Is the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo a Superhero?

By Maryann Yin Comment

Would you consider Lisbeth Salander (a.k.a. the girl with the dragon tattoo) a superhero?

At New York Comic Con this year, a panel of veteran comic book writers and editors debated this topic; the panelists included Tom DeFalco (Marvel), Danny Fingeroth (Marvel), Paul Levitz (DC) , and Denny O’Neil (DC, Marvel). Psychologist Robin Rosenberg, editor of  The Psychology of Superheroes and The Psychology of the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, acted as the moderator.

The panelists all agreed that the definition of a superhero is difficult to pin down. However, they discussed two particular qualities that many superheroes possess: a heroic role heroic and abilities that go beyond what humans are realistically capable of.

For the first quality, one panelist pointed out that the etymological origin of the word “hero” comes from the Greek “heros” which means “protector.” Most often, a hero is expected to serve and protect a community.

Many of the panelists agreed that Salander’s personality does not lean towards altruism; she does not seem to be on a mission for the good of humanity. Most of her targets had directly threatened her.

She also took personal offense to misogynists, lashing out whenever she encounters one. In addition, the Swedish version of the first Millennium book directly translates to Men Who Hate Women.

On the second point, Salander displays three distinct abilities: computer hacking, martial arts and a photographic memory.

For the first two abilities, many of the panelists concured that becoming skilled in computer hacking and martial arts are both “humanly achievable” given enough time and effort.In fact, actress Noomi Rapace, who portrayed Salander in the Swedish films, trained in kickboxing and Thai-boxing for seven months prior to shooting the Swedish version of the film in order to “butch up” her physique.

For the third ability, Rosenberg pointed out that “photographic memories” do not exist so perhaps that could be considered supernatural.

David Fincher‘s American film adaptation of the first Stieg Larsson novel has performed well at the box office. While no word has been given as to whether or not the two sequels will also be adapted into American films, fans of the series can look forward to the entire Millennium trilogy transformed into graphic novels.

The Hollywood Reporter reported that DC Comics’ Vertigo imprint will be publishing graphic novel adaptations of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2012), The Girl Who Played with Fire (2013) and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest (2014) in both print and digital format.