Reconnecting with your childhood superhero


Whether it’s Spider-Man slinging from web to web, Batman firing up the Batmobile, or Wonder Woman wielding the Lasso of Truth, superheroes are a defining feature of many childhood memories.

From toys to comics, superheroes are undeniably fun and allow us to explore abstract concepts of right and wrong in a safe environment. As a child donning the costume of your favourite hero, it was hard not to feel super—that you were good, that you would always do the right thing and save the day.

Yet, as we grow older, we trade Captain America for Steve Rogers, and it feels like the hero we once were has died. Things aren’t as simple as they seemed. The bad guys don’t wear weird costumes and doing the right thing isn’t as easy as it used to be.

We’re powerless and weak, with an upcoming assignment deadline far more frightening than the Joker ever was. But heroism doesn’t disappear as we age; it changes.

Reconnecting with our childhood superheroes reminds us the hero we used to be hasn’t gone anywhere; we can overcome even our most feared foe.

Superheroes allow children a safe space to process, face, and overcome their anxieties. As children watch Spider-Man defeat Venom, they’re reminded they can also defeat their fears and be brave, just like their favourite hero.

Superheroes are a reminder that good can triumph and that we, no matter who we are, are capable of heroic things. This reminder grows no less important as we grow older.

Even amongst the explosions and techno-backdrop, superhero narratives are moral tales. They’re stories about good triumphing over evil, about choosing the right thing. 

They’re fundamentally simple. As our lives get more and more complicated, we need this simplicity. We need stories that give us something to believe in.

Heroism doesn’t have to die. We don’t have to give up on the heroes we once were.

Spider-Man isn’t heroic because he can climb walls and fight giant men dressed as rhinos. He’s heroic because, beneath the disguise, he’s Peter Parker, a human trying to do the right thing. It’s not about what he can do; it’s about who he chooses to be.

We are all presented with this same choice. We can choose to be more compassionate, understanding, and kind. When we recognize the power which lies in our choices and harness it, we become superheroes, no matter our age.

When you stare down your greatest foe—your greatest fear—whether it’s an approaching assignment, exam, or something completely different, remember who you were all those years ago. Remember running around the living room in costume when anything was possible.

Superheroes remind us that we find power in our choices, not our abilities. They’re a talisman to our own heroism, which may lie dormant, but is never gone.

As we grow older, we need superheroes more than ever. By reconnecting with childhood heroes, we may realize who superheroes really rescue: us.

Sam is a fourth-year English student and The Journal’s Assistant Arts Editor. 

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