What is a hero?

Oh man I love that question. Its changed for me over the years I define it slightly different then when I was a child. Someone asking me this makes me feel like Capn Jack Sparrow when someone asks him what the pearl is to him.

I was at Sac con this weekend. I love Sac Con. After Saturday's day of talking to fans, finding new ones and meeting with other creators, I had an opportunity to go and hang out with Schumacher and the guys from Scattered comics. Making comics comes form a solo act in your head be you an artist or a writer, its easy to get swallowed up in your own worries. It's invaluable to meet and spend time with other creators. For example I got into a rather energetic discussion about heroes.

I know that right now more than ever there are movies about "Super" heroes. (In all candidness something I am grateful for.)  That being said not everyone is happy about it. Some see it as a glut etc. Hollywood being locked into a pattern squeezing blood from stones as they tend to do. TO me though, I don't see any difference between now and 15 years ago.

It's not important to me if my hero wears a cape, or a gun holster, or a wields a clipboard. Storytelling for me is a bout a hero's fall and rise. Its a serenade to humanity in a way that I see as necessary for my own aspirations of noble thought. In fact I need a hero to see the humanity in most things. Case in point going back to storytelling. For me if there is no one in a story I can get behind. (Like Game of thrones) then I can not watch it or enjoy myself. I am not saying a hero can not be flawed. Angry Brain's temper and self-doubt is rampant.

What I am saying is this. I need to see a hero stumble to the point where things are no longer easy. There has to be a moment where they find that there is a choice to be made, do the easy thing, or do the right thing. In some cases easy means letting the fear overwhelm them, joining the "dark side" or letting their apathy make decisions for them. I need to see the look of the weight of that decision on their shoulders, and I need to see the strength of choice. I need to see the rise. The rise is always hard, and it's always born of the decision to find the strength to do the right thing. Some climb out of a mile deep pit with  a broken spine, some turn and look into the eyes of a horrid villain and just say "no", and some just incur wrath for refusing to change their name.

It's not important that a hero has a cape, but what is important is that a hero does the right thing. I read stories, watch movies, read comics all for a single purpose, to be entertained. For me though everything in my life is also tied to a concept that when simplified is "I will not be the bad guy." My own family history is filled with Bad guys, this world is filled with them. I want to see the heroes rise because that's what I want to see in our world. I want to see a president stop the damn war machine, I want to see people who are oppressed refuse to bend to the will of religious zealots. I want to see the men who risk their lives for an idea that the greater good is based on treating others with respect  treated the way they deserve by those they fight to protect. I want to see the greed of man curbed by humane consideration. I want to see the world inspired by the heroes who do the right thing.

I may not be able to right every wrong on our world, but I can decide to light a candle instead of cursing the darkness and adding to the trending apathy of man.

A Hero is the person who rises to the challenge to make sure the wrong things are set right. A hero knows that strength is a choice, not an attribute.