What Does Our Love Of Superheroes Say About Our Ideas Of Service And Citizenship?

One of the reasons I was gone last week is because I was moderating a panel with Friends of the Blog Zack Stentz, Douglas Wolk, and Ta-Nehisi Coates on superheroes and the American idea run by my mothership, the Center for American Progress. You can watch it here:

Video games folks in the audience may appreciate the moment towards the end when CAP President and noted sci-fi fan John Podesta asks about video games and progressivism. My response is practical, but Ta-Nehisi’s is pretty priceless. In all seriousness, though, this panel was a wonderful experience. Superheroes are a big, messy, inconsistent space, but they are very powerful tools. As Douglas writes in his book, and as I said in the introduction to the panel, “Superhero comics are, by their nature, larger than life, and what’s useful and interesting about their characters is that they provide bold metaphors for discussing ideas or reifying abstractions into narrative fiction. They’re the closest thing that exists right now to the ‘novel of ideas.’” People will do a whole variety of things with these tools. But we’re lucky to have them.