V for Vendetta

The Arrow that Missed: The Gun Control Episode that said nothing

Beyond Redemption“If you stand for nothing, Burr, what’ll you fall for”?

My favorite superhero stories are the ones that serve as metaphor or allegory for issues in our own world, inviting the reader/watching to look at a question in a whole new light. That’s why this blog exists. Even when I disagree with the point that a particular author might be making, I’m still likely to celebrate the way they used the superhero genre to make it. So when I heard that Arrow, on the CW, was going to tackle the question of gun control in their upcoming episode Spectre of the Gun (season 5 episode 13), I was excited to see where they went with it. But I was disappointed by an episode that approached a difficult topic in the safest way possible, doing its absolute best not to offend anyone.


Be like Cap’ – The Ethics of Nazi Punching



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!






V for Dystopia


evey-vThis week, Paul and Matthew are joined by Logan Grendel, who talks with them about V for Vendetta, dystopian stories, and the ethics of violence. (It all ties together, we promise!)

“Dog man” Logan Grendel is a writer, artist, and activist born and raised in New York City. He is also a lifelong fan of comics, fantasy, and dystopian tales of all kinds. His own photo/graphic novel creation Harlequin’s Song was completed in 2006, and has never seemed more timely.


Urban Dog Care NYC is Logan’s dog-walking business and main source of dog stories, about which you shouldn’t ask unless you have several hours to spare. For a brief, humorous look at his findings, read his new book Putting Paws to Pavement.



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

We would love to hear your thoughts and responses.  Continue the conversation with us on Twitter or Facebook.




Podcast Episode- What Makes a Good Villain

maxresdefaultThis is the first of two new podcast episodes that have gone up in the last weeks. You can find them below, or subscribe by searching for Superhero Ethics on Itunes. Give them a listen, and please leave a comment to let us know what you think, give any response or suggest ideas for future episodes.

In episode 3, Suicidal Villans, it’s just your loyal host, Matthew, going deep on Suicide Squad and the good guy/bad guy trope. Spoilers for Suicide Squad, Batman, and lots of other things.



Pride, Fear, and Apologies: Thoughts on V for Vendetta and Fear in the Wake of Orlando

v_for_vendetta_by_movabletype-d4ni2vbA few nights ago, I couldn’t sleep and I wanted to watch something that might help. I had been watching True Detective and then ST:DS9, and I needed something I already knew, something that would distract me but also not keep me so invested I couldn’t drift off. Scrolling through Netflix I found “V for Vendetta.”  I remembered it as being an interesting political thriller with a few plot points I strongly disagreed with and more violence then I’d like, but probably perfect for my needs. Entertaining, distracting, and not so likely to hold my attention that I’d stay awake even longer. I turned it on, crawled into bed, half watched for about 20 drowsy minutes and then fell asleep.

I found myself still thinking about the next movie the next few days, chasing errant thoughts about its depiction of a fascist state that comes to power on a tide of fear of homosexuals and immigrants, particularly Muslim ones. Then I read this powerful article that put the connections I was struggling with into words.  The first half is a long discussion of how true a movie does or does not need to be to its source material, and while its interesting and an argument I don’t entirely agree with, the real heart of the article is when she draws the connections between V’s world and our own, especially in the wake of Orlando, and her reactions to both as queer woman.