by Ryan Porter
Welcome to the Comics Corner! This week the Pop Culture Network is heading to Chicago for C2E2! So forget the Top of the Stack, we’ll be at the top of the Willis Tower. And looking down you might notice a serious lack of superheroes. What’s with that? DC Heroes live in there own fictitious cities and Marvel Heroes almost exclusively call New York City home. Even if you consider Oprah a superhero, she’s retiring. So this week, in honor of C2E2, we’ve got a small list of heroes that I think should consider a move to Windy City! So come inside the Chicago-centric Comics Corner!
Simply plucking a hero from one city and transplanting them into another is not as easy as it might sound. Several heroes, perhaps most notably Batman, are defined by the city they protect and are as much a part of the city as any building or landmark. And despite the overwhelming number of Marvel heroes that call New York City home there are those that should absolutely remain there. For heroes like Spider-Man and Daredevil New York City is a defining characteristic.
So why is there no love for Chicago? Even the Great Lakes Avengers passed by the Second City and called Wisconsin home. And the 50 State Initiative during Civil War skipped over Illinois with little more than a passing reference and no indication of what heroes made up the team. Naturally some may view Chicago as a step down, maybe taking the ‘Second City’ nickname too literally, but it’s certainly a town worthy of a superhero presence. So without further ado, here are but a few suggestions:
Booster Gold: The loveable loser of the Justice League International who carries much personal tragedy and is constantly battling a ‘screw-up’ reputation despite his best intentions and a loyal fan base – both in universe and in fandom. Sounds an awful lot like the Chicago Cubs doesn’t it? Booster is an athlete from the 25th century and Chicago is one of the prime sports cities of this century. I doubt even being from the 25th century Booster knows a Cubs team that has ever won the World Series. What better way for a hero to rebuild his reputation and prove himself to his peers than by moving to a city without any super heroic competition? As a big city with a definite Midwestern, blue-collar attitude the city of Chicago would certainly embrace a hard-working superhero on the comeback trail – especially Cubs fans.
Captain America (Bucky Barnes): While this choice may not help fight the notion that Chicago isn’t for the prime-time players, Steve Rogers is America’s top cop right now and he can’t stay in one place. Bucky is the current Captain America and Chicago should be on his radar for several reasons. Personally, Bucky has to rebuild his image. Recently put on trial for his actions during his time as the Winter Soldier, Bucky needs to start making things right. Even if Chicago is simply stop number one on a nation-wide redemption tour. When you consider that the current President of the United States is from Chicago and given that the city has an infamous reputation for political corruption the question soon changes to: why wasn’t Captain America there already?
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: I discussed in the intro that removing a hero from a city that defines them is no easy task. More than any of the other heroes on this list the Turtles our bonded to their respective city, New York. But a change is certainly possible and when it comes to teenagers, it’s almost inevitable. Eventually these brothers are going to have to leave the Rat’s nest and Chicago would be the perfect destination for the green teens. For the sake of my list I’m going to assume that the Turtles are fresh water turtles and would be much more comfortable in Lake Michigan than the Atlantic. My assumption is based on the fact that before their mutation they belong to a little boy, and no little boy could handle the maintenance of a saltwater tank! Anyway, Chicago’s got plenty of buildings both tall and small, a world class aquarium should my fresh water hypothesis be wrong and plenty of subway tunnels and sewers. But perhaps most importantly as these heroes on the half shell grow up so will their taste in pizza and that means eating pizza the way it was meant to be eaten: deep dish style!
The Fantastic Four: Granted, they are four no more but if we still call Lynyrd Skynyrd Lynyrd Skynyrd, I think it’s safe to still call them the Fantastic Four. And for that reason, the loss of Johnny, I think it’s time for a change. The team, or rather the family, is moving on and currently find themselves at the beginning of a new era. What better why to symbolize that than with a move to another city away from the crisis-a-minute world of Marvel’s New York City? This will allow them to start over, build up the Future Foundation and Ben will have plenty to occupy his mind when he’s not fighting Dr. Doom or the Male Man with the previously mentioned pizza and sports. The last piece of the puzzle is the Baxter Building itself. Truly the one thing that links the Fantastic Four to the city of New York more than anything else; with apologies to the Yancy Street Gang. However if Dr. Doom was able to find a way to launch the Baxter Building into outer space than certainly Reed Richards can find a way to move their impressive home to Chicago.
So there it is. A short list of potential new heroes who might want to consider calling Chicago home once Oprah calls it quits. Will asking heroes to come to the Windy City turn the city itself into a more attractive target for super villains? Probably, but without them there wouldn’t be any comic books at all, be it Chicago or anywhere else. If anyone has any suggestions on more I’m all ears so head on over to the Pop Culture Network forum and sound off. In the meantime we’ll see in Chicago at C2E2 this weekend!