Several times now in recent posts, I’ve touched on the fact that advances in moviemaking technology have transformed the superhero genre into a veritable goldmine for Hollywood, and a source of fascination and wonder for legions of people who might never have discovered it otherwise. So in thinking about that a bit more, and visualizing many of the most well-known heroes held forth by Marvel Comics and DC Comics — by far the two largest purveyors of the superhero that we have today — something occurred to me:
A very large percentage of the most beloved, most popular, and most essential-to-the-genre characters…wear the color blue.
And it’s not just Superman…although he’s arguably the single most iconic superhero we have, and one who is, by the way, at times referred to by others in the comics as “Big Blue” or “the big, blue Boy Scout.” Our friend from Krypton actually has plenty of company:
Captain America sports some red and white accents in his costume — not surprising, given his overall theme — but his outfit is overwhelmingly blue in color.
The Fantastic Four have for decades now favored uniforms that receive the occasional artistic tweak, but always remain some shade of blue:
Before the X-Men received their more homogenous-looking, tough-guy leather uniforms, they used to each appear in much more individualized outfits, and their unquestioned leader, Cyclops, always wore some variation of a costume that was accented with gold, but was otherwise a dark, steady blue. Even fellow X-Man Wolverine himself started off in a get-up that was largely yellow (of all things!), but featured heavy accompaniment from the color blue.
And other major heroes have adopted blue, if not as the only main color in their attire, then as one of the primary hues among several: Spider-Man, Wonder Woman, and Marvel’s “Sorcerer Supreme,” Dr. Strange, all wear garb that incorporates a good deal of red, but which also relies heavily on blue. Even Batman — a character who could challenge Superman for the title of Single Greatest Superhero Icon — while often clad in blacks and grays, is also very regularly depicted with his boots, gloves, trunks, cowl, and that long, swirling, show-stopping cape all rendered in shades of blue:
So what’s the story here? Why is blue so essential to the color palette of the superhero? There are exceptions, sure — other popular heroes will opt for other colors, and have still met with success in terms of being accepted and acclaimed by the public (characters such as Iron Man, the Hulk, Green Lantern, and the Flash spring quickly to mind…), but why do so many of our most adored superheroes clothe themselves in costumes that rely so primarily on the color blue…?
I was pondering that question, and I hit upon a possible answer that, while I can’t guarantee it’s the sole factor driving this love for the azure, the cobalt, the royal, and the navy in the visuals for our super-powered champions, I do believe it at least offers some real food for thought…
This notion derives from chakra theory. Are you familiar with chakras? This is a concept flowing out of Hindu and Buddhist thought, and in brief and probably way oversimplified form, it holds that we all have these various energy centers positioned throughout our bodies, each manifesting in us like a vortex or whirlpool. The chakras are said to exist in our physical selves, but also resonate and have effect on the more metaphysical planes of existence. Opinions differ as to exactly how many chakras we have, but most viewpoints agree that we at least have seven major ones, each with its own unique shape, function, and color, and that the colors of these seven chakras correspond exactly to the colors of the rainbow. That is, just as in a rainbow, if you regard the seven major chakras from bottom to top in the human body, they follow that same “ROY G. BIV” schematic: they embody red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet.
So as I mentioned, each of these chakras has its own unique function within the overall system. The blue one — the throat chakra — governs communication. This is the energy center that drives and supports our ability to speak, to write, to make ourselves heard and understood.
And why would that function be so connected via color with our most iconic superheroes…?
Think of it this way… Communicating can of course involve relatively innocuous exchanges: say, like, I want to know how much this pineapple costs before I buy it…or you need to find out if that bus over there goes to Sheboygan before you hop on board…stuff like that. We all need to give and get comparatively minor information like this all the time. And we also often communicate simply for entertainment, because communicating can be very enjoyable. But then there are the major things. The big issues. Our biggest and deepest Truths. Accepting and then revealing to ourselves and to others our truest selves is often a daunting prospect, and for many people it’s partially or even wholly impossible. Accepting who and what we are, and then proclaiming that Truth to ourselves and then to others can be one of the most difficult, frightening things we ever have to do in this life. So my theory here is that maybe we love heroes in blue in part because on some level, even if we don’t have the slightest clue about chakra theory, we still grasp that these particular heroes champion our ability to speak our Truths. By being who and what they are, they pave the way for us to be who and what we are.
Let’s go back to the X-Men: they’re without a doubt one of the most popular groups of superheroes on our planet these days, and their mission statement has generally always been to stand up as who and what they are, despite inhabiting a world that hates and fears them (they’re all mutants, and in the Marvel Comics Universe, mutants ain’t so trusted…)…which is pretty much exactly what I mean when I talk about our superheroes upholding the principle of us speaking our deepest Truths. And as I mentioned above, their long-time, steadfast leader, Cyclops, kept them on the path for several decades’ worth of comics, and he invariably did so while all duded up in…blue.
Some proponents of chakra theory are also into crystals, and would theorize that if you’re having difficulty with fully actualizing a chakra or its functions in a positive way, one tactic you can employ is to carry crystals of the color that corresponds to the blocked or ailing chakra — so in the case of what I’m talking about here, if you’re having trouble speaking your own truths or otherwise communicating, the idea would be that you might get yourself a nice piece of something like Sapphire or Azurite or Lapis Lazuli, and keep it on your person for a while, maybe meditating with it, and possibly even sleeping with it underneath your pillow at night. You could also try wearing more blue, or keeping blue-colored things in your environment.
And I hereby suggest that you might also contemplate any super-champion in blue who appeals to you — ruminating on them might help you to free up the Truth-speaking superhero that lives within yourself!