Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a superhero? With profits from Marvel and DC movies worldwide topping $17 Billion, chances are you have.
If you’ve watched any of the modern superhero genre, you’ve seen the producers’ and directors’ best attempt to adapt the comic book world into a world that more closely resembles our own. The result is a look and feel that gives the viewer a perspective on what life would really be like with superpowered beings both protecting and endangering us mere mortals.
Bringing Comics to Life
The genre has certainly evolved over the years. I remember watching Batman as a kid which was not much more than a live-action comic strip. The costumes were Halloween-ish, the dialogue was cheesy, and the action was campy—complete with “Pow”, “Bam”, and “Biff” sound effects.
Those comic elements are gone from the Dark Knight my kids see. Today, Batman is regarded as a serious superhero—one who can keep up with and even best the most powerful foes.
Studying how the adaptation of Batman has evolved on screen over the years is a good study in how the concept of a superhero might be adapted to real life. Batman is a good subject because he is an actual human with no superpowers—just like us.
The Hero’s Journey
So how could Bruce Wayne’s journey to becoming Batman apply to a real person becoming a superhero? First, and most importantly, he has a cause which stems from his tragic backstory.
Your story doesn’t have to be as tragic as losing your parents to criminal violence at a young age. Your cause could be anything in the world you think could be different and should be different. If you have a vision of a better future and a willingness to become involved in making it happen, you’re one step closer to being a superhero.
By the way, if you’ve ever complained about anything, that qualifies you as a visionary and may be a clue leading you to your cause.
Next, Bruce Wayne has nearly unlimited financial resources. This fact made for one of the funnier scenes in Justice League (2017). When Barry Allen (The Flash) asks Bruce Wayne: “What are your superpowers again?” Bruce Wayne simply replies, “I’m rich.”
But in real life, you don’t have to be rich to become a superhero. Sure, it might help, but it’s not necessary. The kinds of superheroes who make things happen with limited to no resources are called entrepreneurs, and I talk more about that in a previous post.
Another thing Bruce Wayne has is an impressive set of skills. He’s got combat skills, detective skills, technical skills… He’s managed to cram several lifetimes of training into one. And while this may be technically possible, it is not feasible for the average person. Besides, few would have the resources to be able to afford such training as we just mentioned.
This level of training is also not necessary to become a superhero. What is needed, however, is a determination to wake up each day and do something to move closer to making your vision a reality.
Finally, Bruce Wayne has a disguise—an alter-ego that completes his transformation into a superhero called Batman.
This is also another element that does not adapt well to real life. If you put on a mask and started beating up criminals in dark alleys you’re likely to get yourself killed. It’s entertaining in comic books and movies but it just doesn’t go over well in the real world.
The One Thing They Have…
But…there is one aspect of Bruce Wayne’s alter-ego that we can adapt to our concept of a real-life superhero. Bruce Wayne tells us what this is in Batman Begins (2005).
“People need dramatic examples to shake them out of apathy and I can’t do that as Bruce Wayne. As a man, I’m flesh and blood, I can be ignored, I can be destroyed; but as a symbol… as a symbol I can be incorruptible, I can be everlasting.”
Adopting a symbol is the last step in becoming a real-life superhero.
In The Wizard of Oz (1939), Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion thought their lack of brains, a heart, and courage respectively kept them from being all they wanted to be. The Wizard helped them realize they each had what they wanted all along. All he gave them were symbols to remind them of this fact. He gave a diploma to Scarecrow, a testimonial to Tin Man, and a medal to Cowardly Lion.
Before The Wizard bestowed these gifts upon our heroes, he compared them to thinkers, heroes and phi…phila…er…good-deed-doers. He revealed that it was not brains, courage, or heart that separated them. The only things that separated them were symbolic representations or reminders of the attributes each character already possessed.
In the end, that’s all that separates you from a superhero. It’s not special skills or abilities, unlimited resources, or fancy gadgets. The only thing they’ve got that you haven’t is a symbol—a reminder of the power you already have within you to follow your vision, overcome any obstacle, and change the world for the better.
To find the symbol that’s right for you, go to the Wild Gear store. There you’ll find t-shirts, hoodies, coffee mugs, phone cases—all kinds of merchandise so you never forget the superhero you are. Wear your symbol on your chest, or place it somewhere else in sight.
If you’re not sure what symbol is right for you, take my 3-day video challenge to figure out what symbolizes your unique superpower. Finally, if you don’t find your symbol in the Wild Gear store, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know so we can consider adding it as a future design to our ever-growing collection.