Whether from the poet, playwright, novelist, mangaka, or even the comic book writer, inspiration can be found anywhere.
BY JACOB AIREY, APRIL 26, 2021
In April 1938, the world was introduced to Superman in the pages of "Action Comics" issue one. The comic book character would go on to represent truth, justice, and the American way. He has been portrayed in film and television by a variety of actors including Christopher Reeves, Dean Cain, and Henry Cavill.
Even if you are not into comics, you know Superman. His famous 'S' symbol, recently retconned by DC Comics to be the family crest from his home planet of Krypton, is one of the world's most famous icons.
It is not just the Man of Steel that has become a recognizable character. Comic books have been everything from pulp fiction to sci-fi adventures to comedic. Characters from Wonder Woman to Black Panther have entered our culture.
As their popularity grows, some detractors have said that comic books are either an annoying hobby at best or nothing more than picture books for adults trying to re-live their adolescence at worst. They are nothing more than fanciful tales of grown-ups in dress-up and battling overhyped bad guys.
However, as I think about Superman, I disagree. Comic books, like any medium, have had their highs and lows. And I as continue to read them, I find there are writers and artists who have placed inspiration in their stories. From saving the day to encouraging others to show failure and redemption, comic book stories have not just shown heroes and their colorful rogues, but the humanity in all of us.
Here are five examples of comic books that inspire us.
All-Star Superman #10, "You're much stronger than you think you are."
A young person is getting ready to end their life, thinking the world has abandoned them. However, a reassuring voice says, "trust me." Though Superman battles supervillains, monsters, and aliens, he takes time to save a troubled teen from making a terrible mistake. No one is beneath the Man of Steel. He saves everyone.
Captain America: The Chosen, "Courage. Honor. Loyalty. Sacrifice."
Steve Rogers, also known as Captain America, has a secret. He is dying and does not have long to live. Meanwhile, a US soldier in the Middle East is watching as his fellow troops are being killed around him. However, Captain America appears to inspire him, even as the first Avenger is ill. The soldier soon learns that Rogers was not just communicating with him, but with America. The ideals of freedom, loyalty, sacrifice, and justice are embodied in Captain America and he shares that with his fellow Americans.
My Hero Academia: All-Might Rising, "Those who have a smile on their faces are the strongest after all."
All-Might is Japan's number one hero and the Symbol of Peace. When he saves the day, he smiles, no matter how dire the situation. He tells his apprentice Deku that he does this to reassure citizens that it will be okay. All-Might always stands tall and never lets a villain suppress his smile.
The Amazing Spider-Man #36, "We could not see it coming."
Dedicated to the first responders of 9/11, we see Spider-Man assisting in getting civilians to safety as firefighters, EMTs, and police hurry to the scene of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. As our friendly neighborhood hero lifts, he expresses guilt he did not stop the attack but vows to save as many victims as possible. It shows how Americans can come together in a horrifying moment.
Batgirl volume 2, "You're one of us, Cassandra."
Cassandra Cain is not the teen pickpocket we saw in Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey. Originally, she was the daughter of an assassin named Cain. She was abused and used as a living weapon by her father until she was saved by Batman. For a brief time, she became aimless, unsure of the direction of her life. To her joy, the Dark Knight takes her in, telling her, "you'll always have a real family... as long as I'm around." While her story was retooled for the DC Rebirth, her connection to the Batman remains strong.
Whether from the poet, playwright, novelist, mangaka, or even the comic book writer, inspiration can be found anywhere. Stories of a child being rescued, an adoption, or just a reassuring smile can be brought to life through the drawing of a hero, no matter how colorful he or she may be dressed.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jacob Airey is an author, nerd writer, podcast host, movie reviewer, and pop culture critic. He started his website StudioJakeMedia.com in 2012 where he covers a vast variety of topics including faith. movies, music, television, anime, books, music, and more!
Jacob is a staff writer at Truly Free Society.
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