Don’t we all love it when our favorite superhero, clad in red and blue with underwear worn inside out or in a ridiculous spider suit or even naked-large & green, comes and saves the world? Yes we do, but that is not the question, the real question is why? Actually lots of whys.
Why do superheroes always win? Why have we not seen any evil superhero? Why do we really need superheroes?
Lets take a hypothetical example, lets say one fine day you wake up and you find yourself endowed with superpowers. What is the first thing that comes to your mind? Definitely not saving people from a burning train or stopping a bank robbery. Let me tell you what will come to my mind, getting things that I have not had earlier, it may be material or otherwise, and I will use all my powers to get it.
So how come the superheroes that we are accustomed to see are not like that, not like us? Why are they the epitome of kindness and responsibility? We all know power corrupts, then why don’t these superheroes try to rule the world and resort to evil? Why does good always triumph over evil, which is not the case in real life?
The answer is in the origin of the concept of superheroes. Whenever the society is under a tremendous depression and there is no chance of getting out of it, they need someone to give them hope, to give them courage and strength to fight the odds. The last major depression was in the US around 1920s and the people got their hopes in the form of fictional characters which saw the creation of modern superheroes.
This works as the missing piece of the jigsaw puzzle called superheroes. The superhero is always someone very ordinary like you and me or even a loser before getting superpowers, so that you-the people connects with the character. They are kind and very responsible human beings, that is to imbibe values like kindness and responsibility in the people watching. And they always win no matter how powerful the adversary, that is the final push to the hopes of people that they can fight against all the difficulties in life no matter how huge.
But wait a minute, how does this fit into today’s context, we don’t have a great depression, we don’t need hope and other things mentioned, our life is not that bad.
But the truth is we still have wars, terrorism, earthquakes, floods, famines and various other adversaries that we have been fighting since long all by ourselves, so do we really need a superhero?
I would say yes, we do need a superhero but as an idea – a concept that shows undying human will and perpetual human spirit, as a never ending source of inspiration that gives us strength to keep on fighting till eternity.
So next time if a kid asks you to get his favorite superhero toy, go ahead and buy him but also tell him the significance of superheroes and how even he can be a superhero in his very own way.