The Modern Superhero?

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Modern superheroes?

Bunch of pumped-up pretty boys with too many toys and not enough good old-fashioned values.

Man, in the old days, it was simple — you got bitten by a spider because of lapse workplace safety codes or accidentally locked out of your spacecraft during a solar radiation storm, and after you discovered you were horribly mutated you just went out and did the right thing by society.

But today, laments Dr. Sharon Lamb, a researcher at the University of Massachusetts who has looked at the selling of modern icons, some villain has drained the good values out of our champions.

After looking at the most popular themes in marketing to young boys, Lamb has found the influence of heroes like Iron Man and Batman still pack a powerful punch.

“But if you look back, you’ll find they’re not like the old superheroes,” she tells QMI Agency from her home in Vermont.

“More and more, they’re Rambo and playboy like figures.

“Look at what makes Iron Man cool. He shows off his wealth and exploits women.”

Lamb, who addressed the issue at last weekend’s annual Convention of the American Psychological Association, said yesterday’s superheroes had vulnerability and depth.

Today’s message on being a good guy, she adds, is being super-wealthy, steroid-strong and endlessly kicking butt.

“Superhero movies are vehicles for car crashes and explosions,” Lamb concludes.

“And the biggest issue is they’re marketed to younger and younger kids. They barely make the PG rating.”

The researcher says today’s champions are to boys what sexy clothing is to younger and younger girls.

Lamb, who studied 674 boys from age four to 18, believes marketers are selling kids a narrow view of what it means to be a man.

“What is missing is the social justice mission,” she says of today’s do-gooders who are really just good products.

Modern superheroes? Cripes, they haven’t been the same since The Hulk went into rehab and Metropolis recycled Plastic Man into lawn furniture.

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