By Al Stover
Staff Reporter 

Life lessons I have learned from heroes in cowls and tights

Write to the Point


Al Stover

This spring seems will be a big one for superhero movies.

Next month, we have the theatrical releases of "The Amazing Spider-man 2," and "X-Men: Days of Future Past," which will be the fifth film to feature Marvel Comics' band of merry mutants.

Tomorrow will be the premiere of "Captain America: The Winter Soldier," which chronicles the life and adventures of Steve Rogers two years after the events of "The Avengers."

As someone whose interests include comic book and superheroes, it is surreal to see so many of these characters I read on paper and watched on television, come to life on the big screen.

Another thing that astonishes me is how several actors who are cast in these well-known roles, will embrace them.

I'm sure part of it has to do with the amount of money and accolades that come from the big box office numbers, but I have also noticed that several celebrities have a genuine love for these characters - just like many comic book fans out there.

There are also people - including myself - who have found inspiration in these characters and try to model themselves after them.

Now, this does not mean that I recite the Green Lantern oath every time I wake up in the morning - as tempting as that might be - or throw a towel over my shoulder and shout "Up, up and away!" seconds before my attempt to leap over the Fisher Building in a single bound.

However, following these heroes' stories examining their fictional lives has helped me learn some valuable lessons throughout certain periods of my life.

Superman has taught me that it is OK to be nice and forgiving in most situations.

The Man of Steel has also shown me that it is important to do the right thing.

Spider-man has taught me that the saying "with great power comes great responsibility" is more than just a group of words Stan Lee strung together in issue 15 of Amazing Fantasy back in 1962.

When you are in a position of power, there are a lot of things you are responsibile for and it is no longer just about "you."

The Wall Crawler has also taught me that humor and wit can help you get through a difficult situation - or it could make things worse.

Batman has taught that dedication, observation and hard work can help prepare you to face any challenge that comes your way.

The Dark Knight has also demonstrated that you can go through the most horrible tragedy and dedicate yourself to a cause to make sure no one goes through the same scenario that you did.

Wonder Woman taught me that it's important to venture outside of your island and take in different cultures.

The Green Lantern Corps, which functions like an intergalactic police force that patrols the universe, has taught me how to use imagination and willpower to overcome certain obstacles. They have also shown me that throughout your life, you are going to encounter people of different races, shapes and sizes.

X-Men's Wolverine has taught me that you can recover from all kinds of wounds - physically and mentally- if you are given enough time to heal.

Logan has also shown me that there are times when you have to take the reins and be a leader.

The Flash has taught me while that it's OK to go through situations quickly, sometimes you need to slow down and take in everything else before you act.

Wolverine's fellow X-Man Nightcrawler, whose blue skin and demon-like apperance has been the target of hatred his entire life, taught me that there will be people who are going to despise you for being different, whether it is because of your looks or your beliefs.

Although they may be projecting that hatred on to you, that doesn't mean you have to follow their example.

I've even learned something from even Aquaman.

DC Comics' king of Atlantis has been the butt of many jokes from fans - casual and hardcore - over the years. Several comic writers have joked that writing "Justice League of America" was difficult in the '60s because you had to incorporate water for him. Conan O'Brien once said "fish are embarrassed to be around him."

We even had a brief discussion at the office as to why Aquaman was lame.

I will admit that I thought the character was not that intriguing when I first encountered him during reruns of the old "Superfriends" cartoon. After all, what is so interesting about a guy who talks to fish?

But then I learned that there was more to the king than meets the eye such as his ability to mind control all sea creatures -including whales and sharks - as opposed to just talking to them.

Aquaman has taught me that while some people - especially those who do not have the same interests as you - will misinterpret your abilities and decisions and laugh at you, you should be yourself.

Al Stover can be reached at


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