Why do comic super­heroes fly around in their under­wear?

By Fareeha Qay­oom

marvel universe


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