Hey guys! For today’s post I am going to talk about Michael Chabon’s essay “Secret Skin”. I found it fascinating about how much the costume of superheroes was talked about and affected so many people. It makes sense that kids would see them and want to dress like them, because that it the way that they can feel like the characters. But Chabon’s argument is that it’s not about the costume, but rather about the emulating the superheroes’ character, is really what the costumes are all about. Kids need visual and physical representations in order to understand abstract ideas. Without a costume, or any other tangible feeling of being a superhero, kids wouldn’t be able to represent the true character of these superheroes.
At the beginning of the essay Chabon brings up the ethical issue of escapism, as it was brought up to him in Sunday School. I understand how these issues could be considered a threat to religion, but on the other hand, I don’t think that superheroes or comic books necessarily promote escapism. Comics do deal with real world issues and emotions while providing a safe space to play them out. Children reading these comics, while they are dressing up and it seems like they may be escaping into a superhero world, in reality they are practicing these important real world character traits that actually align pretty well with what religion calls for. In order for children to face reality they must first practice it with play. Comics and superheroes allow for children to do just this. Chabon says in his essay that he may not be ready for reality because of reading comic books, but I feel that he probably is. I think that the values and strengths of the superheroes prepare children to be functioning and capable adults.
That’s all for now! Thank you for reading! Feel free to post questions or comments!