A Superhero’s Action: Unbounded
My Definition of a Hero Explained
A superhero is a hero, I have said, but the two may be distinguished. I defined a hero: The essence of a hero is to respond to some circumstance of dire need with a deed of godlike salvation.
Respond because no one can inspire oneself to do heroic deeds. Circumstance because deeds must take place somewhere and sometime. Deed because no one can be a hero passively. Dire because the deed must be correspondingly arduous. Need because no one can practice superfluous heroism. Godlike because there is nothing above human beings except what is divine. Salvation because a hero deed seems to arrive with his or her deed as if, at that time and in that place, salvation were to arrive to the whole cosmos.
Perhaps a person would take the view that a superhero is to be distinguished by the needs to which he or she responds, namely, direr or more sensational needs. But even the classic supervillain’s plot to destroy the world or to enslave it may be opposed by another sort of hero, for example, a science fiction hero, a pulp hero, or a hero in the genre of fantasy. To my eye, the distinction of a superhero comes into view not in needs, however dire, but in deeds of more godlike salvation.