Klajbor, a freshman studying fashion design and merchandising at WSU, reads her favorite Marvel comic books on Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014.

Every year sees the release of several superhero movies, far more than in previous decades. It’s a genre with a large draw. Guardians of the Galaxy, released earlier this year, drew in more than $324 million at the box office, and Captain America earned over $700 million.

These movies are clearly popular and well-loved. In any movie we love to see the protagonist emerge triumphant, but superhero movies exemplify this. Each movie is a depiction of the struggle between good and evil. It’s the struggle seen all around us — the struggle to do the right thing, to take a stand and fight, even if you don’t combat evil villains on your daily commute.

While the problems faced by heroes are much stranger and extensive than what is normally encountered, it almost always comes down to a fight between the hero and the villain.

But in the real world there are no real villains to be found. Take global climate change, maybe one person blames the ‘evil’ oil companies, but the fact is, they’re run by people who just want what’s best for themselves.


This makes solutions more complicated, as conflicts can’t just be resolved with a grand fight. Often it’s a compromise between two different viewpoints.

Mostly, superhero films are a different form of wish fulfillment: they display a reality we wish were real.

But they can give us something else: they can inspire us. Guardians of the Galaxy, one of the most popular movies this year, had a speech about caring.

According to Pew Research Center, Millennials (those born between 1981-2000) are so far the most socially progressive generation. They are also slightly more likely to get involved, though often it’s through the internet.

Three-quarters have also donated to charities in 2012, according to surveys sent out by the Millennial Impact Report. This summer also saw videos like the “Ice Bucket” challenge go viral.

This is a generation that cares. We as a culture like to believe that these movies will inspire the many and gives us an idea of what we as a society would like to achieve as-far-as being heroic.

When we watch a movie, audiences tend to identify with the hero or protagonist. We want to see them succeed, because we in turn want to conquer our own struggles, even if we don’t get to do so in a dramatic action sequence.