July Fourth Superheroes

July Fourth Captain America
You’re welcome

Two of the most well-known superheroes, Captain America and Superman, are both patriotically-minded. Captain America’s red, white, and blue fandom is well-known, and Superman (who, some would say, is the Ur-example of a superhero) was raised on all-American values straight from the vein of the land, by Mr. and Mrs. Kent. So, what adventures do they, and other classic capes, do during this summer holiday, July Fourth?

First off, there’s a likely supervillain attack during these dates. There’s actually a Batman villain named Calendar Man, who pulls heists based on holidays. There are so many villains, in both universes, that the idea these characters have a day off – especially during July Fourth – is almost unthinkable. But not completely.

DC:

As Superman is the star-spangled boy scout, he likely enjoys July Fourth a trifle more than the others (even though Wonder Woman’s outfit is red, white, and blue from beginning all the way until nowish), and so it’s up to him to make it fun. Sometimes he has it at the JLA watchtower, address: the moon. There, it’s a tasteful cocktail party, during which they view the simultaneous firework shows all across the U.S. in a glorious panorama of flashing colors that only the super-privileged few can witness.

He also might invite the other superheroes down to the farm. John and Martha Kent know a thing or two about feeding superheroes a healthy home-cooked meal. As long as he can handle a healthy dose of Diana-is-so-nice-you-two-should-get-together, Superman no doubt enjoys having his brightly-dressed and patriotic friends over for dinner.

Marvel:

Depending on what version of Captain America we’re wrestling with (either the movie version, recently awoken and still with one foot in the forties, or the comic book version, which was thawed from the ice in the sixties and is now a little more caught-up). Given the first version, Cap will probably love the classic arrangements of July Fourth, the bbqs and the fireworks and Off, a spray which usually fails to fulfill its promise in relation to bugs and their distance from you.

If we have the comic version of Cap to manipulate, he’ll see the normal trappings and want to kick it up a notch. He’ll set up the fireworks himself, plan the buffet in immaculate detail, and have the SHIELD lab boys develop a powerful new anti-insect toxin which is safe for humans. Since comic books must have a conflict, this will result in a powerful, dangerous new villain that arises, somehow, from the chaos of the event, and must be put in his place by the assembled Marvel cast, be they Avengers or otherwise.

Of course it’s hard to tell what any given character would do for July Fourth, but we can at least be certain we’ll be enjoying ourselves as well. So go on, have a great weekend.

Father’s Day in Comic Book Land

Missing father
It’s really common

Father’s Day is Sunday, June 21st this year. It’s a day out of the year when we appreciate the hard work and dedication our fathers have poured into us, and are rewarded with ties, cologne, homemade cards, and macaroni pictures. It’s too bad no one ever celebrates it in the comic books.

With the sort of-exception of Superman (his actual parents are dead – since his planet blew up – but his adoptive parents are alive), the comic world is full of orphans. The obvious example is batman, whose parent’s deaths are part of his origin story, but this is a long-standing tradition from both Marvel and DC. It’s more prominent in Marvel (thanks mostly to Stan Lee, who was in love with the idea): Peter Parker’s parents are nowhere to be seen and his grand-uncle Ben is killed as his origin, a large number of X-Men are orphans (such as Cyclops and Professor X), Daredevil, Sue and Johnny Storm from the Fantastic Four, and even Janet Van Dyne, the Wasp.

It’s an all-too common trope that we see repeated endlessly in superhero books and movies. And it’s not reserved for the capes, either! Plenty of superhero villains are orphans, as well as classic characters like Luke Skywalker (sort of), Harry Potter, a whole lot of fairy tale characters, and most child video game characters.

Why does this idea come up so much? At the beginning it was for obvious reasons: Batman wanted to avenge his parents by capturing criminals. Superman’s dead biological parents are a necessity in order to get him to Earth, and Spider-Man’s Uncle Ben was killed to teach Spider-Man an important lesson that would help him become a superhero. After that, it begins to become more of “the parents will get in the way of the main character,” especially in video games and literature. Eventually, it comes down to being parent-less, even just one, gives more emotional credence to a character, gives them more freedom, and allows for easy angst.

It’s a tragic event for anyone to go through losing a parent, and commonly something that creates a drastic change. When a character has this as part of his or her beginning, it is rarely ever treated as this, though this is usually because the death has happened far enough in the past for it to be a partially-healed pain, or have them never know their parents.

We’re thankful that the frequency of deaths in real life doesn’t match what it is in pop culture. This Father’s Day, be sure to appreciate your father from keeping you from being a superhero.

Happy father's day

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

The Official Superhero Costumes blog will be taking a short break for Christmas. For your enjoyment, here is the classic poem “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas,” revamped for DC and Marvel. We’ll be back on January 2nd:

‘Twas the night before Christmas; all through Stark Tower
Not a creature was stirring under Hulk’s glower;
The jumpsuits were hung by the wet bar with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The heroes were nestled all snug in their beds;
While visions of cross-overs danced in their heads;
And Batman in his outfit, and I with my cape,
Had just settled our heads for a quick winter scrape,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
We sprang from Wayne manor to see to the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow,
Gave a luster of midday to objects below,
when what to my wondering eyes did appear,
But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer,
With a little old driver so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his courses they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:
“Now, Lockjaw! Now, Zabu! Now Lockheed and Krypto!
On, Redwing! On, Jumpa! On, Streaky and Beppo!
To the top of the porch! To the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”
As leaves that before the wild super breath fly,
When they meet up with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So up to the mansion the coursers they flew
With the sleigh full of gadgets; St. Nicholas too-
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in spandex, from top down to toes,
And ashes and soot now covered all of his clothes.
A bundle of gifts he had flung on his back,
And he looked an inventer, opening his pack.
His eyes – how they twinkled! His dimples, how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the emblem on his chest was as white as snow;
The stump of his pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and white hair on his chin
His belly was as big as the evil Kingpin.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
Soon gave me less reason I had before to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went back to his work,
And piled all the presents, then turned with a jerk,
And giving the JLA hero salute,
Then adding a nod, he rose back up the chute;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight—
“Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

Merry Christmas

If you liked this, also check out the Star Wars version on our sister blog.