There is an element of truth in heroes.
Let me explain.
There has been a resurgence of comic book hero movies over the last few years. Mythology plays a role in many of our lives; I have touched on this topic before. For those of us with a penchant for myth, stories of heroes and what they mean to us has never left that place it holds in our minds. What if there were pieces of truth in heroes?
Looking back at different heroes that have made an impact on me, I found myself reading an interview with Jack Kirby. Stan Lee gets a lot of credit for the creation of Marvel Comics characters, but Kirby was just as prolific, and often worked with Lee in creating the characters of the Marvel Universe.
Kirby made a profound statement in the interview:
“A character to me can’t be contrived. I don’t like to contrive characters. They have to have an element of truth.”
When Kirby helped to create the Hulk, there was truth in the story… Kirby was inspired to create the Hulk after he witnessed a mother lift the end of her car up when her baby became trapped under the running board.
After watching this, Kirby was moved:
“It suddenly came to me that in desperation we can all do that — we can knock down walls, we can go berserk, which we do. You know what happens when we’re in a rage — you can tear a house down…this woman proved to me that the ordinary person in desperate circumstances can transcend himself and do things that he wouldn’t ordinarily do. I’ve done it myself. I’ve bent steel.”
There is truth in heroes in that they are merely extreme exaggerations of all of the qualities we have within.
Each of us has a hero inside of us, when the chips are down. This may sound like something worth of an eye-roll. Yet, when everything is at stake, human beings are capable of amazing things. The characters that we see in the comics or the movies are so far fetched that we wish we could be as powerful as they are. I did this for years: I would wander off into my mind and pretend I was someone else. Someone faster, stronger, and braver.
I had missed a very important point.
We create heroes based on the attributes that we already have. We exaggerated them to make them memorable and to make them interesting. However, exaggeration is just an inflation of something that is already there.
In reality, each of us is a bit of a hero. As we are trapped in reality, we represent the truth in heroes.
Next time you find yourself looking outward and wishing you were something different, take a different strategy. Instead, look inward and realize that you have a set of qualities that make you a hero already. You can’t blast lasers from your eyes. Adamantium claws aren’t part of your skeleton, and shooting spider webs is impossible.
There is something you can do…
You can be you.
To the fullest.
Be your own hero.