Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Is this the age of superheroes?

Something is happening to the world. And no, I don't mean increasing national debt, the swine flu, or any sort of apocalyptic happenings that a street-corner preacher may be trying to shove down your throat.
No, readers. I mean the age of superheroes. It is coming upon us, whether we like it or not. As Charles Xavier would say, there are those that are different in our world. Those who do extraordinary things in the name of justice.
Take Cincinnati's own masked hero Shadowhare for instance:
Shadowhare is the 21 year-old leader of a group of nationwide masked good samaritans who call themselves the "Allegiance of Superheroes," with a roster that includes Aclyptico in Pennsylvania, Wall Creeper in Colorado and Master Legend in Florida. Shadowhare also teamed up with Mr. Extreme (from San Diego) to track down a rapist.
He uses legal weapons such as pepper spray and handcuffs, and is definitely on the right side of the law. He claims to have dislocated his shoulder while preventing a woman from being beat up by a man a few years ago.
And when not fighting crime? He's handing out food to the homeless, or patrolling the streets looking for ne'er do-wells. Sure, he gets some giggles from the police force and citizens, but if I were him, I'd sleep better at night knowing I had made the world a tiny bit better.
But as always with good, there is evil:
Joker wannabe Spencer Taylor was caught stealing memorabilia related to The Dark Knight from a movie theater in Michigan last July. Yes, he was caught and arrested by police at the scene.

All joking aside (no pun intended), I know what you're thinking. You're thinking that since neither has superpowers or high-tech gadgets, he can't be a superhero or villain, right? Well what if I told you that people with abilities could possibly exist? That homo superior may walk amongst us?
Russian girl Natasha Demkina is a good example. In 2004 and 2005, Natasha gained worldwide acclaim for being able to "see" through people's skin to diagnose an ailment. Nicknamed "the girl with the x-ray eyes," she globe-hopped from clinics in England and Japan as they tried to unveil the mystery behind her "ability." She was eventually assumed to be a fraud, after an English scientist compared her "readings" to that of a psychic's ("feeling" and asking questions to lead to correct answers).
Though Natasha may not be truly superpowered, there are many people that have been made famous by being able to do incredible things. Some include:

Kim Peek

"Abilities": Photographic memory, said to have memorized the content of over 12,000 books. Has severe developmental disabilites, yet can read and remember the content of an average book in one hour (on average).
Note: Peek was the basis for Dustin Hoffman's award-winning character of Raymond Babbitt in the 1988 film Rain Man. Go watch it sometime.

Daniel Tammet

"Abilities": A high-functioning autistic savant, Daniel has synesthesia, which allows him to see numbers as colors and shapes. Has recited Pi up to the 22,514th digit (the world record), and can do massive mathematical equations in his head. Is also gay.

Rüdiger Gamm

"Abilities": Can calculate extremely difficult mathematcal equations in seconds.

Stephen Wiltshire

"Abilities": Can draw an entire landscape after seeing it once. He is also autistic.

Jill Price

"Abilities": Can remember exact details of her life down to the date. For instance, if you ask her what happened on November 12, 1980, she would say that it was rainy, and proceed to give you details about that day. She is said to have an extremely severe case of OCD mixed with hyperthymestic syndrome.

With people like these, and the unnamed German boy who has double the muscle mass of children his age, or the average man who lifted three tons and held it for twenty minutes, it's sort of hard to deny that people who live extraordinary lives do exist.
For some fictional research on the subject of ordinary people trying to be extraordinary, I suggest you all watch the movie Special, and read the comic Kick-Ass (which is soon to be a movie).


Anonymous said...

Dustin Hoffman didn't play Rain Man, Tom Hanks did.

Ashley said...

Seems like many otherwise "Developmentally challenged" people show a trend with having phenomenal abilities in other areas. Maybe autism is the key to superhuman abilities ;)

Kick-Ass, so good. Too bad Nicholas Cage is going to be playing Red Mist in the movie!

T. Walters said...

Anon is a moron.

And yeah, but I'll give him a chance since Millar has so much to do with the movie.