Case in point, Marvel Comics became one of the first publishers to tackle the issue of gay teen suicides. The X-Men mutants have known to be metaphoric for hot button social issues like tolerance and acceptance in the LGBT community. Head writer Kieron Gillen decided to confront the troubling teen epidemic head-on in Issue #9 of spinoff series Generation Hope. A large portion of the book revolves around the death of new “light”, Zee, and the events surrounding his untimely passing. Unable to handle his uncontrollable mutant powers and the negative reactions from his friends, Zee epitomizes the struggles that thousands of teens have to face every day, and the comic illustrates an important commentary on young adults in America today.
Come to think of it, a lot of comics do a brilliant job of demonstrating important issues facing our world right now. Here are some of the more memorable ones that define our culture and nation as a whole:
Bane’s Battle with the Needle: For newbies of the Batman franchise who have been drawn in by The Dark Knight, the only things they know about the The Dark Knight Rises villain is that he’s abnormally muscular and will probably break Batman apart like a twig. Growing up in a prison in a fictional Caribbean island, poor Bane was forced to be a test subject for the steroid-like drug Venom. Immediately addicted to the strong drug, Bane requires daily doses of Venom or else he suffers from strong withdrawals. Eventually he is cured of his addiction and attempts to take down the production of Venom in later comics, but his addiction was definitely the low point of his comic book stints.
The Hulk’s Incredibly Complex Anger Issues: Bruce Banner’s Jekyll -and-Hyde-like transformations into the raging humanoid Hulk displays his struggle with dissociative identity disorder. The mental illness, also known as alter egos, generally has two or more personalities take control of the person’s behavior and is connected to extreme memory loss. Banner’s Hulk smashes didn’t stem from out of the blue, though. Growing up with (and eventually killing) his physically abusive father, Bruce is continuously taunted and haunted by his ghost.
Daredevil’s Bout with Blindness: Scarred by a toxic waste accident at an early age, Matt Murdock developed superhuman senses to compensate for his lack of sight (although he eventually also gained wicked awesome radar vision, which he used to his advantage). Despite his physical handicap, Daredevil’s martial art skills and handy weaponry disguised as a walking cane makes him almost invincible. Unfortunately for the blind superhero, villains know how to work his weakness to their advantage – his main weakness is his vulnerability to offensive sounds or scents that can weaken his powerful radar sight.
Captain America’s Fighting the War in Iraq: The iconic American hero is always willing to fight the baddies in times of war. Few wars humanized him like the Iraq War did. Surrounded by other soldiers in combat, America’s Captain stuck out like a sore thumb in his patriotic garb. While he was a super-soldier, he managed to place his other people surrounding him in grave danger – one such man became a multiple amputee as a result of Captain America’s commands and duties. While readers often get to see their heroes at their weakest point, it’s especially hard to see one of the US’s greatest heroes trudge through this one.