Naturally, with an hour before I really NEED to be at work, I’m chilling in my recliner and writing. Go figure. I think the new “term” or whatever is #YOLO.
So I’ve been kicking around this idea of a “concluding” piece or segment for my thesis — oh yes, sorry, catching you up. I decided on a “Creative Non-Fiction Thesis” centered around the concept of….. SUPERHEROES and why they exist/the different metaphors they stand for— Really, all you needed to know was that I’m a giant nerd and am writing a thesis and you pretty much know WHY I’m writing it, what it will be about… and that you’ve basically been reading nice excerpts from it for the past 3 months or so. but yes… this concluding piece is all about Heroes.
The “Super” prefix is rather unnecessary when you sit back and examine the impact of a Hero. Whether he or she is living, breathing, flesh and blood or a 2 dimensional, ostentatiously colored, glossy print, the gadgets, wit, and superpowers are merely a means to an end. What makes one super does not make one a hero. It is what one does with one’s gifts that allow him or her to stand out from the crowd and to affect a change among others. In that regard, I see relatively no difference between Hulk smashing Loki around a bajillion times and a woman standing triumphantly posed for a picture after stomping the living shit out of a terrifying illness… except that she didn’t need mutations or cosmic energy or a lab experiment gone wrong to garner the strength to not only stand and fight but stand and fucking WIN. I see no difference between Wolverine with his claws between his knuckles and a marimba player with his mallets protruding from between his fingers standing in the Greenest of Green uniforms and beaming up at the packed house of a NFL Stadium on the best night of his life, knowing that he gave his all… except that the marimba player didn’t need metal grafted to his bones to become an inspiring force of nature. I see no difference between the Flash’s ability to outrun Time itself and the young soccer player who keeps getting back up after every single injury and coming back stronger because he stayed positive and found an outlet to inspire hope about anything in the lives of those who follow him. I see no difference between any comic book, movie, or TV show superhero and the gal or guy with a good sense of humor who made a funny picture that another dude found on a really really bad night that made him laugh…
Through all the metaphors for humanity, when one takes a long and hard look at the “Superhero,” one sees characters who NEED their powers or gadgets to overcome insurmountable challenges and inspire the rest of the world. When one looks around at the real world we all inhabit, we see the true Heroes, devoid of the traditional “super” stuff, overcoming insurmountable challenges and inspiring the rest of the world. They exist. We know them. We love them, admire them, and are inspired by them. And the weirdest thing is that most of the time, they don’t even know that they are a hero.
We associate capes, magic stuff, suits of armor, shields, hammers, growly voices, rings, etc with super heroes. We sometimes think of a “hero” as only someone whose efforts make the news and we are told they are great when in actuality, almost every person out there is a hero in some way, shape, or form. So at the conclusion of this whole Superhero and Humanity thesis, I can only arrive at the realization that we project what we WISH we looked like and could do into the pulpy pages of comic books and eye-popping (haha… side note… remember that scene in Blade Runner? Kinda makes the cliche of “eye-popping” a bit more… darkly hilarious?) visuals on the silver screen. We WISH our battles weren’t against diseases, those who don’t believe in us, or other HUMAN things. But in the end, there’s a little bit of a hero in every one of us and we all don’t need the prefix of “Super” to be… well…
Mostly… we just need to be Human. Whaddya say?