On Spiderman

The Perfectibility of Spider-Man

By Richard Hanley

Issue #1: Suping Things Up

The Civil War series of 2006 raised the issue of whether or not superheroes should have secret identities, with Spider-Man joining Iron Man in favor of compulsory superhero registration. The “war” arose because superheroes came to be regarded (not unreasonably) as weapons of mass destruction, and the people demanded some regulation.

But perhaps there are other ways to make the superhero world a better place. Civil War, at least as of this writing, has demonstrated the glaring need for a superhero cleanup detail, and it’s typical for a battle between the good and the bad guys (and gals) to leave a swathe of destruction. The good guys of course try to limit collateral damage to life, limb, and property while the baddies generally proceed without such regard, but nevertheless the world frequently ends up being trashed. I’m not saying Spider-Man and his ilk are responsible for cleaning up the mess, but wouldn’t it be great if someone super powerful–perhaps The Janitor, or Hoover-Lady, or Rebuildo, or Yportne (think about it)–was?

And while we’re at it, how about someone to do the intellectual clean-up work? We could have superheroes to break down persistent prejudice (The Spinster, The Fat Squad), or to promote a social agenda (Universal Health Care Boy, Peace Lady). Or someone devoted to stamping out bad reasoning wherever it is found (Logic-Man, who by day is the mild-mannered academic, Phil O’Sopher).

You get the point. But none of these suggestions would make sense if  …

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