'I'm a Virgo' Points Toward a Leftist 'Superhero' Future
“I said round about 2011 that I thought that it had serious and worrying implications for the future if millions of adults were queueing up to see Batman movies. Because that kind of infantilisation – that urge towards simpler times, simpler realities – that can very often be a precursor to fascism.” He points out that when Trump was elected in 2016, and “when we ourselves took a bit of a strange detour in our politics”, many of the biggest films were superhero movies.
I’m making this guy a mumbling psychopath who clearly smells, who lives on cold baked beans, who has no friends because of his abhorrent personality. I hadn’t realized that so many people in the audience would find such a figure admirable. I was told—this was probably 5 or 10 years ago—that apparently Watchmen has quite a following amongst the right wing in America. In fact, do you know the far-right website, Stormfront?
They did a reproduction of the fascist hymn that I wrote for V for Vendetta. And they said that, “Yeah, this person is supposed to be the exact opposite of us politically, but having read these beautiful words, I think that he must secretly be one of us, inside.” I think I understand fascism, and I know what kind of hymns people like that would probably like. But if this stuff can be so fundamentally misunderstood, it does make you wonder what the point of doing it was.
Homelander, a Superman-type, from the comic book series The Boys by Garth Ennis is yet another fascist favored by the right. In the Amazon adaptation, he teams up with a Nazi literally named Stormfront, and so, of course, Trump supporters proudly wear his costume at MAGA rallies.
|Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023)
|Birds of Prey (2020)
I mean, yes, politically I'm an anarchist; at the same time I didn't want to stick to just moral blacks and whites. I wanted a number of the fascists I portrayed to be real rounded characters. They've got reasons for what they do. They're not necessarily cartoon Nazis. Some of them believe in what they do, some don't believe in it but are doing it any way for practical reasons. As for the central character of the anarchist, V himself, he is for the first two or three episodes cheerfully going around murdering people, and the audience is loving it. They are really keyed into this traditional drama of a romantic anarchist who is going around murdering all the Nazi bad guys.
At which point I decided that that wasn't what I wanted to say. I actually don't think it's right to kill people. So I made it very, very morally ambiguous. And the central question is, is this guy right? Or is he mad? What do you, the reader, think about this? Which struck me as a properly anarchist solution. I didn't want to tell people what to think, I just wanted to tell people to think...
Liberals get two things wildly wrong, in my opinion as an unabashed liberal. One is we spend way too much time wagging our fingers. The second is we don’t know when to stop regulating. Regulation is important, it’s necessary, but that’s what the people on the right legitimately fear. So, when does it stop? What is it to be 30 years into a liberal regime?
Watchmen depicts central law enforcement characters who commit violence as heroes, uplifts the main police character as an eventually almighty arbiter of justice, portrays white supremacist law enforcement characters as anomalous individual infiltrators (a.k.a. “bad apples”), and was created in collaboration with various members of law enforcement.
|Justice League (2017)
|Harley Quinn (2019-)
|The Flash (2023)
|"On your left." - Avengers: Endgame (2019)