Whenever the fictional city of Gotham finds itself threatened by thugs, gangsters and psychopathic killers who are too much for its police force to cope with, the helpless city lights a distress signal calling for reinforcement.
A man in a dark suit of armor with high-tech military gadgets races to save the city he has unconditionally sworn to protect from further falling into disgrace stemming from rising social injustice and disparity.
Batman has been portrayed as a symbol of hope since his inception in the DC Comics world. But there are no heroes like the Caped Crusader in the real world.
Christian Bale plays Batman in the “Dark Knight” trilogy. (Bloomberg)
What Danny DeVito, a Hollywood actor who played the Penguin in “Batman Returns,” said, “The world has no heroes,” while celebrating the character’s 75th anniversary, is unfortunately true.
It may seem silly to compare this world to that of comics.
But this world has suffered from increasing corruption and crime like Gotham, the only part in the comic book that reality seems to have emulated.
And Seoul is no exception, with a failed government system in which politicians act like the Mafia and an economy full of executives blinded by money and power like Lex Luthor, the arch nemesis of Batman’s fellow DC Comics hero Superman, who celebrated his 75th anniversary last year.
Hope is fading really fast in Korea as inequality and hostility grow, and people find it harder to make an honest buck and sustain their livelihoods. The law is becoming less able to enforce justice, allowing for contract killings, deaths of children from a sunken ferry managed by irresponsible businessmen, and political and corporate conspiracies.
Korea is absent of true heroes who can inspire good in people and stand up to face challenges from the corrupt and those callously acting in their own self-interest.
The people deserve someone they can look up to, like Bruce Wayne’s Batman or police commissioner James Gordon in law enforcement, and Wayne’s aide Alfred Pennyworth and Lucius Fox, the CEO of Wayne Enterprises, in the household and private sectors.
Although they are not real, these comic book characters have given more hope and guidance than the world’s political and business leaders.
Perhaps, it is time for all to look back and draw inspiration even from comic books with fictional characters that touched generation after generation to rebuild a social system under which people can have hope, and regain their faith and confidence that justice will prevail.
By Park Hyong-ki (firstname.lastname@example.org