I grew up in the era long before iPads….even Internet and computers. What stimulated my imagination was comics.
We had comics galore in our house. My parents never bought them or even encouraged them, but we had a hassock (does anyone know what that is?) full of them, and more.
Anyway, I read them all, DC, Marvel, and Classics. I did enjoy the Classics, which often presented comics based on classic novels like Bronte’s 1847 Wuthering Heights. Wuthering Heights had a huge influence on me as I had a cousin just like Heathcliffe, a somewhat psychopathic man, so the story really came to life.
However, the real battle for my attention came down to DC vs Marvel. Batman vs Spiderman. Superman vs Fantastic Four. Green Lantern vs Iron Man.
Hands down, Marvel wins but for a reason. The Marvel characters were all flawed…..which would give a reader a reason to reject them as heroes. The opposite is the truth. Readers loved Marvel heroes (and still do today) because Stan Lee and other creators portrayed them as flawed…..and that is the trick……because we could all relate to them as we are flawed ourselves.
I could never relate to Batman or Superman. They were pretty idealistic guys. However, I could actually put myself in the place of Spiderman who had a myriad of issues and problems in high school with work and girlfriends. Essentially, I could actually imagine myself as Spiderman, but never Superman, and that is the essence of the success of the Marvel characters….even to the present day of 2015.
So, I can still relate to all the flawed Marvel characters, and that is still their key to success. Stan Lee is still living (well into his 80’s) but I do wonder if Disney, the new owners of the Marvel culture, will be able to connect with the kids that Marvel did, and raise them to similar ideals of justice and compassion in spite of their own flaws.