By Julia Crumpleman
Greetings, fellow humans! Today’s question is an interstellar one from Pablo in North Hills:
I was wondering if superheroes were just an Earth thing, or if other planets had them as well?
Well, Pablo, you’re in luck! The New Romford Free Press recently hired a space correspondent from a far-off planet, Karna Firaliz. I sent your question off to him, and a few weeks later, I was able to get a response. (Space is vast, and emails can only travel so fast. Oh, that rhymed!)
“Superheroes” as a concept is a hard one for a non-Earthling like myself to understand. What defines a “superhero” on Earth can be ambiguous. One doesn’t need superpowers above and beyond a non-powered human, but a costume is generally required. Even then, it’s not easy to define as some superheroes wear the traditional garb of their homeland. Being a “superhero” appears to be a notional concept. The Earth saying “I know it when I see it” seems to be the only reliable measure here.
From what I’ve gathered from visiting and studying hundreds of planets and their cultures, there are always heroes and inspirational figures. Like Earth, they have their great leaders, rulers, messiahs, and tycoons, normal members of their race that rise above their peers (apart from the breed-pod cultures of the outer Carminni Galaxy who have been breeding clones of one or two individuals for the past few millennia). My planet, Minax, has several of these figures, but none of them have powers beyond me or wear costumes beyond our current styles. By Earth definitions, we don’t have superheroes.
I’d say the same goes for most planets, but again, the term “superhero” is an Earth term that can’t be applied to other planets. Everyone on planet Meerillee can fly, shoot lasers from their eyes, have super-strength, and speak 700 languages with ease, but none of that would constitute superpowers in their society anymore than walking on two feet would be a superpower on Earth.
I suppose the term “superhero” could also be applied to anyone who goes above and beyond for the greater good. I’ve heard many Earthlings speak of superheroes in this way because even supervillains have powers and colorful costumes. It matters what individuals do, and there’s something appealing about this to many cultures. If we used this definition, then there certainly are superheroes on every planet, including mine. That’s harder to define, of course, but that is the best I can do, Pablo. I hope that answers your question.
Thanks, Karna! That was a very thoughtful reply and a good reminder that we can all be superheroes in our daily lives if we so choose. (Though I wouldn’t mind being a Meerillee-ian!)