Why do we read comic books? Why do we have an infatuation with comic book based movies? I mean, I'm 27 years old, it was ok when I was 12, even when I was 17, but at 27? Shouldn't I be married with a house, two kids, and a dog named Edward? I'm not opposed to being married with two kids, and I'm definitely not opposed to owning a dog named Edward, but I would still read comic books and watch movies based on them.
I started reading comic books when I was 6 years old. Honestly they were a big help in teaching me how to read. I had been a fan of Batman ever since I could remember. My mom would tell the story of when I was about 2 years old I would run around the house like crazy, one day she just turned on the TV to distract me and the old Adam West Batman series was on. She said I would stay sitting there quietly for the duration of the show. So my mom went to the local video rental store (yeah there was a whole building for renting movies back in the 80's and 90's) and rented VHS copies of the Christopher Reeves Superman movies, The Super Friends cartoon, anything comic book related and when she needed an hour or two to get house work done she'd put one in the old VCR and I'd sit quietly and watch until the movie was over...and then I'd fall asleep because I was 2 years old and nap time was calling my name.
That's how it started. That's how comic book super heroes became my favorite form of story telling. So when it was time for me to learn to read, naturally comic books helped. I know you must be saying, "Ok Bobby, that's great and all but you have BA in literature, shouldn't you have a more refined taste in reading material?” ...I'm gonna say no.
Comic books used to not be very literary until the 80's happened and writers like Denny O'Neil, Alan Moore, and Frank Miller started writing more complex story lines. The best example I can give is Alan Moore's 1987 comic "Watchmen" which was the winner 1988 Hugo Award. Currently you can go into a comic shop or Barns and Noble and find an array of comics and graphic novels that aren't just about super heroes. There's noir stories, war stories, westerns, and something really for everyone. Comics aren't just about the writing, they are also about the art illustrating the stories and bring the writers words to life on the page. Comic books are an art form and movies are similar. The costume design, the lighting, the sets, they bring these characters off the page.
The original question though was, why do we read comic books? Why do we have an infatuation with comic based movies? My answer is much simpler than trying to convince you that they're literary or cinematic or an art form. Why do I read comic books? Why do I love comic based movies? I read comic books and love the movies based on them because they tell stories of people who want to make a difference. They make me believe a man can fly, they make me see the good in people and that our fellow man is worth fighting for, and even dying for. They make me believe in heroes, and that we have the ability to overcome any and all difficultly in our lives. That even though I may not have super strength, the ability to fly, I'm not a billionaire with a cave full of gadgets, that everyone of us has the ability to be a hero and stand up for the oppressed, to be a voice for good in this world filled with hate and negativity. Comic books (and the films based on them) taught me to believe in hope and to believe that we all can be saved when our world is falling down around us. And as odd as it may seem, comic book heroes strengthen my faith in God and in people. That's why we love them.