|dr_hermes (dr_hermes) wrote in scans_daily,|
@ 2009-09-12 20:39:00
|Entry tags:||medium: advertising|
The insult that made a man out of "Mac"
Oh dear Lord. This has got to be one of the longest-running ad campaigns since the first alphabet was devised. If you've read any old comics or magazines, odds are good you've seen it.
If girls hitting puberty worry about what kind of breasts they will grow, how their hair and skin will turn out, boys the same age are just as fretful over whether they will be tall and strong. For every girl trying tissue paper in the training bra, there's a boy anxiously pressing the top of his head against a pencil mark in a doorway. The stigma of being short and skinny still horrifies boys and men today, the casual insults remain as cutting as ever. (I personally was lucky in that I hit six feet just before high school, but I had friends back then who never got beyond five feet six inches and put up with a lot of mean remarks from girls as well as other guys.)
It's no surprise that two of Marvel's most successful characters play on this anxiety by offering vicarious compensation. Peter Parker and Bruce Banner both are referred to frequently as "puny." The early Ditko Parker, even as Spider-Man, remained thin and under average height, which made his beating up of beefy goons a real wish fulfilment for kids who looked more like Parker than Steve Rogers. And Bruce Banner offered even more extravagant compensation as he went from a frail-looking ineffectual bookworm to something which has become a synonym for brute strength. The whole gig of being abused and taunted until you abruptly freak out and beat the snot out of your tormentors is a big part of the Hulk's appeal.