Heroes – and why I need them

I’ve just been to see the new Marvel Avengers movie, with Robert Downey Jnr and the rest and I enjoyed it. I was brought up with comic book heroes, but mine weren’t from Marvel Comics, they were DC Comics.

My heroes were Batman, Superman, Green Lantern and even Elongated Man. Mine belonged to something called the Justice League of America and fought battles with The Face, Lex Luther, and Poison Ivy. My heroes were delivered to the local post office once a week where my brother collected and devoured them. Whatever their origins, they were heroes, and to my mind – aged 6 – reading under my brother’s bed, they were utterly real.

When the house caught fire, and my grandmother left me in the bathroom to “turn the taps on if it gets any closer” I watched the skies, waiting for Batman to sweep us away and put out the fire. When Sally H was mean to me at Junior School, I longed for The Flash, to whisk her away and leave her feeling foolish on Winchester Cathedral tower. I think, that even as I entered secondary school and left home behind, I took my comic book heroes with me, they were there in my head, counselling me to be good and kind and true and brave.

Now, sometimes, when I look at the world, I’d quite like my heroes back . With things the way they are; with Global Warming, drought, floods, wars and religious fundamentalism filling our newspapers and screens, clinging to Ironman and the Hulk seems fair enough, even if only for 2 hours out of the rain in a crowded cinema. It just gives us a little hope.

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