If there is one thing that makes superheroes so great it’s that they are relatable. You only need to look through a handful of X-men comic books to find themes on prejudice, redemption, hopelessness, solitude, victory and loss – all traits and feats we ourselves as readers have experienced at some time in our lives. Life can get quite tough and, during these woeful moments, we can rely on a few lessons from our comic book friends for inspiration.
I think a hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles. They are the real heroes, and so are the families and friends who have stood by them. – Christopher Reeve
1. Anyone can be a hero – Batman
It’s no secret that Batman has faced his share of troubles in life. Many can relate to both his losses (losing his family at a young age) and his gains. But one of the fascinating things about the character is that he has no inherent superhuman powers. Batman proves that everyone can be a hero if they simply put the effort in and stood up against corruption and for justice. For the most part, Batman is the everyday man plus martial arts training and an intelligent mind. It’s no wonder The Cape Crusader continues to be one of the world’s most popular comic book heroes.
2. Be proud of who you are – X-Men
We all face prejudice at some point in our lives, whether it be racism, sexism or simply being bullied for being different. The X-Men face this very conflict head-on as mutants outcast from humanity. While mutants like Magneto chose to make the world their enemy, Professor X, and his trusty followers decided to turn their differences into a positive and set out to prove that they are worthy of being called human. The X-Men teach us to accept who we are and not to let fear, anger and resentment drive our decisions.
3. Turn your flaws into good qualities – The Hulk
The Hulk has the world’s craziest temper. You won’t like him when he is angry. In the comics, Bruce Banner first tries his utmost to control his anger, but eventually, he gives in and uses the beast called The Hulk to serve mankind. While it may be imported to control our anger, sometimes… just sometimes… these bad qualities can be used for the greater good. Maybe there is a Hulk in all of us. We just need to channel the negative energy into doing something positive.
4. Accept responsibility – Spider-Man
Who can forget the over-quoted words of a dying Uncle Ben? “With great power comes great responsibility.” These are words of wisdom Spidey takes to heart and lives by – his credo. As we gain power we have the opportunity to make decisions that shape the world we live in. Sometimes they are selfish and short-sighted. But great leaders in the world know that responsibility requires the opposite – generosity and thoughtfulness. No matter what happens in Spider-Man’s world, he remains humble and lives by his uncle’s words.
5. Remain true to yourself – Captain America
There are many lessons on character we can learn from the great Captain America, a hero who despite being transferred from the 1940s to modern times maintains his beliefs and high standards. While the rest of the Avengers team have different reasons for defending Earth, Caps simply fights for honour, justice and truth. His character always embodies his core principles of compassion, courage, loyalty and perseverance. In the world where it’s cooler to be the angry hardcore guy, the First Avenger teaches us simple moral goes a long way.
6. You are never truly alone – Superman
How many of us have ever felt alone, or isolated, or different? Despite believing that he is the only remaining Kryptonian left in the universe, orphaned Clark Kent finds strength in his companionship with family, friends and ultimately his love interest, Lois Lane. Superman teaches us that despite feeling downtrodden, weak and unappreciated, we are never truly alone or alienated. When he does good by saving and helping others, Superman feels part of a larger community. And even when he does fly off to his Fortress of Solitude to be alone, he is able to call on Jor’el for advice and inspiration. “You will travel far, my little Kal-El. But we will never leave you… even in the face of our death.”