A Comic Book Superhero Essay

Parents have always chided young children for watching too much TV. However, the superheroes aid them in the children’s growth. The American archetypal comic book heroes are often athletic, virtuous, intrepid, and patient. In addition, a hero is referred to as anyone who has an unusual ability, which is utilized with the intention of doing good or being an altruist, one who takes bold action for the welfare of others. American archetypal comic book heroes are good moral compasses for children precisely because they keep them from being totally independent from their parents. A comic book superhero can be a real savior by helping kids understand right from wrong, develop their problem-solving skills in real life, and persevere through tough times.

The development of the ability to discern between good and evil takes off with the first superhero. In the 1978 Superman movie, Jor-El, Superman’s dad, tells his son, “[Humans] can be a great people…They only lack the light to show the way…I have sent them you: my only son.”(McMahon). This is the definitive moment that set the hero’s morals in steel. He needs to be the lighthouse that guides the human race to exceptional standards. According to Jeff Greenberg, a social psychology professor at the University of Arizona, “By identifying with the culture's heroes and superheroes, children can begin to feel like they are aligning with what is good and can develop their own agency, power, and value in the world” (Hanks). With each comic, they are learning to see what society deems as good and just conduct from the protagonist as opposed to bad and evil behavior from the antagonist. According to Lee Essig, co-author of the study Pow! Boom! Kablam!, “[Superheroes are valuable symbols] of men and women being the best they can be, with a focus on helping others” (Coyne). These idols represent what we all strive to be. With comics, we start these lessons at a young age, carving out the foundations for an exemplary populace. Comics are a great source for children to learn the right from wrong from the many heroes from Superman to Captain America.

As the young mature, an additional and essential skill that they must develop is the ability to problem solve. As one grows, superheroes, and in extension, their own unique worlds, help them start to become more independent and not rely on their parents to resolve all their difficulties. According to The National, Dr. Amy Bailey, a clinical psychologist at kidsFirst Medical Center, states that “[Fantasy worlds] can help them act out and process any inner turmoil… This can help children to resolve issues of power and control, and it allows them to resolve or reduce fears and anxiety” (Lewis). They are able to start to see through many conceivable scenarios just like how responsible adults visualize their actions beforehand. They should be able to stay away from real life conflicts by thinking out a solution. Furthermore, according to Garry Landreth, an internationally recognized writer promoting child-centered play therapy, in his book, Play Therapy: The Art of the Relationship, “fantasy play is a safe and controlled way to express emotions [and] to assimilate novel experiences” (Landreth). With this fantasy playground, they will be able to work out possible scenarios of any unique scenario by thinking through what happened. The key is the latter, where kids finally understand that their actions may not be life or death like their superheroes, but can still affect others. This is one of the defining abilities at the core of problem-solving. In addition, according to the book, The Uses of Enchantment: the Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales by Bruno Bettelheim, a psychologist at the University of Chicago, “[F]antasy fills a huge gap in a child’s understanding which [is] due to immaturity of [their] thinking and lack of pertinent information,” (Bettelheim). They use fantasy to help make sense of the ever-changing world. This is especially useful when problem-solving for something they do not understand. The introduction to problem-solving is easier because of the exposure to how ideal individuals think through situations by anticipating almost every possible repercussions for each of their steps. While there is a plethora of action in today’s cartoons, they eventually reveal an imperative virtue and that ingenuity is often vital in making the right decision in fantasy and real life alike.

Finally, the superheroes also are paragons of perseverance. Taking any superhero, they have had arduous times, but the archetypal superhero is not one to give up and is able to succeed by trying again. For instance, Batman is fighting a war against all crime. A war that no man can win alone. In spite of this, Batman decides to continue to go against the mammoth crime industry that stole his parents’ lives. In The Origin of Batman!, Batman vows at his parents’ graves, “I swear I'll dedicate my life and inheritance to bringing your killer to justice...and to fighting all criminals” (Finger). This is the type of perseverance that is often missing in real life. According to a research study by Rachel E. White, an assistant professor of Psychology at Hamilton College, “Performance [in a repetitive task] increased as a function of self‚Äźdistancing across age groups,” (White). Across multiple age groups, the reference to the children as heroes had a significant effect. Their morals change based on what they were referenced as. Those who were distanced from themselves by the use of names of common heroes did notably better with executive function that those who were called by their own name. The children were motivated to act like the people they were impersonating. In the study, this distance helped them recognize that, for example, Captain America, would keep working and try to do as much as possible, which nudged the children to work for longer periods of time on a “boring computer task”. When kids become mirrors of their heroes, they try to emulate the endurance in comic books.

When parents see comics, they often see a waste of time for children. However, the exposure to superheroes can help children develop multiple different virtues. These superheroes help the leaders of the future make the right choices, gain independence in problem-solving, and persist through life’s many challenges. The future of childcare might incorporate the use of superheroes for young children. The impact of superheroes is increasing and this might not be all bad. We might be reaching a new era of play therapy, which is not only beneficial for the children but also engaging. We all lean on a strong influence on our lives. Along with their family, the fantasy worlds provide plenty of ideals that kids are able to pick up and integrate into their lives.


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