My husband does not understand my obsession with superheroes. Honestly, he doesn’t understand my obsessions with lots of things, but that’s neither here nor there. When I’m engulfed in The Flash or re-watching The Avengers, I can hear the silent questions and feel the tinge of judgement when he walks past me in the living room or when my son and I are passionately discussing which superpower we’d rather have for the hundredth time.
Watching my favorite heroes doing their best to save the day gives me great joy. Perhaps too much joy- you see, my passion for superheroes serves as a form of escapism. I can’t be alone in this because box office receipts and Netflix subscriptions don’t lie. Many of us are taking the slogan of the CW to heart- we are defying our world and daring to live in others, if only for a moment.
I could create a long list of reasons to dream of living in another world- here are just a few off the top of my head: a tweeting president, wildfires, Harvey Weinstein, Philando Castile, the misunderstanding of #takeaknee, you get the picture. These headlines make my head hurt and my heart ache. And I haven’t even talked about my job yet! So yes, I need to escape, and what better way to do that than through watching Barry Allen save the day and finally marry the girl of his dreams.
Or watching as Thor fondly talks of Jane Foster from the heavens of Asgard and battles his adopted frost giant brother. You can’t tell me that doesn’t sound a hell of a lot more appealing than those hashtags. These moments appeal to me because for that time I can forget that I am a dean at a struggling school or the citizen of a country that allows mass murder to go on repeatedly with the prevalence of high powered guns; I am momentarily free of the heavy burdens this world can often put upon us when I lose myself in the superhero realm.
A while back my husband did dare to ask me why I loved superheroes so much. If I am remembering correctly, he asked me why I was so excited for Captain America: The Winter Soldier and mumbled something about me being too old to be that excited. Well, little did he know, there were lots of reasons: a seemingly great story line (which I happened to be right about), Chris Evans, Chris Evans, and more Chris Evans. Seriously, I couldn’t wait to see the hero of heroes stopping the bad guys and flexing those biceps along with his unflinching morality.
One other thing my husband probably didn’t know is that my love of superheroes today is directly linked to my oldest brother. When we were kids he had a 30-gallon garbage can filled with comic books of all types. He would guard them with his threats and his German Shepard. I was only allowed to touch them in his presence, and I did not dare touch them because he somehow always knew when I had. I can’t say the same for my middle brother- he caught many beat downs over the mishandling of said comic books, but it didn’t stop him.
My older brother would read them over and over and enthusiastically tell me and my siblings stories about the heroes he found on those pages. The rivalries, the love stories, the fights- he told it all. Sometimes it was complete torture because I didn’t care what he was going on about at the time or why those comics meant so much to him, but now I understand; they were his great escape.
So now here I am, fangirling over the release of Thor: Rangnork. Someone at MCU headquarters must secretly love me because it’s release in the United States is on my birthday. I am planning to have a ball that weekend, and going to see Thor on the big screen is the main event. I can’t think of a better way to spend my special day than with family and the fine Chris Hemsworth kicking some ass. All silliness aside, superheroes mean a lot to me for a lot of reasons. But most of all because they are the good guys- they fight the good fight and make sure that no harm comes to the world on their watch, and through their adventures I get a reprieve from the serious and sometimes scary place that this world can be.
Why do you love superheroes? I’d sure love to know so share your thoughts with me!