The Pop Becomes Political


Apparently, in the new Iron Man blockbuster, Robert Downey, Jr. is fighting off villains to defend the United Nations. (To which I joke: checking the IMDB page, though, I don’t see Cliff Kincaid or Phyllis Schlafly on the cast roster.) From the Guardian, via All America Blog.

It’s nothing new that Iron Man, the latest in Marvel’s pop-icon pantheon to hit the big screen, is coming to the rescue of the United Nations. In a specially customised comic book, Ol Shellhead and his costumed cohorts will battle that most terrible of supervillains, a tarnished public image, by demonstrating the UN’s positive, proactive roles. Will it work? It’s debatable: over the years these earnest, message-laden stories have not always been too effective as weapons of mass persuasion.


As for the UN, superheroes have come to its rescue before. In November 1967, The Justice League Of America featured the UN symbol on the cover of issue 57, in a very right-on plea for racial harmony called “Man, The Name is – Brother!” The UN even had their very own team of superheroes devised by Wally Wood for Tower Comics in the 60s. Called the THUNDER Agents (The Higher United Nations Defence Enforcement Reserves), they were led by Dynamo, dressed in the UN’s blue and white colours. Rather than relying on Marvel’s characters, the UN could have resurrected this team, but THUNDER Agents vanished after only 20 issues and only aging comic collectors remember them now.

Hmm…considering the peacekeeping’s troubling capacity shortage, consider me all for resurrecting The Higher United Nations Defence Enforcement Reserves.