Monday, 06 April 2015
About superheroes

The writer Paul Vacca recounts the main stages in the super-hero epic story. Since Superman first appeared in 1938, super-heroes have acquired a dominant position in popular culture (cinema, television series, comic strips...). The "super-heroic" narrative is based on a pattern that has proven its worth and that continues to be abundantly exploited, even over-exploited. The super-hero is reassuringly banal, his super-powers always come with a certain weakness, he carries out flashy "local" actions, well below his world-saving capacities... Just like Sisyphus, he is closed off in an ageless temporal bubble in the illusion of a continuous present.

Super-hero stories lend themselves to a complete form of circularity between the comic books, the films, the spin-off merchandise... All forms of exploitation are possible and infinite: reboots, remakes, adaptations, sequels, spin-offs, threequels... The breeding ground of ever re-exploitable stories feeding off a sort of "déjà vu" bonus.

Nevertheless, despite the well-oiled commercial machine, super-heroes speak to our more intimate selves: the super-hero appears often as a pariah immersed in a world to which they are not suited. It was this dimension that led Paul Vacca to write a novel (Comment Thomas Leclerc 10 ans 3 mois et 4 jours est devenu Tom l'Eclair et a sauvé le monde, Belfond 2015), that tells the story of an autistic ten-year-old boy who believes he is a super-hero that allows him to change his destiny.


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