Scientific studies show that modern superheroes have a great psychological impact on people of all kinds and ages. For this reason, these characters are easily seen as pillars of hope and optimism, exponents of great values in our culture.
But when the social situation changes, superheroes also acquire a new purpose. Knowing the potential to influence people, governments have used comic book characters to motivate the population to take action and fight for their country on the battlefield.
The most evident case of this reality is the character of Captain America.[His first comic came out in March 1941, nine months before the United States entered World War II at its most critical point. The idea of a superhero dressed in the American flag while defeating Nazis with his bare hands was what the population needed at that moment.
That is why it is no coincidence that the comics of this character were the most read of the publisher Timely (later Marvel Comics) during the war with a million copies sold per month. Even US soldiers read the stories of the superhero while on the battlefield.
Captain America’s comics included things like patriotic illustrations or moments in the story where the superhero asked the reader to buy war bonds. Meanwhile, Superman was also used to encourage the purchase of war bonds.
In 1969, after soldiers asked for Superman to appear on the battlefield, DC published a comic in which he goes to the Vietnam War. In 2005, Marvel collaborated with the Pentagon to distribute free comics to a million troops under a campaign called “America Supports You.”
In 2011, Legendary Comics released a graphic novel called Holy Terror in which a Batman-esque vigilante fights Islamic terrorists. So, somehow, superheroes are inherently good to be used as war propaganda.