I mean, Batman, Spider-man, Spawn, Wolverine, Hulk, Daredevil, etc. All of them are dysfunctional beings.
Iron-man and Hal Jordan have serious womanizing and alcoholism issues. Even Superman had trust issues from the start. Lately, he also developed a passive attitude due to the fact that for him, the world is made out of paper (Morrison attempted to fix that in his All star series).
Balanced heroes are scarce. The most notorious examples are the Flashes. However, for me, the ground breaking character in that sense is obviously the Elongated man. He's easy going and has a great has a sense of humor, he was the first to marry and to lady that is just as healthy and with whom he developed a drama free relationship. He's also one of the few characters to become a hero out of love, passion and vocation (instead of guilt, traumas or accidents). He created his powers and did it with the best of intentions. And what did DC decided to do with him, establish a set of traumas and kill him of.
Similarly, healthy heroes have popularity troubles. Animal man was the product of an accident, but he loves to do the superhero thing as a job, he doesn't do it as some obligation out of guilt. However, it seems only Morrison can write him. Minorities are often great that way: Mr. Terrific, John Stewart, Steel, Black Lightning are Obama types, they are all about loving what they do and making a change. Blue Beetle II is somewhere along those lines. Like Buddy, Power man doesn't mind cashing in a bit when possible. Static made a pretty good lemonade out of his situation. Cyborg is almost there: overcoming such trauma and obstacle is admirable, but I have the impression that his overachieving tendencies are a bit obsessive. Power Girl has some issues (there's the identity stuff and obviously growing with such a pretty rack might be weird) but I think she's pretty normal. But what do all of them have in common: save perhaps flash they all take back seats!!
Swamp Thing is actually an example of mental health and empathy, his deformity is not even an issue to him, it didn't prevent him from getting in Abby's pants and forming a family.
Don't forget about Hal's intergalactic killing spree. Superman's problems are justified he is from a different planet, and the world is like paper to him. This is why I like Wally. He isn't too messed up.
C'mon, I'm beggin' for it who's gonna give it to me?!?- Kevin Levin
Indestructible super-dense silicon, guys. Nice try, though.-Chromastone
I don't really count the Parallax. Yes it was borderline retcon, but in Emeral Twilight he was out of character anyway.
I don't count justifications. Ideally you're supposed to be the source of your own happiness and balance, and as you start blaming your situation on people or stuff, you get farther from it.
I completely agree with you on Wally, in my score, like Ralph charisma gives him points over Barry.
Swamp Thing has the whole monster angle, since most of the healthy characters I talked about don have that characteristic, I can't really count him as an example. Fortunately, Morrison gave us Animal man, who isn't even a funny guy like the Elongated man. I'm sure a successful series about truly self secure, charismatic and empathetic characters is doable.
Deadpool is an awesome messed up hero!
“Dreams are like stars...you may never touch them, but if you follow them they will lead you to your destiny."-James Dean
First off, I have no idea to most of the superhero characters you mentioned, but I can still answer your question in accordance to my opinion. Let's face it, our world is a troubled one. Healthy people are over numbered by the "dysfunctional" people, and what people prefers reflects his/her personality or his/her life. So, most people can actually relate to them in some way, unconsciously or not. And since there are so many people to which they connect into, they become more popular.
I would rather speculate that it's ignorance. I'm not sure that I'd have been able to figure out this until recently. I can't accept that healthy characters are uninteresting. I'm under the impression that they are harder to work with. A good writer should be able to pull a one of them. As a matter of fact, one did: Grant Morrison with 3 years of Animal Man. Second to that, there are the Silver Age (not including the 70s) versions of the JLAers: Flash, GL, Atom, Superman and even Green Arrow, Hawkman and Batman used to be as balanced as popular.
In music, the Beatles are an example of that. JLU's Flash didn't do bad in popularity either. Disney made a fortune with Mickey, Donald and Goofy. Recently I've been appreciating better the values of the King of the Hill. And there's Friends, which is about functional dysfunctional people.
Don't get me wrong, I don't think we should go back to the silver age naivety, but embrace and give health its proper recognition. In fact, if someone was to write a JLA flashback with the Elongated Man, the realistic list of reasons the JLAers seek him would have been not only his power and detective skills, but also the fact that all of them saw him as a successful version of themselves; the only one with his life in order and consequent mentality of abundance. He was the one with more to give and less to need.
Because psychological trouble causes conflict which is the building blocks of storys. Who wants to see someone perfect whos also living out what most of us would like to be able to do. (Flying, GL's ring, Etc.) It would likely cause a slow down in comics readership.
Well, what you do believe is yours. As for me, I would not think it's ignorance. But if it is, I would rather be ignorant when reading comics or cartoons and stuff. I can't force myself to have fun by watching healthy heroes. As Helices said on the upper post, people with issues are more interesting to watch. Healthy heroes might be inspirational but I would still prefer the "dysfunctionals". As an old saying said, "You can make a cat take a bath, but you can't make the cat like it." (or is it a horse?)
The all the people that supported the comic industry during DC's silver age, which was more than the people that read it now?
Besides, "says the Bent 10 fan". Characters like Ben, Mickey Mouse, Mighty Max, Donald Duck, Bob Sponge, Goofy, Son Gokuh, JLU's Flash, Dick Grayson and, to a minor degree (since they are kinda evil) Bugs Bunny and Jerry Seinfeld have no trouble selling. Which leads me to think you are on to something, but it's not that the readership would stop following, but that it's harder to write. After CoIE, Elongated man started relying on humor, which is very hard to do. Animal man relied in the heavily conceptual plot and Swamp Thing in his interesting/eerie situation. Death is one of the most popular creations of Gaiman and is the incarnation of mental health.
I didn't necessarily mean ignorance in the readers. And remember that I said I was speculating, not believing as well as I stated that I didn't notice the lack of mental health until recently (and I don't consider this problematic common knowledge). I meant that there's a general lack of awareness and know how to portray positive superheroes. As you can see in the list of characters above, you probably do have fun watching balanced characters. Dysfunctional is a late 80s comic book cliche that is far from a rule outside the medium. Andeven in it, although the lack of health can be traced back to the Watchmen, it is a tendency Alan Moore is now distancing himself from and that Morrison avoided from the beginning. Incidentally, both do a very positive Superman (and Tom Strong and Supreme) to great success.
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