Before becoming a noted feminist author and activist, Gloria Steinem worked in the comics industry.
When I buy a comic book and pay an average price of $3.99 for about 24 pages of comics material, sometimes I wonder – Why am I paying $3.99 for such a short entertainment experience? Four dollars seems like a lot of money to pay for what I estimated to be a ten minute entertainment experience. To get a better perspective on the question, I decided to do an experiment.
When DC Comics character Barry Allen wants to assume his superhero identity of The Flash, he presses a small stud on a hollow ring that conceals Allen’s compressed Flash costume; the costume is ejected from the ring and Allen then dons the costume at super-speed. It’s a neat costume change gimmick that was inspired by an obscure 1920s pulp character created by the same author who created the iconic character Zorro.
Both DC Comics’ Multiversity series and Marvel Comics’ Edge of Spider-Verse event showcase characters from multiple parallel universes (that is, a “multiverse”). These two series are not the first time that the multiverse concept has been used by DC and Marvel. Over the years, the publishers have each established a multiverse of parallel universes in their respective comics, and the concept has become a popular element of superhero comics.
Movies based on comics characters are popular these days, but comics-inspired movies aren’t new; indeed, the first movie based on comics characters was filmed in the 19th century.
Scientist Barry Allen is covered in lightning-charged chemicals, giving him the power of super-speed; Allen becomes the superhero The Flash. A quartet of astronauts are exposed to cosmic rays and become the super-powered Fantastic Four. Dr. Bruce Banner is blasted with gamma radiation and transforms into the monstrous Hulk. Puny Steve Rogers takes a super-soldier serum and becomes the superhero Captain America. Peter Parker is bitten by a radioactive spider and develops superpowers that he uses to fight crime as Spider-Man.
Instant physical or mental changes resulting from exposure to a mutagenic catalyst like radiation or chemicals are a trope in comic books, often used to explain the extraordinary abilities of both superheroes and supervillains. This trope was inspired by experiments conducted on fruit flies in the 1920s.