We live in a very different world than the one envisioned by early comic book writers. The recent spike in modern-day superhero movies have presented some interesting questions: Can heroes get PTSD? Is Bruce Wayne part of the despised “one percent”? In an age of digital ubiquity, who doesn’t watch the Watchmen?
Superman: Part Hero, Part Public Diplomat
Just how many times can one man save the world dressed in red, white, and blue before Washington takes notice? As one administration after another works to spread western ideals and combat anti-American sentiment, Superman will undoubtedly be recruited into part of a worldwide “democracy and liberty” campaign. Ambassadors will welcome him to U.S. embassies around the world for photo shoots with local children and speeches at major international universities, while Clark Kent lands a freelance job with Al-Jazeera. Factories in India, China, and Taiwan, meanwhile, will up their production of cotton shirts reading “Truth, Justice, and the American Way.”
Mutants in the Cloud
Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters has acted as a beacon of hope for mutants around the world. If Xavier hopes to maintain global harmony, however, he will have to field off accusations of gate-keeping elitism from disadvantaged mutants who are unable to drop everything to attend a prestigious school in New York. If the school has any hope of remaining relevant, it will have to follow the model of other major universities and begin offering cloud-based learning. After all, an ambitious Jean Grey is probably already pursuing her online bachelor’s in criminal justice.
Super Transnational Organizations
These days, members of a broader global community can work towards a common cause through international Non-Governmental Organizations (often called NGOs). Tony Stark, Magneto, and the Watchmen can all tell us about how frustrating it is to work within the constraints of a pesky national government (short answer: they don’t). NGOs have increasingly moved away from the background towards a more prominent role in the international arena. It may be worth mentioning that they are not without their controversies â€” but, then again, neither are our favorite superheroes.
Protecting Secret Identities With an Online Presence
After Edward Snowden revealed the National Security Agency knows us better than we know ourselves, superheroes are not the only ones concerned with protecting their privacy. Social media experts recommend that, rather than attempting in vain to hide our online activity, we should focus instead on constructing a deliberate online presence. Caped crusaders with alter egos can capitalize on this advice by creating active accounts on sites such as Twitter, Tumblr, and Pinterest. Who wants to pay attention to Peter Parker when they could be following Spiderman’s awesome Instagram instead?
With so many conflicts and catastrophes making global headlines, society needs heroes now more than ever. Perhaps the United Nations could make way for a council of Captain America, Captain Vyom from India, VÃ¤inÃ¤mÃ¶inen from Finland, and Velta from Brazil. Thanks to the effects of globalization, however, even a modern-day team of international superheroes would have to adjust to new challenges and struggles.