Superheroes and Comics

“Truth, justice and the American way’- it’s not enough anymore,” (Dixon and Rivoche 500) Superman renounced his citizenship on April 2011 because he doesn’t want to be an American symbol anymore. Chuck Dixon and Paul Rivoche are both graphic novel writers who write an essay using superman to prove how the comic book industry has changed based on political-correctness. “How Liberalism Became Kryptonite for Superman” is written by Chuck Dixon and Paul Rivoche. This essay was published by the Wall Street journal in 2014. Chuck Dixon and Paul Rivoche wrote this essay is to show comic book readers about how over the years’ politics has had a negative effect on superheroes. They also have a graphic novel “The Forgotten Man” that also came in 2014. The comic book industry has changed since the 1930s to adjust to what they believe the audience wants.

Dixon and Rivoche wrote an essay about how superheroes have changed their ideals. In the 1930s superman was created and he was battling real world problems, “battled Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan during World War 2.” (Dixon and Rivoche 501) Superman was “good, just wonderfully American.” (Dixon and Rivoche 501) Superman’s purpose was to help Americans find their way. To show their readers right from wrong. They talk about how in the 1990s in changes started to happen. The Comics Code Authority came out to help regulate the content with the comics to protect their readers who are kids and prevent problems of government policy. Even though the CCA came out around the 1970s, it didn’t start to have an effect until the 90s.

Superman would end up becoming less patriotic and other superheroes for example Batman would also go through changes. He would become darker rather than patriotic. One example is when Superman renounce’s his citizenship, so he isn’t seen as a problem with US policy. They go in to how “political-correctness” is why there is a dramatic change in the comic book world. Liberalism is to blame. Dixon and Rivoche say that it’s important for comic book writers to go back to how it originally was. They don’t like how liberalism is affecting the industry.

Dixon and Rivoche essay were supposed to show comic book fans about the changes that the comic book industry has went through. Since the 1930s and how the industry needs to go back to version of superheroes. They also state in the title that liberalism is to blame. That it has “become kryptonite for superman” (Dixon and Rivoche 500) They aren’t only addressing fans who share the same beliefs as them but to ones who could be to blame for change. This essay is trying to show how everyone should be concerned about the direction that this industry is going. Everyone within the comic world will read this essay and join them, no matter who they are, “conservative’s, free-marketers, and, yes, free-speech liberals.” (Dixon and Rivoche 503)

The essay talks about how liberalism is the blame because of how super heroes are the way they are today, they are looking to everyone. They want super heroes to be patriotic, a symbol for America. To be conservative. When superman renounces his citizenship in 2011, Dixon and Rivoche feel as if superheroes have lost their true purpose.

The writers used stereotypes to be persuasive. Which is why they bring up superman instead of Aquaman, they chose the most well-known superhero to grab everyone’s attention. Everyone knows superman. They talk about how superman and batman have changed since the beginning when they say “superheroes also changed. Batman became dark and ambiguous, a kind of brooding monster. Superman became less patriotic.” (Dixon and Rivoche 502) They don’t like the way superheroes are being portrayed nowadays.

They are losing their purpose. George Gene Gustines is a journalist who wrote a paper for The New York Times called Diversity Comes to Superheroes. Gustines writes about why superheroes are changing today. He talks about how writers are making superheroes more relatable to its current audience. Gustines gives an example of how superheroes are becoming more liberal by adding diversity into these stories. “X-men, who fought for acceptance in a world that feared and hated them simply for being mutants.” (Gustines 2) Readers themselves want to feel accepted in their lives so the industry is “catching on pretty quickly to the fact that diversity can improve sales in comics.” (Gustines 1)

The Comic industry are putting diversity into comic books because that is what people want. In both papers they agree that superheroes are changing and becoming more liberal but Gustines doesn’t think that it’s such a bad thing. Changing superheroes for the better will expand audiences. Just because superheroes are being affected by liberalism doesn’t mean their losing their purpose, but they are gaining a bigger one. They are becoming more relatable for people who read comic books. People have a personal connection to them.

James Young is a comic book journalist wrote an article in 2016 explaining the where superheroes stand politically. From “Right to Left: Ranking the Politics of Superheroes”, he defends liberalism and why it’s expanding within the comic book world. “The more a hero tries to defend the status quo, the more right-wing they are…those that try to create change in their world lean more towards the left.” (Young 1) Young explains how the people are trying to change and make superheroes more relatable are liberals. Liberals are trying to change superheroes for what they believe to be the better. They want superheroes to evolve and become more relatable and tackle current issues that the readers want. He’s states how most superheroes are either liberals or centrists. He talks about how superman is a centrist because the way he addresses politics in his world.

Dixon and Rivoche go on about how superman have and always should be a conservatists. Young is a younger reader so the superman he knows now could be the only version that he ones unlike with Dixon and Rivoche who have been around longer. But Young still sees a strong heroic patriot. He believes superheroes are better off on the left side of politics.

Dixon and Richove give plenty of evidence within their essay. They clearly explain how superheroes have changed over time. They want to restore them to their former glory. Truth, justice and the American way but it seems like these two writers are stuck in the past. It’s not that superheroes are becoming anything less than what they were. They are changing with society, becoming more relevant to its audience. Which as they said in their essay “industry’s main audience-kids’ (Dixon and Rivoche 502) They are conservatists who fear that if they include their political opinions that they’ll be judged for it. They talk about when superman stood up to the KKK and during world war 2 but they don’t like the way superheroes are standing up to modern day issues.

When it comes to the politics and the comic book world Chuck Dixon and Paul Rivoche share their concerns with the comic book world. They talk about the importance of patriotism inside comics. That truth, justice and the American way are what made superman great and the icon that he has been throughout his series. How superman, batman and many modern superheroes have lost their way over the decades and they blame it on liberals. Superheroes have changed for the better because of liberalism but the writers are conservatives who feel like superheroes are losing their purpose.

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Superheroes and comics. (2021, Jun 22). Retrieved August 10, 2022 , from

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