Home / News / The Rise of Superheroes and Their Impact On Pop Culture

The Rise of Superheroes and Their Impact On Pop Culture

Do you like this post?

What if I told you that you could take a class about the history of Superheroes taught by the one and only Stan Lee? You would tell me that I was hallucinating and that I was living in a fantasy world. Well, what if I told you that it isn’t a fantasy but a reality brought to you by the Smithsonian Institution’s edX program?

The class, which started May 5th, is titled “The Rise of Superheroes and Their Impact on Pop Culture.” It is taught by Stan Lee and Michael Uslan. Not only do you get 5 weeks of knowledge about superheroes, but those who complete a verified course, $50.00 to verify, will receive a certificate that will feature original artwork by Phil Jimenez and it will be signed by Michael Uslan, David Uslan and Stan Lee!

Join the Smithsonian, and comic book industry legend Stan Lee, to explore the history of the comic book and the rise of superheroes.

The ancient gods of Egyptian, Greek and Roman myths still exist, but today, they have superpowers, human foibles and secret identities. They come from comic books and graphic novels, and have taken over pop culture on the stage, screen, video games, and animation.

From Superman® and Spider-Man®, to The Avengers® and The Hulk® and beyond, who are these heroes? And, how have they evolved from folklore and myth, across all cultures and religions?

Learn from Smithsonian and industry experts including:

  • Stan Lee, who was one of the creators of the modern superhero template. His early comics featuring Spider-Man, Iron Man®, The Hulk, Thor®, and The Avengers led Marvel to success. He continues to reinvent himself to create modern global superheroes and appear in cameos in superhero films and TV, such as Avengers: Age of Ultron.
  • Michael Uslan, executive producer of top grossing, award winning movies, including The Dark Knight series, Lego® Movie, the animated Batman films and Batman® VS Superman.

In this course, we explore the following questions:

  • Why did superheroes first arise in 1938 and experience what we refer to as their “Golden Age” during World War II?
  • Why did the superhero genre ebb and flow in popularity over the decades?
  • How have comic books, published weekly since the mid-1930’s, mirrored a changing American society, reflecting our mores, slang, fads, biases and prejudices?
  • Why was the comic book industry nearly shut down in the McCarthy Era of the 1950’s?
  • How did our superheroes become super-villains in the eyes of the government, clergy, educators, and parents of the mid-20th Century?
  • When and how did comic books become acceptable again, and eventually become valid teaching tools in universities and schools?
  • When and how did comic book artwork become accepted as a true American art form as indigenous to this country as jazz?
  • Finally, when and how did comic books become “cool” and the basis for blockbuster movies, hit TV series, top-selling video games, and acclaimed animation, while also impacting fashion and style- and even the moral and ethical codes of children- around the globe?

For the first time ever, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History is excited to offer the opportunity to go into the collection and see why superheroes are a dominant cultural force in today’s world. Not only will students be taught by Smithsonian experts, and three industry leaders – Stan Lee, Michael Uslan and David Uslan, but they will also get to ask questions and chat online with them around coursework. At last, fans, students and seekers of knowledge have the opportunity to enroll in the ultimate comic book course.

If this sounds like something that interests you, there is still time to enroll! Come join me in getting schooled in superheroes!

Slade started Temple of Geek in 2012 with his friend as a podcast. Since then, it has become a lot more. His obsessions are Transformers, Star Wars, Classic Video Games, Superheroes, and comedies.

Slade’s life was turned to the Darkside when his father gave him a gift in 1985. He was presented with the leader of the Decepticons, Megatron. Since then, Slade has become a collector of the robots in disguise.

The only other thing that comes close to Slade’s love of Transformers is Star Wars. He has met a few of the cast over the years. Slade’s one goal in life is to meet with George Lucas and just discuss movies with him.