What Superheroes Can Teach All Of Us About Humanity (And Ourselves)

Flickr / Jlhopgood
Flickr / Jlhopgood

Lately I’ve been into superheroes…No, seriously! It’s become quite an addiction. I’ve been reduced to researching them for fun, squealing at the chance to buy a couple of comic books, and trying to incorporate my daily “style” to certain costume color combinations.

I’ve always been sort of intrigued with superheroes, even as a child. In fact, I believe one of my favorite shows back then was Cartoon Network’s Teen Titans. How’s that for a girl who didn’t really get bothered by the grade school norm? I was always sort of jazzed with the idea of teams, and heroes fighting for good and justice (and pizza)! Heck, it never really bothered me that superheroes were normally considered a “boy thing” back then. I guess it was because “Hey, there are a couple of girls in there” and apparently even my younger self thought Robin was hot.

I was always a fan of shows (anime or cartoon) that involved regular people doubling as crime fighters for the sake of doing good. I admit, I even had a Power Rangers phase (Go! Go! Wildforce Power Rangers!) which even I have to say is pretty cool. It was in the days when “good” and “evil” were as simple as “don’t say bad words” and “listen to your parents”.

As a teenager, with possibly a wider opinion on the matter of “good” and “bad”, I began to realize that there was more to these superheroes than just costumes and catchphrases. They were people!

Superheroes are just regular people but with a lot more to live up to. I stumbled upon some heroes’ origin stories and got mystified. These weren’t just the cliche’d, automatically good soap opera role models on television. These were the average Joes who got suddenly pulled out of their comfort zones, hurled into trials and asked “what do you stand for?” I don’t know about you, but sounds like Life in summary to me.

These were the people who had to fight for what they believe in. Sometimes they even have to fight to figure it out.

I figured you could point at a hero at some port of their story and realize “Hey! That chick with a bat across her chest could totally be me! I mean it’s my life…weird and other-worldly, but my life all the same!” It’s relatable.

I was hooked with that realization. They weren’t Greek mythology characters who had powers and just went about flirting with mortals. They were actually more human despite the powers. To me they symbolize us. I saw it in the way their fears were depicted as something they had to overcome. It was their emotions being highlighted in Technicolor that drew it. It was their desires that hinted some weakness that broke them and exposed them as…human.

It was the struggle to face the fact that they have to keep their city safe while juggling between aliases. They were soldiers who did what they could because no one would and someone had to. They were the people who had the skills and gifts and utilized it accordingly, though it’s never simple. Villains are proof that not everyone with “great power” came to know “great responsibility.” It’s what intensifies their drive, the struggle — the struggle of trying not to go down without a fight. It’s the “I don’t kill because it’s wrong even when that guy provokes me to do it” and the “I have to break up with you, to protect you.” It’s inspiring people “aren’t exactly alone” into the minds of people who could relate to them.

It’s the idea of “rising again” when the world keeps pushing you down — not just because you want to but because you have to. It’s about being what you have to be because it’s there when you were and you had to choose to become it. It’s a memory or a reminder of Jesus, Himself even, and all those He inspired to fight for something worthwhile.

I think that people have always been into heroes because everyone was meant to turn into one at some point. I think that no one is ever really just the “bad guy” and we’ve always been more inclined to do good. I think it’s reason to believe that God instilled a nature to do good in everyone when He made us and it just depends on the level in which we choose to do good.

So I’m hooked into the study of superheroes. I notice that it’s cool because at the same time it kind of opened up my mind that there is a world of different kinds of people with various origins, strengths, weaknesses and powers…and I think I have a life time to read about them. TC mark

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