Why do comic superheroes fly around in their underwear?

By Fareeha Qayoom

marvel universe

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he other day I was engrossed in a book when suddenly I caught this really funny sight…my nephew zooming past me clad in a cape made out of a bed sheet folded over to shorten its length, singlet top and jeans and best of all, his designer underwear on top of his jeans! Nothing but nothing comes between me and my book but I couldn’t resist stopping for a minute to question this remarkable sight…I asked him, “Abdullah, what are you doing?” “Feea Khala, Don’t disturb me!! I am an underwear hero! I am flying to the rescue!!” I found this so cute. Plus I was pretty impressed with the kid. He has quite a brain. It never occurred to me when I was his age to actually play dress up and actually zoom around the whole place making flying noises.

For some weird reason when I was a kid, I was more intent on reading or collecting super hero comic books and trying to draw my favorites. I never questioned why all the comic heroes (men) would be zooming all over the world in their underwear and tights while the women would be clad in leather (cat woman) or skimpy outfits (wonder woman); it was normal in my world.  In fact, I had quite a comic book collection going – I never went for Archie and Veronica till after I was done with the super heroes – I was bent on collecting superman, spider man, bat man, fantastic four, super girl, wonder woman etc., I have a distinct memory of drawing a color picture of wonder woman and showing it to my mom proudly when I was in grade two or three I think. I stopped collecting these comics somewhere around age 13 (or was it 14?). Looking back I am amazed I never questioned the comic super hero universe. It was my nephew’s discerning eye that actually made me sit up and take notice! He’s only just turned six today for God’s sakes! But this was by no means the only sight of an underwear hero flying to the rescue I saw this week.

As cosmic joke, God was intent on showing me loads of underwear heroes this week. I saw a news report mentioning that a new spider man movie is in the offing with a new lead and they are planning to redo the whole thing all over again. Then, I was watching “Hum Sab Umeed Say Hain,” a GEO TV production a couple of days ago – a “Saturday night live” type of show specializing in political satire. There was one skit where this really anorexic superman who is actually supposed to be superman 2 but actually resembles President Obama in passing is zooming all over the world doing his bit to save (or is it drown?) the world. The loose fit huge underwear and baggy tights on his anorexic frame made a kind of a funny statement too.

comic superhero

Today, I was watching this new episode from the current season of ‘Warehouse 13’ – the story revolved around another underwear hero! This time, the guy was supposed to be in purple underwear – playing iron man or something like that. A normal guy acquires this artifact which should be in warehouse safe and contained but is on the loose and falls into his hands – it was purple underwear that powers this particular super hero! Hmm. God was indeed laughing at me – trust me for not noticing the utterly ridiculous and off beat ideas that we pass on to our kids as normal – there are generations and generations of kids raised on these ridiculous action heroes’ stories.

So about that, why do all our comic super heroes prance around in their underwear?

Oh well, there must be hundreds of weird and off beat ideas that we never question in this world. If you know of a few, please do share! I would love to start a collection right here! Ha Ha Ha! 🙂

I double dare you. ■

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Comic sight indeed: Underwear Heroes!, 10.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating