Off My Mind: Higher Standards for Superheroes and Alcohol

Posted by G-Man (29415 posts) - - Show Bio

You have to wonder what it is that motivates the superheroes. We all know Spider-Man's mantra, "With great power comes great responsibility." The superheroes we read about give up a lot of their personal lives in order to be there for the civilians when the villains launch their evil schemes against the world.

The heroes do deserve some time off. They shouldn't be on duty 24/7. Yet you never really see superheroes able to take time off or go on vacation. When a catastrophe hits, they are obligated to jump into the action and do their part to save the world.

What happens when a hero messes up? Heroes are human too (well, most of them are). They may have incredible powers that put them well above men but they still can have the same fears and weakness that normal people do. What happens when they decide to take a drink, whether it's in recreation or out of fear? Should superheroes be held to a higher standard?

== TEASER ==

When faced against pretty much the end of the world in Fear Itself, Tony Stark had to make a sacrifice. That sacrifice was his sobriety. As an alcoholic, fighting the urge to drink could be harder than fighting a supervillain. Stark said he took a drink in order to make a sacrifice to gain Odin's attention. Tony later admitted he drank because he thought they were all going to die and he wanted to die drunk.

The problem he is facing now is word got out that he was possibly drunk while fighting as Iron Man.

Tony did do a bit of drinking but also spent time in Asgard designing the weapons the heroes needed to turn the tide in the battle against the Serpent. He may have had time to sober up a little before joining them in the fight.

The fact that Tony is a recovering alcoholic and did some drinking doesn't seem like it should matter. He was able to help win the battle and save the world. Should it really make a difference if he was drinking?

This is where we have to consider what rights the superheroes have and what rights they've given up in becoming heroes to the world. Some heroes have the power to practically destroy the world (or at least a city) themselves. Heroes like Iron Man have a suit or weapons they use in their hero guises. If they drink and the drinking gets out of hand, it can be incredibly more dangerous than an average person drinking and operating heavy machinery. Tony didn't mess up while drunk...this time.

If some of this sounds a little familiar, it's because it is something I brought up back in April. It might sound like a funny plot line but there are some serious consequences that shouldn't be ignored. What would happen if a police officer or fire fighter was intoxicated while performing their duties? Lives would be put at risk. When it comes to superheroes, the dangers are increased.

Part of the repercussions may fall on whether or not the hero's identity is public or not. Someone like Iron Man can be subpoenaed because the world knows he is Iron Man. If Spider-Man got drunk and shot webbing in someone eyes or webbed them up and they suffocated, it would be harder to take him to court.

Heroes should not be above the law, but the fact that most of them are vigilantes also goes breaks the laws. They should be entitled to their privacy but much like celebrities give up certain things for their profession, superheroes are also giving up part of themselves.

Being a superhero is all about doing the right thing. It's unfortunate that they can't necessarily get rip-roaring drunk when off duty if they choose too but when they have easy access to the powers they do, that's part of the price they have to pay. Iron Man may have been trying to do the right thing but then again, it's his own fault for choosing to give up his secret identity. Perhaps no one got hurt this time but he could have made a deadly mistake. Superheroes need to be focused when the lives of innocents are on the line and drunk heroes running (or flying) around is simply asking for trouble.

Would having heroes willingly wear some sort of inhibitor collar if they choose to drink be asking for too much?

Staff
#1 Posted by slick23 (460 posts) - - Show Bio

That's true. IronMan gotta stop saving the world while being drunk. He should be fined! Get that man's flying license revoked.

#2 Posted by feebadger (1336 posts) - - Show Bio

I don't think we ask the military to take such extreme measures as wearing an inhibitor collar or being constantly monitored and they handle equipment of a devastating nature on a daily basis. I think they would be the closest equivalent to Iron Man in this situation. I hated that they revealed Tony's sacrifice to be nothing but a fearful and selfish one. I thought his initial sacrifice redeemed the character in a lot of readers eyes and they then took that away by revealing him to simply want to be drunk when he died. It belittled the disease that is alcoholism and showed a great ignorance toward the people who must face this problem. I have in my life had much to do with the subject and found it offensive. This isn't a light comic book subject matter for writers to be playing around with. The responsibilities that heroes face in regards to issues such as alcoholism are the same as any other person out there. There are devastating repercussions for such problems whether super powered or not. You don't need a suit of armour just have a drink and get behind the wheel of a car. Relationships are destroyed. Lives ended. The responsibility and the repercussions are the same.

#3 Posted by Paracelsus (1301 posts) - - Show Bio

like law enforcement, emergency services and armed forces personnel, superheroes are arguably (and in my view rightly) held to a higher standard than the average citizen-they are required to be on call virtually 24/7. The SHRA tried to address these concerns by offering in exchange for federal employment, time off for vacations and even pension rights(even soldiers in wartime get leave). Superheroes already (whether "out" like the FF, Iron Man, Captain America or with secret identities) ALREADY give up many of the things average citizens do, so abstention from alcoholic beverages should NOT be an issue- if an ordinary citizen behind the wheel of a car can do damage when under the influence of booze, then imagine what a "soused" superhero( not just Thor, Iron Man, but Spider Man or Daredevil) can possibly do!

#4 Posted by Chibi-Iroh (388 posts) - - Show Bio

When you have powers the last thing the world needs is a drunk superhero who can run faster than a bullet and can demolish mountains.

#5 Edited by Nuec_Sol (178 posts) - - Show Bio

When I was in the deployed to Iraq back in 2003 it was against law for us to drink alcohol and back in the states the laws changed depending on what type of job you had or task you had to perform. I remember their was a law that limited the amount aclohol we could have in our rooms. Unfortunately I seen soldiers break such laws and pay dearly for doing so. I would think Tony Stark, who always been about making superhero groups official, should be held to the same laws as anyone other service member.

#6 Posted by Archlord (140 posts) - - Show Bio

Iron man deserves abreak, but c'mon...

#7 Edited by Markall (174 posts) - - Show Bio

IronMan can do what he likes, he saved the world countless times. You can't forget the things he has done because he is drinking.

#8 Posted by Sickenly (7 posts) - - Show Bio

What about marijuana? That would be fun to watch.

#9 Posted by Sammo21 (670 posts) - - Show Bio

Look at the people we vote into office? We seem to not have high standards for those people...look at our past 3 presidents:

President Obama:

1. Admitted to using coke

2. Admitted to smoking marijuana

3. Admitted the only reason he didn't do worse drugs was because he didn't like the guy selling them.

4. More?

President Bush

1. Partied in college, same as President Obama

2. Former alcoholic (I think, could be wrong there)

3. More?

President Clinton

1. Serial adulterer, even before being president

2. Did "recreational" drugs in college

That doesn't even go into the plethora of other politicians and their vices...hell, look at all the crap Ted Kennedy did and got away with. I feel that if superheroes were real and in this world, they'd struggle with the game things everyone else did. Well...assuming they weren't aliens or something :p

#10 Posted by Mucklefluga (2431 posts) - - Show Bio

I think Tony should just step down as Iron Man soon and hand the reins over to someone else. He could still update the suits and create new tech but not be the guy flying around creating a mess.

#11 Posted by The Impersonator (4307 posts) - - Show Bio

Hancock was drunk too. =P

#12 Posted by DEADPOOL (2697 posts) - - Show Bio

You ask if it matters if he's drunk when he saves the day, but officers and soldiers aren't allowed to drink while on active duty.

#13 Posted by Pokeysteve (7014 posts) - - Show Bio

@Sammo21 said:

Look at the people we vote into office? We seem to not have high standards for those people...look at our past 3 presidents:

President Obama:

1. Admitted to using coke

2. Admitted to smoking marijuana

3. Admitted the only reason he didn't do worse drugs was because he didn't like the guy selling them.

4. More?

President Bush

1. Partied in college, same as President Obama

2. Former alcoholic (I think, could be wrong there)

3. More?

President Clinton

1. Serial adulterer, even before being president

2. Did "recreational" drugs in college

That doesn't even go into the plethora of other politicians and their vices...hell, look at all the crap Ted Kennedy did and got away with. I feel that if superheroes were real and in this world, they'd struggle with the game things everyone else did. Well...assuming they weren't aliens or something :p

True but these people don't have super powers or armor that could kill millions. And you forgot Bush's IQ which is probably close to the sum of all the numbers in your post.

#14 Posted by Sammo21 (670 posts) - - Show Bio

@Pokeysteve: No, but if people can be superheroes in those universes they are still people. Yes they should still be held to a higher standard, but they are also still human meaning they make the same mistakes as the rest of us.

#15 Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus (6885 posts) - - Show Bio

I take this from the standpoint that the FBI takes regarding the personal lives of their agents. Even in their time off, off-duty agents are still agents, just like teachers are still teachers after they leave the school that day. There is no such thing ass off-duty for people like this, just like there shouldn't be for superheroes. Whether in peace or in fighting the good fight, superheroes are in a position in which they must be held to the most highest of standards. Just because one can show he can drink and not bring disaster proves nothing. Superheroes are ALWAYS on duty and therefore the standards they have must reflect that.

#16 Posted by Mutant God (2998 posts) - - Show Bio

Ms Marvel is an alcoholic has she cause problems under the influence

#17 Edited by pspin (889 posts) - - Show Bio

I thisnk that is a personal decision for the indvidual superheroes. Besides give them a break they regularly put their lives on the line to save people and te world, if they want a drink or two let them. That being said, they shouldn,t be smashed 24/7 but every once in a while shouldn't hurt. Besides aren't there a million other heroes to pick upt the slack while they sleep it off.

#18 Posted by AmazingFantasy15 (259 posts) - - Show Bio

Maybe Iron man should just attach a breathalyzer to his armor.

#19 Posted by G-Man (29415 posts) - - Show Bio

@Mutant God: This image always makes me a little sad.

Staff
#20 Posted by Miss_Garrick (1747 posts) - - Show Bio

@Mutant God: Yep. back in the late 90's, she got repeatedly drunk in various comics and screwed up a lot.

There really should be some way to keep heroes accountable for their actions, but whenever it comes up in comics, it's always inhibitor collars or stupid registration against their wills.

Heroes need some sort of Internal Affairs that would help them not cross the line on violence, make sure they would take a break when it's needed, and could guarantee we don't have a repeat of Iron Man or any hero being drunk on duty.

#21 Posted by The Stegman (20734 posts) - - Show Bio

we don't want or police officers or firemen, or doctors drunk on the job, why should superheroes get an exception?

#22 Posted by Ganthetsward20 (687 posts) - - Show Bio

I say why not go for it, makes the story a little more interesting, has anyone gotten hurt because of their stupidity? I dont think they should go out hammered but maybe a couple of shots loosens them up for being pounded into the ground.

#23 Posted by Markall (174 posts) - - Show Bio

@DEADPOOL: He is not a officer or soldier he is a one man army

#24 Posted by Markall (174 posts) - - Show Bio

@The Stegman: duh. Because they are Superheroes and save the mankind every day.

#25 Posted by NightFang (9644 posts) - - Show Bio

@RedheadedAtrocitus said:

I take this from the standpoint that the FBI takes regarding the personal lives of their agents. Even in their time off, off-duty agents are still agents, just like teachers are still teachers after they leave the school that day. There is no such thing ass off-duty for people like this, just like there shouldn't be for superheroes. Whether in peace or in fighting the good fight, superheroes are in a position in which they must be held to the most highest of standards. Just because one can show he can drink and not bring disaster proves nothing. Superheroes are ALWAYS on duty and therefore the standards they have must reflect that.

This.

#26 Edited by AskaniSon295 (422 posts) - - Show Bio

you shouldn't drink and operate heavy machinery. Anytime time tony gets drunk while wearing his armour Captain America should be notified and be able to use a killswitch to shut down his armor.

#27 Posted by TheWitchingHour (1340 posts) - - Show Bio

I've got to say if I had superpowers I would have no need to use drugs or alcohol.

#28 Posted by frochez (191 posts) - - Show Bio

Superheroes who use technology to fight crime should have a mechanism which monitors their vitals and shuts the suit down if they're drunk. I guess its a bit harder if the hero has naturaly-occuring powers.

#29 Posted by Erotolepsy (2 posts) - - Show Bio

If you want to prohibit superheroes from ever touching a drop of liquor just because they were born with superhuman ability, you might as well take away their reproductive rights as well. Superheroes have time and time again proven that their breeding can (inadvertantly or not) cause world-changing, cataclysmic events in which countless lives (hell, even galaxies) are lost -- the scale of which VASTLY dwarfs whatever damage Drunky Stark could do before he fills his little helmet up with scotch-flavored barf. This inarguably effects innocent lives, so why should we stop stripping potentially damaging civil liberties at drugs and alcohol? Hell, we've seen time and time again that superheroes can develop dangerous mental conditions BESIDES alcoholism or other cases of addiction, so why allow them to roam the streets at all? They're all technically weapons of mass destruction just waiting to go off, better off sedated and thrown in a closet when they aren't necessary. Of course superheroes should be allowed to drink. Not on the job, sure, but there is literally no way to say that superhumans should be prohibited from alcohol altogether based on their genetics without indulging in some pretty terrifying fascist ideology.

#30 Posted by SpidermanWins (3975 posts) - - Show Bio

That is a battle he must fight on his own

#31 Posted by Tony_Shark (453 posts) - - Show Bio

People need to give Tony a break.

I am a big Iron Man follower, and I do love the fact that the character has the drinking problem. It makes him feel real. Unlike Captain America, he can make horrible mistakes, and admit them. In a way, I've felt closer to this character than any other. It's also a shame that A LOT of people hate him for his drinking problem, and, or, his way of seeing things. It is most definitely his mistakes as a human that have made his series the most appealing to me.

#32 Posted by CATPANEXE (9366 posts) - - Show Bio

I feel like a lot of you missed the point, didn't read the stories or something else.

The point isn't should superheroes, who are adults be allowed to drink, or should they have or not have alcoholism problems.

Iron Man, as well as Ms.Marvel caused damage and or harm because they were falling down drunk while in costume and using there powers, and they weren't held all that accountable, in fact both would repeat this behavior throughout their histories. Tony Stark himself came to acknowledge this fact, hence why he pushed himself towards sobriety. In fact he went as far in alcoholism to destroy his own life and not be able to function. The point isn't should they be looked down on for recreational alcohol consumption and enjoyment of it's effects, or should they be loathed for having an addiction, it's should their be stricter enforcement when it comes to superheroes, especially in the case of licensed Avengers whom are representatives of their countries causing damage and inflicting pain and terror because they were heavily under the influence while doing the job. (note how I didn't say " because of the alcohol ". the person is to blame for their actions, regardless, alcohol is not an excuse, it's a substance. Those who excuse the harm they do to others by trying to place the blame on a substance are in the denial stage of the addiction). So for example this wouldn't be to say that the President Of The United States has a drinking problem. What it is to say is the President Of The United States comes into work, in a stupor, tells the public where to go on national television, then pushes a button and oops, launches a missile because he was in a moment of confusion due to his alcoholism and misinterpreted something, that something being his own drunken delusions. At the end his superiors, and the public accept the excuse that it was the alcohol, or the alcoholism, and The President goes on his duties and naturally due to having the blame shifted and no serious consequence to his actions, has another drink, snowflake becomes blizzard, see day one. Bringing about the question, should some form of intervention be staged and possibly a law and punishment be set in advance on superheroes behalf to prevent such disasters, and, since a superhero should hold themselves to high standards in any other facet of their own behavior, particularly while in action, shouldn't they acknowledge the use of alcohol while in action in the same circumstances all the same?

Am I reading you @G-Man right on this?

#33 Posted by iaconpoint (887 posts) - - Show Bio

Yeah, getting falling-down drunk is one thing, doing it in costume is another. Even for Stark who has his mansion or can afford to rent a hotel all the way at the top and get plastered, he cannot do it in his armor. And Ms. Marvel is another story all together because she is actually super powered and has her powers all the time. But @TheWitchingHour: said it best, if you could fly and punch holes through steel, who needs drugs or alcohol?

#34 Posted by Shipwreck (114 posts) - - Show Bio

I think the fact that superheroes get drunk and have drinking problems give a real element. People do drugs. They get drunk. In their own right they are soldiers. A lot of soldiers drink to forget but I do think some action over their own drunkenness needs to made. People look up to certain heroes in real life. Maybe getting them in trouble a couple of times may help save a few lives and thousands on car repairs.

#35 Posted by HombreMan (101 posts) - - Show Bio
@Pokeysteve: "They could't kill millions"
Ha, ha, HAHAHAHAHAHAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHAANANANAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

#36 Posted by lykopis (10756 posts) - - Show Bio

@CATPANEXE said:

I feel like a lot of you missed the point, didn't read the stories or something else.

The point isn't should superheroes, who are adults be allowed to drink, or should they have or not have alcoholism problems.

Iron Man, as well as Ms.Marvel caused damage and or harm because they were falling down drunk while in costume and using there powers, and they weren't held all that accountable, in fact both would repeat this behavior throughout their histories. Tony Stark himself came to acknowledge this fact, hence why he pushed himself towards sobriety. In fact he went as far in alcoholism to destroy his own life and not be able to function. The point isn't should they be looked down on for recreational alcohol consumption and enjoyment of it's effects, or should they be loathed for having an addiction, it's should their be stricter enforcement when it comes to superheroes, especially in the case of licensed Avengers whom are representatives of their countries causing damage and inflicting pain and terror because they were heavily under the influence while doing the job. (note how I didn't say " because of the alcohol ". the person is to blame for their actions, regardless, alcohol is not an excuse, it's a substance. Those who excuse the harm they do to others by trying to place the blame on a substance are in the denial stage of the addiction). So for example this wouldn't be to say that the President Of The United States has a drinking problem. What it is to say is the President Of The United States comes into work, in a stupor, tells the public where to go on national television, then pushes a button and oops, launches a missile because he was in a moment of confusion due to his alcoholism and misinterpreted something, that something being his own drunken delusions. At the end his superiors, and the public accept the excuse that it was the alcohol, or the alcoholism, and The President goes on his duties and naturally due to having the blame shifted and no serious consequence to his actions, has another drink, snowflake becomes blizzard, see day one. Bringing about the question, should some form of intervention be staged and possibly a law and punishment be set in advance on superheroes behalf to prevent such disasters, and, since a superhero should hold themselves to high standards in any other facet of their own behavior, particularly while in action, shouldn't they acknowledge the use of alcohol while in action in the same circumstances all the same?

This.

#37 Posted by EugeneSaxe (227 posts) - - Show Bio

At most, alcohol should be minimized in comics; maybe at the "Wolverine at a bar having a beer, waiting for a fight" level.

The superhero-as-alcoholic story has been done, move on. Superhero-as-junkie has been done, move on.

It has nothing to do with higher standards, and I do realize comics are written for a more mature crowd. It's just not something that needs doing again.

#38 Posted by DEADPOOL (2697 posts) - - Show Bio

@Markall said:

@DEADPOOL: He is not a officer or soldier he is a one man army

He's in the National Guard? lol.

I just brought that up because there are reasons for it. For instance, alcohol impairs your reasoning skills and motor functions, both of which you need when you're an officer, soldier, or hero.

#39 Posted by nonfiction91 (1704 posts) - - Show Bio

@Miss_Garrick: excellent, Excellent idea, an internal affairs for superheroes, policed by superheroes. Shield is just a bunch of finger waggers, they never really are worth anything anymore. As far as alcohol goes, how hard would it really be for tony to inject himself with some kind of nano-nuetralizer that would make alcohol useless as soon as it reaches his liver, all the burn none of the concern. I'm more conerned about smoking making a come back in comics

#40 Posted by UnosInfinitos (148 posts) - - Show Bio

But but Iron Man's alcoholism is one of the many reasons I love him D:

Plus it's not like he's "driving". ;P

#41 Posted by Queso6p4 (1411 posts) - - Show Bio

In the same vein as frochez posted, some kind of breathalyzer on Stark's suit would be adequate to prevent him stupidly acting out when he's in a stupor but as for heroes with innate powers it's a little harder to nail down a physical deterrent. They should and are held to a higher standard, should self-monitor and deal with the consequences of their actions. If times get too tough they can always retire the mantle.

#42 Posted by Comicbookgal (38 posts) - - Show Bio

@slick23: I agree. he's drunk while driving around in military grade armor with crazy weapons, the Avengers need to put Tony in AA or something.

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