An Ode to Superheroes

I have always loved superheroes. Always. I remember waking up on Saturday mornings or rushing home every day after school just so I could park myself in front of the T.V. I rarely missed an episode of Spider-man or the X-men as they battled their foes. I even watched the old-school, live-action version of Batman with Adam West. As I grew up, I never lost that love. I still watch every superhero movie when it comes out and think about them often. I’ll be the first person in line when The Guardians of the Galaxy movie comes out. I would even tell you about the dream where I lived out my own episode of Doctor Who if I wasn’t thwarted by the evil that is my alarm clock and its dream-erasing abilities.

In the past I’ve written a blog post titled Why We Love Superheroes, but I never explained why comic book lore is so important to me. I turned to superheroes because I needed them. I can still recall an incident when I was six years old and my superheroes served me well. After a day of being teased at school, back when I hadn’t made a single friend, I headed home, bundled up in a new blue snow suit. It was my first Canadian winter and I wasn’t used to wearing so many layers. I looked like the clumsy Smurf cousin of the Pillsbury doughboy. It was also the first time I fell into a small, icy ditch, (and yes, that’s happened more often than I’d like to admit).

All the layers I wore acted as a cushion but it didn’t keep my bare face from smashing against the ice. I hit the ground, right cheek first. Stunned, I tried to get up but the ground so slippery that each time I found my legs, I fell again. Aside from the actual fall and the bruise that covered my face for a good two weeks after, what I remember the most about that incident was that I didn’t cry. I didn’t fall apart or give up. Instead, I just kept trying to stand up and crawl out of that ditch.

Why? Because Spider-man didn’t cry. Batman wouldn’t stay down after he took a hit. The X-men didn’t give up in the face of adversity. And I wanted to be like my heroes.

Superheroes are our modern-day incarnates of ancient myths. They inspire us to rise above our limits and circumstances in order to become something greater. They teach us to believe that through our actions, we can change the world. They are role models that show us that integrity and morality are a choice, and that the choice can be a difficult one that often comes at cost. And most importantly, they reflect the best in us — our strengths and our vulnerabilities.

As I’ve gotten older, my definition of the word ‘hero’ has evolved. It’s no longer limited to those who can fly and crawl up walls. Many of my current heroes have no superpowers. But they’ve taught me that showing courage, providing inspiration, persevering, and being compassionate are the kind of superpowers that can be greater than invisibility and superhuman strength. Writers like Stan Lee and J.K. Rowling gave me worlds to disappear into when the reality I lived in crumbled. I once had a teacher who made me stand up and answer questions until I learned to speak up for myself and another who told me that I could do anything I wanted. The former gave me a voice, the latter changed my life. During my toughest times, I have also been able to turn to great friends. When it comes to finding good ones, I have been uncommonly lucky.

As I prepare to prepare to head into the publishing world with my book series, The Dark Matter Chronicles, I’ve turned to my superheroes once again. Through my characters, I get to live out my hopes and fears on blank pages. And I’m not at all surprised that when I made the choice to be a writer, I created a world where superheroes exist but still struggle to find their place.

While I try to find my place in this world, I’ve encountered a lot of people who have told me to put away the kind of dreams and fantasies that are often associated with childhood. You can’t build a life imagining superheroes, they said. I know now that they were wrong. I’m glad I was too childish to listen. They are welcome to become proper grown-ups if that’s what suits them. I prefer to be that six-year-old kid who got back up thanks to a team of caped crusaders.

The Higgs, The Guardians of the Galaxy, and Real Life DRAGONS

The past couple of weeks have been incredibly hectic for me, so I apologize for not posting something new earlier. But let’s recap what’s happened lately, shall we?

First, the physicists at CERN confirmed the existence of the Higgs Boson, (aka The God Particle). A lot of people will argue that the discovery makes no real difference. I am not one of those people. The announcement of the discovery was long anticipated and with it, our understanding of the world is more complete. You know what that leads to? More high-tech gadgets for you and me! If you’re unsure about what the Higgs is, then watch this:

Second, this past week was one of the biggest in the comic world with the San Diego Comic-Con in full swing. I’ve never been to the convention, but it is definitely on my bucket-list. Aside from the Game of Thrones panel, (which could have been better), the most interesting showcase this year had to be from Marvel. The comic book giant confirmed that a Guardians of the Galaxy movie will arrive in 2014. For anyone who doesn’t know, Guardians of the Galaxy is like Avengers in space. IN SPACE, PEOPLE! Given that it shares themes with my own book, The Dark Matter Chronicles, I am terribly excited for this to come out. Like, a kid who has eaten 3 pixie sticks and then washed it all down with a jug of kool-aid excited.

Guardians Of The Galaxy Marvel

And last but not least, I’ve recently learned that scientists in Indonesia discovered what appears to be a tiny dragon. That’s right. Tiny dragon. There is no confirmation on whether or not it breathes fire, guards wizarding banks, or answers to a Khaleesi. If we’re being realistic though, it’s actually a species of gliding lizard. But screw reality! I’m counting on evolution to be awesome and turn them into the badasses they are in books and movies. Sooner rather than later please. Thanks science!