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In 2011, we're rooting for the apes. Each generation seems to produce heroes that reflect the times and audiences' views of themselves, and it will be no different this week at Comic-Con, the annual pop-culture convention kicking off Thursday in San Diego. More than 125,000 fans will descend upon the Convention Center for four days, dressing up like their heroes, which this year will include vampires, werewolves, zombie-killers and demon-hunters featured in recent and forthcoming comic books, TV shows, movies and video games.
Some of the heroes they'll see touted at the several hundred panels and presentations are new, while some are inspired by classic protagonists. But all seem to relate to today's society. "Each decade, these characters represent our own best idea of what we'd like to be, our own big idea," says Grant Morrison, a comic-book writer and author of the new book Supergods (Spiegel & Grau, $28), a history of superheroes. "Superman started out as a socialist fighter for the oppressed in 1938, but that was the time of the Depression. In the '80s, he's a yuppie."
"People don't understand or can't relate to a hero who isn't flawed in some way," says Hudson, who will be talking about the space franchise at Comic-Con game and movie panels. "They want to see that they're dealing with something and that they have flaws."
"Everybody loves an antihero. I love James Bond, Wolverine and Hannibal Lecter, but there's something about the fact that we've also got a hero who in every circumstance will do the right thing. We all need to feel that once in a while."