In the 1930s, two children of immigrants, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, created a character known then as the “champion of the oppressed, the physical marvel who has sworn to devote his existence to helping those in need.” Superman was born as a social justice crusader, a vigilante who took down corrupt politicians, white collar criminals, slum lords, wife beaters, and those who would hinder the free press. He spoke out against bigotry of all kinds. Like Siegel and Shuster’s parents, Superman was a refugee and he never shied away from defending those in society who weren’t afforded the same rights and opportunities as the majority enjoyed.
Thus began the era of the Superhero in comic books, radio, film, and television, one that has never avoided taking the liberal position in any given political and social issue. Superheroes were the original Antifa, feminists, and civil rights crusaders, a history documented in pages upon pages in 80+ years of comic books and related media. But given the rise of toxic fandom and groups like Comicsgate, the rich legacy of comics (and other genres that makeup what we affectionately refer to as ‘geek culture’) is under assault.
The Geek Buzz was created to be a counterweight for the right wing toxicity that has seeped into fandom but it’s an uphill battle. It’s far too easy for some to embrace gender, racial, and ideological tribalism than to accept diversity. It’s a simple thing for some to reject the history of comics as ‘made up’ when so many others are in denial, too.
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