Generally, superheroes are considered American exports or products; if not all, most of them.
I mean you can think that Batman or Daredevil don’t promote any particular nation, but the characters like Superman and Iron man usually seem more American. At least that’s how they are perceived in most cases.
However, despite their established impression, these superheroes are recognized universally, around the globe!
In some storylines, popular DC and Marvel comics promote the American values and beliefs, but in most comics, they are subversive and diverse.
When we say superhero, we are more used to the common idea where the superheroes get their powers from alien planets or failed lab accidents and are always dressed for the duty.
Let’s see how other countries and cultures created their own superheroes and the idea behind them!
There’s the Justice League and Avengers, and then there’s The 99!
The 99 is a team of 99 superheroes. Each superhero has a unique superpower-related to Allah’s one of the ninety-nine attributes.
Thanos can keep his infinity stones because in this universe they have “Noor” stones. The Noor stones have the wisdom of all the magical books that were lost during Baghdad’s siege.
The 99 was created by Naif Al-Mutawa, who thinks the whole idea of The 99 will combat extremism. Further, it will also help in promoting unity with the worldwide Muslim community.
The creator and writer of The 99 respected Islamic beliefs through the storylines. However, it was not always seen as a good thing in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.
Nevertheless, The 99 never got the spotlight, but in case you ever wondered if there were diverse and religion-inclined superheroes? Now you got the answer.
Generally, superheroes amplify and embody certain values. They offer a room for fiction that helps the creators to place spiritual or serious practices in a different light.
Therefore, when there are more diverse creators, there will be a wide range of traditions too.
Clever man, the Aboriginal Australian superhero series is a good example.
Again, some cultures have produced new tropes in superhero comics.
For example, Mexican comics have many masked ‘luchador’ characters, inspired by the popular “Lucha Libre.”
Long before comics were introduced, masks were a prominent part of the sport of wrestling.
The popularity of the real world wrestlers helped these masked superheroes to be more relatable. It became easy for the people to get co-relate the masked superheroes and wrestlers.
In India, one of the most beloved and iconic comic book characters is Chacha Chaudhary.
Chacha Chaudhary is an aged gentleman who’s from a middle-class family, and he fights thugs, dacoits, and corruption.
Chacha Chaudhary’s stories and adventures had wit and humour; with a moral for the young readers.
His superpower is his incredible intelligence. He is said to have a brain that’s faster than a supercomputer!
Chacha Chaudhary has a sidekick, Sabu, who’s from the planet Jupiter and is the muscle to his brain.
Pran Kumar Sharma created Chacha Chaudhary and Sabu. He was inspired greatly by the combination of goofy humour and wisdom of a clever old uncle that usually every Indian family has.
India has other superheroes too, who are super like Nagraj, Doga and Fauladi Singh, but Chacha Chaudhary stands out among them. It reflects a culture or an idea, which places the elders in a higher position for being wise and witty.
The team of Chacha Chaudhary and Sabu was like the perfect combination of wisdom and strength.
Read – When Will Doga Finally Come Out of the Pages?
Too Political Superheroes
Some countries like parodying a genre.
For example, Sweden has a character like Kapten Stofil, who’s a masked hippie and a super curmudgeon. The character riffs on the movement of the 70s and 80s on the anti-capitalist progressive music!
Oh and he gets all his superpowers from Karl Marx’s ghost. His symbol is the popular communist symbol (a hammer and sickle)
Now That I said, Karl Marx;
The Soviet Union missed out some of the most influential ages of the comic books.
Moreover, the Soviet Union was a staple villain for a number of years too.
The only thing that I can think of that can bring the Soviet Union and superheroes into one frame was the popular DC comics, The Red Son.
In Red Son, the origin story of Superman was re-imagined. Superman’s capsule lands in Russia, instead of America and he becomes a communist and serves Stalin. (Read the comic, it’s one of the best Superman comics)
Coming back to the Soviet Union and superheroes; in 2017 four Soviet Superheroes came to movies, Guardians or Zaschitniki.
Guardians is a team of four superheroes, who have elemental powers and represented different countries.
It doesn’t matter how the movie did on the box office, the idea of bringing superheroes that emphasized on the Soviet Union’s greatness was interesting.
It’s okay if you relate more to Chacha Chaudhary or Kapten Stofil, instead of Captain America! The superheroes are representatives of diverse values and viewpoints. The superheroes amplify and illustrate values, in which their characters are built.
As for now, just remember that there’s a superhero for everyone!
Also Read – The Love-Hate Relationship Between DC Comics and Marvel Comics
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