Finding Heroes In A Modern World
I've only written about superheroes once but I find that I frequently reflect on the subject. My biggest question, where have all the heroes gone? When we're young, we think about Superman, Batman, Hercules, and aspire to one day wear the cape. From ancient times to modern comic-strips the human imagination wants to believe in heroes. But heroes in "modern-life" don't look the way they do in comic strips (unless of course you're in the middle of Comic-Con).
Heroes today don't wear capes. They don't drive Batmobiles and probably don't have X-ray vision. You won't find them swinging from building-to-building, or flying in iron suits. That doesn't mean you won't find them though--you just need to know where to look.
A hero is self-sacrificing. You see this time and time again in comic books. E.g. Superman throws himself in front of a moving train, Batman takes the blame, etc. They put themselves in danger's path to protect the less prepared. At the same time, heroes must balance the fine-line between brave and reckless. We don't like heroes who go looking for fights, in-fact, most fictional heroes use their powers reluctantly. They'd rather blend in with the rest of society. Only out of necessity, for the greater good, do heroes reveal themselves. Barring Tony Stark of Iron Man, most superheroes are humble.
Fiction aside, modern heroes are hard to find. You might consider your parents, boss, friend, or neighbor hero-like. We frequently use the phrase "look up" to describe our feelings towards our heroes (though they may be shorter than us). A hero can be a significant other, a teacher, an employee that always comes to work with a smile. Remember, heroes make us want to believe. They do things we're too afraid (or think we're incapable) of doing.
When did we stop wanting to wear a cape? Life interferes--school, traffic, grocery shopping, laundry, work, bills, parking tickets, there's no time for crime fighting! But we haven't forgotten, things just get, busy, and we're forced to prioritize. Heroes are out there, we've just stopped looking. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to get to the nearest telephone booth.