What makes a superhero a superhero and what makes a comic book a comic book? This is a complex question that probably warrants its own article, but there are a few factors that are consistent to superheroes movies and comic books. The stories are designed in way to let the readers envision themselves in that world, the heroes and villains have superpowers or are extraordinarily skilled, and the hero is concerned with morality – good and evil and right and wrong. These three main factors are in just about every comic book and the last two are ones that are often unique to the genre.
In addition to the heroes and villains having extraordinary powers, the characters in comic books are carefully crafted to fit a specific story or to fit into their world. While each specific character is unique, there are certainly themes and trends when it comes to the design of characters. Big brands like Marvel and DC often copy each other and steal pieces from each other. So, there are many characters who share similarities such as origin, costume, powers, and more. One of these is having insect- or arachnid-based aspects.
These bug-based heroes (and yes, arachnids are not bugs, but for simplicity…) are staples in the comic book universe. In Marvel, in particular, there are well over 100 of them, according to a recent analysis. Usually people think of insects are frightening or a pest, so why are these types of superheroes so appealing? Much of it comes down to who they are and the struggles they overcome in the comics.
Take for example Spider-Man, one of the most well-known comic book heroes in the world. There are many appealing things about the Spider-Man comics, but one of them is the character of Peter Parker. In many ways, he’s just an average person, albeit talented in math and science. But he fights for those who loves and uses his powers to help others. Ant-Man is another example of a noble character. One of the themes in the recent movies is that he’s trying to prove that he’s the man his daughter thinks he is, instead of just a small time crook who has been in and out of jail.
And then, there is the parallels to the hero’s powers and the insects themselves. Insects are small but many of them are mighty for their size. The comic book superheroes are often the same and generally the insect-based powers make for interesting powers for the characters. Ant-Man has the power of strength as part of his character. Spider-Man uses his web-slinging abilities in a number of ways, harnessing his unique abilities and skills to fight off evil in its many forms.
So, while comic books have many themes and similarities when it comes to looking at the genre as a whole, perhaps the thing that keeps people coming back to them is the characters. We often want someone to relate to and the bug-based heroes provide man examples. We want to root for the underdog and who is better than characters like Spider-Man and Ant-Man.