Superheroes Among Us
Josiah Motley | On 23, Apr 2013
A benevolent fictional character with superhuman powers, such as Superman.
When we think of the term “superhero”, what comes to mind? Superman, Batman, Green Lantern? That would most likely be most people’s first thought, but superheros have been around since stories were passed down by hieroglyphics and spoken stories passed down from generation to generation. One of the earliest examples I can think of is Achilles, the Greek hero of the Trojan War.
What is our fascination with superheroes? And why, even to this day, do we still look up to these masked men and women? Just like with professional wrestling, we know that these characters are not real and their stories made up, yet we still will look up to them in times of tragedy and hardship.
What is it about superheroes that intrigue and inspire us? Why do we relate to and revere characters like Batman or Superman? They wear questionable attire and are constantly the target of attacks. They have little to no personal life, and what little they do have is usually taken away from them. So why do we look up to these fictional characters with their shattered social lives and battered bodies?
Lets look at billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne, The Batman, in a little more detail. Bruce defends the city of Gotham, whether it’s a petty robbery or a super-villain like The Joker. What is not to like about Batman? He displays many characteristics that we should all strive to maintain and reach for. The man is totally devoted to his job, his calling. He protects Gotham day and night, regardless of what the city thinks about him.
He still does what is right. Even when the entire city thinks he is the bad guy.
That’s a very admirable thing to do, something that many of us wish we could display more often. Batman also has to overcome great obstacles, obstacles that may not be that much different than what some of us have had to face. Overcoming the loss of both parents is never an easy thing, but he persevered. Bruce Wayne, an average boy at the time, was able to prevail and through hard work was able to make a difference in the entire city. His courage in the face of insurmountable danger is unparalleled. Unlike some other superheros, I’m looking at you Superman, Bruce Wayne at his core is still a regular human being. That doesn’t matter to Bruce, he still stands up for what was right. He displays characteristics that all of us want as well. We want to make a difference. We want to stand up for what is right. We want to be insusceptible to corruption.
We want to be a hero.
The release of Injustice: Gods Among Us during the horrific events of last week seems almost fitting. In a time of great despair and uneasiness, here come the superheroes to inspire us once again. Even with its fictionalized, brutal setting, Injustice brought a sense of calm for some people. Perhaps it helped take peoples minds off of the Boston Marathon attack and the explosions in Texas, but in this writer’s opinion, it did a little bit more than that.
Our stories inspire us to resilience and serve to frame the magnificence of true heroism.
Many of us have read about superheroes since we were children. Their values, at some level, have most likely stuck with us. It reminds us that we can make a difference, it reminds us that there are still everyday heroes now. All the men and women who ran towards the explosions, they were true superheroes. They saved lives without consideration for themselves.
There is a lot that goes into what makes a comic successful. The story lines, the action, the costumes, special powers and gadgets all play a role in the popularity of the comic book genre. These things engage us, but what really draws us to these characters is the fact that they stand up for what is right, even in insurmountable danger, against all odds. Their resilience is endearing, and their sacrifices are just. These are things that everyone could stand to have a little bit more of.