As if the Discourse wasn’t rotting our minds enough already, the end of 2020 came with a uniquely eye-rolling cycle: whether or not superhero films are on the level of a collective mythology for our culture. On Friday, December 11th, Alisha Grauso, co-leader of California Freelance Writers United, tweeted the following: “People dismissing comic book movies as ‘kiddie shit’ are completely failing to realize superhero stories are essentially a collective American mythology and the closest thing to a shared lore we have. Eastern European folk tales & Nordic mythology were largely ‘kiddie shit’ too.”
There’s a lot to unpack here, namely the desire to give prestige to a genre and medium originally meant for kids. On the surface level, it’s a heavy-handed film take on the level of a Noah Berlatsky screed, in which someone wants to have their hobby validated to the point of destroying any difference between high and low art. However, I’ve been losing sleep over the deeper meaning of this tweet. Consider for a moment that Grauso is right about superheroes being a collective mythology. In my opinion, this actually has dire implications for our culture.