I’m taking a research break. Have you ever heard of semiotics? It’s about language and understanding. There are signs and signifiers. Signs are words like “house” and signifiers are what you are imagining right now. Our houses look different. The word conjures an image but they look different depending on location and lived experience. A famous artwork about it is Joseph Kosuth’s “one and three chairs”. Google it real quick and you’ll be like “whoa.” That’s the kind of research I’m doing right now.
On to comics and heroes! Following up on my last post I claim that Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman are not admirable heroes – more on Cyborg later. Heroes have a broad definition but I envision them as people worthy of admiration, someone you aspire to be like. The issue with this popular trinity is they embody duality. I lean towards wholeness. Each of them exist simultaneously as a “human” and secret hero. They pass for normal in but primarily their story telling revolves around the action packed superhero material. I don’t know about you but *I* am not like that. Existing in halves rather than completeness is my an obstacle for relating to or liking these heroes…
Batman or Bruce Wayne. If you ever have to create an alter ego I’d suggest not being a womanizer. It’s too common. Bruce Wayne is in charge of Wayne Enterprises and although it produces weapons, armour, and vehicles for Batman it too reinforces his internal divide. If he were more extreme he might be seen as having a split personality. Bruce Wayne indulges societal expectations and desire but come sundown Batman is roaming the streets appealing his own sense of justice. He *is* a vigilante. The division of desire and order is seen also in his romantic relationships. The ones I know of are Catwoman, Batgirl, and Talia. although he knows the day time identity of these women his affairs with them are at night and sometimes masked. A separation that prevents vulnerability. I’m terribly sensitive and find myself frustrated by Batman’s lack of empathic behaviours and showing his own weakness. I believe failure is endearing. He is always brooding. Emotionally not functional likely because of his compartmentalization.
The Kryptonian and The Amazon! I’m relatively new to comics and I’m a fan of this power couple. Their relationship has brought new dimensions to the individual characters and the Justice League’s enactment of justice. Superman goes by Clark Kent and Wonder Woman’s name is Diana. Her last name Prince alludes to her being a Princess of the Amazon warriors of Themyscira. These two parade about as humans but duality is embedded in their DNA. They are outcasts having hiding their true selves. Perhaps you are thinking “don’t all heroes have secret identities?” No, not all. It’s the element of denial that I find so hard to grasp. When I read or watch them they are either being totally badass or going on dates while taming themselves to fit in. The difference is described as an issue and their romance is empowering! A love and passion founded in trust and mutual understanding paired with the desire to be loved and accepted. Side note! Superman grew up learning to pass and mentors Wonder Woman in his ways. As a couple they begin to tackle questions of power, authority, and the meaning of justice but all that ends when the glasses are on. Sigh, if only the world were different too.
Cyborg is in his own category.A different kind of challenge because he is underwritten in the films and I’ve never read him in anything. The most striking thing about Cyborg is that he can’t pass yet he doesn’t fully embrace his newness. Being both always he is the struggle of humanity. What does it mean to be human? In other works cyborgs are a tool to broaden the understanding of humanity often in an illustrative attempt to show readers how they fail to give personhood and humanity to flesh and blood humans. Personally, I love that he dreams. The prevalence of his fears and desires in his dreams speaks to me about the notions of souls. I see it as an accepted form of animism in adult works because he is still human and must have a soul, right? This is another area of my research so I’ve got some strong and academic jargon level feelings about it.
Now you know my feelings about the Justice League! I’m going to do my best to keep up writing here during the semester even if it’s just brief burst of emotion.