The Philosophy of Comics: Good and Evil?
Have you ever found yourself rooting for the villain in the story? Like Magneto fighting for mutant rights, or the Rogues’ rebellion against the Crime Syndicate? How about Galactus only doing what he has to do to survive or Mr. Freeze just trying to be reunited with his wife? What about antiheroes and those who are misunderstood? Toyo Harada is just trying to make the world a better place. Bloodshot is called the Psiot Killer and yet he is considered a hero. Al Simmons aka Spawn was an assassin for the US government and in the afterlife he was a spawn of Hell. But he too is a good guy. Sinestro ultimately just wants order and peace for the universe. Comics are full of understandable and even relatable villains and dark heroes. So what is it that makes them either good or evil by our definition?
You know they say that every villain is somebody’s hero and every hero is somebody’s villain. The denizens of Apocalypse serve Darkseid as their sovereign. They believe him to be the true god. Terrorists to us are freedom fighters to others. Religious extremism is oppression and violence to us, especially in the West. But to the zealot who fights, it is a calling from God himself. Do you think that Judge Dredd feels any less importance in his duty? Judge Dredd is the Law and the Law is Judge Dredd.
Let’s talk Frank Castle for a minute. The Punisher is called a murderer and a terrorist. He even admits that his motives are not altruistic. He simply hates his victims. Punisher is a perfect example of being able to do the right thing for the wrong reasons. Does that affect how evil or good Castle is? Does it make him any more or any less righteous?
My point is that good and evil is all about the perspective of the individual. We all have those things we do not like in others. If we’re honest, we’ll admit that we most likely do that very thing ourselves. But somehow, it’s different for us. That’s why I liked Senator Finch’s quote from Batman vs Superman, “How do we determine what’s good? In a democracy, good is a conversation. Not a unilateral decision.”
We, as humans, like to think of ourselves as evolved, open minded and intelligent, especially here in America. But if that were true, would we be so quick to judge others? Would we not investigate and research a person or a thing before we make a judgement on something or someone? Wouldn’t that be the logical thing to do? So from this we can surmise that logic, that scientific process has very little to do with this decision.
Today on The Philosophy of Comics: Good and Evil? I’d like to discuss what does determine what is good and evil for us then? Magneto, while extreme in his methodology, just wants mutants to take their place in society. He didn’t advocate mutant-supremacy until humans pushed him that far. Yet he is a villain. How is standing up for your people evil. Um’ CIVIL RIGHTS anyone?!! The Rogues, while admitted criminals, simply consider crime to be their only real means of taking care of themselves and their families. They aren’t bad people. There are even rules the Rogues abide by. They won’t kill or damage anything or anyone unless absolutely necessary. They will even fight the “bad guys” when pushed to cross those lines. Galactus, with as horrible as devouring worlds is, is a force of nature like storms or fires – they are destructive but ultimately part of the circle of life. And that is to say nothing of his greater galactic purpose of consuming the Celestials’ planetary Seeds to protect the multiverse.
My point on The Philosophy of Comis: Good and Evil? is simply this: we should not be so quick to judge others and their decisions. It could just as easily be us, fighting for our inalienable rights, making the hard choice or defending our home. Remember, the measure we use will be used against us.