Monday, June 12, 2006

comics 1 - plight of the hero

okay, so a really long time ago i mentioned that i was working (intermittently) on a post about why i love comics/graphic novels. with the rapidly rising interest in the comic book realm in mainstream media (this is the goldmine that filmmakers will be mining steadily for the next few years), i figure i'd better start posting installments or my thoughts may become outdated ridiculously soon.

here is part 1 - some thoughts on the heroes of these stories.

plight of the hero(ine)

my main example here is buffy. i know it's not a comic book per say, but the theme that i love most about it is the same - she alone is the one girl who has been given the exceptional responsibility of having to save the world from everything that has ever and could ever go wrong. the way joss tells the story, no one else, not even the others in her scooby gang, can begin to understand what she goes through, and the sacrifices she has to make; she didn't ask for it, it's a life destined for hardship and sacrifice, and yet she does it, she puts herself on the line every time there's peril, in order to save those she loves (as well as those who will never know what she's done).

it's the same concept as in xmen, and rising stars and to a lighter extent spiderman, and i love it, the whole sense of forced loneliness and duty, that no one else could possibly understand what it means to live life the way you do, cause nothing is easy and no one can help and no one appreciates you, even though you try your damndest and you have the best of intentions. the paradox here, of course, is that as a viewer or reader is meant to empathize with the character, to feel just as they do. paradoxical since the idea is that each of us are the only ones who do. we are the only ones who get close-ups of buffy's off-screen melancholy glances, and peter parker's interior monologues via thought balloons as he flies through new york city. i'm being cheeky now, but it's true, and it's the whole point - that's *why* our superheroes are our age and that's why joss whedon and stan lee give them everyday woes on top of their superhero woes, we're *meant* to align ourselves with them. and that is why we love them!

there is also very much a sense of anger about the forced mediocrity that comes with hiding that secret identity. i just re-watched the incredibles tonight, and this is a thought that movie handles very well, the idea that the world might verbally tell you that to be special is what to strive for, but punishes you if you are. x-men adds an extra twist to this by having the core group divided, a clear line between those mutants who could pass as human, versus those who couldn't (mystique, nightcrawler, beast).

for those with that option, it's an intriguing concept because, particularly drawing the parallel with teens, it's a toss up for how one is going to be able to survive those high school hallways...stand up for what your tastes are, and let the bullies have at it, or suffer the fools and their stupid ideas while protecting yourself. the kids who succeed at school (and i don't mean academically) will tell you that it's possible to do both ("don't compromise, people will respect that"), but most of the rest of us know better.

1 comment:

Zaida Angel said...

I really hadn't thought about it. Interesting what you type...

But for some reason, i always want to see the heroes lose, and i cheer to the villians :s