Why did superhero’s become “dark” in the 1980’s? The reason comic book superheroes became darker in the 1980’s was due to the fact that the United States as a whole was becoming a more dangerous place. Throughout the 1980’s drug abuse and crime were at an all time high. City’s were hit especially hard with this new level of crime and this was reflected in the comic book superheroes of the 1980’s. These newer darker characters appealed to readers more then the slap stick heroes of old. These new characters faced real time issues such as drug abuse and extreme violence. These characters were reborn in the 1980’s and were a reflection of the time period. One of the best examples of a superhero being reborn was in Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. In this series batman is displayed as a much darker character both literally and figuratively. He is drawn more muscular and sharp with a darker costume then in previous Batman series. He is darker figuratively because he is not only fighting crime now, but also trying to avoid public attention because the government is convinced that they are better off without him around. This portrayal of the darker superhero was evident in the 1980’s due to the darker times in the United States.