Superheroes always do better in a recession

"There is a need for heroes when things are bad,” says Mark Millar, the man behind comic books including Kick-Ass, Wanted, The Secret Service and Civil War

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From The X-Men to the Avengers, The Dark Knight to the Incredible Hulk, in recent years it’s felt as if every other film release has featured a superhero. But why are powered people currently so popular? Veteran comic book writer Mark Millar has a theory – it’s all down to the credit crunch.

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“If you look historically at the 75 years of superheroes in pop culture, the more outrageous stuff like superheroes tend to be very popular in economic depressions and in war,” the Kick-Ass creator tells RadioTimes.com.

“One of the upsides of the last 15 years is that it’s been wonderful for comics in movies, you know? Really the one plus of the turmoil the planet is in.”

Millar, who has had several of his graphic novels adapted for the big screen – including Wanted, Kingsman: The Secret Service and the upcoming Captain America: Civil War film – points out that boom years for the world at large have often been leaner periods for superhero popularity.

“Weirdly our bad times are things like the Clinton years, the 1950s and times like that,” he says. “Whenever things are pretty good economically, people tend not to need superheroes.”

“I always think it’s pretty poignant that Superman was created during the Depression by two Jewish kids, you know? And you sort of think, there is a need for heroes when things are bad.”

Looks like tightening our utility belts has a bit of an upside after all.

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Kingsman: The Secret Service is out on Digital HD, Blu-ray and DVD on June 8th from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment