I should have linked to this ages ago, but school got in the way. This is an article I was invited to participate in by Nick Sousanis (http://www.spinweaveandcut.com), a lovely fellow that I met at the 2012 Rocky Mountain Conference on Comics and Graphic Novels. Curated by Dr. Matt Finch, it's a roundtable discussion of the utility of superhero narratives in the real world (whatever that may be!).
No Matter How Hard They're Punched: On Superheroes and Real-World Issues