Times have changed since the olden days when bad guys would commit minor crimes like petty theft and a law abiding superhero would put him away, overall making the world a better place. Well, we don't live in that kind of society anymore. Criminals have become more violent, aggressive and corrupted in real life and so this is reflected in fictional characters in things like comics. Some have had to change or have even been created with the purpose of becoming more like a criminal in order to fight them.
Vigilantes, in my opinion, represent the new kind of superhero that the modern world needs - the world has toughened and heroes need to do the same. They deliver justice in a way that may seem extreme at times, but is needed in order to make a difference, which is what people want even if they don't admit it. Most vigilantes become the embodiment of a symbol in order to represent the fight against corruption. Batman is the hero Gotham needs for a reason - he turned his fear (of bats) into a weapon so that criminals would feel and finally understand the pain they inflict on others. 'V' wears a Guy Fawkes mask and Rorschach wears an inkblot mask, both of which they are known for because they are directly linked to these iconic images. Now two simple masks have become visual symbols of change and even hope in the dreary setting of their stories which in a way reflects our own society.
People want change, and vigilantes are the people who can make it happen. This is why they are written as someone that people can engage with, despite the real life impracticality of their work and the violence of it. After all, who at one point in their lives hasn't wanted to be a mysterious outlaw; someone above the law who is able to take measures into their own hands when others look away in an evidently corrupt society? Just me? You're clearly not as passionate a Batman fan as myself are you?
Think about the ideology behind Kick-Ass if you've seen the movies or read the comics. The concept of real life superheroes is captivating because at some point there has been a time when we wish we could make the world a better place, but we can't because real life is a lot more dangerous and we are only human. Vigilantes are more than this because they are a symbol of justice; an idea, and you can't kill an idea Mr Creedy.
So I invite you to join me on this November the 5th in taking a little time out of your day to honour those who would do the right thing in the name of justice, no matter what the status quo. Thanks for reading.