In our quest for an answer to the question ‘’Why do we love Superheroes?’’, we wanted to gain the perspective of ‘’we’’- the humans, and the psychology behind why we are drawn to these recognisable but otherworldly creatures.
Rosenberg, above, eloquently describes how we identify with Superheroes. Is this typical of the human view? This is what our research turned up and it explains why superhero fiction is going from strength to strength!
‘’They have a story of how they became superheroes-we can see how they acquired their powers. It makes people watching understand that they too could become a hero, even though they aren`t born one’’-Lewis, 18yrs.
‘’If your gender, ethnicity, or disability is represented, it makes you feel empowered, included and accepted. If they can beat the odds, you can’’-Amelia, 18 yrs.
It seems, then that it is all about relatability. But surely this is a misnomer. It is only the appearance of a superhero, in human form, inhabiting a physical body, which makes them human at all. After all, no human has ascended the heady heights of Superman, the stickability of Spiderman, or the strength of the Incredible Hulk.
Jack Kirby explains that by designating each Superhero an alter ego, we are drawn in. By placing them in the real world and giving them human families, friends, people they love, and even people they don’t love-just like a normal human being- our attention and emotions are captured. In their human form they are flawed, like us. We see ourselves amongst their characteristics.
However, it is not the personality, gender, ethnicity or disability that defines a Superhero, or even their unique power. It is their willingness to do whatever is necessary to succeed- their quest for success-and this is what makes them relatable. We are transported into a world where the struggle is worth the pain. Where despite flaws, they are still able to beat the odds and save the day (well, most of the time anyway!). They show us a ‘’better us’’-the hope for our triumph.
The wonderful and sadly missed Stan Lee`s message was that ALL can grow, explore our identities, and ultimately be Superheroes in our own way.
This is why we love Superheroes and why we love reading about them!