Thank you for those that entered our favorite superhero contest from our August newsletter. We all have personal favorites for such a variety of reasons and these top 3 entries for us demonstrate just that. All of the following submissions received first place votes from our team as the entries speak to us in a different way, making it very difficult to choose the order. With that in mind, here are our top 3 entries in the favorite Superhero contest.
First place by Scott Brownlee:
My favourite superhero is Green Lantern. It’s not just because I have a clear memory of reading a Green Lantern/Superman team-up as my first ever comic book at my grandmother’s home, although that is a formative moment for my lifelong love of comics. GL, and especially Hal Jordan, has a very deep meaning for me. I have suffered from clinical depression for the last 20+ years. Through a series of therapies and medications, I have had many ups and downs. The one consistent thing I’ve been able to use to combat mood swings, fatigue, and emotional fragility is willpower. Mind over matter. It’s never easy, and I don’t always win, but Hal Jordan is an inspiration for me. As the greatest of the Green Lanterns, Hal is a leader and an example to his entire Corps. Willpower is his true superpower, and unlike other heroes, that is a power that everyone can access. After many years of learning how to fight, last year I got myself a tattoo of the Green Lantern symbol, to remind myself that I have that power. It’s a constant reminder that I can help myself to fight mental illness, and hopefully help others to do the same.
Second place by Joe Holland:
So who is my favourite super hero? I get this question all the time from the students I teach. Super heroes are HUGE right now and it comes up a lot. And I always give them the same answer.
My favourite hero is faster than a speeding bullet. More powerful than a locomotive. He’s able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. Look, up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No! IT’S SUPERMAN!
Now when I tell people this, many jump to the same sort of conclusions, like its because he’s got a ton of powers so that’s why he’s my favourite. Or they claim he’s boring since he never loses, can’t be hurt, he’s not dark and tragic and complicated and edgy or… well basically because he’s not Batman ( at least modern interpretations of Batman but that’s another email 😉 ).
Superman is my favourite hero for a number of reasons. His story is more tragic than most… he lost his family, his entire world, his culture… he will forever be an alien to those around him and that is endlessly sad. And despite this major part of his story, he’s a force for hope and positivity. He can do anything, he can defeat any villain or adversary… he could even end the life of every criminal going. But that’s not the right thing to do. When given the option to do anything, Superman chooses to do the Right Thing. Every time. And that’s incredibly inspiring, for me at least.
Super heroes are ultimately a power fantasy and are aspirational, embodying different aspects of the human condition that we hold dear. Perseverance. Strength. Intelligence. A desire for justice. And in this particular time in history, with a variety of troubling, dangerous, and scary things happening in the world, lots of people can feel pretty helpless. The greatest power fantasy for these troubles times can be easily summed up in Superman: that the guy with all the power is, at their core, a good person who will choose the Right Thing, every time, no matter how hard it is.
Thanks for your time
Third Place by Trent Seely:
My favorite superhero is Scott “Slim” Summers aka Cyclops, the perennial leader of the X-Men.
Reasons why I love him:
- Cyclop’s origin story is a tragic plane crash where his parents are abducted by aliens and he becomes a disabled orphan. No coming into contact with cosmic rays or mutant spiders – just a sad, terrible event that scared him for life.
- As an orphan Scott’s caretaker, best friend, family doctor, and orphanage administrator were all Mr. Sinister pretending to be different people, which is a whole other level of predatory. Sinister (the best X-villain) is obsessed with Scott for his genetic purity as an Alpha Mutant and went so far as to have Scott’s brother adopted to make Scott more isolated and easier to manipulate and test on.
- Scott can only see one color, always. You’d assume it’d be red but it’s actually yellow.
- He has not one but three deadbeat dads: (1) Jack Winters – a criminal telepath who can turn into diamond, (2) Charles Xavier – a manipulative telepath who frequently abandons all of his children, and (3) Scott’s actual dad, Corsair, who’d rather be a Space-pirate than spend time with Scott and his brother Alex. Can you blame him?
- Scott’s romantic interests over the years have likewise mostly been telepaths (Jean Grey, Emma Frost [another telepath who turns to diamond], Madelyne Pryor, and Psylocke). The two times he tried dating normal humans he couldn’t connect with them. It’s almost like his deeply rooted daddy issues ruined any shot of a normal romantic life.
- Cyclops’ fight for peaceful coexistence has continued for decades in spite of his own internalized bigotry, seeing himself as the “mutant menace” throughout the Silver and Bronze age due to his inability to fully control his powers. Imagine the social anxiety you’d develop if you constantly worried about killing the people around you.
- Emma Frost actually theorizes in Whedon’s Astonishing X-Men that the brain injury from the plane crash wasn’t the reason Scott’s powers couldn’t be controlled. Rather, his crippling anxiety and need for perfection put a mental block over his abilities.
- Still, in spite of having a horrible life on every level and attempting to leave the X-Men at least eight times (by my count), Scott Summers continues to give his whole existence to the protection and preservation of his people.
- Sure, he’s done horrible things like cheating on his wife, killing Professor X, and weaponizing the Legacy Virus on the invading Skrulls during Secret Invasion, but all of it has made Cyclops a more complex and interesting character.
I believe, like Stan Lee before me, that Scott is a better character BECAUSE he is so tortured. You aren’t supposed to like who he is or want to be with him – you’re meant to related to how hard he works while taking a terrible existence in stride. And as an aging perfectionist I find him more and more relatable each year.
There’s no question that Scott Summers is my favourite (miserable) hero.