Batman, Spider Man and The Hulk may remain legendary in your childhood comic books – but Alexandria’s Travis Smith has a newly-released first book, Super Hero Ethics, that says they can teach deeper life lessons and choices.

 “Super hero stories, especially for children, are places where people first encounter questions like: What kind of person should I be? What should I strive to do and what does it mean to be a good person? What kind of obligations do we have to each other?”

Those are the same questions that motivate the life-long fan of super heroes and Concordia professor of political theory, where he aims to use current and pop culture examples for critical analysis in the classroom.

Super Hero Ethics is written both for lovers of super heroes, and also those who are interested in digging into the broader ethical questions of character in our society.

Smith presents ten super heroes in various scenarios, taking readers on a journey to determine who will survive his philosophical questions, ultimately providing the best character example for our time.

Smith says it has been fascinating to revisit stories and characters he had read as a young boy, like Green Lantern, and apply a different lens on their deeper meaning. It’s also been an opportunity to review the influence of pop culture on society and future generations.

“I made the determined effort to say ‘what’s really going on in here?’. What do they really have to say to us? What do they tell us about the kind of people we think we are, and the people we think we should be?” explains Smith. “The stories we tell our children has some effect on the values they have and the aspirations they have.”

Smith is holding a free public launch event at The Quirky Carrot, I Main Street South in Alexandria, on Tuesday, June 26th from 7 pm to 9 pm. Super Hero Ethics is also currently available at the Book Nook in Alexandria and online at Amazon and Chapters.