I’ve already discussed my love of film and the impact of having a grandmother who, in spite of the culture shock she felt as a German immigrant, made the “sacrifice” of taking me to the movies on a regular basis, but writing that post reminded me of another important truth.
We all need heroes whose example we can aspire to live up to.
These heroes can be real people in our lives such as parents, teachers, the guy who changes your car’s oil (I sure as hell couldn’t do it) or even that one uncle who never acted creepy around you in spite of the vibe he radiated.
But I have that creepy uncle and he doesn’t hold back, and my parents, well, let’s just get on with it, shall we?
#64: The Big Red “S”.
Anyone who’s ever read this blog or seen an image of me or met me can instantly discern my ultra-nerd status. For Christmas my daughter bought me a ticket to have dinner with one of the comic book industry’s most gifted artists, George Pérez, during Niagara Falls Comic Con 2019 because she knew it would send my geeky spirit soaring. And it did.
And as a nerd I can’t help but admire Superman. He’s one of the three great superhero archetypes every comic book character has been created from. Sure Bats and Princess Diana have their appeal, but Kal-El of Krypton is The One. He’s that one hero who knows exactly what he believes in: Namely, truth, justice and the American way.
The “American way” being only half right, of course. Jerry Siegel (a Yankee) and Joe Shuster (a Canuck) created the Man of Steel together and so his mythology stems from the best of two great nations.
He means something different to everyone. Some see him as a “cartoon character in a funny red sheet” (these folks are troglodytes). Others view him as the prototypical hero; invincible and unwavering in his desire to protect the innocent. To marketers and Warner Bros. accountants he is a financial gold mine, with his image slapped on everything from the “Krazy Koil” box, a knock-off Slinky that didn’t even have Superman’s name even on the coils (!) to “Kryponite Rocks” that were painted glow-in-the-dark green and were perfect for chucking at your little sister or cousins. Once.
Rest in peace, Lucy. You were a major pain in the ass, but I’m still sorry.
Whatever your opinion, it goes without saying that he’s certainly the most recognizable hero in existence. Yes, Spidey fans are climbing the walls right now (see what I did there?) but it’s my blog so I stand by this statement. Even if you don’t care for comics or movies or books or cartoons or toys you’ve referenced the Metropolis Marvel at least a dozen times in your life. For example, just this morning I heard this through a hotel guest room door:
“God damn it, Mary, I can’t go another fifteen minutes! Who do you think I am… Superman?”
For the record, I wasn’t being a Peeping Hook. I was following a hooker.
But super hearing and x-ray vision certainly would’ve come in handy.
Superman is an orphan whose entire world is now a billion space rocks but he never gives up. Even when he finds himself stripped of his extraordinary abilities he carries on until the day is won. And so can you.
Be your own hero and you’ll be a hero to others in turn. It doesn’t take a body that absorbs yellow sun energy and converts it to super powers, it just takes courage and will power, things you may not realize you already have in spades.
See you in the lobby, kids…