One of the best things about being an author is getting to create heroes. Yes, heroines are fun, and most of my stories center around a female lead, but there is something really awesome about being able to come up with the perfect guy for each heroine. There are some great heroes in literature and movies. Heroes that inspire us, that make us go week in the knees, that cause us to refer to them as “literary boyfriends,” that inspire wacky and hilarious hashtags on Twitter (see #HotDarcy and #OccupyVincent for reference). I thought it would be fun to highlight a few of these worthy heroes in blog posts. I’m going to try to do one every other Friday, wish me luck. Here is the first installment of my Hero Highlights…
At first blush, it seems easy to understand why we are fascinated with Superman as a hero…I mean, after all he is a super man – “faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful, that a locomotive, and able to leap tall building in a single bound.” And let’s face it – he is hot. Some might say that Superman has an unfair advantage in the battle of the heroes because he isn’t human, he is from the planet Krypton, and it is because of this – because he is basically an alien living among us – that he manages to be a super hero. On his planet (if it still existed), it is possible he wouldn’t be anything special, although my guess is he would still be hot. So, it seems unfair to compare any real man to Superman because, really, how can they possibly measure up? How can we say that we need the men of our generation to step up and be heroes, and then hold up the unattainable as an example?
I think Superman is still a valid – and attainable – hero. He is more than an automaton or a piece of physical perfection. He is also Clark Kent. I truly believe Clark Kent is more than just an alter ego. He isn’t a cover Superman invented for himself, he was raised as Clark Kent before he ever even knew of his alien origins. I truly believe his passion for “truth, justice, and the American way” came as much from being raised in Kansas by the Kents as it did from hours and hours of study in the fortress of solitude.
In fact, if he were only Superman – only following the unemotional advice of his father Jor-El, then he wouldn’t be as involved in human affairs as he is, he wouldn’t turn the world back around to save the woman he loves. In fact, Superman sees the best in humanity, what humanity can beand this is because he is Clark Kent.
Sometimes I wonder if it is really Clark Kent that we get all weak-kneed over. We love how much he loves Lois, we love his sincerity, his kind of geeky oversized glasses. Of course it is awesome that he can rip off that button up shirt and be Superman, but Superman without Clark is really just a stereo-type, an alien come to earth that we can admire but never connect with.
So, why is it that I love Superman? Because he does represent the ideal of truth, justice, and the American way – the thought that with hard work, perseverance we can overcome any obstacle. And that, I think is what we are looking for in a hero – be honest, be fair, work hard, and love hard.
Be a Clark Kent.