10 Weird Ways Comics Tackled Real World Problems

Including the time Batgirl allowed Batman and Robin to die in the name of feminism!

Comics have an unparalleled ability to teach us life lessons. Sometimes those lessons might be a little dubious, or delivered in elaborate ways, but they're there nonetheless. The importance making the most of what little time we have on Earth (before being destroyed by a planet-eating God), with great power comes great responsibility, don't own a fridge big enough to stuff a body in; these are all messages that come coded within the very fabric of superhero stories, as vital as the costumes, colourful supervillains and silly sound effects. For the most part these life lessons are simply part and parcel with the themes of the superhero genre: defending those who can't defend themselves, fighting against impossible odds, how good you look in spandex if you're buff. But sometimes comic books are a little more specific in the messages they're trying to put across to the reader, often tackling real-world issues we might previously have been ignorant of were it not for a member of the Justice League pointing it out to us. Public service announcements, or PSAs, are traditionally best known for government-funded advertising campaigns (the best example being the classic "This is your brain on drugs") or cheesy videos shown in schools about how you'll probably die horribly if you cycle without a helmet. At some point, whoever was in charge of commissioning these PSAs picked up on just how good comics are at getting messages across, which resulted in some of the strangest superhero stories ever committed to newsprint. Captain America teaching kids how to use inhalers? Sure. The invincible Supergirl extolling the virtues of wearing your seatbelt? Makes...sense. Spider-Man and teen heroes Power Pack teaming up to tackle child abuse? Also a thing that totally happened. We've selected just ten, but we hope this article imparts the vitally important knowledge that there's a lot of weird PSA comics out there.

Tom Baker is the Comics Editor at WhatCulture! He's heard all the Doctor Who jokes, but not many about Randall and Hopkirk. He also blogs at http://communibearsilostate.wordpress.com/