ByTravis Kepley, writer at

Looking around the world today in headlines you can see a crumbling sense of security. All around us are examples of a million things not to do, but who is showing us what is right?

In society we have killed our heroes. So little in this world teaches us to be proud of mankind. I hear more often than ever that human beings are not something to be proud of. We've lost our way. Stumbling through our lives wondering what's next. We look around and the stress and fear of this world overwhelms even the best of us.

Homeless citizens of the world are on an increase. Trash and pollution covering our communities. Sickness spreading through all corners of the globe. Riots and revolutions. Governments filled with corruption. Soldiers and police officers with their nerves so raw they are making mistakes. Politicians lying and looking down on the rest of the world. Presidents acting unjust and treated with a lack of respect. Sport, music and movie stars acting so rudely and in a lot of cases acting illegally, immorally, and unethically. Our Soldiers and Veterans being used and abused. Then the media throwing it all in our face and doing nothing but mudslinging and acting just as unethically or immorally as the rest.

It is a terrifying world to live in. Adults of all ages saying that they are scared to live in this world. It is sad and depressing. However, as sad and depressing and terrifying as this world is for us, imagine what our children are going through.
In such a short time we have seen that sex and violence sells. We have seen our stories of the greatest and most valiant knights defaced. We have seen our gentlemen die off. We have seen the line between right and wrong get so blurred that it is hard to see the light and hope.

Watching our kids grow up with so little to look up to is one of the most tragic events of our modern lives.

When I was a kid I had to learn my greatest lessons in life through experience, but what taught me the right way to handle even the worse situations were these amazing mythologies that screamed at me from comic book pages and TV screens.

Superheroes exposed me to issues and problems effecting not only my world but the world around me and showed me the morals of life. Watching Superman rid the world of nuclear weapons, fighting that dark side in himself that leans toward doing the wrong thing and redeeming himself to the world, or just helping a little girl get her cat out of the tree. They made more of an impression on my mind than anything else.

Now I’ve grown up in a little town on an island in Alaska called Kodiak. Small and isolated, it is home to only several thousand people. Once during elementary school we had a very special visitor. Spider-man came to our school. He talked with us about sexual abuse and Marvel even went as far as making a comic book that centered on this issue featuring two stories, one with Spider-man and the other with the Power Pack. To this day I remember it.

Today I look at these kids that I work with and I wonder how to get through to them. I do what I can. I set my standards higher for myself than others and I go out of my way to do as much for these kids and anyone else that I can’t. Trying to give the people around me someone to look up to. I’ve made life changes and try and try to be a hero for them.

My influence only goes so far. I use the saying “what would Spider-man or Superman do in your situation.” I tell them that there are people who stand behind them. I tell them that these superheroes support them in doing what is right no matter how small. I teach them that they have heroes even if they can’t see them. But how can they see them? I started thinking about this city and other villages around Alaska and the world. You have to start somewhere so I look at my home here in Alaska. In these small towns and rural communities life is hard. Oh yes the lower forty eight has small towns and maybe even villages but not nearly as many that are isolated and cut off. A lot of places require a plane to get to them. Issues in these place are staggering. Abuse of all types, violence, drugs, alcohol, and an all-around hard life is what most of these kids have to look forward to. With the economy as bad as it is that makes life in these communities so much harder. These kids don’t get to see important people come to their schools or into their lives much, if at all. What gives these kids hope? I’ve asked several and a lot of times I get... Superheroes.

Now I have to admit that I have seen some amazing things. For instance there is a boy who has to wear a hearing aid and one day refused to wear it because “Superheroes don’t wear hearing aids.” His mother wrote Marvel and begged for help and they responded so compassionately. They wrote a comic for him called Big Blue (the name of his hearing aid) and even sent him comics of Hawkeye, who, in combat lost the hearing in his ears and has to wear a hearing aid.

I’ve seen a lot of reports recently featuring big name actors that play heroes on the big screen being heroes in real life. No matter how small they do it and even if mainstream media isn’t picking up those stories, it is happening and I am proud. I don’t know if it’s them just being who they are or if these roles are saturating into their normal lives but they are showing kids that these heroes they play are still heroes in the real world.

It is hard to try and be the right person for these kids and I wanted to do something bigger.

So I wrote Marvel. Keeping the memory of when I was child in my heart I wrote and asked if they would be willing to maybe do something for the kids in Alaska. To help inspire new generations of readers and leaders. I asked if they’d be willing to send a group of heroes out to these villages to see these kids so that these kids know that through all the hell they have to go through that there are heroes standing behind them to do what is right and just and to stand strong in these hard times. I asked so that maybe just maybe they could do it. I didn’t hold back. I even asked for Spider-man.

I have yet to get a response and I might not ever get one, but I will keep asking. Could you imagine the headlines? Even if Marvel couldn’t get Spider-man along with their other heroes to appear, the headline would read, “Marvel saves the next generation.” What if Fox, Sony, Marvel and Warner Bros. got together on this? “Major movie and comic companies pull together to prove there are Heroes for our kids.” Imagine them putting aside feuds to actually give hope to our world. It would be very lucrative to them to stand above others and say we can do it. The publicity would see them in the history books for making a difference.

As for me? Well that’s easy. I’m going to keep going and change my life to help others. I’m going to keep doing what I am doing even if I must go it alone and trust me you can feel so alone. Even if I have to dress up with some friends and try to do it myself. I have faith in humanity and what it means to be human. I know the truth that is in the hearts of Earth’s peoples. Can you see it? I challenge everyone who reads this to do something out of the ordinary today. Even if it is holding the door open for someone or helping them with their bags or just saying hi to a perfect stranger and asking them how they are doing. I challenge the world to the ultimate challenge… let’s be human again and to those of who are willing let's be Heroes.


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