The world is quite an absurd place, mostly run by criminals, thugs and at least one ridiculous but very dangerous sociopath with a fake tan.
As remotely-piloted drones blow up civilians thousands of miles away, we obsess over the best yoga positions for pets and finding the right brand of organic, gluten-free toothpaste. Each day, a dozen more species disappear as we gorge on ‘reality’ TV shows featuring Z-list celebrities being eaten by giant mutant crabs.*
It’s no wonder that comic book adaptations have become so popular on the big screen, when real life often seems like a plot from some dark dystopian tale, where super-villains vie for world domination as the very fabric of society threatens to unravel. Who then can resist a team of troubled heroes with perfect teeth, super-human powers and snappy one-liners, saving us from the devils of our worst nature, and the worst perils of Mother Nature. Of course in most comic books, it’s easier to tell the heroes from the villains. Continue reading
Hollywood has a long obsession with heroes, from the early westerns to the latest spandex-clad Marvel super types currently dominating global box offices. They mine common themes of heroism: self-sacrifice, justice and the importance of big muscles when biffing baddies with bad attitudes.
Of course not all heroes rely on brawn – some are brilliant scientists, some are brilliant and super rich and others are just your average Joe/Josephine who got bitten / zapped or otherwise transformed into yet another saviour figure with a bizarre ability and costume.
It was almost a year to the day since Peter Pike – AKA Procrastination Man – had last donned his ill-fitting spandex outfit and battled the forces of evil. But Peter had not been idle, far from it. In that time he had thoroughly reorganised his cutlery drawer, joined a gym (although not actually visited it) and made detailed plans to re-decorate the lounge and repair the kitchen window. There had even been a few half-hearted attempts to start writing his autobiography.
He had also, much to his surprise, found a partner, Melanie Grant, with whom he had made some exciting and probably completely impractical plans. An attractive, if slightly geeky young science graduate, she had been inspired by the press coverage of his earlier adventures and had responded to his online quest for a partner:
WANTED: SMART, KICK-ARSE PARTNER FOR A UNIQUE CRIME-FIGHTING OPPORTUNITY! NO TIME-WASTERS PLEASE.
Their first meeting at The Black Crow pub hadn’t gone quite as well as they’d hoped. A nervous Peter had arrived late as usual, and then managed to spill his pint of beer all over their table. Melanie had ended up trapped in the women’s toilet cubicle, a faulty lock requiring intervention from the local fire brigade. But they had been able to laugh about it afterwards, and their disastrous evening had eventually ended on a unexpected high note.
As they had slowly gotten to know each other in the months that followed, the future suddenly seemed to be full of promise and adventure.
After a long planning phase, they were determined not to let any more grass grow under their feet. It was time for action, just as soon as they’d saved up enough cash to advertise their services in the papers, and whipped themselves into shape at the gym. And paid off the credit card bills. Yes, quite soon they would be ready to unleash the force of THE PROACTIVATORS upon an unsuspecting criminal world.
It seems our cultures have something of an obsession with superheroes. The enduring myth of a superior being, a saviour figure not held back by mere mortal limitations who sacrifices himself to save mankind. Does that sound like someone familiar? A figure revered by millions throughout the western world? Yes, of course, it’s Superman.
He has died quite a few times over the years, but keeps on getting resurrected. I guess the world cannot do without this ultimate hero in the jolly red underpants and cape.