Thursday, June 24, 2010

Creating a Better World

Recently I watched the movie "Kick-Ass" which brought up a very interesting question: Why hasn't anyone attempted to become a superhero? The question was posed not in reference to heroes like cops or firefighters, as they are in a category all their own. But the comic born heroes that children dream of being. The heroes who dress up in fantastical costumes, and fight evil. The heroes whom crowds cheer for. Those are the heroes that kids dreamed of. What happened to those dreams? We might think that the answer is simple, merely stating the obvious: superheroes have super powers, so superheroes in real life just don't exist. From Superman to Spiderman, they had extraordinary abilities that gave them distinction. Even Batman, while seemingly a normal human being, wasn't normal at all. He was an billionaire orphan. While he didn't possess extraordinary powers, he had extraordinary resources. They were all "larger than life." Larger than our lives.

This is exactly why our superhero dreams died. During one unfortunate moment in our life, we began to feel helpless. In that moment, we became smaller. We started to shrink against injustice, accepting our limitations. We stopped being brave because we would never have powers to keep us that way. We only wanted to be heroes if it meant we could keep fighting crime, not possibly die stopping it.

That's why superheroes in the comic sense, don't exist in real life. Because superheroes are indestructible. We are not. Even if they did lack durability, comic book death has always been temporal. From Bucky to Jason Todd, history has proven that anything can weasel back from the dead. Even in "Kick Ass," the supposed everyman against all odds kid, indirectly finds himself the beneficiary of extraordinary means to be a superhero (his nerves are shot, so he feels less pain). He could have easily died or become crippled for his heroism, but instead he got "powers."

We could easily say superheroes don't exist because they just aren't real. But that's a half-truth. Like "Kick Ass," any number of us normal people can choose to put on a costume and take an oath to become a protector. We can sketch designs for costumes. Draw up fancy logos. We can be the heroes we dream of. But that kind of hero doesn't exist, because no real hero goes through that much work just to die. Obviously, if you are busy in your room drawing up fancy sketches of what you'd look like fighting crime, you probably aren't out on streets stopping it. Real heroes are created in a moment. In a split second when they decide to risk their life, their safety, their welfare, so that another can prosper. Real heroism calls upon personal sacrifice, making the right judgments, and acting upon it when the situation arises. Superheroes aren't perched on a rooftop, hiding in the shadows, waiting for danger to strike. For that matter they aren't even "super." They are extraordinary. They find themselves in extraordinary situations, are faced with tough decisions, and somehow find the courage and passion for life to do incredible things. Some may witness it, some may not, but true heroes act upon danger not because a crowd is present, but only because they themselves are.

So no. "Super" heroes in the real world do not exist. But people do--and in an instant, can do amazing things.

The drawings below are superheroes of my own design. I hadn't drawn superheroes since I was in elementary school, sketching and creating bios with a buddy for what we believed was modern comic's next big thing. But having finished school, I wanted to draw something for fun. So I went back to drawing what made me happy in my youth. I thought about creating a team that was all energy based. cool huh? Currently they don't have a team name. I drew about six heroes this week, and finished coloring these two.

This hero is named High Rise. When I created her I had a sniper type hero in mind, which gave me the idea of having the power to shoot beams out of one eye. While not being in the forefront of any battle, she would remain content to accurately pick apart foes from afar.

This character was scanned from my sketchbook, then painted in Photoshop. The background was included to give a sense of how and where High Rise prefers to do combat.


The last hero for today is called Flash Bang. She has the power to create light bombs which upon impact, create blinding flashes. Her power is physically harmless, but purely tactical. Although I wouldn't count out her powers evolving to the point where she can burn retinas. After blinding her foes, she would then proceed to bash them with her weapon. I first saw the Kanabo watching an episode of Deadliest Warrior (samurai vs spartan), at which point I instantly fell in love with the greatest club of all time. I consider Flash Bang the muscle and spearhead of the group. Shes leaps first into battle, and usually resolves it before anyone else can jump in. Fire in the hole!

This character was scanned from my sketchbook, and painted in Photoshop. Getting tired of cleaning up the stray marks, paper tone, and eraser dust/stains. When I get a bigger Wacom tablet I think I'll be more comfortable drawing into Photoshop directly.