Hero Redefined

Please join me each week to read about experiences, observations, and thoughts related to the upcoming project launch (March 2019). If you’re so inclined, I’d appreciate your likes, comments, and shares to help get the word out! Thanks for your time, and here’s looking forward to the next step! Nigel

This week’s blog post is dedicated to Stan Lee, who passed away last week.

Decades before Marvel Comics turned their properties into excellent films, and a seemingly unlimited money-making machine, I was an avid comic-book reader.

I purposely avoid the word ‘collector’, as it was never about that for me. I didn’t keep them in pristine condition (more’s the pity, given what they might be worth now). I was only interested in the content…the stories, the characters, and the heroism.

As I’ve been able to look back and reflect, I’ve come to realize that nothing…not my family, not being brought up in a religion, nothing…has impacted my perspectives, beliefs, and actions more than comic books. And no one individual within the comic book world is more responsible for who I am today than Stan Lee.

Here are three of the more important Personal and Professional lessons I learned from comic books and Stan Lee.

Binary vs. Spectrum

Comic books revealed a world of characters who were not simply ‘good’ or ‘evil’. While it was true that some characters were closer to one or the other extreme of the spectrum, many fell somewhere toward the middle. Rather than being 100% one thing or the other, characters were often conflicted; they struggled with difficult moral questions. Some of the most interesting stories and sequences involved heroes working together, even though they had very different approaches to fighting crime (for example, The Punisher having no compunction about killing, while Daredevil doing his best to avoid taking life).

This is a key principle in the real world, as people often tend to divide issues, solutions, and even themselves along tribal lines. Unfortunately, this often leads to going around in endless circles, and getting very little accomplished. While it would undoubtedly be very difficult to change this approach, the potential benefits suggest it would be worth giving it a shot.

History vs. Future

Not only were characters more complex than just ‘good’ and ‘evil’…they didn’t remain static. Over time, they often changed their positions on that spectrum. Sometimes, a ‘villain’ would try to change their ways and seek redemption…fighting against their nature, in order to become a better person. Other times a ‘hero’ would struggle, only to fall prey to their darker nature.

It’s important to understand that who we were doesn’t have to limit who we are today, and who we will be tomorrow. It’s healthy to periodically reflect on who we are, and be able to look at ourselves objectively and critically, and act accordingly if we go off-track.

Covering vs. Character

‘Identity Politics’ has become a bit of a hot topic lately. As with so many other aspects of life, my view has been shaped by what I read. Comic books had Female heroes, Black heroes, Asian heroes…heroes with various physical and emotional difficulties and challenges…outspoken and introverted heroes.

Speaking both professionally and personally, I’m not bothered about the colour of one’s skin, or gender, or age, or any one of a dozen other demographic criteria that can be used to divide rather than unite us. What matters most to me is the content of one’s character.

In the end, Stan Lee helped redefine what it means to be a hero.

True heroism is rising to the struggle every day, trying to be the best version of yourself that you can be, regardless of your past failures and your current fears.

A special thanks go out to all the Micro-Project applicants…the creativity, imagination, and positivity never ceases to amaze! Short-listed applicants will be contacted soon for an interview; the final decision will be announced in 2-3 weeks.

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