It’s not easy being a male child in a family that is filled mostly with females.
When your male cousins are few and are different in ages and interests, you have to make friends in very unconventional ways.
For me, I found my friends in comic books and several superheroes and I are now on a first name basis and I gladly call them “my heroes”.
Below is a list of my top five and why:
1.) Superman (Clark Kent):
When people think “superhero”, Superman usually comes to mind. Superman is the ideal superhero: one that is morally and ethically strong, who believes the best in everyone and who gives people second chances.
The reason I love Superman so much is not because of his powers, which are cool, but because of the “man” he is.
Clark Kent is just like everyone else, a man who wants to make a difference in the world. He’s a man who searched for his purpose in this world and once he learned what that purpose was, he made up his mind to fulfill that purpose and unselfishly uses his gifts to help others.
He’s also helped me to be a good man throughout the years, encouraging me to be someone who helps others in their time of need. Clark also inspired me to become a teen reporter and a crime reporter in my adult life.
Recently, rereading issues of comics and watching movies and shows that deal with the death of his adoptive father, Jonathan Kent, have helped me deal with the recent loss of my own father, Tyrone Reed Sr. Many of the things Clark felt in losing his dad, I also felt, and it was comforting to know that the “Man of Steel” is very much human like the rest of us.
2.) Batman (Bruce Wayne):
There’s no superhero more human than Batman, who turned a personal tragedy into a personal mission to keep others from losing their loved ones to criminals.
I love how Bruce Wayne is the really the mask Batman wears, Bruce having “died” the night his parents were murdered in Crime Alley. He’s so much Batman, that in a “Batman Beyond” episode, it was revealed that he mentally refers to himself as “Batman”, not “Bruce.
Batman also helped me through a personal tragedy, when my uncle was killed in a hit-and-run when I was a teenager. My heart was broken and I used that tragedy to inform others about the tragic incidents and how they can avoid them.
I’ve also vowed to do what I can to keep others from the experiencing the tragedies I have experienced in my life.
Much like Batman’ mission, it is a life-long mission that I pray one day, my children will carry on.
3.) Spider-Man (Peter Parker):
Peter Parker a.k.a. Spider-Man is the superhero I relate to the most. He’s like every other person outside of his costume. He has to deal with bills, work problems and relationships.
I also love how Peter’s story reminds us that we have a responsibility to use our gifts to help others and not be selfish. And that if we ever do, we can start over again and help others.
It took Peter losing his Uncle Ben to realize that “with great power, must also come great responsibility”.
I was and probably still am a nerd and many of the issues Peter had to face, outside of his costume, I also faced. At the time, they weren’t comical, but looking back and seeing Peter face some of the same things makes me laugh and makes him one of my favorite superheroes.
4.) Wolverine (James "Logan" Howlett):
Logan is the best there is at what he does and there’s no reason to be nice about it.
Logan is usually seen as a savage, mean anti-hero. But, out of all of the X-Men, Logan probably has the biggest heart out of any of the mutants, which is why he appears to be so rough around the edges and so quick to get angry.
There’s a balancing act between the indestructible, healing factor, adamantium-laced mutant who can survive almost anything and the love and passion that dwells inside. Logan has seen and experienced some very traumatic things, but he continues to fight the good fight.
That’s why I love Logan. He uses his anger to push himself to make the world a better place to live and anyone who stands in his way are going to face the fight of their lives.
5.) He-Man (Prince Adam of Eternia):
He might be the most powerful man in the universe, but deep down, all he wants to be is loved and accepted.
Even though Prince Adam can became He-Man, a hero revered across Eternia, he still wants to be recognized as a hero in his own right. He constantly wishes that he could tell his father and Teela, who both believe Adam to be a lazy and lackadaisical oaf, that he is He-Man and only puts on an act as Adam to keep his enemies from learning his secret identity.
That’s what I love about Prince Adam. We all want our loved ones to see us as heroes, to see our potential and love us for who we are.
Men, especially young men, want to be seen as being needed and wanted and to be seen as strong, reliable and important members of society. We love being heroes and when we are recognized, we crave more recognition and often want to do more heroic deeds.
So, who are your favorite heroes and why?