Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Superhero: More Than Just A Word

       The definition of superhero is defined as an extraordinary being with powers or abilities far beyond those of mortal humans, but superheroes represent more then just an apt description reminding us of how insignificant we are. Superheroes inspire us, motivate us and ultimately give us access into another universe full of characters supernatural and/or out of this world (literally). It starts at an early age, or birth if you have parents that dressed you up in a Superman costume at the hospital (do they even make costumes that small) and the appeal lasts a lifetime. What begins mostly as a harmless hobby or overwhelming obsession grows into a "career" of collectables, collections and objects deemed worthless to others, but priceless to its owner. These are comic book fans. Whether one was in the store when the first issue of Action Comics was released, or whether a young child just picked up the latest issue yesterday, comic fans are comic fans and they will never change. 

      It all started with the creation of a character born in the deep reaches of space, the last son of Krypton we've come to know as Superman. The tone darkens a year later when Batman is created. The first two superheroes opened a gateway into another reality, which would soon be inhabited by hundreds of thousands of heroes, villains, supporting cast, cities, galaxies, and tales so suspenseful they make us want more. At the root of it all one would look at a comic book fan and just assume that it's an interest, something to pass the time when we've finished our homework and have no date to the movies, but every fan knows that somewhere down the line we come to think of comics as more then just a piece of fiction, media created just for a few moments of enjoyment, but something real, another world we wish was our own with powers and lives we wish we had, characters we relate to and characters that we come to refer to as people, that we care for and cheer for. 

       In their original debuts, these heroes of fiction could only be envisioned frame-by-frame, motionless in the pages of any DC or Marvel comic. Today's generation however, doesn't have to imagine them in the slightest. Not only are comic books still available and as imaginative and artistic as ever, but also we see superheroes in all the greatest forms of media especially television and movies. Just this year, two of the biggest and best superhero movies were released in The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises. To say the least, to be a kid, and to be a comic book fan in today's world is truly a gift and one that will only become more spectacular as technology advances and as the creator's imagination grows. 

      Superheroes are everywhere now: clothing, media, video games, coloring books, comics, books, toys, pajamas, hats, hell... I used to have superman floss. It has gotten to the point that we walk into any source of retail and we see them within the first 5 seconds. They are here, they walk among us and they will only become more prominent in today's society as time passes. Muscle bound, tights wearing, cape flowing superheroes are replacing the days of the conventional “modern family”. The amazing realization that has occurred to me in the recent days is the fact that the modern term "superhero" hasn't even existed for 100 years yet. We think that we have come so far and that it has been so long since the very first debut in 1938, but we have only scratched the surface of the true potential of superheroes. As someone who will see the 100th anniversary of these characters origins and long after that I anticipate great things to come, but we must look towards the success of the past if we are to ensure a successful future. Look at what worked and what didn’t, because as much as these heroes will inevitably change over time, fans much like myself must rely on the creators of these heroes to stay true to their origins, stay true to their characters an above all else, provide us with the entertainment and enjoyment we have had for and will have for many years to come.

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