The Practicality Of Being A Superhero
Being a superhero is more than just saving the world from psychotic dudes in makeup who kill cats for fun; it’s also a fashion statement.
The mask. The tights. The cape. The color choices. The boots. Custom-made armor, perhaps. Possible makeup. Maybe a bracelet of some sort. You’ve got transportation considerations: flying, running fast, riding a dolphin, driving a car (and, if so, what type of cool, fast car should you drive). Do you live in a house, on a foreign planet, or inside some type of extravagant subterranean fortress?
This is complicated stuff.
Never before has the practical side of the superhero’s wardrobe decisions been revealed like the following paragraph in Watchmen:
Dollar Bill was one of the nicest and most straightforward men I have ever met, and the fact that he died so tragically young is something that still upsets me whenever I think about it. While attempting to stop a raid upon one of his employer’s banks, his cloak became entangled in the bank’s revolving door and he was shot dead at point-blank range before he could free it. Designers employed by the bank had designed his costume for maximum publicity appeal. If he’d designed it himself he might have left out that damned stupid cloak and still be alive today.
Blame the marketers.
How fitting is that excerpt of what a modern-day superhero would look like, even though this was written 25 years ago? Designers were thinking about marketing, publicity. Dollar Bill even had an employer, almost like a sponsor.
Imagine Batman sponsored by Target–the red Target bullseye on his shoulder and the Batman symbol on his chest. Superheroes could be just like NASCAR drivers, pro golfers, and crappy college bowl games. Aquaman…brought to you by Dasani.
Anyway, I thought that was a clever passage. Watchmen is definitely a different type of comic book. Other than Dr. Manhattan, it really is about real people with loads of baggage and problems , who become crimefighters, not superheroes.
And, to me, that’s just so much more enjoyable to read than some nonsense about a teenager getting bit by a spider and developing “spidey senses.” Really…spidey senses?