What’s in a hero?

Citizens of South Jersey give their opinions on their favorite superheroes, what makes a good hero, and why Batman is popular.

Superheroes are around us all the time, whether it is through music, TV, films, or comics themselves.

“What makes a hero?” is a question that could be answered in multiple ways.

Doug Knudsen, 21, said that his favorite superhero is Iron Man.

“He is really smart and even though he doesn’t technically have super powers, he gets to blow things up and hang out with the other ones that do have super powers,” said Knudsen about why he likes the Armored Avenger.

Doug Knudsen

“A good hero is one that exemplifies any number of positive attributes which make them an important part of their society. That is, a hero could be somebody that has super-compassion rather than superpowers,” said Knudsen about what makes someone a hero.

Colin Langford, 11 years old, said that Captain America is his favorite superhero.

“Cause he’s not super. He’s just a regular person,” said Colin Langford about why he likes the Star Spangled Avenger.

“They put themselves on the line and they could die,” said Colin Langford about what makes a good hero along with a uniform and their superpowers.

Jay Langford, Colin’s father, said that Superman is his favorite superhero.

“Superman had the best of everything, the man of steel, catching bullets with his teeth, can outrun anything,” said Jay Langford.

Jay and Colin Langford

The popularity of Batman cannot be denied even if you aren’t a fan of the caped crusader. The Dark Knight made over one billion dollars worldwide.

So why is Batman so popular? These citizens of Gotham gave their opinion on why the Bat flies so strong.

Knudsen said that he isn’t really sure why Batman is popular or why he should be any more popular than any other superhero, but he gave an interesting theory.

“I think one reason that Batman is so popular is that his parents are dead which makes him very marketable to orphans,” said Knudsen.

Stacey Mullins, 21, said that her favorite superhero is Batman.

“I think people like Batman so much because he always does what’s right. Or maybe they like him because of his cool gadgets or outfit. I like Batman because I think he’s unique. He trained himself to be a hero,” said Mullins about the Dark Knight’s fame.

Mullins also provided what she thinks makes for a good hero.

“A hero, to me, is someone who will protect you and look out for you. Someone who can change the world. A genuinely good person,” said Mullins.

Stacey Mullins

Colin Langford said he likes Batman, but doesn’t know why he’s popular.

“All he has is a boomerang,” said Colin Langford.

Jay Langford said that Batman’s real power is money and that he just throws cash at whatever he wants.

“All Batman has is a wallet that never ends and he can buy anything in the world, that’s what Batman does,” said Jay Langford.

Below Colin and Jay Langford discuss what super powers they’d like to have and why Batman is considered a hero for just having money.

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Scott McCloud’s Comic Presentation

A self-portrait of McCloud from Understanding Comics

Deemed the “Aristotle of comics” by many, Scott McCloud delivered his popular presentation to Rowan University last Monday to a packed theatre hall.

McCloud has written for DC comics in Superman: Strength and Superman Adventures, but is more well known for his own creations Zot! and his nonfiction writings about comics.

McCloud’s presentation ,which he has delivered to Pixar, wasn’t about his work or his thoughts on comics, but instead focused on how communication is presented in the comic medium.

“We see ourselves in everything we encounter,” he said.

We depend a lot on facial expressions to express emotions in life and to depict emotions in art according to McCloud. Simple expressions can be combined to create complex ones such as angry mixed with joy equals cruelty. Whole stories can be told without words for the expressions on a character’s face is all you need.

McCloud also dicussed how time is expressed in comics. Comics act as a temperal map that shows off time and space. As you move through the panels on a page you are moving through time.

Readers usually imagine what happens between panels which creates a sense of life not found in other mediums.

“Cartooning is a way of seeing and reducing the world to a concept,” McCloud said while saying that an artist can present ideas in a strong way through simple pictures.

McCloud showed off how the world of print may be fading slightly, but the digital frontier opens a new door for comics.
Comics can now be seen through a literal window pane as each panel is presented onscreen. The comics’ stories can literally be viewed in a circle format or with a parallel running below it onscreen. Panels can take a turn while scrolling which could mean a turn in the story.

While the presentation of this new format for comics looked impressive, it also came off a bit nauseating.

McCloud enjoys the world that comics allows someone to engage in.

“No one gave us a choice which world we were born in,” said McCloud.
We should be able to choose what worlds we want to inhabit, McCloud explained.

The audience seemed pleased with McCloud’s presentation and erupted into applause when it was finished.

Mike Tran, 24, a member of the audience who attended based on being a fan of McCloud and found the event through McCloud’s twitter.

“How explained in depth with comics history, the facial expressions convey emotions,” said Tran, a graduate from the Temple Tyler  School of Art on what he liked about the presentation.

A look at Justice League: Doom [Spoilers]

The newest DC animated feature, Justice League: Doom, continues to show that DC takes its cartoons seriously. It features veteran voice actors from previous DC shows such as Kevin Conroy as Batman and Tim Daly as Superman.

Justice League: Doom is an adaptation of the Justice League of America arc “Tower of Babel.” In that story Ra’s Al Ghul steals Batman’s contingency plans to take down the Justice League.

Meanwhile at the Legion of Doom

In Justice League Doom, Vandal Savage hires Mirror Master to steal Batman’s plans and forms the Legion of Doom to enact them.

The heroes are all defeated in unique ways that destroy them either physically or psychologically. In some cases it is both. Continue reading