What is the difference between the old Superman comics and the Watchmen? Or the Superman in Jimmy Corrigan? I believe it's the depiction of a superhero that has human flaws. Is a superhero a true hero if he/she shows human emotions that do not sterotypically belong to that hero? I would like to look into the repection of these more humanized heroes and try to establish the reason for this change in what the definition of a hero is and the reception to these neo-Heroes. Can we call the Comedian a hero? Or do those human characteristics he displayed stop him from being classified as such. If a hero shows a weakness that is not something like Krypotonite but something like Lust or Greed? Or even if they show a weakness of the flesh, such as The Dark Knight Returns, where an aging Bruce Wayne dons his costume and fights crime, but with consideration to his dulled reflexes and ability to get tired much faster? Can there be a reconciliation between what is considered to be a characteristic of a superhero and that of a human? Or, do we as readers seeking an escape from those human feelings we face everyday, want to see our heroes immune to such things? Can we watch our heroes fall from Gods to Mortals?
The jumping off point for this paper will be the pin that is featured throughout The Watchmen that the Comedian wears. This smiley face represents (in my mind) the unblemished superhero. But as it is shown on the cover, there is blood on it (and later ketchup), that could represent the tarnishing of the superhero reputation with humanized characteristics. Is the Comedian a superhero, or a disturbed man given too much power? I don't believe either of these really capture what he is, and I would like to try to refine a definition to what these hybrid heroes are.
The materials for this paper I hope to use will be The Watchmen, The Dark Knight Returns along with any other comics I can find with a similar depiction of a humanized superhero. I would also like to look at the newer movie depictions of Batman (such as The Dark Knight and Batman Begins) where Bruce Wayne is a much darker person who must realize that he is not a hero but a vigilante who must fight against the baser human emotions. I still have to look into what other materials I plan to use as I am not sure about how many others are out there, but I'm sure that the man who runs the comic book store on main street could help me. And I'm sure that as I do research into this I will come across more of them.