I love you. And it’s not because of the Avengers although you did good there – that was a great movie. It is because you truly embody what being a superhero is about.
The history of superheroes can loosely be traced to the history of Jewish immigration patterns. I know that sounds crazy, but little boys with immigrant parents with funny accents at the start of the 20th century sketched out heroes that they only dreamed they could one day become. It was pure wish fulfillment. Let me draw someone big and strong and tough and heroic so that when I’m bullied in the schoolyard, I can dream big. Here’s looking at you Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster to name a few… Superman. Batman. Captain America. Spiderman. X-Men. All heroes created or drawn by Jews. Talk about feeling the tribal pride.
For years I’ve taught about the contributions of Jewish artists and writers to the comic book world. It’s interested me, but more importantly it grabs hold of my students’ imaginations and gives them a sense of pride. So let me add one more piece to the lecture, though it has nothing to do with Judaism, it certainly has to do with pride.
As many of you following this blog know, I have two boys who were diagnosed with hearing loss this year. I have detailed my roller coaster feelings about the experience along with their development since they have started wearing hearing aids. So it didn’t surprise me when fellow mom with a kid with hearing loss sent me a link to a story about a little boy with hearing aids.
But the story had me in tears. It seems a young boy with blue hearing aids and a severe hearing loss refused to wear his hearing aids because superheroes don’t have hearing aids. A mildly distraught mother sent a letter to Marvel outlining her latest challenge. And here’s where the story gets good, Marvel wrote back. And not only did they write back they drew back. And so the superhero The Blue Ear was created, for a four-year-old boy who was looking for a superhero just like him.
Heroes are created to fill a void, for those who feel vulnerable, here is a way to feel strong and in control. So, Marvel, you did exactly what you should have done with kindness and with love. You truly are my superheroes.