Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Super Heroes with vices part 5 Other Naughtiness

Recreational Drugs

     Super-heroes are a squeaky clean lot that wouldn't dabble into anything as squalid as drugs. After all, if the threat of the Punisher 'guest-appearing' and having a 'team-up' (read: shooting them dead for using drugs) wasn't enough, what would the kids think?!?

      Well, if the previous posts are anything to go by, it appears that there's little that super-heroes won't try.  And yet, this still seems to be one vice that most super-heroes still avoid.  At least overtly.  I still maintain that Doctor Strange is a closet toker, and Alpha Flight are all Canadian, and that should say enough.  And there are a stunning array of fictional drugs available in the Marvel and DC universes, as well as to comic book characters everywhere.  Many super-heroes gain their powers through the use of drugs, or serums as they are euphemistically known.  And who could forget Roger Ramjet's pill-popping antics, with his 'Proton Energy Pills, which give him the power of 20 atom bombs for a period of 20 seconds'?

      I digress.

      For the most part, Captain America's 'Super-Soldier Serum', later ret-conned as a virus, and Blue Beetle's 'Vitamin 2X' are performance-enhancing drugs.  They would get banned from athletic events, to be sure, but these drug cocktails don't really fit the role of a vice.  Super-heroes using recreational drugs just seems too taboo for comics.

      Oh sure, there have been accidental exposures to drugs, as when Captain America avoided the explosion of a meth lab, only to have the drug trigger a chemical reaction with his (still them) Super Soldier Serum.  Read, Cap On Meth!!!

     No other super-hero has had to deal with as many exposures (against his will, to be sure) to mind-altering drugs as Batman.  He has constantly been battling villains who insist on exposing him to all kinds of mind-altering chemicals.  From Laughing Gas to Fear Dust, toxic aerosols and mind-control lipstick, Batman has faced a bewildering array from the devious minds and chemical labs of the weirdest super-villains out there.  Batman never lost his shit either, which is perhaps unfortunate, as he has been exposed to more (fictional) drugs than anyone this side of William Burroughs, administered by insane chaps who, arguably, only wanted him to 'lighten up' and 'unclench'.  It is no mistake that, while Superman's foes go to prison when they are defeated, Batman's foes go to Arkham Asylum.  
      And sometimes, things just...kind of...happen...
      Mutant Growth Hormone (MGH) in the Marvel Universe, is a party drug derived from superhuman DNA that gives folks temporary super-powers.  But this is used by people without powers.  No superheroes there, either...
      When real drugs raise their head in comics, they are always portrayed negatively, and always involve a support character.  Harry Osborn ODs on amphetamines in Spider-man, and Roy 'Speedy' Harper, Green Arrow's ward was revealed as a heroin junkie.
       So, all in all, while there is an awful lot of drug use in comics, it seems that most of it is performance-enhancing, or against the will of the super-hero involved, or an accident, and above all, predominantly involving fictional drugs.  This seems to be one vice that most super-heroes won't indulge in.  With the odd exception.


      Do I have your attention again?

      You would think that, given super-heroes' predilection for running around in skin-tight fetish uniforms and beating the crap out of each other, that there would be a myriad of sexual dysfunctions and/or liberations involved with that.  And there have been plenty of comics outside of the mainstream dealing with just that.  Bratpack by Rick Veitch is a classic in the field, and, most recently, Garth Ennis' 'The Boys' rips open that particular can of worms in a hero-gasm of outrageous-ness that only Garth Ennis is capable of!  (Issue #6, anyone?)
      But in mainstream comics, our super-heroes seem a fairly straight-laced (and for the most part...straight) lot.  With one exception.

      Wonder Woman is a powerful character in her own right, hinted at on occasion as an alternative love-interest for Superman, and popularized by Linda Carter in the '70's TV series.  She can mix it with the boys and forms one of the 3 main iconic characters in the DC universe.  In her early years, however, she was into some very kinky stuff!

      Wondr Woman was created by William Moulton Marston, a psychologist, after an idea by his wife, Elizabeth, to create a female superhero.  Marston was already famous for his invention, the polygraph, (popularly referred to as the lie-detector), and this was an obvious influence on the Lasso of Truth.  But the lasso got a workout of another kind as well.

      Modelled after his wife, and their polyamorous partner Olive Byrne, Wonder Woman debuted in 1941, and went beyond feminist goals of being equal to men, setting about proving her superiority.  Her dominance was to prove a key factor, as her Lasso of Truth got her into all sorts of kinky adventures.

      As often as not, she would find herself on the receiving end of things...

And as the overt images of bondage became more prevalent, so did the philosophical ruminations.
      Wonder Woman was, and still is, a key counterpoint to the testosterone-fuelled male super-hero pantheon.  The erotic charge of the early Wonder Woman comics have largely left, and Wonder Woman is a sanitised version of her earlier kinky self.  But anyone that can still do this to Batman...
...deserves respect.  And you will obey.

  (pictures used without permission, but with lots of love and respect.  Please don't sue me...)

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