I was always planning on doing a post related to the idea that superheroes are on the same level as that of the mythical stories and epics that have a powerful presence in literature and culture. Superman is our modern Achilles-the greatest hero who ever lived-who is near invincible save for one small weakness. We have pantheons of gods like The Living Tribunal or The One Who is Above All just to name a very, very few. Even the heroes whose stories we follow can be placed in annals and archives of feats of previous gods, demigods, and heroes who perform great feats.
Superheroes have had a great influence on pop culture within the last couple decades or so. What was once a certain demographic in isolation has broken open to be widely accepted by various peoples and cultures from all over the world. This has been a thought in my mind ever since I got into art history in college and really attempted to break down the motifs and characteristics within classical and neoclassical artworks. I think if I ever wanted to get my Master’s in Art History, this thought is what my thesis would be on. The cool thing is there is an online class called The Rise of Superheroes and Their Impact on Pop Culture being offered by the Smithsonian Institution by way of EdX (pronounced Ed-ex.) It is a class that they are covering online which is fantastic for some of us who are too busy to go to a physical class. The best thing about it is that it’s free.
We will be hearing from various people such as Stan Lee, Michael Uslan, David Uslan, and Dr. Christopher Robichaud who will cover various origins and reasons as to why comic book characters were created and even compare how they have influenced American culture and have grown as a pop culture force to be reckoned with. So essentially this is a shout out to bring to light if you have the opportunity to take this class, I recommend you go for it. Already, excitement is buzzing within the discussion pages as people from all over the world are gathering together under a common love of comics and the pursuit of knowledge. Once the course is over, I’ll probably post more thoughts on this.