Real Life Superhero Woes


I’ve always been interested in the way writers address the concerns of normal life within the realm of comic book heroes—more specifically superhero comics.

We saw this type of story spanning through Millar and McNiven’s Civil War that took place a few years ago in the Marvel 616.  And though almost all the effects of that series are tied up, there are still real life issues that need to be addressed.

That brings us to New Avengers #7.  This story has stolen my heart as only few can.  It’s not heartfelt, it’s not action packed, it’s not even that relevant to the series at this point; but it does take super heroism to the limits of comics and the fringe of real life.

Two things in this issue stuck out:  the handing out of paychecks and the search for the Cage’s perfect baby-sitter.  These two very real issues suspend the intensity and intrigue of superhero comics for a time to give us a glimpse into the group dynamic and life of the people behind the masks.

New Avengers get a Paycheck

If I were a superhero, of course there would be a conflict between whether I should get paid for my crime-fighting.  I would feel a ton of pressure to do more and more opposed to just what I could.  I would feel indebted and subject to the whims and fancies of those that paid the bills.  I couldn’t be free.  Luke Cage feels this even though it is the MOST AMAZING superhero in the world, Steve Rogers, paying him!

But on the other hand, a little income would be nice.  Carol Danvers breathes a sigh of relief and Spider-Man would gladly accept the check from this particular benefactor.  Yet, he’s the only one that didn’t get one.  I loved this!  This brings me to another real life scenario.

How can you get a pay check if you are anonymous?  The only way is to write the check out to “cash,” but this wouldn’t work for the Avengers if all payroll rules are to be followed.  Call me geeky, but again:  I love this!

The next issue that needs to be tackled in this installment is what to do with Luke and Jessica’s baby while the team foils the evil plans of the team’s super villain foes.  Obviously, they need a baby-sitter.  And not just any baby-sitter; the sitter needs to have some sort of super powers to protect the child.  Why, you ask?  Because the loved ones of any hero are always his or her greatest weakness.  (Haven’t you ever read a comic book!?!?)

Potential Baby Sitters

So let the interviews begin.  The amount of love and care that an active super hero can provide tends to be minimal.  There are exceptions of course.  Still, the rough and tumble are out there everyday pounding the bad guys—tired, beaten, and worn out.  Not many can turn around and provide love and care to a child that is not their own.  Enter Squirrel Girl.

As I said, I love the comics that tackle real life issues.  Bendis took this opportunity to address these issues in a comical sense, but there are others out there that can’t afford to.  Whatever the case, post a comment or email me at and tell me about your favorite comics that take on real life and what they mean to you!

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Comments (3)

I really love your articles, Andy. Stories rooted in real life problems and character flaws have always drawn me in.

Dustyn Hughes

Can I go back a ways.

Okay a LONG ways.

Like 1981.

The New Teen Titans #8 A Day In The Life. Marv Wolfman and George Perez knocked it out of the park with this one. This made the Teen Titans real people in the eyes of many readers at the time. We got to learn the human side to the new characters Cyborg, Raven, And Starfire. As well as learn things we didn't know of about Robin (Dick Grayson), Wonder Girl (Donna Troy), Kid Flash (Wally West) and Changeling (Beast Boy Garfield Logan)

Another one they did that is really good is Tales Of The Teen Titans #50 We Are Gathered Here Today from 1985. The wedding of Donna Troy and Terry Long. Just a perfect character piece IMO. It followed up on my favorite Robin/Wonder Girl story of all time, "Who Is Donna Troy." from issue #38.(1984) It was showing the after effects of the Judas Contract and how it had personally affected Gar.

I can think of no two better stories that show exactly what the article was about. There have certainly been many others that did the same thing before and after these. But these two really connected with me.

The Who Is Donna Troy and We Are Gathered Here Today were reprinted in the TPB Who Is Donna Troy (Which also features the stories Who Is Wonder Girl and Who Was Donna Troy. Who Is Wonder Girl was the first attempt post crisis to reboot Donna Troy.)

That is a ways back, boss…but well done. You get what I'm saying. The best comics are the ones that let you relate to the heroes on a level that we would actually experience if we took up the cape and cowl and fought the good fight!

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