Every now and again, comic book writers try to infuse superheroes' foibles with societal relevance or their own personal political beliefs. But in fictional worlds where Galactus the World Devourer tries to eat the biosphere every two weeks, these attempts can get downright baffling.
As the revolutionary figurehead for mutants in the Marvel Universe, the X-Men nemesis Magneto has delivered fiery oratory out the wazoo, some of it tremendously overwrought. (For example, there's a fantastic two-page splash page in 1991's X-Men #1 of Magneto screaming a small pamphlet at the X-Men while frozen in place.)
But more recently, in the 2012 Neal Adams series The First X-Men, Magneto pleads that Wolverine tread the path of prudence by threatening the clawed one with a receding hairline and rusty taxis, all the while preening like Tim Curry in The Worst Witch.
This was awkward, but perhaps a little less awkward than the time he crashed the Scarlet Witch and Vision's Thanksgiving while sporting a Cosby sweater. The Avengers (who showed up in their costumes) toss the reformed villain the stink-eye all meal long. To be fair, he did once mind-control his daughter and make her prance around Salome style, so Magneto's not being nominated for any "Father of the Year" awards.
Speaking of Neal Adams, he's a proponent of the Expanding Earth theory, a scientifically derided hypothesis that claims the Earth is slowly growing, plate tectonics be damned. It's good to have hobbies I suppose, but Batman recently became a spokesman for the movement in a 2012 issue of Batman Odyssey.
Steve Ditko is famous for three things — A.) co-creating Spider-Man and basically promulgating all of his early mythology; B.) staying out of the public eye; and C.) his later Objectivist comics, in which he traded superheroics for Ayn Rand. When dealing with a protagonist like Mr. A, villains weren't necessarily thrown in the pokey. No, they were occasionally subjected to long-winded philosophical speeches followed by painful deaths.
In reality, crack-addicted babies and racial profiling are serious topics. But when such social problems are brought to the fore by world-famous gymnastics coach and fashion maven Mr. T? Well, the rules of reality generally don't apply to Mr. T. (Incidentally, this is the third Neal Adams comic we've mentioned thus far, this time by accident.)
Yes, Superman once transformed Lois Lane into an African-American woman using technology because 1970s. Read more about it here.
- The 9/11 Truther comic, The Big Lie
- Spider-Man, asking readers to commit voter fraud and prevent teen pregnancy
- Archie rejects Satan's prostitutes, accepts Jesus
- The famous Denny O'Neil and Neal Adams Green Arrow/Green Lantern stories where the superheroes discover America, try to cure its ills, and witness Green Arrow's sidekick get addicted to heroin. (They win points for ambition and historical significance, even if the execution gets mighty curious.)
What are your favorite comics where the writers attempted sociopolitical commentary and everything backfired like a Wile E. Coyote rocket sled? Is this Wonder Woman panel a metaphor for anything? Does it need to be? Sound off in the comments below.