The Superhero Gap – Seeing one versus Being one

We’re used to seeing superheroes in many varieties of media, especially movies, comics, and videogames.

What these all have in common is that they all have us on the outside, looking in.  We’re always watching, or reading, or controlling avatars of, superheroes.  “They” are never “Us”.

Perhaps this makes sense if we take the concept of ‘Superhero’ completely literally: after all, many definitions of Superhero (though certainly not all) require the ownership of ‘Superpowers’, which are admittedly in short supply in our current world.

But I think this misses the point of being a superhero.  Almost every definition of superhero also mentions the use of powers, or skills, or knowledge to make the world a better place.

If Superman decided that he wanted to be Clark Kent full-time, and never used his superpowers again, would we still call him a superhero?  I don’t think so.

Conversely, we have no problem adding Batman, Hawkeye, Black Widow, or Green Arrow to any list of superheroes, even though none of them have a superpower.  They use all of their skills and and abilities to make the world a better place.

So, we deduce that a superhero does not have to have superpowers, but they do have to step up to help the world.  Hey! That definition could include any of us!

What are you waiting for?

 

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One Comment

  1. Very good article. I’m dealing with many of these issues as well..

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