I’d like to start off by saying happy birthday to the Man of Steel who is 75 today. The first comic released 75 years ago today sold (at the time) for 10 cents and is currently estimated at over 2 million if in mint condition. A lot of people don’t get Superman. They pass the character off as an over inflated boy scout/God-like character who has no real depth. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Don’t get me wrong, as a writer I think it would be tough to try and tackle such a strong character because of all of the attempts that have been made towards reinvention. There is a fundamental battle inside of Superman that is not emphasized near often enough and that is one of free will. I like to think that while he might make it look easy doing the right thing, deep down inside he has to push himself to do it. It’s not easy doing the right thing, especially when you have so much power. Always putting others before yourself is unfortunately counter-cultural and he is misunderstood for it.
While I was thinking about this, it led to me think of the real heroes of the Boston Marathon bombing. There have been so many wonderful accounts of people who put others in front of themselves. A college student who had just ran 20 miles took his shirt off to make a tourniquet for another injured man’s leg. A firefighter on vacation carrying an injured child away from the masses to keep him safe. A teenage girl on her knees talking to an elderly woman in an effort to keep her calm because she was bleeding profusely.
As I took the time to view pictures from that day, I could not help but begin to look past the ugliness of the act. Instead, I started to only see a beautiful side of humanity that unfortunately only surfaces in rare times. I believe it’s one of the key traits that has allowed us to survive this long as a species, which is the ability to choose to care for one another. To run towards the face of danger and risk our own well being for the sake of another is not an easy thing to do. Despite the horrific scenes that played out this week, because of this beautifully muted trait of free will, I was able to see a multitude of capes and ‘S’s on the chest of so many people. After all, as Superman would tell you, “It’s not an ‘S’. It’s a symbol from his home that means hope.”