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Here's why superheroes are important. ARTHONIEL-STYLE!

2011 sucked for me. It sucked a lot. As in, no exaggeration to say that it was the worst year of my life. Now, things are looking up, and I'm feeling better, but I was in a very dark place for a very long time there, and reasonably so. Normally I'm pretty optimistic about my life (not an optimist, I'm optimistic, there is a difference... but I'll go into that at a later time) and I honestly believe that the world is a wonderful, amazing, beautiful place... but as much as I'm good at focusing on the light, there was a lot of time when the world was still mostly dark for me this year.

Superheroes also live in a dark world. They live in a world where crime is absolutely rampant - much more so than in our world, because, say what you will about our police, they're really very good when they're actually doing their jobs -, super villains are a thing, there actually are people who are literally striving to achieve world domination, and they all have some kind of ~*issue*~, usually having to do with their fathers or father figures.

The thing with superheroes being important in both our world and theirs, however, isn't that they bring light to a dark world, because if the world were mostly dark and someone were to be reading/watching/hearing about superheroes going around and saving the day, they couldn't give less of a damn. To a certain extent, superheroes are really kind of an absurd concept, and if someone was to try and have anything to do with them while everything is awful around them, it would be almost a mockery of their life. "Well gee, your life sure sucks, but if you put on tights and a cape, maybe everything will get better!"

Instead, superheroes gain importance not by bringing light to a dark world, but by helping to fight for a better world when the process has already begun. They ease the process, and serve as a figure of justice and morality (of a general sense... I'm not entirely sure that, say, people should strive to match Tony Stark's morals to a T) that we can try to aim for. In the history of comic books, they first started being produced in the mid-1930's, and were present enough because they were a cheap escape from the terrible economic and social situation around them. However, the first and biggest Golden Age of comics was in the late 1930's, all the way into the early 1950's. You know, when the U.S. was beginning to pull itself out of the Depression, and particularly when it started becoming involved with WWII, and fighting against the Axis powers. The U.S. was in a state of moving from the dark and aptly named Great Depression to something that is at least better on the homefront. (I will never argue that war is a good thing, or even a better thing... but the facts do show that the U.S. economy got better after we entered WWII and had to start producing war materials en masse, and that's what got money to start circulating again.) And who lead the way as the U.S. literally fought its way out of those dark times? None other than the man (of a sort) who was the catalyst for the Golden Age of comics, the first comic superhero himself, Superman! At the time, he was actually massively outsold by Captain Marvel, but Superman was the one who made comic books into a massive industry by being the first superhero, and the one who defined the form of comic book heroes, and he was one of several major comic book heroes created by DC Comics and Timely Comics (the predecessor of today's Marvel Comics), as well as several other companies that haven't quite matched their success. Superman stood for "truth, justice, and the American way" and he was there as the U.S. managed to get itself through the Depression, through the war, and into the 1950's, one of the most prosperous ages any country has ever had.

So that's how superheroes began to be popular, and how they're important in people's lives in general. They help bring you out of the dark, once you've decided you want to leave. Awesome. But, even though Timely/Marvel had a presence in the golden age of comics, I still always tend to associate the golden age with DC comics... and DC heroes are always just a bit too perfect for me. Yes, Superman and Batman and all of the rest have flaws in their characters and whatnot, but their powers and their senses of morality have always been just a bit too perfect for me. Superman can do anything and everything, and his weaknesses are that he's too strong, and kryptonite. Well, the first one is really interesting, and if DC actually ever did anything with that, that would be really cool! Superman not being able to effectively fight a villain because he knows he wouldn't be able to hold himself back, and he would actually rip the Earth apart or something - that would be really cool. But no. Instead, all of his adversaries always have kryptonite. I mean, how many radioactive pieces of his home planet are there, and how have they all made it to Earth? That's a pretty small trajectory there, after all... shouldn't they at least be missing us by several hundred million miles or something? Or Batman... he may not have any actual superpowers, but he is the ultimate best fighter ever OMG. Shouldn't there be villains out there who are, you know, better than him? There's always someone better than you out there... unless your Batman, apparently. And that's just too... weird for me.

So then, you have to turn to more naturalistic superheroes, which I always associate more with Marvel Comics, most of whom appeared during the Silver Age of comics. The Silver Age is generally accepted to have been from about the mid-1950's until about 1970, when it was succeeded by the bronze and modern age of comics. And this was also Marvel's time to shine, as led in good part by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. This is when heroes like Spiderman, Iron Man, the X-Men, Thor, and others came into play, all of whom are much more realistic in character than the majority of the Golden Age heroes. They're never quite as moral in terms of their own characters as heroes like Superman or Batman are, their powers are significantly more limited, they can be beaten (they aren't, but the possibility exists) and, even though most of them gain their powers through some kind of fantastic science fiction or fantasy, they're much more believable than their predecessors. All of these naturalistic, Silver Age, psychologically nuanced heroes also all began to appear in a time of great social turmoil for the U.S. The Silver Age began around the same time as the civil rights movement, and it only grew bigger as other social movements became more and more vocal; the feminist movement, gay rights, et cetera. Silver Age and, in my mind, Marvel heroes aren't so much about coming out of a dark world where you're missing basic necessities like food, water, and shelter as much as they are about coming out of a dark world where you're going through more psychological issues or you're missing more fulfilling necessities, like being treated as equal to your fellow man, despite your sexual orientation or the color of your skin. Once the U.S. started to fight against bigotry is when these kinds of heroes became more popular, and, like the Golden Age heroes led the U.S. out of the darkness of the depression and the war, these Silver Age heroes led the U.S. out of the darkness of it's old, more bigoted ways.

So, in general, Marvel heroes are more about making yourself better as you're fighting other, external forces. And that's exactly why I'm really growing to love them so much. Because 2011 sucked so hard, and I was in such a dark place for so much of it, but I'm finally really beginning to feel better, and I'm moving on, and looking forward to 2012. My feeling better isn't necessarily new but now that I'm on break, this is the first chance I've had to really think about it. I started my own fight against the darkness that was surrounding me, and now that I've started, I have Iron Man, Spiderman, Captain America, and so many others to help me keep fighting on. To encourage me to do more, be more, and be all that I can be. Now that I've started getting more and more into them, I have a ton more sewing projects planned so I can actually make more things, I've been inspired for new stories to write, I've found a desire to start learning martial arts so I can be a physical badass too, and I'm finding this fight for a brighter life so much easier and better. Hell, even the Marvel villain inspire me to be all that I can be... well, more Loki than anyone else, and more Tom Hiddleston's Loki than any other... but I have watched the movie Thor multiple times now just because I admire his performance so much, and I want to be a better actor now so I could act and create a character that could match up to his Loki... and possible exist with him in some capacity as well. That would be amazing.

Superheroes are important because they give us the courage to keep fighting once we've begun and discovered that the fight is actually really, really hard, and because as we're fighting, they give us something to strive for. They are who we want to be, and particularly Marvel heroes are an achievable goal for us, in some capacity. I may never have the genius level of skill it would take to create an Iron Man suit, I may never get accidentally bitten by a radioactive spider, and I may never be from Asgard and be considered a god by the rest of us little mortals. But I can have those heroes' courage, conviction, and desire to better myself to be the best human I can possibly be, and I can follow through on those desires to actually make myself better. And it's superheroes who will have led me to do that. It's superheroes who will allow me to make absolutely sure that 2012 is one hell of an awesome year.

And that's why I think that superheroes are important.

...Holy crap, I just wrote an essay. Voluntarily. Where I actually researched (read: Wikipedia'd) comic book heroes and everything, because I wanted to. What even is this. I think I'm actually going to have to make this entry public, because... holy crap, I just did that.

And if you read all of that, as my thank you... here, have The Avengers trailer. Because it is awesome, and it is primarily The Avengers who inspire me. Not to mention holy crap Tom Hiddleston can I just be you now? Or have you? Either one, really.

Date: 2011-12-24 11:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I may be more of a DC girl than a Marvel girl (though I wasn't originally!) and at least as much of a Rogues girl as I am a heroes girl (WHOOPS), but I really love this essay. I think you explained things wonderfully and I really got a sense for why you, personally, enjoy comics, and why you believe they're absolutely worth reading and enjoying. C:

I also agree that Superman's too strong -- they have to abuse Kryptonite SO MUCH to even pose a challenge to him -- and also he's... a little too much of a Boy Scout? Nothing wrong with that but sometimes it gets actually unbelievable. I do like Batman, though, and disagree that no one's ever been better than him (several of his Rogues have hurt him BAD and are as good or better at fighting, and his companions have saved his life quite a bit), but I'm actually the LEAST fond of Batman out of the entire Bat family and can definitely agree that he's... a bit of a male power/revenge fantasy? Which can be fun, but a)isn't something everybody's gonna be interested in, and b)is done badly a sizable chunk of the time anyway. So there's that. :|

I swear I'm into DC for the Bat Rogues and their psychology and occasional attempts at reformation, and to a lesser extent for the Batgirls and Robins. And God the Flash's Rogues are weirdly adorable. Sobbbbb.

/much less coherent, done rambling now, pointless reply out

Date: 2011-12-25 07:09 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Haha, I'm glad you liked it! I didn't even realize I was writing a whole essay until... well, until I was done. XD

I will admit that I don't know as much about DCverse as I should - I'm only just beginning to get into western comics on any kind of significant level, really - and so I'm working off of just the little bit I already know, so there could easily be a lot of stuff about Batverse that I just... haven't seen, and if you say that these things are so, then I'll believe you. I still have some issues with him being so perfect - he has the money! and the looks! and the skills! and the technology! and the brains! - but they're not major issues. I still love Tony Stark, after all, so I couldn't dislike him for those things that much. XD

And hey, coherency is for losers, anyway~

Date: 2011-12-25 05:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
First off - HOLY SHIT. Okay. Why don't you write an academic paper about this? I mean, I wrote a paper about Disneyism and shit. If you turned this into a paper, that would ROCK. And then we could be geniuses ruling academia. Also, all those points you brought up? SPOT ON. We rely on superheroes today the same way early civilizations relied on their gods (and later Yahweh/God/Allah). It gives us courage and hope.

Second. I've always been a Marvel girl. I still loved Superman, but you're right. He's the perfect Boy Scout - something Batman actually brought up in Justice League or Justice League Unlimited - AND Kryptonite's been abused too much as a means to defeat him. There was a storyline that delved into Superman going all out and fucking shit up hardcore, but I can't remember if that was in Justice League, JLU, or a comic storyline. Still, too perfect. Not for me.

Batman, though...if there is a DC hero closer to being a Marvel guy, it's Batman. Batman is a true anti-hero, and he's my favorite DC hero (aside from Wonder Woman). You have the duality of Bruce Wayne and Batman, which we see in Spiderman and Peter Parker. Look at Bruce and Peter: EXCEPTIONALLY intelligent, resourceful, learned the pain of loss early, and wanted revenge or at least, justice. Both want lives and try to keep Batman and Spiderman separate from themselves. As Batman and Spiderman, they both struggle with what truly is "justice" and what is revenge/vengence. They could either be seen as vigilantes, as true heroes, as potential threats to society. They're both extremely complicated as men and as forces against crime.

(continued in a second comment cuz I went overboard according to LJ)

Date: 2011-12-25 05:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
(continuing from previous comment)

Now, line Bruce Wayne up with Tony Stark. Bruce Wayne is a bit of a player, but whether or not he actually gets his freak on with the ladies is left up for debate depending on the universe you're reading. Tony Stark would likely be caught fucking the wife of the president/CEO/founder of a rival company in the restroom at a fancy shin-dig. Bruce has Alfred the family butler, and later the different boys who took on the role of Robin (possibly pedo if you REALLY think about it, but highly unlikely) as his allies and confidents. Tony has Jarvis (his computer system), Pepper, Happy, and Rhodie in his life. Both are sickeningly rich and took over their daddies' companies. The differences between them? Bruce is, without a doubt, the one with a conscience and more morals. Tony...well, we know how he is. However, as Ironman, Tony is also seeking something. Is it justice? Is it revenge? We'll never know because he is also extremely intelligent and complex.

What I like about Bruce Wayne/Batman is his intelligence. He doesn't need any superpowers, so he's not a true superhero. He could be like Peter Parker (before the spider bite) and simply be your average Joe. But he's not. He's a wealthy man who wants to change his city for the better. He gets the shit kicked and beat out of him on several occasions. He knows his mortality, and he knows that he could be killed just like his parents were, but he doesn't let that stop him. He's more of a hero for people going into law enforcement than anything else.

Marvel about an emphasis on humanity. I'm not talking about humanity in respect to mankind, though that's another thing they emphasized. I'm talking about the essence of humanity that's inside all of us. Marvel became intensely popular in the 1960s (my mom grew up in the 60s and she remembers Marvel comics selling faster than the DC titles) and you know why? The civil rights movement. Vietnam. Post-WWII America. Kids in the 60s didn't want Ma and Pop's too-perfect comic book heroes. They wanted more. And Marvel had more.

You have genuine relationships in the Marvel comics. I mean, you do in the DC comics, but not on the scale that you see in Marvel. Rogue and Gambit. Scott Summers and Jean Grey (*puke*). Logan and his unrequited love for Jean. Peter Parker and Mary-Jane Watson (whose name is referencing pot, another sign of the times). AND. Something DC sorta did, but Marvel did better, was alliteration in the characters' everyday names - the use of the same consonant sound. It made the characters sound catchier. When I was a kid, I know that made me fall in love with Marvel over DC. It's fun to say "Peter Parker," just like it's fun to say "Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers."

Date: 2011-12-25 05:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
DC's villians are generally cookie-cutter at best. The villians featured in the Batman titles break those molds, but even in JL/JLU, you see Batman using brains more than brawn to take them down. Again, another reason I like Batman so much. If someone were to take Braniac out, it would be him. Superman's too much of a muscle-y dunce to truly defeat Brainiac. Or Lex Luthor, actually. >.>;

Marvel's villians are that balance of human and inhuman in the sense that like normal people, they've got their pros and cons, they're just bad guys. BUT you still get that sense that, given half a chance, they wouldn'y be bad guys. Nature vs. Nurture, if you want to look at it from a psychologist's point of view. Were they born fucked up? Or was it their environment that led to them being fucked up? With DC, it's obviously Nature. With Marvel, you have to wonder. =D You kinda touched on that, but I kinda went deeper with it.

And you're definitely right in that the majority of Marvel's heroes (even the villians!) make you look at yourself and want to better yourself. They're more realistic, so it's easier for someone to say, "I want to be more like Kurt Wagner!" and emulate Kurt (Nightcrawler) than to emulate Clark Kent (Seriously? Who would want to be Clark Kent?).

Awesome essay, dear. You should definitely make an academic paper out of this. You'd get an A for sure.

Date: 2011-12-25 07:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I should write a paper about this? You have a paper about superheroes - particularly Batman - here too! We should totally edit them and publish them together. It'd be awesome. XD

I will admit, Batman is awesome, and he's one of the DC heroes I do have true respect for. But, as you have also pointed out, he's very atypical of DC heroes. I want to get to know his character better, though... I'm really only just beginning to get into western comics on any kind of real, significant level, and I've mostly just been diving into Marvelverse, so I haven't seen nearly as much of Batman as I'd like.

Also, I never knew that, about the names! I mean, I suppose, if I thought about it, it would make sense... Peter Parker, Bruce Banner, Loki Laufeyson... but having it pointed out to me is awesome. Also, Mary-Jane... had no idea about her name either! That's fantastic. Go Marvel.

I was having a discussion with my friends about comics the other day, and they also brought up the subject of DC's poor villains. One of us gave the challenge, saying "aside from Lex Luthor, name two Superman villains" and... we couldn't do it. Batman has good villains, but, as we've already said, he's atypical.

Conversely, Marvel villains are awesome. And I'm not even entirely sure I would argue that all Marvel villains are just bad guys so much as some of them are inherently good people who just make bad decisions, or are victims... which causes them to go absolutely batshit. Similar to what you said, but I still feel like there's a real difference there. I'm going to use the example of Loki again because watching Thor and seeing Tom Hiddleston's performance was one major catalyst for all of this for me, but in that, Loki isn't even a villain, really, so much as he's a tragic hero. He tried to do the right thing, and it just... all went wrong. Or... at least some version of the right thing. I see him as very Hamlet-esq... but that goes more into a psychological character study of Loki than it is a discussion of Marvel villains. XD

Anywho, I'm glad you liked my thoughts here! I actually have vaguely considered making this into some kind of essay... if I ever take a class on superheros and American comics (there actually might be one of those somewhere at Brandeis...)(I seriously have to look that up and take that class when it comes around) I probably will recycle this in some way, shape, or form. And it's gonna be awesome. XD

Date: 2011-12-26 07:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
LOL You should read my paper on Disneyism (it's right here). I have this...thing about delving into mainstream media and hacking it to bits. Even if I'm being over-analytical, it's good to be a skeptic. And yes, that paper WAS written for a class, and I had friends here that were clamoring to read it, so once I'd written it and handed it in, I posted it here for everyone to read. (On that note, since Disney is fun to pick apart and all that, I'd love to see what you come up with. =D ) I said, he's the ONLY DC hero that comes close to being something like the Marvel heroes. He's like Tony Stark, Peter Parker, and Wolverine (Oh. My. GOD. Can you imagine the epicness of a fight between Batman and Wolverine?!), all rolled into one. That and he's so dark. I mean, c'mon. What's not to love?

I just remembered a line from the 1993 cartoon that aired on FOX Kids (holy shit that makes me feel so old). "I am vengence. I am the night. I AM BATMAN!" <--- That line, right there, sums up everything about Batman in three sentences. THREE SENTENCES. WHAT OTHER HERO CAN DO THAT?! The answer? NONE.

One thing to remember about Thor is that Marvel basically took the existing Norse mythologies and made a killing off it. But Thor is how I got into Norse mythology, history, and what not. See ma? Comic books CAN be educational! Not entirely, but yanno...they can inspire someone to learn.

You actually don't need to take a specific class to get that out there. You could use this topic in pretty much ANY English class. Heck, I bet you could even use it for a psychology class. There's a LOT of psychology in comic books, and you touched on some aspects in your essay, and I kinda touched on others in my essay's worth of commentary. You even brought up the tragic hero, which is not only a psychological occurrence, it's also a literary device in a LOT of books (Boromir and Frodo in The Lord of the Rings and Turin in another of Tolkien's works, for example) and a must-have in pretty much every Greek tale/comedy (remember, a "comedy" to the Greeks was significantly different from what we know it as today).

Date: 2011-12-28 04:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh man, Disney. I'm holding off on that one, actually, because I am taking a course on the films of Disney this coming semester! I mean, technically, I'm not actually in it because it got capped when it wasn't supposed to be and all sorts of weird stuff, but like hell if I'm not sitting in on it. XD

And it's true, Batman is pretty badass. And I really wish they'd do a modern Marvel and DC crossover somehow... it'd be insane and awesome. Because I would love to see that Batman/Wolverine fight too!

I'm well aware that Thor is just Marvel making a profit off of existing Norse mythology... but hey, it worked for them. And it is inspiring me to get more into Norse mythology... I mean, I've always loved Greek and Roman mythology, so why not Norse mythology too?

You're right, I don't need to take a specific class to get this paper out there... but if it exists, it's a class I would really love to take anyway. And I already study the other parts of this - one of my majors is Creative Writing, after all, which means tons of English classes - particularly characters like the tragic hero. My other major is Theater Arts, so I take plenty of drama lit, and these kinds of archetypes are all throughout those plays, which I kind of love.

Date: 2011-12-28 11:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh God. We should REALLY "sit down" and discuss all the Disney BS. I outlined a good bit of it in that paper already, but I bet I could find more if I sat down and watched what movies I have on DVD again.

A fight between Batman and Wolverine would be like...God...uh...Sephiroth versus...FUCK! Who is badass enough to go up against Sephiroth (besides Cloud, and bad-guy wise)?! Shit. But yeah it would be THAT badass. I mean, you've got Batman, who's cunning and intelligent as hell, and Wolverine, who is pretty much immortal and can self-heal and...damn. The odds look stacked against Batman, but if there's one thing I know about Batman, it's that he could be the underdog in a fight and still find a way to win. And Wolverine is my favorite Marvel character (because he's largely an anti-hero too). That's like, the ultimate showdown to me, pitting my all-time favorite DC hero against my all-time favorite Marvel hero.

Norse mythology is awesome. It's along the same lines as Greek mythology (the Romans didn't invent the wheel, they just renamed it) while still being fairly different. I can't see Marvel being as successful with the Greek stuff as they've been with the Norse gods. I'm glad they went with Norse mythology, because it never gets any attention...unless you love Wagner lol (the ancient Germanic mythology was actually Norse because they came out of Scandinavia =D ). Plus the Greeks are overdone. You can only beat a dead horse so much, you know?

Creative writing? Holy shit. That's your door, right there. =D Out of curiosity, what English classes are available to you at your school? That way you can narrow it down to classes that would allow you to refine this and make it the badass academic paper I know it can be. That way it won't be completely awkward for you. XD I've never taken a theatre class. Mostly because I've always been scared to, even if it focused on something I've always been interested in. Yes, I am the world's biggest chickenshit. lol

Date: 2012-01-03 07:47 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Well, I actually really love Disney movies. There's definitely a ton of BS in them... but there are some amazing things in them too, and I love to analyze them... it's why I can't wait for that class, even if I'm not technically taking it. XD

And any and all classes in the English department are open to me at Brandeis... you don't have to be a major in a department to take classes in it. In fact, you have to take at least one class in nearly all departments, regardless of your major. And there are a ton of classes, and not all of them are offered every year, so I don't even know what classes I can take... I'm looking into it, though~ And you should totally take a theater class! Theater people are some of the most accepting, awesome people in the world. We may seem a little clique-y at first, but if you just go up to some of us and start talking to us, we're almost always totally cool with it... plus acting is pretty much the most therapeutic thing ever. :D

Date: 2011-12-25 04:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
This is very interesting article/essay. I tend to agree with your thoughts of Clark/Supes but they HAVE done stories where he's too powerful. But it's more like he knows EVERYTHING on Earth and can't save everyone. He can hear Lois falling off a building, and a little boy about to be killed by a train but he can only save one, and ALWAYS saves Lois. I know they did some arcs where he had angst from that sort of situation. Though now they've weakened him in the new 52.

Batman. In all honesty I pretty much agree. In a world where the average superhero has a God's level of power. Superman, Wonder Woman, Martian Manhunter, heck even the weaker of the big seven Green Lantern and Flash have INSANE powers that could take over the world on their own. . .A character like Bats, no matter how good he is should be squashed like an insect. No WAY any of these god like beings would let Bruce in a fight vs Darkseid or the like.

But Marvel at least is pretty political and topical. X-Men for example, Magento was Malcolm X and Xavior was Dr King. The Punisher is an example of the mental illnesses that stemmed from Vietnam vets. DC tried to stay away from it for the most part. They did have the "Hard Traveling Heros" of Green Lantern and Green Arrow where they touched on some level of the Civil Rights Movement.

Date: 2011-12-26 07:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Good point. I'd forgotten about the angst arcs. But that was another thing DC abused. Lois was ALWAYS the damsel in distress. I laughed when I first saw Megamind, because they were making fun of that with Roxanne Ritchie and Metroman. HOWEVER, if you remember Superman (1978, starring Christopher Reeve), they DID delve into that, and Lois was originally killed. He was only able to "save" Lois by flying around the Earth so fast that he went back in time and was thus able to thwart both missiles (with a little help from Luthor's girlfriend).

Despite all that speed and muscle, none of the members of the Justice League (or Justice Friends, if you want to go back to the 1960s/1970s) would be able to pull off a win against Darkseid without Batman. His intelligence provides balance. That's not to say that GL and GA aren't smart, nor Wonder Woman for that matter, but if you want someone who's adaptable and is able to think on his feet against an opponent like that, you want Batman there.

Marvel was definitely topical, and it still applies today. In X-Men, you see discrimination. The times have changed, and so has the band, but the theme is still the same. Back then, it was the civil rights movement. Today, it's gay rights/marriage. In a way, that makes Marvel timeless.

Date: 2011-12-28 05:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I really do love how topical and modern Marvel always is. They very much have their finger on the pulse of what is really present in the minds of their audience... I'm particularly thinking of the first Iron Man movie with Robert Downey Jr., how they updated his origins to be that he was held captive by Middle Eastern terrorists. But I also just re-watched that yesterday, so it's kinda super present in my mind. XD


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