I still remember this line from my childhood days: “Superman and Robin Hood are still alive in Hollywood”. Of course Robin Hood has been claimed to be a real life character from early English history that delighted in taking away cash from the rich to bring some relief to the poor.
While the Marvel-created character Superman who dons an S-emblazoned wrap suit, always appears at the right time to save some distressed community or people.
Humans have always been motivated by large-heartedness and despite the apparent tendencies toward self-centeredness in the world today, we still desire to see good being done for and on behalf of others. So we all grew up to the Arthurian tales of the Knights of the Round Table, riding out in some chivalrous quest to rescue some swooning damsels.
So from antiquity, superheroes have always being in our consciousness and ideals. Those stories project what the society would expect a normal human to do when he has the powers to come to the aid of the disadvantaged. It also illustrates that generally, society frown at it when a privileged person or group of people use their powers to oppress the lowly and the weak of society; finally, it speaks to the way the society looks at the detached elites, because in most of the superhero stories there is usually the elite somewhere using his influence to bad ends.
Incidentally, many of the movies may not contain a cloak-wearing superhero or a chemical-modified human, who suddenly acquires tremendous otherworldly powers, but the underlying story behind all the superhero tales is the fact that the forces of bad will rear its ugly head and triumph for a while, but the forces of good will continue to fight and ultimately the good will always come through.
But do superheroes exist?
That is the central question. We will begin by saying that quite literally, superheroes have existed in the past, but not in the mold that has been popularized by the movies.
Let’s prove it.
SUPERHEROES IN HISTORY:
The Two Caesars
Today, the 12 months of the year has two strange names sandwiched in them. Those names are July and August.
Why are those names strange?
Answer: They are the only names of months that are not associated with one deity or the other. You will also observe that the two months also have 31 days each. It was not always like that.
Now why do those two months sound familiar to names of people you have read in history?
Answer: Because they were living men – I mean – actual people; but those who by their prowess have literally taken up their place up in the stars with the pantheon of gods. So who were these men who have somehow acquired such superhero status that the whole world literally counts its months by their names and poor February had to sacrifice 2 days to make their months have 31 days?
Physically, they may not have been giants, just like Clark Kent and Peter Parker (Spider Man) in their other lives were ordinary looking gents, but when duty calls they transform into individuals with extraordinary potential to help society back to normality and the rescued society never forgets.
That is how these two gentlemen, in their role in getting Rome off to a glorious start, earned their place in history, even though they had their individual weaknesses.
For instance Julius was given to epileptic feats and Augustus was sickly all through, being plagued a particularly weak heart condition.
Many decades before the two Caesars, a youth did something that is nearly unprecedented in history. Spurred by his father’s dying words and mentored by one of the greatest thinkers of his day, Aristotle, this boy took on a mission to take knowledge half across the world. In each city he defeated by operating the phalanx strategy, emphasis was not on building stately edifices or exacting tributes from the vanquished communities, but on setting up a library.
Today, that unites the first and fifth civilization is philosophy and knowledge seeking and one of the greatest cities in Africa Alexandria is named after the young superhero, who before this 32nd birthday had achieved what many valiant heroes cannot achieve in two lifetimes. Incidentally, he was also not physically health.
Indeed he succumbed to fever at 32.
Styled le enfante terrible, this superhero was the man that kept the entire Europe entranced by the seeming ease of melting through and routing opposition. During a wild and extremely enthralling period spanning a decade he defeated some of the most disciplined armies in Europe and when caught, he escaped again and again even when incarcerated in the most defended jails.
Napoleon’s records are all the more outstanding given the fact that he was shorter than most soldiers of his day. His contribution to French confidence as a nation is well recorded.
He was the one that spoke about the advantage of standing on the shoulders of giants. Today this fairly diminutive man is one the giants on which the science of physics and engineering stands. Fatherless before his 2nd birthday, out of school before his 10th, he had to rely on the super brain he was endowed with to attract a kind school teacher to fund his education.
Known for continuing to think upon a subject to even points of distraction, he gifted the world an understanding of the universal gravitational law and his book Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica is still a reference point on motion and force, which is quite remarkable given that he didn’t have the scientific tools many scientists have today.
WHERE WE CAN FIND SUPERHEROES TODAY
Superheroes are singled out by the singular fact that they always come through for the disadvantaged parts of society. They also leave indelible and positive imprints on the communities thus assisted in their moments of distress.
So are there still superheroes today. To answer, let’s now picture these two scenes from the same event towards the end on 2018. The setting was the Californian wildfires that ultimately consumed about 50 lives. The death toll could have much worse but for the valiance of two real life superheroes. One was a nurse who had a normal car that he somehow made to look like a super car; the other was just an ordinary firefighter.
Here is their story:
Allyn Pierce like the men I have just outlined does not have extraordinary size, but he has an extraordinary desire and heart to help. As the fire blazed through his city eating up whatever was in its path, it set its sight on destroying Allyn’s hospital along with everyone in it.
Now Allyn, by virtue of where he was with his car had the opportunity to exit threatened city called Paradise and flee to safety in his Tundra truck. But as the chance opened up to finally leave, he remembered his trapped colleagues and patients in the hospital and he decided to give a try to evacuating them. It took seconds of decision, but his mind was made up.
He returned to the hospital, picked up those he could, and drove through the raging flames and brought them to safety.
The most human and touching part of the story was when he felt he will die as he went through the flames and turned on his favorite song as the last companion before he dies. He survived. The car didn’t. But all those in the car did. Incredible Hulk will be green with envy!
Battalion Chief Matt Burchett does not live in California nor does he work in California. He works as the head of a fire fighting team in another state.
So ordinarily, he should be in his state of employ: Utah, in his town of employ: Salt Lake City listening to the bleak fire stories coming out of California. But ordinary is certainly not the word to describe this superhero.
Trained in emergency assistance in case of fires he immediately left for California to try to help with the already over-tasked firefighters there. His bravery along with others helped save many lives, but sadly towards the end, a burning tree fell on him and he died. Yes our superhero died. But he left a two grateful states and a deeply inspired nation by his bravery.
Such stories prove that superheroes do indeed still exist, but unlike the fanciful superheroes churned out from Disney and Hollywood, these superheroes have human hearts and unlike the legendary superheroes of the screen, they can die, but when they do die, there good are often not interred with their bones. We delight in telling their stories again and again, because in doing so, we inspire a new generation of real flesh and blood superheroes who will go on to do outstanding things to save or inspire the future generations.