In recent years many comics have tried, seriously and facetiously, to address the impact of superheroes on world events. Others attempt to explain why the heroes didn’t affect events; Earth-2’s Hitler found a mystic artifact that kept the JSA at bay.

But what about the broader culture? How would the characters and conventions associated with superheroes affect the cultural world?

  • Lex Luthor would be represented in Disney’s Hall of Presidents, likely in an inconspicuous spot. History books would refer to him as “one of the nation’s most controversial presidents,” and the editors of encyclopedias would debate whether or not to include photographs of him in the battle armor.
  • Law and Order and other NY-based cop shows would feature the efforts of cops to solve rapes and murders while avoiding massive, city-destroying fights.
  • Friends fans would remember the one that opened with Phoebe helping sweep up the Central Perk after it sustained damage when the Thing chucked a Hummer at Dragon-Man.
  • Capes would be a fashion statement, girls who dress in ultra-skimpy clothes would be emulating admirable, heroic female role models, and gangstas, hoodlums, and posers who wanted to be really hardcore would wear purple and green battle armor as in, “did you catch the fly battle armor Snoop wore to the MTV Music Awards?
  • You’d be able to buy “Hulk Damage Insurance.”
  • Thrill-seekers would risk life and limb exposing themselves to radiation, mysterious ancient artifacts, and needlessly complex lab accidents in the hopes of acquiring superpowers. Hospitals would have Radiation, Mystic Artifact, and Needlessly Complex Lab Accident Wards.
  • There’d be Institutes for the Study of Metahumans and X-Factor Mutants.
  • Classical mythology would be studied with the understanding that the gods are real. Humanities departments would try to book a classical deity as a guest lecturer.
  • Videogames and fantasy novels would be considered almost realistic. TV wrestling, however, would still seem fake.
  • Respected biographer Frank Miller would face a character defamation suit over All-Star Batman and Robin (I’m kidding. Batman would never sue…)
  • The typical soap opera would have at least one metahuman character with a dual identity. Soap fans would be talking about the episode where Whitney found out that Chad was really Captain Superlative.
  • Reality tv would boast titles such as Who Wants to Marry a Superhero? featuring someone like Wonder Man or Marvin and America’s Next Sidekick
  • Those early 70s cartoon where the Brady Kids met Superman and Wonder Woman would’ve been regular episodes of the show.
  • Oh, yeah. We’d read pirate comic books.1

    1. E2’s Chainstore suggested the reference to Watchmen.