Have you ever wondered why your love for superheroes never dies as you grow up? It’s all understandable when you’re just a youngster with a wild imagination, but what about when you’re no longer a young, carefree human being, but a grown up with loads of responsibilities?
The Obsession With Superheroes
There have been several studies to support that, from very early stages, human beings are drawn to heroes and acts of valour. This is understandable. Children understand the idea of someone “saving the day” and they love it. One such example is a study carried out last year at Kyoto University, Japan. This study shows how infants as young as six months are able to recognize heroic acts, and thus have an innate sense of “justice.”
According to Science Daily:
In a series of experiments, infants were shown animations of one geometric character chasing and bumping into another, as a third character watches from a distance. In one version, this third party character intervenes, and in another, it escapes in another direction. When the infants were then shown real life replicas of these intervening and non-intervening characters, they were more likely to choose the intervener.
It is, therefore, no wonder why children express the desire to become “superheroes” when they grow up, and why they want to dress up as them, wear superhero t-shirts, and play with superhero figures. All this is because they are absolutely fascinated with the idea of saving the innocent and of defeating the “bad guy.”
But how does this carry on into our adult lives? How does this “love” for superheroes remain with us as we grow older and realize that there are no such things as superheroes, and that we can never, ever, have superpowers? I’ve always wondered what continues to draw us towards something we later learn is completely unreal and fictional. Why don’t we start seeing them as almost childish?
Nowadays, everywhere you look, you find something with superheroes on it—and I don’t mean in comic book stores only. Superheroes are no longer considered to be only for nerds. In fact, they have become a big part of pop culture too. They’re everywhere you look.
You’ll see people of all ages and backgrounds (celebrities even!) sporting a superhero t-shirt or other forms of clothing and merchandise. You can also find superhero video games, both on consoles and computers. Even when it comes to online slots, you can find countless superhero-themed ones like Superman or Spiderman slots.
Now, I know not everybody loves superheroes—and that some even find them stupid—but there always seems to be a reason behind it, like maybe they weren’t exposed to superheroes that much as kids, or they had never expressed much interest in them. Otherwise, I find it very difficult to believe that someone who grew up watching superhero movies or reading comic books would suddenly stop expressing interest in them altogether.
Yet, at the same time, I think to myself, what is it about these superheroes that makes them so appealing that we go crazy over them, even as adults? Why is it that you still find yourself squealing with delight at the news of another superhero movie coming out? How has this genre become a cult, even?
Well, I’ve thought it through, and I’ve also googled it too, and I’ve decided that there are three answers to this question:
1. We just love the idea of being a hero too much.
Just like little kids, as adults, we still believe that superheroes make the world a better place, and so, no matter what stage you are in life, re-reading an old comic book and watching a superhero movie will always manage to cheer you up.
Because, sometimes, we want to feel like justice is served, and this is why we call people “heroes” when they stand up against corruption or oppression—because, in our eyes, they are brave enough to speak up for a group of people in a bid to make a difference, and hopefully make the world a better place.
2. The cinematography of superhero movies is amazing.
One thing that is definitely contributing to the massive popularity of superheroes is, of course, the advance in technology. Back when it was just comic books, the audience was much smaller than it is today.
Movies have been able to bring pictures inside a comic book to life, and nowadays especially, with what modern technology has to offer—like special effects and computer generated images—these superheroes can be portrayed more effectively and realistically.
Viewers are easily immersed in all the action. In fact, even simple television series like Arrow and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are made to seem realistic, let alone the big blockbuster movies.
3. They offer us a form of escape.
Last but not least, this is certainly my most favourite point that especially hits home. The way I see it, these superheroes give us a way to escape the woes of reality and, in turn, offer us a safe haven.
They also give us hope that, despite everything, the good always wins against the bad in the end—something which, unfortunately, isn't always the case in real life.
However, even though we all know of this, it still somehow gives us the courage to face our daily life struggles better when we think of a superhero, even if we are well aware that they are completely fictional.