Friday, September 14, 2007

Spirituality & Superheroes

When comic book fans talk about superheroes and the genre to non-comicbook fans we tend to focus on the ideas that they represent. We refer to them as components of the modern mythology. Whether its pointing out that Superman or Captain Marvel were instruments of wish fulfillment during their incipience or tracing the progress of Superman over the decades can illustrate society's dynamic view of itself. We project onto these fictional constructs the various fears, hopes and paranoia of our times. As has been pointed out by many, it's not a coincidence that many of Marvel's heroes were created as accidents of radiation exposure. The Hulk is a misbegotten result of a gamma bomb explosion. The Fantastic Four are a consequence of exposure to cosmic rays and the story of Spider-Man's origin is a metaphor for sudden transformation. These characters came to be in the early 60s, not coincidentally a time where the idea of nuclear war and holocaust was a very real fear.

One thing that never changes though is the fact that these heroes lives are predicated on a life of service to others. That is their raison d'etre. Characters that aren't in it for the service of others or allied with a specific cause are anti-heroes or viewed as mercenaries. Wolverine is an example of the former and Booster Gold of the latter.

I've read comics for a little less than twenty years. It's only in the last year or so that my obliviousness came to light. You can never be Batman or Superman (even de-powered John Byrne Superman). You may not have the means or ability to spend a life in service of others; few do. It is possible though, that you may have the wherewithal to make a small periodic commitment to do something for others. Volunteering at any of hundreds of thousands of not-for-profit organizations peppered throughout the world is a great place to start. If it's not something you do right now, consider doing it. It can only make you a better human being. There'll never be a downside to being a better human being; either that or "no good deed goes unpunished."

I'm going clubbing later. See you out there.

In a bit.

1 comment:

Nicole said...

Of course, you know, that I enjoyed this post. :-)