I’ve been thinking about superheros a lot lately. This is mainly because I’ve delved myself into a world of comics and manga nearly non-stop for the past month. In fact, for the first time in months, I’m reading more comics than I am reading books. In a vast majority of these stories there are characters that are vying to be protectors and I started to think what makes these characters less of a superhero. What was the differentiator that made these characters different.
What sets a superhero apart from the rest
One of the first things I eliminated as a potential differentiator was the necessity of powers or abnormal abilities. Batman doesn’t have a superpower. Though growing up I always saw his money as a super power. But there are a number of heroes out there that don’t actually have any power. They are just people that are out there fighting the good fight. I also eliminated the secret identity. Again, there are a number of heroes who may go by a certain name when they are in hero mode, but are still recognized by their every day persona. So that idea was out as well.Then I realized exactly what makes a superhero different. A superhero doesn’t just save the people they love or are influenced by. They don’t just risk their lives for people who would impact their lives. A superhero goes out there and goes above and beyond to preserve the lives of people in conflict on both sides. They are willing to risk themselves, in order to save another person.
What makes them super
People have said for years that police and military are our superheros. While, I can agree with the sentiment that isn’t quite true. They are our heroes, yes, but they are not superheroes. They can accomplish heroic feats time and time again and they should never be stripped of the honorary title of hero. But the sad fact is not everyone could be a superhero or it would degrade the term super. Thus a superhero is someone that transcends a normal hero and goes to a length that is unheard of with abilities that are there to astound. A hero can stop a killer. A super hero stops the destruction of a city single-handedly. A superhero transcends that which is thought to be possible. Could Superman save Metropolis from the threats before the city if he didn’t have his staunch morality or his powers? Could Spider-Man be as effective if he wasn’t as proportional strong as a spider and had heightened senses? Sure it is possible, but it’s also highly possible that they may not be quite as super. A superhero is super because they are able to go beyond what the average human can do.
What do you think makes a superhero?