Superhero movies and cartoons have mostly been the way in which I got to know about superheroes growing up. Like most children, I saw superheroes as representatives of good fighting the evil that attempts to destroy the earth and the innocent helpless humans.
Becoming interested in politics made me realise that many of these superheroes had backgrounds or ideologies which shaped their worldview and determined who they took on. In this post I briefly analyse the backgrounds and ideals of five superheroes and who they’d vote for if they had the chance. To simplify the analysis I allow them to vote for parties outside their universe.
Would vote: Republican Party (USA)
Why?: Bruce Wayne is a billionaire industrialist (inherited), a playboy and a philanthropist. Having witnessed the murder of his parents he becomes a vigilante and a detective, going behind law enforcement to battle criminals in Gotham city. Batman represents the good side of capitalism. He uses his wealth to go after criminals with the police (representing regulations) being a hindrance. In the Dark Knight Trilogy he battles nihilists Ra’s al Ghul, his daughter and Bane who are trying to destroy most of humanity. Bane weakens Batman by taking away his wealth. His greatest adversary however is the Joker, an anarchist. The Joker gives one of the greatest insults to capitalism by burning the largest stack of dollars you will ever see.
Batman’s capitalism, his frustration with regulation and his battles against the anarchist anti-capitalist Joker would probably lead him to voting for the capitalist, anti-regulation Republican Party of USA.
Would vote: Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (UK), Convention People’s Party (Ghana), Other Socialist Parties
Why?: Don Diego de la Vega is a member of the rich class in Los Angeles during the Mexican rule or Spanish rule in some versions. His mantra is “to avenge the helpless, to punish cruel politicians”, and “to aid the oppressed.” Zorro fights for the peasants against the Governor and the exploitative members of his own class. Had he a vote in the modern world he would certainly vote for socialist parties.
Ideology: Social Liberals
Would vote: Democratic Party (USA)
Why?: The ideology of the X-Men is probably the most widely-known and discussed. They fight for acceptance and against bigotry. Just check out this wikipedia article on the social issues they reflect. They represent the battle against homophobia, racism, anti-semitism and religious fundamentalism. If they had the chance they would vote for the US Democratic party but probably would be dissatisfied with their pace in pushing for acceptance.
Captain Planet and the Planeteers
Would vote: Green Party (UK), Green Party (USA), Other Green Parties
Why?: Captain Planet? Captain obvious. His ideology and that of the five young people who wield the rings that bring him into existence is environmentalism. They battle against polluters of the environment. Had they the chance to vote they would definitely vote for Green parties.
Would vote: Vote? He would burn every ballot he could find.
Why?: V is the superhero I am most familiar with because I have read the graphic novel by Alan Moore and also watched the film adaptation. In the graphic novel set in a dystopian fascist Britain after a nuclear war, V is a former prisoner who wears a Guy Fawkes mask to hide the deformities he suffered after being experimented on in prison. He is an anarchist – he wants to destroy the state and leave the people to rule as they would. In the movie, he is shown as more of a liberal fighting a socially conservative and dictatorial government. If V had the choice to vote he would not trust any political party or the process. He would want it all destroyed so that people can make their own choices.