Wednesday, May 30, 2012

“We love our superheroes because they refuse to give up on us. We can analyze them out of existence, kill them, ban them, mock them, and still they return, patiently reminding us of who we are and what we wish we could be.”
Grant Morrison, Supergods: What Masked Vigilantes, Miraculous Mutants, and a Sun God from Smallville Can Teach Us about Being Human

Lately I've developed a fascination with superheroes and comics. For the longest time, my only knowledge or contact with superheroes was through movies or television. There was Christopher Reeves Clark Kent on the big screen and then Tom Welling's Clark Kent on Smallville. There were the various interpretations of Batman in the movies, but my favorite character of them all was The Joker as played by Jack Nicholson. I was supposed to root for the hero, but I liked the villain more.

The hero was always too perfect. Too good looking, too built, too rich, too everything. It wasn't appealing. I tried to get into the comic books, but didn't know where to start. So, as a teen, I wrote it off as not being for me. In 2000 a movie came out which made me reconsider. It was "Unbreakable," by M. Night Shyamalan. It was the story of a man, David Dunn, who was the only survivor of a train accident. The movie brilliantly shows his life as colorless, depressing, and lonely. You can just feel there's something missing until he meets a comic book store owner, Elijah Price.

Price has a rare disease that causes his bones to break very easily. His childhood nickname was "Mr. Glass," due to his condition. Price spent his childhood reading comic books and had a realization, if someone like himself was born so weak and helpless then there had to be someone at the opposite end of the spectrum. Someone strong who could help those in need - a superhero. I won't give away the ending, but if you haven't seen it, I'd highly recommend it. It really made me think about superheroes and villains in a whole new light. It definitely led to a whole slew of "what if" questions.

The world has no shortage of villains, but how often do we hear of the heroes? I'm thinking of the everyday person who does something amazing and no one ever knows who they are. What an amazing thing to believe that under the guise of a poor single mother beats the heart of a fierce, brave superhero. What about the homeless man shuffling down the street? What if it's all a cover to hide the cape? Impossible? Laughable? Perhaps. You can believe what you want. However, I choose to believe there are heroes and better yet, superheroes among us. What a boring world it would be without them.

Yes. This fascination also came about because of a story idea, which I'll be writing for Camp NaNo.

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