by Steve Allen
What if superheroes somehow jumped from the screen and morphed into reality?
|What if we lived in a comic book world? What if Hollywood's recent fascination, and ours as moviegoers, with comic book heroes and their exploits, somehow jumped from the screen and morphed into reality? What if through Anytown USA Spiderman swung through our city streets webbing up criminals, X-Men walked among us exercising their mutant muscles, the Hulk leaped regularly through America's National Parks giving our military a run for its money, or Hellboy chased down demons, the wild kind, not domesticated like himself, down our alleyways and subterranean regions to bring them to justice? Or, "insert you favorite Superhero here" going about doing... Well, you get the idea. Wouldn't that be the ultimate fun? Even more cool and entertaining to live than to merely watch?
Or, on second thought, maybe it would become everyday and common like everything else over time? It took me a minute or two of serious contemplation, a little time to get past my initial child-like enthusiasm for this colossal, even legendary, idea before I had to conclude, sadly, that it would be the latter. We'd come to take it for granted just like all the other modern miracles we enjoy everyday. Superhero-dom is probably best left on the big screen, or on our small screens at home, as simply a fantasy, where its' fascinating and unusual qualities can remain intact, unmarred by the familiarity of everyday living.
Because isn't it the fact that it is so unusual and uncommon, so unfamiliar, that makes it so entertaining, so exciting? No matter how amazing something is, when we become too accustomed to it, unfortunately we often no longer appreciate it. So it's best that things remain just as they are, where we can go to the movies when we want to escape from the mundane and the everyday. There we can visit someplace different, meet something unfamiliar, usually, the more different and unfamiliar the better. If my impulsive imagining were reality, if Superheroes really walked our streets, then they too might risk becoming mundane and everyday, and then where would we look to for escape?
Of course, there are pros and cons to both scenarios. I might be willing to risk our comic book heroes' demotion from coolness to the mundane, if once they were instituted into the fabric of our reality, we could somehow become them and take over their roles, choosing the superhero of our choice. It wouldn't really be too much to ask, would it? After all, who are the real people here? If a superhero lifestyle was available to everyone, and not a status thing that only an elite few were privileged to be part of, kind of like it is in the celebrity world now, where a few get to play the superheroes while the rest of us merely watch, then superheroes becoming common and everyday would be a small price to pay. Leaving all the details and logistics for later, such as what to do if more than one person wanted to be the same superhero, or how to handle it when we ran out of superheroes but not superhero wannabes - wait, a possible answer just came to me: a superhero timeshare? That sounds doable. That could work! Anyway, like I said that can be worked out later.
Now, if and when this happens, it came to me the other day who I'd be: He-Man. I can hear all the snickering now, see the mocking looks. Say what you will about him, and me for choosing him. Go for it! Have your fun! But if I ever get my wish you won't be scoffing long. While the rest of you are vying for the more hip, cool and "today" superheroes, I'll stick with an old-fashioned classic, and be greater and more powerful than you all! Even greater than that vintage superhero favorite, Superman. I know it's been a while but I'm sure you remember. You know, the guy who's able to "leap a tall building in a single bound" and is "faster than a speeding bullet"? Even he will acknowledge my superiority. Because though He-Man may be of the old school, and isn't the newest or most popular thing out there, he is still He-Man: Master of the Universe!
Did you happen to notice where the emphasis was on the title of my superhero of choice? And did you happen to pick up on the extent of his domain? He not only has a tough sounding name - he is Master! Of what? I can't hear you? That's right! The whole universe! All of you, superheroes and only superhero wannabes alike would therefore be subject to me! We'd do things my way. Don't worry though, I wouldn't flaunt my superior powers or harass any of you for your inferior abilities. I'd lead with wisdom, by long-suffering example. With me in command, the world would reach heights beyond anything... Hey! Had you going for a minute didn't I? Almost had you thinking I bought into this stuff, that I really wanted to be He-Man, even had plans for when that day arrived. Man, you guys will believe anything! Now where was I, oh yeah, the world would reach heights beyond anything...no! It's best if superheroes run, fly and save the day only on the screens in our theaters or on our television sets. We mustn't blur the lines between fantasy and reality. It's definitely best being satisfied just escaping to the worlds of superheroes on screen.
Well, I hope I clarified where I stand on the issue. Fantasizing aside, superheroes are just make-believe; they're not real. (Not yet). They are only for our entertainment. (For now). Speaking of which, I don't know about you, but I can't wait to see what the next Superhero will be up to next. He's coming to a town near you! Hey, I'm talking "in theaters" here buddy. Geez, get a grip!