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Wham! Boom! on the brain


Indeed, as experienced with Frank Miller's revisionist Batman graphic novel of the late '80s, superheroes have routinely faced crises of confidence. They cry now. They need to pop Xanax before they get back to the hard task of saving civilization. But , clearly, rescue fantasies are in the air.

WHILE I believe in hope and change, I know some cynics (mostly die-hard Hillary Clinton supporters) who think Barack Obama taps into the same collective yearning as superheroes. He might as well be called Obama-man, political wonder boy, able to leap giant deficits in a single bound, vanquish scores of angry Iraqis merely by batting his doe eyes.

Obama-man has no past. Like all caped crusaders, he is a mysterious cipher, and yet a reassuring figure, like Superman or Spider-Man. And you all know that beautiful, lanky Michelle Obama would look great in her own spandex. Personally, I have more confidence in Obama, and I'd just like to say, what's the alternative? John McCain as the Incredible Hulk?

Of course, I might be way over-thinking this phenomenon. Maybe it's just all about the money that showers into Hollywood coffers. I understand why more and more Oscar-caliber actors do them -- it's a way to pump up one's box-office clout. Just this past spring, I interviewed Robert Downey Jr., right before "Iron Man" opened.

"The whole environment is geared around what happens to this one character," Downey explained. "The whole world is retrofitted to tell one person's story. It's pretty cool"

With "Hancock," the tracking shows that the Will Smith dramedy will likely make way over $100 million this July 4th holiday. And keeping with the spirit of these depressed times, the studio behind "Hancock," Columbia Pictures, is launching a Hancock promotional contest, where the winner gets their mortgage paid off.

Who's complaining?

As screenwriter David Koepp ("Spider-Man," "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull") notes: "Hollywood is only obsessed with superheroes because audiences seem to be. As soon as audiences are not, Hollywood will scrape them off their shoe."



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