Updated: January 23, 2011
Canvass of Blood
In the many years that I have been an admirer of four color fantasy, I have never found it more difficult than I do today finding HEROES whose mission is clearly to suppress the forces of evil, while preserving the necessary ideals that are the very essence of the HEROIC model.
The classic heroes of pulp literature [for which Superman is the ideal] consistently overcame the forces of darkness on their own terms. These classic heroes were self-consciously restrained in their ability to overcome evil by their refusal to engage in the uninhibited psychotic mayhem so callously endorsed by their foes.
To overcome overwhelming nihilistic forces while ethically restrained toward the preservation of innocent life is the purest expression of the heroic ideal. With no measurable concern for their own mortality ---- all of the classic heroes of literature exist solely to inspire a few extraordinary men to the heroic tasks (only they can accomplish) necessary to preserve, protect and enhance the hard won freedoms ordinary men enjoy.
Whatever freedoms ordinary men can claim, are an endowment made possible by the extraordinary efforts of actively vigilant heroes. The darker side of the human psyche promotes conduct that is repulsively wretched, vile, and explicitly cruel in its contempt for human liberty.
The classic comic book [as well as movies, TV etc.] HERO as a vehicle for heroic actions has degenerated into excessively graphic distillations of raw, undiluted and explicit festivals of gore. Too often this pervasive contemporary image produces a “Canvass of Blood” that serves to subvert, distort and exclude the truly authentic heroic ideal.