Objectivism in Spandex

John Rowe notes that Cartoon Network's Justice League Unlimited is making liberal use of Steve Ditko's Objectivist-tinged superhero The Question (inspiration for Watchmen's Rorschach), and they're kept his Randian philosophizing intact. In a recent episode, Rowe notes, he offers this nugget:

Everything that exists has a specific nature. Each entity exists as something in particular and has characteristics that are part of what it is. A is A, and no matter what reality he calls home, Luthor is Luthor.

Which undoubtedly makes him the most self-consciously Randian superhero since John Bergstrom's Libertarian Man.

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  • ||

    This sort of thing makes me want to buy a TiVo.

    Speaking of Libertarian Man, whatever happened to Bergstrom?

    I have fond memories of sitting in university computer labs alt+tabbing between Attack Cartoons and Laissez Firearm

    /ah, memories

  • ||

    I predict a very high nerd factor on this thread. Not that there's anything wrong with that...

  • ||

    "Question Authority," was an excellent JLU episode.

    (Aside -- Funny when the only thing decent left on TV is cartoons.)

    Live free, fight or fall.

  • ||

    I have nothing Randian to contribute to this thread, but as a long-time comic book fan, this latest version of the Justice League is amazing--truly a great adaptation. Watching them work elements from some of the big events in DC into these episodes is a fanboy's dream. Recent example: the speed force...

  • Xmas||

    The Question under torture was damn funny.

    "Tell me what you know."

    "Flouride does nothing to fight cavities. But it does allow your teeth to be tracked by spy satellites."

    "Tell me what you know!"

    "The little things on the end of shoes laces are called aglets. Their real purpose is sinister."

  • jimmy||

    yawn...please reserve your comic book geekiness for another website

  • Jeff||

    They've made Question a bit more of a conspriacy theorist that his previous incarnations. They also haven't used his question mark card.

  • ||

    Well, not having read a Justice League comic book in say, oh, 30 years, just wondering ... is Batman still relegated to mopping floors on the satellite while other more flamboyant heroes fly through the airless universe under their own power?

    Being the twisted child I was, my favorite Ditko character was The Creeper, who I seem to vaguely remember being a cross-between the Joker and Wayland Flowers and Madame ....

  • ||

    yawn...please reserve your comic book geekiness for another website

    Get stuffed.

  • Jeff||

    We must'nt forget the comic Elvis Shrugged:


  • Jeff||

    The Creeper has gotten some airtime in the animated DC Universe, including a great episode pitting him against the Joker. They bring back in the comics every few years.

  • ||

    Batman is actually one of the more respected members of the Justice League now; he has no real super-powers but he's so awesomely intelligent that he could beat ANY of the other members of the League, if he wanted to.

    It is entirely Jeff's fault that I can knowledgeably discuss such matters.

  • ||


    I have my fairshare of useless trivia imbedded in my brain, as well. I always like the esoteric comic crap that nobody else read (at least in my neck of the woods) by third party publishers, like E-Man, and T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents.

    I had to laugh at that Simpsons episode where Milhous ordered two thousand copies of "BYCLOPS" from Lenscrafter. I kept thinking, "I would have bought that comic book!!"

    A guy from my high school went on to become a big cheese artist at DC, Daryl Banks. I remember thinking what kind of loser wants to be comic artist out of high school? He's probably rolling in the dough, now ...

  • ||

    (Aside -- Funny when the only thing decent left on TV is cartoons.)

    that's been true for quite a few decades, now (see esp the early simpsons). sort of the modern court jester, i think.

  • Jon Rowe||

    -- They've made Question a bit more of a conspriacy theorist that his previous incarnations. --

    Honestly I think that is the influence of Alan Moore's Rorschach, who was in turned based on The Question. As I said in my original post, Alan Moore made Rorschach's politics closer to the John Birch Conspiracy Right than the Randian Right (although I suppose some people can't tell the difference).

    Now Moore's Rorschach is influencing The Question's attributes. Makes sense.

  • ||

    Maybe more people would sub to Reason if it shipped with the equivalent of an old Spirit section. Perhaps Ditko could revive Mr. A, which, unlike The Question, he owns.


  • Franklin Harris||

    "is Batman still relegated to mopping floors on the satellite while other more flamboyant heroes fly through the airless universe under their own power?"

    Nowadays, Batman, as the smartest member of the League, generally saves everyone else's bacon.

  • Shawn Levasseur||

    "We must'nt forget the comic Elvis Shrugged:"

    I've read it. I'm trying to forget it.

    The book opened with an essay wondering why there weren't more libertarian artists. The comic book left me wondering why there wasn't one less. It was awful.

    (Getting back to "The Question"...)

    At least Justice League Unlimited writers at least understand a bit of Obectivism enough to pull off this tip of the hat to Rand.

    The most recent Question comic book mini-series has the Question as a who tries to "listen to the city" using hallucinagenics to "learn its secrets"... In other words, they've turned him into a MYSTIC... a full 180 Degrees off from Objctivisim.

    The closest thing to a libertarian superhero at the moment is Anarky, who used to have his own book (also used to be considered a villain, still is seen by most of the super-heros as such anyway). He recently appeared in an issue of Green Arrow.

  • Shawn Levasseur||

    That first sentence in the next to last paragraph in my prior comment should have read:

    "The most recent Question comic book mini-series depicts the Question as trying to 'listen to the city' using hallucinogens to 'learn its secrets'."

    I know, I should check my grammar BEFORE posting. Not after.

  • ||

    if you want really geeky analysis of The Question in his recent JLU appearances, here's a blog entry for you:

    Question / Huntress / Green Arrow / Black Canary as Ectypes to Batman as Archetype.



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