Wednesday, April 8

Superhero 101

Contributing Writer: Jonathan Collins®

In 1933, the Man of Steel made his debut in America. At a time in this nation when we felt the wrath of the 1929 Stock Market Crash which triggered the Great Depression , Jerry Siegel was inspired to create the concept of a man “faster than a speeding bullet” and, “more powerful that a locomotive”. So, being sent to Earth before the explosion of the planet Krypton, Superman began saving the day in Metropolis the same year in which President Franklin D. Roosevelt launched his plan for a New Deal.

With the economy in shambles and despondency in the Dust Bowl, America was in the need a huge boost in morale. So, in comes a man from a foreign land with metaphysical invincibility and an unorthodox choice in wardrobe. He is a man guided by his integrity and patrols the skies dedicated to instilling justice. With people still aspiring to emulate the heroics of Superman, it is important that the qualities of a super hero be outlined.

A key component to Superman’s ability to be an effective hero is the fact that he came to Metropolis as interloper from a different place. We have seen this intervention before with Malcolm X venturing from Detroit to Harlem, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. setting out from Atlanta to Birmingham, Ronald Regan moving from Tampico to Los Angeles, and Barack Obama maneuvering from Honolulu to Chicago. Coming from a foreign land, the hero is able to provide a fresh outlook on plans to better the community in which he or she serves. Also, the hero usually has accumulated a wide range of knowledge, experience, or in some cases mystical powers from the places the individual has come from. This different look combined with acquired credentials enables the hero to make an impact on the community in which he serves.

Before serving the community, Superman springs from a telephone booth wearing red boots, a red cape, a huge red letter “S” on his chest, blue tights, and red underwear on the outside of his tights; clearly an unusual choice in apparel. Therefore, a hero is distinct in appearance. Superman was never concerned with catering to the fashion trends of the civilians of Metropolis or even the celebrities. Initially, Superman stood out to the people of Metropolis because of an awkward fashion sense. This inattention to dress shows the heroes focus on the task at hand, tendency to adjust norms, and ability to command respect. With a true hero, it is clear that he or she is not after compliments for wearing the latest fashions. A hero will present himself in a unique way that enables him to stand out through his or her ethics and, at times, through clothing style.

Having a tendency to stand out, a hero is often seen using power. The citizens of Metropolis were accustomed to Superman piercing through brick walls, flinging steel automobiles, and speeding past pedestrians with blinding speed. However, people never recognized the Man of Steel as a man of intense thought, analytic assessment, and social science study. Superman does not gain his deserved reputation, but he shows individuals that intelligence is a crucial component to the successful hero. The public only sees the hero at work saving the day, but what cannot be overlooked is the intense study that a hero must undergo. Although the hero guides with his heart, it is important for he or she to have a strong brain with which to make key decisions. On many occasions, the hero has multiple people’s destinies tied to his or her each and every move. Therefore, that person needs to be smart enough to know which move to make.

In a time when people are making moves in the midst of economic hard times, we have been reduced to a feeling of despair similar to what people felt in the in 1930’s. Men and women are losing their jobs. Families are losing their homes. Young adults all over the country are unable to attend college, not because they are not smart enough, but because they just do not have the money. People all over the world are downtrodden.

Now, where are the heroes? President Barack Obama has issued a stimulus package, but where is the morale boost? Now is the time for those individuals to come from their foreign lands with their awkward style and outstanding intellect in order to save the day. They do not have to be “faster than a speeding bullet” or “more powerful than a locomotive”, but they need to patrol with integrity. For, a hero emerges in a time of trouble because people just need something to believe in.

Vic: I Just think it's crazy that in the past week we both wrote about Superman, although I really wrote about Clark, but I won't get into that now. Good Article homes.