The past two weeks have been anything, but boring when it comes to writing. Prior I was having a down and dirty street fight with my muses. I still haven’t finished my pro-MS “The Cottage” (working title), but it’s so close I can taste it on the tip of my tongue. Writing is writing though I suppose even if I’m not getting paid to do it. There are days I feel I’m simply not talented enough to get there and days like that I refuse to lay back and drown in my own self-perpetuating sludge. If I did I would have disappeared long ago.
So, here I am musing about realistic heroes.
For some people heroes are the bright, shiny people. Characters that never doubt their paths have perfect lives, not to mention the perfect coif and/or body. They are your basic Golden Age Superman. Frankly, I’ve always been more of a Batman girl. This isn’t to say Superman doesn’t have his angst on occasion. He simply seems “too damn perfect” and any angst he has is usually self-induced (or rather it was in the days I read comics).
For me the best heroes are those who have risen from mediocrity and refuse to give in when all signs point to failure. They are stubborn, selfish, imperfect, and often toe the line between right/wrong—good/evil, etc. well you get the idea. Sometimes they even cross that line if it’s for the better of the big picture.
One example the main characters of Supernatural. Sam and Dean Winchester never asked for the lives they lead and both brothers managed to escape it for short periods, but in the end, they return. These two characters are often self-centered (S6 – Weekend at Bobby’s), selfish (S2 – All Hell Breaks Loose Part 2), stubborn (S4- Metamorphosis) yet these are the same flaws we love and cherish them for. It makes them more human and more accessible to the fans. I often catch myself decrying what they do as much as cheering them on because I understand them in a way I could never relate to the golden heroes.
The same goes for my newest obsession Luther, an exquisite BBC produced police drama where the lead character DCI John Luther treads the same thin line. When first introduced to Luther he is in pursuit of a child murderer and in a questionable act, interrogates the killer while he dangles two stories up in an abandoned warehouse. We watch as he does this and then allows the killer to fall to what might be his death. Later we discover Luther has a nervous breakdown after the incident that led to his wife and he separating and his career coming damn close to ending. Going in we know a few things about Luther he is brilliant, insanely focused on his job, and has anger issues a plenty that result in destroyed office furniture, doors, windows, and at times missions to catch the bad guys that verge on the suicidal.
Then there is Sherlock Holmes and his companion John Watson from the BBC’s modern retelling of Conan Doyle’s infamous genius detective. Sherlock describes himself in the first episode as a “high functioning sociopath” although I doubt the veracity of his claim as we advance through Series 1 and 2. His mind functions on such a high-level he has no idea how to associate with the common man; he’s self-centered, rude, childish, and at times completely clueless for someone with his level of intelligence. He has no social interaction outside his work. He seems to believe social interactions are a waste of his valuable time.
Then in steps John Watson, a former army surgeon with his own can of worms. Watson’s own psychiatrist doesn’t get that the reason he’s having such a difficult time adjusting to civilian life is not due to his psychological trauma but rather because he misses the elements of danger inherent in being a soldier. To put it simply, John Watson is bored to tears. His introduction to Sherlock with whom he becomes flat mates obliterates any boredom he might have had.
John much like Sherlock is an adrenaline junkie although he maintains a solid social connection to the outside world. In the end, Sherlock finds in John a man that both admires his intelligence yet doesn’t bow to his every whim, often calling him on his asinine behavior and lack of empathy for the victims. He becomes Sherlock’s window to the world outside his self-induced isolation.
So, there you go. My meandering thoughts on the fictional heroes I relate to because in the end they’re more familiar to me than any version of Superman could be.