Says All-Star Superman writer Grant Morrison, "I'm not even sure if there is a superhero genre or if the idea of the superhero is a special chilli pepper-like ingredient designed to energize other genres."
Here's the full quote:
"The basic idea of the superhuman is a very malleable one – you can do ‘realistic' superhero stories like say Watchmen, which takes a hard-nosed look at how these creatures might alter the social and political landscape of our own world, or you can – as I prefer to do – position them as archetypes that allow us to talk about the world using the language of symbolism and allegory. There have been ‘realistic' superhero stories, ‘surreal' superhero stories, superhero westerns, superhero war stories, superhero detective stories, superhero horror stories, superhero romances etc.
"I'm not even sure if there is a superhero genre or if the idea of the superhero is a special chilli pepper-like ingredient designed to energize other genres. The costumed superhero has survived since 1938, constantly shifting in tone from decade to decade to reflect the fears and the needs of the audience. The current mainstream popularity of the superhero has, I think, a lot to do with the fact that the Terror-stricken, environmentally-handicapped, overpopulated, paedophile-haunted world that's being peddled by our news media is crying out for utopian role models and for any hopeful images of humankind's future potential!" - Grant Morrison, interviewed in The Big Issue In Scotland, thanks SuneetiCadiwampus