As a little kid, I always loved the concept of superheroes. People who were like us in so many ways, and yet not like us in so many others. I loved the idea of secret identities and anyone you know possibly being a hero in disguise. I always wanted to run as fast as the speed of light. Why? Cause the Flash did it. I always wanted to be able to breathe underwater and control the beautiful sea creatures. Why? Because Aquaman did it. I wanted to be able to fly? Why? Because Superman could do it. And in my mind I always believed that I'd be able to somehow do one of those things someday.
Today, I want to talk about why I so greatly love the characters from DC Comics. I want to talk about what makes them different from other comic book characters, about what makes them special. I want to talk about why they are so inspirational for people like me, for people everywhere. Here are 3 reasons why I will forever love DC Comics.
The Characters Are Larger Than Life
DC characters aren't just another group of powered people, and they definitely do not fit into a "world outside your window" type setting like that of Marvel. No, they are larger than life. They are icons who represent certain philosophies, ideologies, and are icons of this age that are looked up to by many different individuals, young and old, big or small.
I love DC because the characters are just not realistic in any sense of that word. Batman may be a tech using hero, but he isn't just that, he's a symbol of justice. Wonder Woman isn't just a badass warrior, but a symbol of strength and an icon for women everywhere. Superman isn't just a dude who flies around with his underwear on the outside and is virtually unstoppable. No, he's a symbol of hope that has resonated with regular people for decades.
On the flip side, a big reason why I still watch but am not always super supportive of the DC Extended Universe movies is because of this very fact. Though I don't like that Zack Snyder seems to think that every single DC character can work in a Batman influenced world and tone, I still believe that, one day, we will get a film from Warner Brothers that will truly encapsulate the fact that the DC characters aren't just people with superpowers - they are basically gods!
Their Supporting Casts Help Define Who They Are
Ever heard the phrase, "a hero is only as good as his villain? (a quote that goes both ways)" Though not completely correct in and of itself (a hero is also only as good as his own values), this quote could not be more true when it comes to DC comics. In DC, every character seems to have a place that they belong, that they fit in. Poison Ivy? She belongs in the Bat-family and/or in the Batman rogues gallery. Captain Cold? He's a part of the Rogues (generally their leader), the group that tend to be the main villains of everyone's favorite scarlet speedster, the Flash.
When it comes to these characters, who they are is truly defined by the people around them. Batman would not be who he is without madness incarnate, the Joker, being there to taunt him every step of the way. Superman would never be the icon of justice, hope, truth, and the American Way that he is without the cold and calculating genius that is Lex Luthor.
But it doesn't start and end with the villains.
Without the Kents, Kal El, Superman himself, would never be the kind, optimistic, humble, and loving person that he is in the comics and (most of) the movies. Without the rest of the Batfamily, Batman is a lonely dude who lives a double life, using the mask of Bruce Wayne to help fund his solo exploits as the bane of all criminals.
Without Steve Trevor, there is no Wonder Woman. Without the Kents, there is no Superman. Without the Batfamily and the greatest rogues gallery ever, there is no Batman. And without the relationships between heroes of different corners of the DC universe, without the Justice League working together to be beacons of light and hope, without Superman and Batman leading the charge, without the friendship of Green Lantern and The Flash, without the bond of the Teen Titans, without the love between Wally and Linda Park, without Barry and Iris together, without the Green Arrow and Black Canary relationship, there is no DC.
Think about all the people who have been a huge part of your life. Your family, your friends, your teachers, that one bully you finally stood up to, the longtime crush you've had since middle school, and, heck, for some of us, we would say God as well.
Now imagine if you had never ever met your best friends, or ever went to that school where you met your crush, your teachers, and that bully?
Who would you be?
Someone, but definitely not who you are now. You wouldn't be you.
Though the New 52 had some great stories (Scott Snyder's Batman run, Superman Unchained and Superman Doomed, Wonder Woman, and Geoff John's stellar Justice League run), this is where the infamous 2011 reboot of DC continuity failed the most: keeping the relationships between different characters intact. When that failed, the fans suffered, the comic quality suffered. Because, as we've established, the characters are not who they are in the slightest without the people around them.
But then they realized that that is what truly makes them special.
In came Rebirth, a relaunch of the DC line that, for once in a while, was for the better. And in came good old, red head Wally West returning from the past to come and save the DC universe from the dark, hopeless world it had become. DC showed us they realized that the relationships between different characters are what make them who they are, and without that, the characters are shells of their old selves, pastiches of a glory that has been lost.
And what happened in Rebirth is the third reason why I will forever love DC.
Though They May Fall, They Get Back Up To Fight Another Day
Something that I will never forget about any of these characters is their will to fight for those who can't fight for themselves, and, when they fall, to get back on their feet and keep fighting. The Death of Superman in the 90's is such a pivotal part of the mythos and history of the character and DC comics as a whole. Why? Because it showed that not only did the unthinkable happen and DC killed their most popular character, but it showed that there is truly a human side to these so called "gods among men".
When Superman died, he died to save the world from the threat of the monster we all know as Doomsday. When Batman died back in Final Crisis, he was trying to save the world from the one of the greatest world ending threats the DC universe had ever known: Darkseid. When Barry Allen (The Flash at the time) died during the original Crisis in the 80's (the first reboot that DC ever did), he was dying to not just save his world, not just save his universe, but to save every universe in existence. He died to save infinite worlds, infinite groups of people, infinite heroes, and, what's even more amazing, infinite villains. He died to save them all.
When all three of these icons died, they were replaced. Batman (Bruce Wayne) was replaced by Dick Grayson. Wally West (my favorite Flash of all time) took up the mantle of Flash after Barry died, and became who most of us grew up knowing as The Flash (he was the Flash in the TV shows as well). When Superman died, he wasn't just replaced by 1 person. He was replaced by four individuals, known then as The Man of Steel (later known as Steel), The Man of Tomorrow (Cyborg Superman), The Metropolis Kid (a Superman clone, AKA Superboy), and the Last Son of Krypton ( later found out to be Superman villain the Eradicator).
After some time, however, the original heroes returned. Barry came back in Flash: Rebirth, Superman came back a short while after getting his behind handed to him by Doomsday, and Batman came back to form Batman Inc. a short time before the New 52.
These heroes represent ideologies and character that is beyond what many would expect. These aren't just the drawings of someone that doesn't have anything better to do. These are stories that teach character, life lessons, and have influenced millions. They are more than just characters, they are symbols, icons that embody the ideals that they represent to the fullest.
Those are my three reasons why I absolutely adore these characters. There is so much that could still be said, and so much that I myself may have not even begun to grasp when it comes to these characters. They've been a huge part of my childhood up till now, and I'm thankful that I got to grow up with them.
My love for them is also a big reason why I may seem so critical of DC and its films and comics as of late. So far, DC has been able to realize their mistakes on the comic book front and fix those, and it does seem like Geoff Johns is going to help the DC movies not just look visually spectacular, but also great in storytelling and keeping to the heart of the characters.
Hopefully he's able to bring a "rebirth" to the movies as he's done with the comic books.
Thank you so much for reading, it truly does mean a lot to me, and I hope you guys have been able to see why I love these fictional characters so much. They are more real to me than most people these days, and I know some of you can agree. Encourage each other, love each other, and always hope for the best. Blessings.