Upon consideration of Father’s Day today, I was thinking about how fathers are portrayed in the Marvel Universe. Here’s a rundown the most prominent ones:
Nathaniel Richards (father of Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four)
war torn world in a parallel universe which kept him too busy to appear much in the Fantastic Four.
Richard Parker (father of Peter Parker, Spider-Man)
Brian Banner (father of Bruce Banner, the Hulk)
Jack Murdock (father of Matt Murdock, Daredevil)
However, in the 80’s, Frank Miller reimagined Daredevil’s father as a drunkard and child abuser.
Joseph Rogers (father of Steve Rogers, Captain America)
put together an excellent collection of images of the earlier references to Cap’s father. (Who rightly points out that being an alcoholic doesn’t necessarily makes someone physically abusive.)
Howard Stark (father of Tony Stark, Iron Man)
So, what do we have here? Deficit dads, alcohol abusers and wife beaters. That’s a far cry from DC’s compassionate Pa Kent and noble Thomas Wayne. While I would be reluctant to draw any hard and fast conclusions on this roundup, I think it suggests Marvel writers (past and present) have a bit of a lazy approach when fleshing out their character’s past. Or perhaps they think that readers can more readily identify with stories of heroes with poor father/son relationships. Or maybe this was simply a way to add a bit more soap operatic angst to otherwise well adjusted characters?
Whatever the reason, I hope you had a better father/son relationship than most of the heroes in the Marvel Universe!