I love comic books. I’ve loved them since I was five years old. Over the years, I have often wondered what it is about them that I enjoy so much. I have thought about it for days, weeks, and months without ever finding the answer. Recently, I sat down to read one of my favorites, and while I was reading, it hit me. Suddenly, I knew exactly what it is that I enjoy so much. To my surprise, there isn’t any one character or theme that explains it. It is actually because of the subliminal messages that can be found buried in their pages.
Topics like racism, drug and alcohol abuse, and sexism are too often considered taboo. In that case, is a person who suffers from any one of these meant to suffer alone? The comic industry doesn’t think so, and over the years it has done an admirable job of speaking up. They have created entire story arcs designed help raise awareness for each of the above problems.
Because of the unique platform comic books have, you and I are able to see life from different viewpoints.
Comic books have become an outlet for writers and artists to get their opinions into the market. Real-world issues are highlighted throughout their pages, and it is the comic books that aren’t afraid of these topics that have become the most sought after and memorable comics in history. Just off the top of my head, I can think of references in comic books to the Suez crisis, PETA, buried landmines, world hunger, safe sex, and feminism.
Comics do what most of the world can’t. While the world struggles to find a politically correct way to bring these issues to the forefront, comic book writers are thinking of the next topic to highlight. Unlike most platforms, the comic industry does not fear the implications of its actions, and so comic books say what the world needs to hear.
Take note and don’t be afraid to speak up.
Everybody has problems
On your worst day, you aren’t the only one struggling. Peter Parker is a teenager trying to find his place in the world, all while dealing with the everyday crises that are involved in being Spider-Man. Clark Kent is a man with two very different identities. As Superman, he must cope with being the epitome of all that is good, while as Clark, he juggles his normal life.
Just like Peter and Clark, you are forced to juggle two very different worlds: your professional life and your personal life. Yes, it is hard and yes, it can be overwhelming. Remember this: people all over this planet live on next to nothing, barely able to scrape by. They sometimes go days without water and even longer without food.
No matter how hard you perceive your life to be, someone, somewhere is much worse off.
You can make a difference
We all want to change the world, but so very few of us do. While most think that changing the world is impossible, the ones who actually create change understand that anything is possible. The question is, “How?”
Take some time to figure out what your definition of “world” is. Is it your street? Neighborhood? City? Country? The entire planet? And what change do you want to create? Whatever it is, define it. Write it down, and repeat it to yourself daily. From there, equip yourself with the knowledge, people, and resources to make it happen. It isn’t as hard as you might think.
If Superman can make Metropolis a better place, you can make your world a better place too.
Never give up
C.S. Lewis famously said, “Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.” Comic book heroes suffer hardships more than any other characters in history. They lose allies, battles, and their health, all while creating a better world. Heed that lesson. Learn from it. A future… your future is worth fighting for.
When life knocks you down, get right back up and continue moving.
Featured photo credit: Flickr.com via flickr.com