As an entertainment and cultural icon, the costumed superhero pervades our culture, and superhero imagery (in both literary and visual forms) is ubiquitous (Morris and Morris 2005: ix).1 Superhero stories present and explore many important and pressing concerns such as ethics, justice, crime, punishment and social responsibility. Originating in the visually stimulating form of comic books, superheroes have transitioned well into other forms of popular culture – ranging from children’s animated television series (such as Superhero Squad or Spectacular Spiderman) through to the slick special-effects laden Hollywood productions (such as Iron Man 2008, Fantastic Four 2005, The Avengers 2012) and the ofttimes violent and explicit ‘mature audience’ cinematic portrayals (such as Watchmen 2009). In any format, superheroes are generally set apart not just for their special powers or impressive gadgets, but for their fearlessness in the face of betrayal, chaos and destructive violence. They ‘pursue justice, defending the defenceless, helping those who cannot help themselves and overcoming evil with the force of good’ (Loeb and Morris 2005: 11).
Recommended CitationSharp, Cassandra, ‘Riddle me this…?’ Would the world need superheroes if the law could actually deliver ‘justice’?, Law Text Culture, 16, 2012, 353-378.