Batman

Ep 50 (ish): What is a Hero?

Super Hero

What makes someone a hero? Does it matter if they choose their path is chosen, or it is assigned to them? Does a hero have to have something terrible happen to them, to inspire them to become heroic? And which villains come the closest to being heroes in their own right?

 

To celebrate our 50th episode, we got all three hosts, Paul, Matthew, and Jacob, on the line to look back at some of our past discussions. Unfortunately, there were technical issues, and we lost a lot of that conversation. We will be trying again soon, but meanwhile this is a shorter teaser episode, in which we look at the question that underlies so much of this podcast- what is a hero?

 

Stay tuned for a full version of our 3 way conversation coming as soon as we are able to re-record it. (And all learn when to hit the record button!)

You can download the episode with a right click  and clicking “save link as” or subscribe by searching for Superhero Ethics on Itunes or on Stitcher.

Agree or disagree with what we talked about, or want to add your own thoughts? Let us know! You can find us on TwitterFacebook, or email us at superheroethics@gmail.com

Ep 48: Who Watches Superman

Justice_League_Kingdom_Come_001Should the heroes who enforce justice, also decide what is or isn’t just? Where are the lines between heroism, vigilantism, or just using your powers to do what you want? And does great power actually come with great responsibility, or is that too much to ask of people just because they have powers?

In this episode, Jacob and Matthew use Kingdom Come, a fantastic 1996 run of Superman comic books, as a jumping off point to dive into these questions and more. This episode explores questions around justice, power, religion, law enforcement, and accountability, in the superhero world and our own. And while the books are amazing, (and find-able online!) you don’t have to have read them to appreciate this conversation.

 

You can download the episode with a right click  and clicking “save link as” or subscribe by searching for Superhero Ethics on Itunes or on Stitcher.

Agree or disagree with what we talked about, or want to add your own thoughts? Let us know! You can find us on Twitter, Facebook, or email us at superheroethics@gmail.com

EP 44: Radiant Ethics- The Way of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson

Way of KingsShould life always come before death? Should we favor the journey over the destination? And can there be an episode of Superhero Ethics without Matthew? In this episode, Jacob is joined by special guest Rob McKenzie for a discussion of The Way of Kings, book 1 in the Stormlight Archive, by Brandon Sanderson.

In particular, they focus on the oaths of the Knights Radiant, discussing the ethical implications of this moral code within the book, and as it applies to other stories, and the real world.

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Ep 43: The Punisher

PunisherWhat makes Netflix’s The Punisher so good, and so troubling, at the same time? Can you tell a story about the evils of guns and violence, while glorifying gun violence? And can anyone explain the concept of collateral damage to Karen? Special guest Jessica Plummer joins Jacob and Matthew as we dive into these questions and more.

Jessica is a writer, podcaster, and superhero obsessive. She’s written about the Punisher here and here. You can find her on Twitter, or follow her Superman movie podcast, Flights and Tights.

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Justice League and the Nature of Hope

justice

Or can you?

The following contains spoilers about the movie, Justice League.

It took me a while to figure out how I felt about the new Justice League movie. Walking out of the theater, I felt pretty neutral. I didn’t love the movie, but it was ok.  It was certainly miles better than the dumpster fire that was Batman vs. Superman, but that’s a pretty low bar to clear. It had a good deal of humor, and I’ll happily pay to see Ezra Millar as The Flash.  The plot was fine- nothing that exciting or interesting, but not terrible. The villain was boring and forgettable, and while an interesting bad guy is often what makes me love a particular story, I’ll admit that there have been some highly enjoyable superhero movies where the villain was the weakest part. (I’m looking at you, Iron Man and Obidiah Stain.)  

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Heroes on the Couch: Mental Illness Stigma and Awareness in Superheroes and Villains

SuperheroTherapyFor some time, we have been given villains whose actions need no explanation– they’re just “crazy.” The aftermath of the Vegas shooting reminds us how strong the stigma against mental illness still is in this country, and how much it is misunderstood. This week, Jacob and Matthew explore the issue of mental illness in superhero stories, examining the long history of problematic portrayals, and how more recent stories have strived to be more accurate.

You can download the episode with a right click and clicking “save link as” or subscribe by searching for Superhero Ethics on Itunes or on Stitcher.

Agree or disagree with what we talked about, or want to add your own thoughts? Let us know! You can find us on Twitter, Facebook, or email us at superheroethics@gmail.com

 

Daredevil, Captain Mal, & Charlottesville

Mal NaziWould Daredevil share information about Nazis? Would Superman or Captain Mal? How would our heroes react to Charlottesville and what can that teach us? What questions would they ask, and which should we?

Starting this week, recent guest Jacob Milicic joins us as co-host! Be sure to welcome him to the conversation.

 

You can download the episode with a right click, or subscribe by searching for Superhero Ethics on Itunes or on Stitcher.

Which heroes do you think would get on board with sharing information on those who go to Nazi marches, and who would object? Agree or disagree with what we talked about, or want to add your own thoughts? Let us know! You can find us on TwitterFacebook, or email us at superheroethics@gmail.com

Be like Cap’ – The Ethics of Nazi Punching

cap-punches-hitler

 

Captain America punched a lot of nazis – does that mean we should too? We are pretty pro nazi punching, but we want to explore the questions around it.  On this episode, we tie it into larger questions of vigilantism, a constant theme in superhero stories.

Is it always ok to punch a nazi? What is it about this current moment that makes it more or less ok than it might be?  We discuss these questions and more, using examples from Batman, V for Vendetta, Star Wars, 300 and the White Wolf RPGs and more. 

 

You can download the episode with a right click, or subscribe by searching for Superhero Ethics on Itunes or on Stitcher.

What do you think? Is it ok to punch a Nazi? Is it wrong? We’d love to hear your thoughts! Continue the conversation with us on Twitter or Facebook!

 

 

 

 

 

Time to Stop Being Gordon and start being Batman

gordon-and-batmanI have a long history of mixed feelings about vigilante superheroes. I cheer for Batman, and I loved watching Dexter, but for a long time i was troubled by the idea of someone, anyone, deciding that they knew better than everyone else what was right and true and good, and could therefore break the law in order to serve their idea of justice. It wasn’t the breaking the law part that bothered me- I think civil disobedience is one of the most important parts of democracy. My concern was with the idea that one person could decide that they knew best, and therefore had the moral right to go above and beyond the system. I believed that, flawed as it might be, a functioning democratic system of justice was always better than one individual.

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