Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Life on a Larger Scale: Why I'm Grateful for Marvel Superheroes

I have a confession to make: I didn't grow up with superheroes. It wasn't until I was 13 or 14 that I grew out of my hazy understanding of what a superhero actually was. When I did understand (and started to learn more about the heroes), it turned out that they make for some of the best story material that I had ever heard in my life.

Superheroes -- but more specifically Marvel -- have added so much to my life over the course of these few short years. Not only have I felt an enormous sense of community with other people who love superheroes, but I have also learned so much about what works in a story and why we make the reactions to stories the way we do.

Marvel has opened up a world to me that I never understood existed. This is a world of fighting for right and saving people and hard choices and (in the case of the Civil War storyline) fuzzy lines between choices. It has renewed a sense of wonder in me, a sense that so much more is possible than I ever dreamed of. 

Marvel has reminded me that there is pain in life, and even the people with the most amazing abilities feel that pain. Their friends die, they can't find the peace they so desire. This is us. Inside, we aren't any different, and that's why we love superheroes. This is why I love them, because I can relate. I relate to Bruce Banner, with his introversion. I relate to Peter Parker, with his incurable dreaminess. These are people who would have been more or less normal (if a small bit eccentric), except for one fact: they have powers.

Marvel has introduced me to some of the most vivid characters that I have ever had the privilege getting to know. They have personalities that range all over the map (which makes it oh so interesting to see them try to work together), but not only are they different, but their differences are believable. The team dynamics are accurate, and so much like what I expect to see in a group like this.

Marvel has given me stories that are grounded in the emotional truth of what we all face. Why am I so heartbroken about Civil War? Because, at its core, it's about friends fighting. Fighting with people we love? That's what breaks us, and we see that in this story. Marvel has given me stories of determination and strength but also vulnerability and tenderness and love. I see every side of human emotion in these stories, and that's real.

Marvel has shown me that there can be laughter even in the most absurdly hopeless and dangerous situations. From shawarma after a battle to bags of blueberries in a lab, Marvel has made me laugh, which is something so special to me. Laughter brings relief to these characters throughout their stories.

People may not always understand my serious love of superheroes. I may not always be taken seriously. But that does nothing to diminish my fierce love for these stories that remind me of who I am and what I can do. Marvel has given me so many good times and good stories, and I won't ever forget that.

Marvel reflects life on a larger scale, and that's something that I am immensely grateful for. 


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