comic book social contexts

Super Heroes and Crimefighting

Hey! Look! More time-wasting ruminations on super heroes!

In the first decades of super heroes, their purpose was firmly fixed: Crimefighting. Even most supervillains, to this day, are petty criminals much of the time. This actually makes a lot of sense, given the time period they rose up in. Pre-WWII America was a crime-ridden, nasty place. Even today, America has an absurdly higher rate of violent crime, especially gun crime, than many other industrialized nations. If super heroes were first written today, though, or actually existed, would they be crime fighters? I don’t think so.