One of the most common problems in the world today is homelessness. Millions of people all over the world are living on the streets, begging for money, trapped in an endless cycle of poverty. People can become homeless for a number of reasons and it can happen to anyone. It made me think about how superheroes can end up on the streets as well. For all their powers, they are unable to help themselves. Some homeless characters have started off with a rough life and managed to build a better one. The Comic Vault is looking into four comic characters who know what it’s like to be homeless.
Before he met Batman, Jason Todd was a street urchin who had to do whatever it took to survive. Jason grew up with an abusive father and a drug-addicted mother, so an easy life was never in the cards for him. Eventually, Jason ended up homeless, turning to petty crime in order to live.
Everything changed when Jason stole the tyres off the Bat Mobile in Crime Alley. Batman saw potential in him and trained him to become Robin. Although Jason died and later became Red Hood, he never lost his street outlook. Red Hood’s rough upbringing made him sympathetic to other homeless people and the downtrodden. This can be seen in his relationship with Bizarro.
Jason’s story is an example of how anyone can become better when given the opportunity to prove themselves. Batman took him in, gave him a purpose and helped turn his life around. Red Hood chose to live a life by his own principles, which is all any of us can do.
Before she joined the X-Men, X-23 was on the run from Weapon X. This forced her to hide and it led her into a dark place. Laura turned to prostitution at a young age, allowing herself to be used by pimps because of the rigid programming that had been instilled into her. X-23 encountered a group of other homeless children and they gave her shelter. It was one of the few times in Laura’s life that she felt loved.
When X-23 joined the X-Men she found a place for herself. She bonded with Wolverine and ultimately took over his legacy when he died. X-23 found her true home, which is a reflection of the difference between homelessness and having a home. You might have a roof over your head, but a house doesn’t always feel like a home. Sometimes, it exists in the right people.
Someone with a good career and money can become homeless, which is the case with Daredevil. During the Born Again arc, the Kingpin carried out a ruthless attack on Matt Murdock, destroying his life over a period of six months. Daredevil lost his job, his right to practice law and ended up homeless.
Murdock sank into depression, coming close to dying on several occasions. It’s an example of how homelessness can damage someone’s mental health. Many homeless people feel worthless and trapped in a cycle they’ll never be able to escape.
Daredevil rediscovered his worth, fought back against the Kingpin and reconciled with his girlfriend Karen Page. Reconnecting with Page was even more significant because she was the reason Kingpin was able to find out about Daredevil’s identity. Murdock helped her through heroin withdrawal, demonstrating his selflessness in the face of overwhelming tragedy.
Some homeless women are forced to sell their bodies, and Mia Dearden is a representation of that struggle. As a teenage runaway, Mia fell for a man who abused her and pimped her out in exchange for food and shelter. She was roped into a child prostitution ring, which led to her contracting HIV. When she encountered Green Arrow, Mia joined him as the new Speedy.
She was able to reconstruct her life, learning how to wield a bow and dedicating herself to fighting crime. Mia’s struggle is important because she needed to work to convince Green Arrow to let her take up the fight with him. It showed her determination to turn her life around. Mia didn’t let the fact she had HIV stop her from moving forward and trying to make the most out of her situation.
Being homeless is a terrible sensation, but there is hope. Whether it’s from the kindness of strangers or charities working their asses off to make a difference, people can find their lives changed for the better.