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Discover YOUR superpowers

Dave Ferry

With superheroes dominating worldwide box offices, I get a kick out of the irony– that as a young comic-book fan growing up in Warren County, I was lucky to have two or three friends with that shared interest.

Now, it seems pretty much everyone has seen or at least gets the gist of, many fan-favorite characters.

What was once a slightly off-center from mainstream pop-culture niche, has become inundated with casual fans en masse.

Still, there are those who take it a little more seriously beyond the mere frivolity of entertainment. I don’t blame anyone who fails to grasp the deeper themes that resonate with some, but not with others.

Serious people don’t dress up in skin-tight costumes to fight crime.

So, what’s the big deal? Why do some people talk as passionately about fictional superheroes as others do about real-life heroes?

Superhero stories, like with sports, are about people aspiring to be the best versions of themselves. Where they differ is athletes are doing it for real; superheroes are fantasy.

If you think about it, what is the difference between a child aspiring to greatness because of their favorite baseball player, or because of Wonder Woman? A child who believes in herself can do pretty much anything no matter where the inspiration comes from.

In order to discover your potential, you first have to imagine it. Then, you have to believe it.

Have you ever imagined what it might be like if you could run as fast as Usain Bolt? Faster?

Comic books took that idea to the next level and asked the question: What if we could do that?

Athletes are always up-ending our expectations of what is humanly possible. It’s fun to imagine what possibilities are potentially limitless over time.

While real-life exploits of veterans, law enforcement officers, medical providers, and star athletes are confined by the laws of physics, comic books present a world where anything is possible.

Few consider the writers and artists behind the stories, but to those who do, they are legends. They explore these ideas with the unrestrained creative freedom of their imaginations and dazzling artistic skill.

The best superhero stories are able to tap into the humanity of the characters as either an inherent strength or weakness.

Bruce Wayne is driven mad with grief as a child who witnessed his parents’ murders. He becomes obsessed with justice (or injustice) and pushes his human body and mind beyond their limits. Always teetering on the edge of going too far, if he were to exercise restraint, people get hurt. The bad guys win.

Superman’s greatest weakness is not Kryptonite, it is his humanity. Clark Kent may be an alien, but because of where he was found and who raised him, he may be the most human of them all. If he fails to exercise restraint, people get hurt. The bad guys win.

There are fewer characters that demonstrate the fine line between hero and villain than Batman and Superman.

Modern superhero comics rarely portray a hero who is 100 percent good, and not every villain is 100 percent evil.

Every day we are faced with choices. When to act and when not to act. And we live with the consequences of our choices.

You may be the strongest, the smartest, the best and the brightest, and still make a mistake.

You may be meek, overlooked, invisible and alone; but one day you may surprise everyone, especially yourself.

Strength, speed, agility, intelligence, creativity, empathy, courage… our human powers are vast.

Our individual lives are about discovering what they are. Everyone has a role to play.

Our collective humanity is about rescuing each other.

What are your superpowers?

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