What does humans altering other human’s genes, experimentation with gamma rays, creating Weapon X, and inventing super intelligent mechanical arms get you? Superheroes and Super Villains!!! “Comic books are, at least, as old as movies (2)” and one of the first massive entertainment art forms of the 20th century. Our society now and back in the nineteen hundreds has been infatuated with the human body and how we can perfect it or fix it. Scientist, doctors, and artist all obsess over this idea and the way in which they express it varies. Marvel, which is one of the most famous comic book publishing companies, seems to take have taken an interest in heroes and villains that were created out of a scientific or medicinal mishaps.
Peter Parker or better known as Spider Man is “an orphaned science whiz teenager living with his aunt and uncle (1)” who has been bitten by a “radioactive spider (1)” in a science demonstration. This spider, whom was shot by massive amounts of radioactive waves, bites young Peter Parker and gives him superpowers such as the “ability to cling to walls, superhuman strength, a sixth sense (1)”, “perfect balance and equilibrium, as well as superhuman speed and agility (1).”This character is a perfect example of how human experimentation can go wrong because they created this awesome radioactive spider that bit a young teenager in turn giving him at times unwanted super powers. Another example of this paradoxical situation is the creation of Doc Ock. Otto Octavius a “brilliant and respected nuclear physicist, atomic research consultant, inventor, and lecturer(4)” created mechanical arms that were controlled by “brain-computer interface(4)” however, as helpful and amazing as it was the mechanical arms became his downfall when they fused with his body. The character of Doc Ock in the Spider Man comic series expresses how society really tries to improve the world in Technological terms but in turn the human body most of the time ends up hurting because of it.
Captain America and Wolverine are perfect examples of the world’s obsession with war and the creation of the perfect human being. Captain America, or Steven Rogers, is a “nearly perfect human being” created by the government supported “night operation (3).” This Night Operation is a series of injections and oral doses of the “Super-Soldier Formula(3),” it did not however, give him super powers but it turned him into a “perfect specimen of human(3)” by enhancing his “strength, endurance, agility, speed, reflexes, and durability(3)” at the highest limits humanly possible. Captain America is the perfect human being while his Partner James Howlett is the perfect human weapon. James Howlett, better known as Wolverine is kidnapped by Team X and created into Weapon X. Weapon X is basically the forcible fusion of unbreakable “adamantium(5)” into his bones and various other treatments to his body. Wolverine turned into a mutant that possessed “animal keen senses enhanced physical capabilities, retracting bone claws, and a healing factor (5).”Captain America and Wolverine both went into the military as World War II Soldier and came out of it a couple of mutated human beings.
Today’s culture is obsessed with technological advances and the creation of perfection within people and that is reflected in many different comic series such as Spiderman, The Hulk, Captain America, Origin, and Iron Man. However, many of the destructive situations in the comic books are possible such as an explosion of an atomic/gamma weapon that genetically altered humans but not in a good way. Science trying to mess with mother nature is everywhere especially with things like test tube babies, genetic manipulation, and mechanical body parts, etcetera and such things are expressed in comic books; which make you think about “what if” the world was really like this.