I signed a contract today to have a short story published as a standalone electronic unit. This is my first foray into that particular distribution model, so I’m really intrigued to see how it all goes. Many more details and reflections about the story will come as it gets closer to release, but for now the only hint I will offer is this: it’s an original superhero story, another first for me in terms of semi-pro publishing, which is nothing short of remarkable considering the sheer percentage of my life for which I’ve been obsessed with superheroes and comic books. Somewhere north of 90%, at least.
Since I’m not going to talk much more about the story itself here, I thought I’d take the opportunity to dissect a couple of questions of terminology. What exactly is a superhero? What, for that matter, is a hero?
Let’s start with the second part first. It’s a little easier to get a handle on the concept of heroism because it’s a real thing in the real world; superheroes are idealized fictional constructs, but there are living, breathing heroes all around us. And yet attempting to define heroism can be surprisingly controversial! Still, semantic arguments that reveal more about the arguer’s worldview than the objective truth aside, the basic nature of heroism is fairly simple and straightforward. A hero risks or sacrifices some aspect of himself or herself for the benefit of someone else.
Note there’s nothing in there about nobility or respectability, and whether or not we should all aspire to living that way. Of course people, myself included, tend in casual conversation to use hero and idol interchangeably sometimes. If you look up to someone, and want to be like them, you call them a personal hero. And that could very well include someone who is perfectly described by my definition above. But it could also include someone who has accomplished something you want to accomplish. A kid playing guitar could point to Jimi Hendrix as a hero, or I could say Stephen King is mine, but that’s a bit outside of what we’re talking about here.
It may be a fair question to ask how much a person has to risk and how much they have to help someone before they can rightfully be called a hero. When we say that soldiers or police officers or firefighters are the real heroes, we’re acknowledging that getting shot at or running into a burning building unquestionably puts their physical safety, and quite possibly their very life, on the line. Nobody can give more than that. And by and large those same people are doing what they do in order to save someone else from an untimely demise. Very little gets as much instant, unchallenged respect as saving lives.
Read the full article: https://dalewglaser.wordpress.com/2016/08/16/i-do-believe-in-isms/