Superheroes are a big topic as 2012's Comic Con comes to a close today. It’s obvious that politics and comics have always had a special relationship from propaganda to socio-political commentary. So where exactly would each of our beloved superheroes lie on the political thought spectrum? David Long, a comic blogger, wrote an article in 2006 listing the probable political party affiliation for all of our super hero favorites. It inspired us, so here is our version.
Let’s start with the most conservative character. Iron Man, of Marvel Comics, is about as Republican a character as possible. Tony Stark, aka Iron Man, is a billionaire with an Ivy League degree. He has a long history with war, serving as Secretary of Defense and is a weapons manufacturer. In Marvel’s civil war story arch, Iron Man was a huge supporter of the proposed law that all superhumans need to register with the government and abandon their secret identities. If anyone was against him and his movement, he classified them as an enemy combatant first and locked them up in Negative Zone prison, asking questions later. For these reasons, Iron Man could be considered a neo-con republican.
Slightly less militant than Iron Man and a little more socially conservative, green Lantern is DC’s version of a classic Republican. As Earth’s representative in the Galactic Police Force, Green Lantern was a former test pilot and wears “the most powerful weapon in the world” as a ring on his finger. As Long puts it, he “flies around reshaping reality according to his idea of The Way Things Should Be,” giving him our title as a solid Republican.
Superman is the prime example of a moderate Republican. Growing up in rural Smallville, Kansas, and working in Metropolis, Superman has a keen balance of “small town values and big city pragmatism”. Clark Kent, Superman’s alter ego, works at the liberal newspaper “the Daily Planet” where he meets his similarly moderate wife Lois Lane (daughter of a military general and lead reporter for the Daily Planet). Superman is socially moderate but pro-death penalty and distrusts the President. Lex Luther was his arch enemy.
Captain America can best be described as a "Truman Democrat". Cap, after being thawed for 50 years, has a retro perspective on things. Long says it best: “Captain America can’t even recognize today’s political parties, which have mutated in the decades he’s been on ice into bloated, hypocritical ideological monstrosities whose divisive policies makes him sad.” Captain American has all the underlying beliefs of a conservative American, like small government staying out of personal lives, hard work, self responsibility and a strong national defense. But he also believes in morality, justice and helping the less fortunate. “He votes his conscience, not along party lines,” writes Long.
Spiderman is DC's version of a Democrat. Spiderman had a personal experience with poverty, watching his primary guardian Aunt May stretch Uncle Ben's life insurance and taking freelance pictures of himself for a couple bucks. Spiderman absolutely believes in taking care of the little guys. “With great power comes great responsibility"...how democratic.
Green Arrow is the token communist of the superhero crew. Green Arrow wears a green outfit, shoots with a bow and arrow, and steals from the rich who acquired their wealth through improper means. This superhero is a modern take on Robin Hood. No surprise considering as a boy Oliver Queen, Green Arrow's alter ego, idolized the vigilante.
If Batman has a principle, there is nothing that can thwart him from standing by them. This is a trait present in most superheroes. Unfortunately, unlike most superheros, Batman’s principles are pretty contradictory. Despite distrusting any law or government officials, Batman strongly believes in the rule of law and right vs. wrong. Despite accepting fist fights and living a life of fighting crime, he is completely against guns and the death penalty. Batman is definitely too confusing to belong to any party and as Long put it, “When Batman votes, he weighs all the options and chooses the best person for the job, regardless of party affiliation or whether they are actually running for office. In other words, he writes-in BATMAN on every ballot.”
Do you agree or disagree with our interpretations? Did we leave anyone out?