Each week there are several things that I gravitate towards and read. One of them is Comixtribe. The advice and tutorials there I find helpful and focusing for the genre of the long form comic. This week the Bolt and Nuts Column asked the question “Why do we create superheroes?” and in the end pointed out we each have our own reasons.

What is mine?

The adolescent power fantasy is something I find rather insulting. I understand where it comes form but I really do not think that I am drawn to heroes in any way as a result of it. Its the choices. In our more dreary version of reality people more commonly do the lazy thing, the selfish thing the rationalized version of evil. Sure we have examples of greatness, there are heroes in our world. We all know them, but for every one of them there are millions of other examples of ridiculous inhumane selfishness. I can not say that enough.

In fiction though, in fiction the man or woman with enough strength not to give up despite the problems, despite the poor choices form before in fiction these people are the rule. Or at least they are in the fiction I prefer to read. In fiction these people are heroes. I have heard so many arguments about Superman for example. I can not stand people who like him because of his power level, that is not what makes him unique, its the choices he makes its not falling into our pit of human fecal matter decision making that makes him Superman. Hes not perfect, hes fallen a few times, without those falls his ability to be a purer more noble hero couldn’t exist, but in my humble opinion it is what makes him one of the greatest.

Spiderman for example is an idiot, he makes a lot of poor choices because he can not see the forest through the trees some times, but he never gives up. Everyday he gets back up puts on his tights and swings out into the city looking for a way to be who he wants to be. His value is there. Its not in his powers, not in the webslinging those things are window dressing for what makes him inspiring to me.

People who read Damage, and people who know me know that I like action in my stories. I like the fight, but few times have I ever been asked why? People assume its because I am an adrenalin junkie, and in all honesty there is a logic to that. For me though its really about the moment right before the fight, and right after. There is this supremely human thing about the moments right before conflict. Think about it if you have a moment to think before entering a fray whether it is before a board meeting, an argument with the guy who sold you used tires for way too much, you will find yourself asking why am I here? Should I fight? I am sure it comes in various versions of that but the question is there, and it is in that question that so much is revealed about ourselves.

Choosing to stand up for yourself, for something or someone that matters to you is a massive part of being alive. If you never stand up for those fights I will be honest with you, your self loathing probably knows no bounds. Does that mean you face every fight with a meat cleaver and a grin? No… Not all fights are worth fighting that is part of what reveals so much of your own nature. I loathe fighting, and would rather seek a win win for everyone, but if I do make that decision to put my battle gear on it is empowering, frightening, and calming at the same time. That moment is filled with so much and it is in that moment where we find the heroes. Some heroes will not fight because of guilt about their past transgressions, I can respect that. Pacifists are still in the fight they are just using a different set of tools. Other heroes believe in higher purpose to turn the other cheek, same thing. Some fight too much and lead their friends and family down dangerous paths.

Heroes are the figures that inspire me to make that choice in those moments for better or worse. They help me believe in myself. Its not about the power to rocket through space on a surf board, or blast someone apart with eye beams. Its about that moment where they stand up. Because if they can do it… Maybe I can too?