I’ve been talking with people A LOT about this lately, what with the new Batman movie out and the new Superman movie in the works. I will be the first to tell you that I used to be a SNOB about Batman, and I thought anyone who didn’t like him was Superlame. They were even MORE lame if they liked *gasp* Superman. I would yell and scream and stamp my foot, trying to beat it through someone’s head that Batman was obviously the best choice in hero. Not only was he awesome, but his villains and story lines just couldn’t be beat. By anyone. Ever. Even if the super awesome writers who made some of my favorite Batman stories wrote for another hero, I just didn’t care because it wasn’t BATMAN. But hey, I was kind of an angry, judgmental youth.
Somehow, without really realizing it, I’ve come to the conclusion that superheros, regardless of who they are, are created to speak more to certain people. Some people fall in love with Superman because THAT’S what it meant to be a hero when they were a kid. Some fell for Spider-Man, Green Lantern, the X-Men, Wonder Woman, whoever. These people have read all of these stories, and something about them resonates and makes their heart sing. And you know what? THAT’S THE WHOOOOOOLE POINT. I get it now. So many people yell and scream and stamp their feet trying to prove that their hero is the best, and it honestly just doesn’t matter. (Although I’m not saying that a healthy, courteous albeit heated debate from time to time isn’t fun. We geeks LOVE to debate. But actually reaching the point of anger or hate doesn’t help anyone.)
What matters is that some kid found a hero in someone. Kids need heroes. I loved my Saturday morning cartoons, and I was lucky enough to grow up with the awesome 80s-90s cartoons: Spider-Man, X-Men,Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, G.I. Joe, Transformers, and even Captain Planet. They all made me want to fight crime and kick the baddies butts, come out on top and high five my friends. I remember playing Ninja Turtles with my brother and taping our fingers together so we would only have 3 fingers, whacking at each other and screaming COWABUNGA. We played Captain Planet, and no one EVER wanted to be the Heart guy. We made our mom take us to the comic book store every week so we could get the new issues of whatever we were craving at the time. We would let our imaginations soar, and it was amazing. I don’t think we would have had half as much fun if it wasn’t for these cartoons and comics.
Then we grew up. People still loved comics and cartoons, but all of a sudden we were super opinionated and belittled one another when we didn’t agree. That needs to stop. Especially with all of this talk about whether or not ladies can be geeks (WHICH WE TOTALLY CAN, AND I’M DAMN PROUD OF IT, THANK YOU VERY MUCH INTERNET. In case you missed it: this more or less started things and this is the best thing in the history of ever). I also think that everyone should be allowed to love their own heroes, because heroes go straight to the heart of things, and maybe one kid needed a hero stronger than life that could fly because they wanted to and couldn’t. Another kid may have believed in someone that could overcome adversity and save a city because they had a crummy childhood and couldn’t see a way out. Let people have their heroes, and please stop telling other people that they’re wrong. You can’t be wrong when it comes to what you love.
PS – I’m still fervently on Team Batman.
PPS – I also love the Joker. A lot. A lot a lot. And Harley and Ivy and the rest of them. It’s possible I’ve grown into a Super Villain lover. Which is also okay!!
(c) 2012 Elsha Wolf. All rights reserved. Images by the respective artists and websites.
Duplication in whole or substantial portion is explicitly forbidden.