Q:These construction paper heroes are great! I did notice you are lacking The Question, and Huntress. Still dang great!
I’ve described my process before, but since I have some new followers, I figure I can do it again.
I gather pictures of superheroes for potential construction paper creations that I know my four-year-old son knows and likes into a slideshow. When it’s time to make a new one, he goes through the slideshow and picks who he wants next. And he’s been known to surprise me with who he picks and doesn’t pick.
Huntress and The Question have both been in that slideshow for quite some time now, but for whatever reason, my boy has yet to pick either of them. The Question really surprises me, since he was so fascinated by him during the Cadmus episodes of JLU. But I guess there were other heroes he wanted more at the time, and now it’s been too long since he’s watched anything with either of them (besides his toys).
Of course, he could just randomly pick either of them next. You never know.
The Justice League of America - 1960s Roster
My boy now construction paper versions of the full roster of Justice Leaguers from their first appearance in The Brave and the Bold #28 to when Black Canary joined in 1969 in Justice League #74. Honestly, being able to put together this collage is probably the main reason I wanted my boy to get around to selecting Hawkman. One more roster complete!
Original posts for the pictures above:
- Aquaman - Lame or Outrageous?
- Green Lantern - In Brightest Day, To Infinity and Beyond?
- Superman - If Hollywood can keep rebooting the Man of Steel, why can’t I?
- Batman: Something for Everyone
- Wonder Woman: feminist icon for three-year-old boys?
- The Flash: he Scarlet Speedster
- Martian Manhunter
- Green Arrow: My Son the ‘Shipper
- The Atom - It’s Not the Size of the Hero in the Fight…
- Hawkman - Winged Warrior
- Black Canary - The Underrated Appeal of Screaming
The Dynamic Duo - The heroes Tumblr deserves, and also the ones it needs right now
All of the other videos of my son as a superhero have been leading up to this one. For the longest time, Robin was my son’s favourite superhero (might be still). He tried to get his first pre-kindergarten teacher to call him Robin. When we sent him to superhero sports day camp (yes, that was a thing, and of course we sent him), the instructors there DID call him Robin. In fact, one time, my wife arrived to pick him up and spoke to an instructor who didn’t know her, and had no idea what kid she was talking about when she used his given name. “Oh, you mean Robin!”
I waited to do this one because I knew I’d have to be in it, since there’s no Robin theme song. But I didn’t have a Batman costume. I figured I’d cobble something together with a t-shirt and some homemade mask, but realized that would stand out a lot in comparison to his costumes (the one above is the first superhero costume he ever had). Then I remembered a co-worker wore a Batman costume for Halloween, and we were in business. I’d have preferred a classic grey and blue, but beggars can’t be yada yada.
Lots of goofy stuff in this one, including cameos from the extended family. I feel a bit bad that my wife was left out, but I’m guessing she was okay with it. If only we had a Catwoman costume.
If you’d like to see additional superhero videos starring my little guy, you can subscribe to my YouTube channel or check out the blog posts below:
Elongated Man - I Guess We Did Need Another Stretchy Guy
Since he already had Plastic Man on his wall, I wondered if my boy would ever ask for Elongated Man as well. I don’t know how comic fans feel about the two, but if you’re a little boy, Plastic Man is easily the more appealing of the two, since he’s a funny guy and, frankly, his name is a lot easier to say for someone still mastering the formation of phonemes.
But I needn’t have wondered. You can never have too many stretchy guys. The same thing happened when I was drawing his big Justice League mural, where I replaced Ralph with Plas on the drawing because my son preferred him. But then my son wouldn’t stop talking about Elongated Man, so I added him in as well. So Ralph may be the stretchy-guy runner-up, but he’s still in the race.
On another note, how did you guys like my series of posts leading up to this? I’m not planning on doing that with each of these, but I thought it might be fun to see all the layers.
Terra of the Teen Titans - Shades of Grey
One of the easy appeals of superheroes for young kids like my son is the simple morality plays of good guys versus bad guys. It’s very easy for him to understand that heroes do good because they’re good and battle villains who do bad things because they’re bad. For young kids, motivations don’t need to get more complicated than that.
My kid will ask me about 200 “why” questions a day (mixed with another 200 other type questions), including “why does Clark Kent wear glasses” or ”did the Joker have parents” or “why is Beast Boy vegetarian”, but he rarely asks why is a hero fighting a bad guy. There’s elegance in that simplicity that sometimes comic book fans and creators forget when they struggle to come up with elaborate backstories for every part of their minutia.
That said, as we get older and stay with the medium (for those that do), the shades of grey and ambiguity helps keep us hooked when the simple black and white morality isn’t enough. You become an adolescent, and now the anti-heroes like Wolverine, Punisher, and Deadpool become cool. And then sometimes, you become an adult and tire of those anti-heroes and go back to the simpler themes that once reached you in the past.
My kid doesn’t get shades of grey at all. Nor should he. In fact, sometimes it makes things more difficult for me as one of the people who are trying to instill in him an understanding of right and wrong on a level that he can understand. To the degree that he understands right and wrong, it can be confusing when you try to introduce the concept of exceptions. When he was in the car with his mom one time and she ended up going through a red light at a confusing intersection, he not only reveled in catching an adult making a mistake in that way little kids do, but he also kept saying that she should go tell the police. Because she broke a law, and that’s wrong.
So how does this synch with his love of Terra from the Teen Titans cartoon? She’s introduced as a cute pixie with superpowers, goes away, comes back and joins the team. At that point, most viewers realize that she’s a mole when she comes back (especially if you know her story from the comic), but of course that went over his four-year-old head. But eventually, she goes full on bad, turning on the team and helping Slade take over Jump City. In the end, she finds her humanity to help them defeat Slade before “dying” heroically.
Honestly, I think my kid just ignores her heel turn. It helps that she’s presented more sympathetically than I hear she was in the comic, getting a memorial from the team and then a return epilogue at the end of the series. But I think he fell in love with her early, largely because she’s a skinny blonde as is some of his favourite women (his aunt, my wife’s best friend, his “girlfriend” in pre-school who was never aware that she was his girlfriend), and then justified her bad behavior as something temporary. Which, ultimately, it was.
So she’s still a superhero to him. When he plays with her toy, she fights alongside Robin, Beast Boy, and Cyborg, not Slade. She now has a place on his superhero wall. It’s only a shade of grey if you accept that it is.