The purpose of this blog is to present and describe fictional superheroes, but what exactly are superheroes? What is the difference between a hero and a superhero?
A hero is a man of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities, while a superhero is more of an ideal. A superhero is a person that is dedicated to protecting the people and fight injustice using special abilities and powers that a normal human being does not possess. This definition contradicts some of the most popular superheroes such as Batman and Iron Man. Both Batman and Iron Man are indeed fighting to bring justice and have noble intentions but they do not have any superpowers. Of course, both characters are wealthy and they use special and unique equipment such as batarangs, battle car or high tech suits but their abilities are the same as any other human being. What makes these two characters superheroes would be their unique qualities: Batman wants to make justice but not by killing; he absolutely refuses to be an executioner saying that this is what separates a hero from a villain. Iron Man is using his high degree of intelligence to create a technology that no one else can and uses it for humanitarian aid. The definition also is against some superheroes that possess super powers but they are not really human. Take Superman as an example; he indeed has superpowers (flying, speed, power) but he is not a human being. As i wrote in one of my articles, Superman comes from a different planet which makes him extraterrestrial, therefore not human. Moreover, Thor is also a being from another world, considered by some people as a god.
A superhero usually is a masked vigilante. The real identity of the superhero is unknown and the superhero wants to keep it that way. Why? Because a superhero does not want to be praised and rewarded for his actions; the reason he is saving humanity is because he believes in this idea. This concept works very well on Batman or the Green Lantern, but not really on Superman or Thor. Superman’s real identity is the superhero one, his other aliases as Clark Kent, when he is a normal human being, a little clumsy, quiet and slightly confused is in reality his mask. The Clark Kent identity represents the human kind and this identity is also a criticism of mankind. Same story in Thor’s story, where he becomes a doctor in order to hide his true identity. Iron Man’s identity is well known: Tony Stark. Yes it’s true, Iron Man does help humanity but he enjoys the admiration of the audience. Iron Man loves being praised for his deeds so this can disqualify him as a superhero.
A superhero uses his superpowers in order to do good. I said this before, but are all superheroes dedicated to save humanity? Let’s take Hulk in this case: his superpowers are absolutely amazing; he cannot be even stopped by Thor or Apocalypse. But what is Hulk really doing? Is he saving anyone? Probably he would if he wasn’t busy saving himself every time he is attacked by the army; but Hulk does not really help anyone, instead he keeps breaking cities and puts Bruce Banner, the alter ego of Hulk in extreme situations. And what about Spiderman? Of course, he is doing his best in saving humanity but he is always regarded as a villain in his city; media is to blame as well. Let’s take a look on Captain America: superpowers? Yes. Helping humanity? Yes. Secret identity? No. The Captain’s identity is known to be Steve Rogers. His superpowers were also given to him but not to help all mankind; he was an American project during WWII. The Captain’s mission to save was appointed by normal people, so how can he be a superhero?
Because of their superpowers, these special heroes won’t really need help in fighting crime, yet, most of them have helpers and sidekicks. Batman has Robin and the Gotham City Police Department as well as his butler; Iron Man has War Machine; Wolverine has the entire X-Men and so on. What is very interesting, in every superhero’s live, there is a person for which the superhero has strong feelings of love. What is even more interesting is that that specific person represents the hero’s weakness: Batman has Talia, his enemy’s daughter; Spiderman has Mary Jane; Superman has Louis Lane. The female character is acquainted to both superhero and the one that stays behind the mask. This is something that all superheroes have in common: they will leave the world to it’s awful fate in order to save the loved one. In addition, in most cases the girl knows about the secret identity of the hero and this poses another weakness since the heroes are sure that the person they love can be trusted. In some cases the girl represents a great deal of help like in Hulk’s case, Betty is trying to find a cure for him and Iron Man’s case where Pepper is his “first-mate”.
So far i’ve listed factors that disqualify all of the well known superheroes as superheroes. They all have strengths it’s true, but at the same time they have great weaknesses as well. Why are they still superheroes? The answer is simple: Because all of them never lets humanity down, they never fail to act in their interest and they never fail in helping them. One thing was proven in every movie, cartoon, comic book and video game is that mankind never had to suffer because of them. They are always at the right place at the right time. Moreover, they are not selfish; there is not battle between superheroes to see which one is more powerful and entitled to save humanity. They actually unite under one banner, The Justice League and The Avengers for example, in order to increase their powers and chances in winning against evil; and the evil enemy of one, is the evil enemy of all of them. Having said that, the heroes I’m presenting in my articles deserve the title of superheroes.