This years marks the 75th anniversary of not one, not two but three DC Comics superheroes-Green Arrow, Wonder Woman and Aquaman. With the success of the Arrow series and the upcoming live adaptation solo movies for Wonder Woman (2017) and Aquaman (2018), it seems these characters remain as popular as ever even after 75 years. But what is it about theses characters that have made them popular all these years and possibly for many more to come?
Lets go back to the beginning, to 1941 when the world was first introduced to these characters through a medium simply known as comic books. Aquaman and The Green Arrow first debuted in More Fun Comics #73 (November 1941) and Wonder Woman first appeared in All Star Comics #8 in December 1941. 1941 was a time when one had to use art and imagination to dream up and tell stories, it wasn’t like nowadays where we can do anything thanks to special effects and computer generated graphics. The drawings in these comics is what bought these characters to life in the hearts and minds of young children and adults alike. In times of war being able to escape through these fantasy worlds was a way to cope with the horrors of the world. Superheroes like Green Arrow, Wonder Woman, Aquaman etc helped thrive young minds as they imagined being rescued by these superheroes or one day become one. Some did in fact, maybe not exactly since we all can’t have super powers but the superheroes they read about helped inspire them to become doctors, nurses, surgeons, fire fighters, police man, police woman etc.
But who are these characters and why do we idolize them so much?
The Green Arrow‘s real name is Oliver Queen, a billionaire businessman of Queen industries and a well known celebrity in Star City. As the Green Arrow he fights crime with his archery skills to protect his city. Now hang on a minute there, this sounds familiar after all who can forget the story of Bruce Wayne? Bruce Wayne is also a billionaire businessman, who is also a well known celebrity in Gotham and also fights crime as Batman to protect his city of Gotham. The Green Arrow and Batman became a symbolism for vigilantism and justice. In a world of corporate greed these comics echoed the thoughts of many of its readers. Reading the exploits of Green Arrow was a form of escapism for many, he was a modern day Robin Hood who helped his people from a dying city. Some of us don’t agree with how the politics and the government of the cities we live in are run, we wish we could be like The Green Arrow and protect our city.
Wonder Woman is a warrior princess of the Amazons, she is also known as Diana Prince. Now this is someone you don’t pick a fight with as she possess superhuman powers, great combat skills and of course her weapon-the lasso of truth and a pair of indestructible bracelets. She is one of my favourite super heroes, she is a symbol of strength and a heroine to idolize to generations of girls. I mean what young girl reading her comics wouldn’t wish they could be her? Many young girls are told stories about princesses but hearing stories about a princess with exceptional abilities and who wasn’t a man is very empowering.
Aquaman is the lesser known out of the three, due to the fact his abilities aren’t as impressive as other heroes but to readers he is the underdog. His abilities included being able to breathe underwater, he could communicate with sea life and he had incredible swimming skills. I’ll admit, he’s one superhero I found hard to relate to as his abilities almost make him inhuman (not the Marvel kind). At least with Wonder Woman and Arrow you can still relate to them as they don’t completely alienate their readers. However I think his longevity lies in the fact that he cared for life beyond humans, he cared about the oceans and the sea life, he essentially cared about the planet. I’m looking forward to the Aquaman movie coming out in 2018 and Jason Mamoa’s intense and intimating portrayal of Aquaman.
Fast forward to the 21st century and times have changed, especially in how we tell stories and portray our superheroes. With advanced technology we could now tell stories beyond our own imagination, computer generated graphics (CGI) could now bring superheroes and their brilliant abilities to life.Wonder Woman, Batman, Green Arrow, Aquaman, Superman and so many countless others could now be bought to life beyond pen and paper in a way many of us probably could never have imagined.
Although beyond all that comics also intrigued its readers into the world of science or rather science fiction. I mean who wouldn’t want to have the abilities of The Flash? With a character such as Flash, the possibilities are endless as he can exist in multiverse. Yes his powers of speed eventually gives him the ability to be able to time travel, jump to and from parallel universes. In fact it’s enough to make your brain fry trying to work it all out but it’s fascinating all at the same time. Then off course there is The Green Lantern with a ring that could create anything the wearer wanted. Now imagine having a ring with such power, this just ignites the imagination in comic book readers which is why it captivated so many generations. Lets hope they finally get a film made that does justice for The Green Lantern character.
Comics have always found a way to expand on its characters and stories, so isn’t it a wonder that comics have lasted this long. In fact I think its appeal will live on for probably another 75 years. Technology may have made it possible to portray the super hero abilities in films and television but these are condensed versions of decades of comics. How can you possibly fit at least 75 years of back story of Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Superman, Batman etc into a few hours of film or television? They are essentially stripping away its core. This why is why I think the comics will live on beyond the films and television series.
Lastly I hope Warner Bros and DC Comics team up to do something special to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Wonder Woman, Green Arrow and Aquaman at San Diego Comic-Con International 2016. It’s the perfect place to celebrate these amazing characters among friends who also grew up reading about their adventures.
Categories: Comics/Graphic Novels