Can A Superhero Save Your Life?
"But in an age of selfishness and cynicism, when empathy and generosity seem to be in short supply, it’s enough in the real world just to be a good guy, someone who doesn’t battle supervillains but who simply goes out of his or her way to make the world a slightly more decent place. Superheroes take the good and bad we can do and just magnify it to larger-than-life perspectives. Still, we find inspiration in them, just like we have since storytelling began."
If I were to ask you the question "Is there a superhero in your life that you would point to for inspiration in your life?", what would you answer and who would it be?
Liesa Mignogna has edited together a variety of essays by writers who have themselves been inspired by superheroes at some point in their life in this book Last Night, A Superhero Saved My Life. Familiar names like Neil Gaiman, Leigh Bardugo, and Delilah S. Dawson all make appearances while writing about parts of their lives where inspiration was needed. Themes such as love, writing, gender, and childhood all make appearances through the eyes of writers and their connection to certain superheroes. Batman and Wonder Woman were the most popular but others such as The Hulk, Weapon X, and even Underdog make an appearance.
I think back to my childhood and being inspired by cartoons like the X-Men and GI Joe (my GI collection is still boxed up in the basement; yea nerd alert!). I think I'd have to go with Batman though. His ultimate humanity puts him on a level playing field with most people despite his wealth. I find it interesting that although he is a billionaire, there is a sense he is always fighting from the position of an underdog. His human frailty against unknown enemies forces him to bring a level of ingenuity and smarts that few can match and it draws us closer to him. We can relate to the loss that he has had in his life (even if we can't relate the billions) because we seem him struggle with it every day.
Perhaps in the latest Marvel movies, Captain America exudes some of that too. His ability to keep getting up and fighting on no matter what made for some incredible moments in those last two movies! I'm thinking of the scene in Infinity War where he has gripped Thanos' hand in the gauntlet and there is a glimpse of recognition in Thanos' eye! Or Mjolnir in Endgame! Epic.
As the quote above notes, we see superheroes all around us especially during this time as we watch frontline workers go to work every day and face the unknown. In a time like this, we don't need to look to the pages of comics to find inspiration and that says something about humanity. Although these superheroes may reflect the best and worst in us, they are ultimately our creations. Making the world a slightly better place today, or tomorrow, makes us all carry a little superhero in us.
What's on my desk?
Pen: Lamy Studio XL Special Edition 2019 All Black (extra fine nib) (The studio pens are excellent pieces with the all-black being one I was particularly drawn too. You can find an alternative studio version here.)
Ink: Pilot's Iroshizuku 100th Anniversary Edition Daikoku-ten yellow ink.