ByManuel Castellanos, writer at
I love both Marvel and DC equally. Superhero Movie Theorist. Follow me on Twitter @MannyCastell
Manuel Castellanos

Superheroes and comics have had a huge influence on my life. Whether I'm feeling sad, glad, or mad, I can always turn to the pages of a comic book and find myself trapped in its world. I'm pretty sure that goes for a lot of people. My family has had the most impact in my life, but I'd be lying if I said comics didn't help.

It's so hard to countdown my Top 5 favorite comic book characters, I mean their are so many it's hard to decide. So I decided to make things personal and select a few of my favorite heroes and how they have affected me.

Although I love both DC and Marvel equally when it comes to there comic books and heroes, I have to admit that Marvel characters impacted me the most.

Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel - Equality

When Ms. Marvel first came to the shelves in comic book stores, I was one of the readers who wasn't interested. Not that I thought she was bad or the comic would suck, it just didn't appeal to me. Until all my geeky friends started telling me about how awesome it is and all the reviews praising her and I said alright, I'll give her a try and wow was I amazed. Her story is truly amazing. She is a new character in Marvel comics and she is taking Marvel to new places.

Her name is Kamala Khan and she is like any other teenage girl with anxieties and loving her celebrities. Celebrities being superheroes, as Carol Danvers, Captain Marvel is her favorite hero, she took up the mantle Ms. Marvel in her honor. She geeks out when she see's superheroes and goes crazy when she teams up with them. Exactly how I would be if I had superpowers.

In a way she is very similar to Peter Parker when he started off as Spider-Man. She's 16, nerdy, insecure, and doesn't "fit in" in school. However what set's them apart are the fact that she's a shapeshifter and she's Pakistani-American, making her the first Muslim superhero to spearhead in her own title.

Coming from a minority ethnic group myself, I see how important Kamla Khan can be important to pop culture today. With all these racial changes in movies, she could be the character that demonstrates to us that it's alright if someone is black, white, hispanic, or asian, it's all about the character. I believe Kamala Khan is part of a new wave to the culture to bring in more equality from all ethnic backgrounds.

Fantastic Four - Family

This is a bit of cheat, because they are four heroes in a team, but when have you ever seen The Thing solo title, or a Mr. Fantastic mini-series? The answer is never. All four of them work well together, not because they aren't interesting alone, but because they are at there prime together. What truly make the FF fantastic isn't there powers, but the fact that in darkest times, they stay together because they are family. A true FF story is a story about family, which is why I loooooooove Matt Fractions, MARVEL NOW comics Fantastic Four and FF because it deals with family and staying together, no matter what. There are issues in the story where the teams travel and decide to go to have a beach day and go crazy. Because trust me, every family is insane and I say that as a compliment.

Look at the picture above. How many times have that happened to you and your family when your trying to take a photo? (Minus the superpowers) Most of the answers would probably say, "one to many times." I know my family does. Even though I tease my little brother, ALL the time (Johnny to Ben) we will always love each other.

Being hispanic, I can tell you, family is one of the biggest priorities. Not just of your parents or your children, but your uncles, aunts, cousins, family-friends, etc. And like any family, we're crazy. There is no such thing as a "normal" family and although my family is crazy, we are a happy family. Although some members in any family may not see eye-to-eye, or you got in a huge argument with a relative, or you don't speak to your father, brother, or even your aunt; over time a family will forgive and forget. The Fantastic Four have shown me that you don't forget about family. I certainly like to think that my family, is a Fantastic Family.

Daredevil - Faith

Daredevil, as a hero, was actually a tough sell for me. I never really got into him when I was young. Not that I thought he sucked or anything, but I didn't really read any of his stories, but there was always something that drew me to him. The fact that he can get beat to a bloody pulp and still come back up is truly awe-inspiring. But what also heavily influenced me towards Daredevil was his Faith.

I might get a little preachy here but I'm going to be honest, Faith is a big part of my life. I was raised as a Catholic, like Daredevil, and so many times I found myself questioning my faith, I even considered myself an atheist at one point. Until I read Daredevil: End of Days, where it tells the story about his last days on Earth before he is killed and I realized Matt Murdock is one of the most human characters. He is one of the most religious character (Nightcrawler) and his Catholicism is what makes Matt Murdock human and it only drives in more conflict for him, questioning his faith and even his morality everyday.

Daredevil showed me that it's okay to question your faith. It's okay to not know. In a way Daredevil, brought back my faith in God and I know I'm getting a little bit sentimental here, but it's the truth.

Captain America - The Career

To quote Chris Evans when he received the role of Steve Rogers,

"He's everything I wish I can be as a man."

That he truly is. Captain America symbolizes hope and is a personal mascot for the great U.S. of A. A man, who knows what's right and wrong. A man who demonstrates to us, how we ought to be.

I saw Captain America and I said damn, I want to be fit. So I took up MMA classes and loving it. Obviously, I'm no Captain America, but I just find something incredible in his fighting style.

Great words to live by:

He's probably has had the largest influence in me mainly because of the career field I want to go into. I am in college and I am part of the Air Force ROTC program in my school. There I'm training to become an officer in the Air Force while pursuing my Bachelor's. Now obviously, this was a decision I made on my own, but when I become an officer, I want to become a good and effective leader like Captain America. Like Steve Rogers, I just want to help. I don't like bullies and with what's going on in this world, I have felt my call for duty.

Spider-Man - Youth

"With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility."

We all have heard of this quote and it's words to live by. Spider-Man is very similar in a way to Daredevil and even Ms. Marvel, being that they're probably the most human characters as we see their lives behind the mask and all the tragedies they have faced. What sets them apart are, however, are their attitude. Spider-Man is a kid at heart and he knows it. He's a nerd, makes cheesy jokes, and can be a bit of jerk, but in a good way. Peter Parker reminds us constantly that we must take responsibility, but he reminds us just how much fun we can have, despite what life throws at us.

Growing up I remember watching his animated series and seeing all his villains amazed me. I personally believe Spider-Man has the best villains in Marvel. I just loved the attitude Spider-Man had, but what made things interesting is Peter Parker.

Dan Slott in his article said it best: Spider-man is a loser and yet we still love him. We are Spider-Man because we all get an amount of bad luck. I related to Peter Parker/Spider-Man very much because in middle school I was an outsider. I was this short, pudgy kid who everyone made fun of and I only had one friend. That one friend however, was enough for me and I'm proud to call him a brother, but we weren't popular in school. We were quite, but when we went out, we were different. We were loud, we were courageous, we were fun, it was then when I realized that being different feels so damn great.

If you guys were to meet me, you would know that I'm a jokster and like Spider-Man I can be an a**-hole, but it's all in good fun. I'm such a little kid sometimes and when I learn something interesting in my history or political science classes, I get over-excited because I think it's awesome. Just like Peter thinks science is awesome, even though I personally dislike it. I just related so well to Peter Parker/ Spider-man as kid and even today.

I try to always do the good thing, because I can. Although it may be difficult I try my hardest to do so. I just want to help as much as I can. "I believe there is a hero in all of us."

Now I ask you, what do your favorite superheroes mean to you?

Thanks for reading, be sure to check out my other articles, and have a great day!


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