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Your Definition Of A Super Hero?


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I like to ask new players this question & so I ask you;

What is your definition of a Super Hero?

 

I've always felt that a super hero is somebody who is willing to take risks challenging villains more powerful than themselves to save others. But by this definition Superman doesn't qualify. He's immune to everything, more powerful than everyone else & thereby isn't "risking" anything. What do you think?

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Re: Your Definition Of A Super Hero?

 

Hey Superman is willing to challenge villains more powerful than themselves to save others. It's just a situation that arises infrequently but that doesn't make him unwilling. But no, that has nothing to do with my definition of super hero. Super hero is a genre like swords and sorcery, or cosy mystery. It is defined by having a protagonist who possesses at least two of

 

1. A pseudonym

2. Powers or technology which is beyond what is physically possible for a real life human

3. A distinctive individual combat costume

 

And fights bad guys.

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Re: Your Definition Of A Super Hero?

 

Hey Superman is willing to challenge villains more powerful than themselves to save others. It's just a situation that arises infrequently but that doesn't make him unwilling. But no, that has nothing to do with my definition of super hero. Super hero is a genre like swords and sorcery, or cosy mystery. It is defined by having a protagonist who possesses at least two of

 

1. A pseudonym

2. Powers or technology which is beyond what is physically possible for a real life human

3. A distinctive individual combat costume

 

And fights bad guys.

i agree with clonus ,dark champions costumed crimefighter and pulp hero masked crimefighters would also be called super heroes albeit loosely
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Re: Your Definition Of A Super Hero?

 

I've always felt that a super hero is somebody who is willing to take risks challenging villains more powerful than themselves to save others. But by this definition Superman doesn't qualify. He's immune to everything' date=' more powerful than everyone else & thereby isn't "risking" anything. What do you think?[/quote']

 

If Superman doesn't qualify as a superhero by your definition, your definition is wrong.

 

Of course, your statement that "He's immune to everything, more powerful than everyone else & thereby isn't "risking" anything" is incorrect as well.

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Re: Your Definition Of A Super Hero?

 

Super hero is a genre like swords and sorcery, or cosy mystery. It is defined by having a protagonist who possesses at least two of

 

1. A pseudonym

2. Powers or technology which is beyond what is physically possible for a real life human

3. A distinctive individual combat costume

 

And fights bad guys.

 

Pretty close. Maybe change "Powers or technology" to "Powers, skills or technology", just in case there are any outliers that don't quite fit. There certainly are some borderline cases.

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Re: Your Definition Of A Super Hero?

 

A superhero is to a large extent a symbol. The costumes, code names, powers, gadgets, are all part of creating a larger than life image. When you see Superman or Batman, you immediately know what they represent. When a person becomes a superhero he takes on the aura of more than a man, and people see and respond to them as something greater.

 

IMO that symbol represents the best that a person can aspire to be. The superhero actively and selflessly fights to preserve and promote his ideals, not because he wants to, but because it needs to be done and he is uniquely qualified to do it. In the end he always chooses to do "the right thing," whether that choice costs him his happiness or his life.

 

Those ideals have become pretty well defined over the decades of existence of the superhero comic, and in many ways reflect the highest aspirations of American culture which birthed the superhero concept: accepting the responsibility of the strong to protect the weak; championing truth, justice, and liberty against all the forces of tyranny and destruction; supporting, and submitting themselves to, the rule of law in a just society; believing that extraordinary ability doesn't make someone fundamentally better than anyone else, and that less gifted individuals are still worthy of respect.

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Re: Your Definition Of A Super Hero?

 

Pretty close. Maybe change "Powers or technology" to "Powers' date=' [i']skills[/i] or technology", just in case there are any outliers that don't quite fit. There certainly are some borderline cases.
I was going to post the same. Batman would still qualify as a superhero even if using real-world-level tech, IMO. (And because of his abilities, not just the fact that he has a costume and codename.)

 

 

The only other thing I might add is that it might be useful/interesting to consider the question in two halves...

 

1. What is a "super?" (in a genre sense).

 

2. What is a "hero?"

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Re: Your Definition Of A Super Hero?

 

A Superhero is an individual who had a great deal of ability to influence the events around themself, who chooses to do so for the good of others rather than personal gain. Typically they adopt a distinctive uniform or costume, and a codename, in order to protect those close to them from repercussions or retaliation, and to make them more easily identifiable to the general populace (in much the same way that police wear uniforms; you know who to go to for help when you need it). A Superhero will risk their own life to preserve those of the people arouind them, and often works outside the law to compensate for its shortcomings. Superheroes generally strive to bring their opponents to the proper authorities for justice.

 

A SUperhero is like a mythic hero, only with a higher moral code.

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Re: Your Definition Of A Super Hero?

 

I guess I may have not explained myself enough. I didn't want to bias the thoughts I'd been "fishing" for.

My argument against Superman was that he's immune to 98% of the things out there that can hurt every other "hero". Is he really "risking" his life when 98% of the time things don't affect him? He can't even get a paper cut. Is he really taking a chance on stopping crime.

I mean I'd still appreciate it if he caught the airplane I was in when it's engines fail. But still is it a personal risk to him?

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He is still a superhero because he could decide to use his powers for personal gratification and not bother to save your plane from crashing because its not his problem. The power level of the character is not the issue here it's what you do with your special abilities that matter.

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Re: Your Definition Of A Super Hero?

 

My argument against Superman was that he's immune to 98% of the things out there that can hurt every other "hero". Is he really "risking" his life when 98% of the time things don't affect him? He can't even get a paper cut. Is he really taking a chance on stopping crime.

I mean I'd still appreciate it if he caught the airplane I was in when it's engines fail. But still is it a personal risk to him?

 

So he's disqualified because he's only risking his life 2% of the time?

 

The same argument applies, incidentally, to the Marvel family, Captain Atom, Iron Man, Thor and all the other top shelf supers. Sure, there are different degrees of vulnerability involved, but there's certainly a real difference in this regard between, say, Iron Man and most X-Men.

 

Incidentally, as you've pointed out, superheroes do more than just "stop crime". They also "catch airplanes" and do similar things. They aren't just combatants.

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Re: Your Definition Of A Super Hero?

 

He is still a superhero because he could decide to use his powers for personal gratification and not bother to save your plane from crashing because its not his problem. The power level of the character is not the issue here it's what you do with your special abilities that matter.

 

 

BINGO!

 

We have a winner. :thumbup:

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Re: Your Definition Of A Super Hero?

 

Kryptonite is not the Big Blue Boyscouts only vulnerability. He is just as vulnerable to magic and mind control as most everyone else. This is the major reason he lets Batman keep some kryptonite. Supes knows that there are those out there who don't want to kill him, but use him for their own purposes. He is a Superhero.;)

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Re: Your Definition Of A Super Hero?

 

I guess I may have not explained myself enough. I didn't want to bias the thoughts I'd been "fishing" for.

My argument against Superman was that he's immune to 98% of the things out there that can hurt every other "hero". Is he really "risking" his life when 98% of the time things don't affect him? He can't even get a paper cut.

 

Oh I understood you. I just rejected your definition of "superhero".

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Re: Your Definition Of A Super Hero?

 

Super; 1. above, beyond, or over in place or time or conceptually. 2. to a great or extreme degree. 3. extra good or large of its kind. 4. of a higher kind (i like this one).

 

Hero; 1. a person noted or admired for nobility, courage, outstanding achievements, etc... 2. Chief male character in a poem, play, story, etc...

 

Well I was just looking to see what others thought a "hero" might be. I just always thought that it was more heroic to risk everything in helping others. I see that my scale was off. I've just been thinking too small. A cop risking his life stopping a speeding drug dealer while wearing a bullet proof vest. Is obviously not as heroic as Wolverine going toe to toe with the Hulk in the Canadian wilderness. Silly me.

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Re: Your Definition Of A Super Hero?

 

Well I was just looking to see what others thought a "hero" might be. I just always thought that it was more heroic to risk everything in helping others. I see that my scale was off. I've just been thinking too small. A cop risking his life stopping a speeding drug dealer while wearing a bullet proof vest. Is obviously not as heroic as Wolverine going toe to toe with the Hulk in the Canadian wilderness. Silly me.

 

Look, it really doesn't matter, OK? "Fanboy" is not a compliment, and there is a reason for that.

 

For what it's worth, the term superhero could easily be defined as "a character like Superman". A protagonist (hero) with superhuman abilities (powers, skills, gadgets...), fighting crime and so on, usually in modern day or futuristic settings, blah blah blah. (Or appearing in comedy or romantic stories, but in a similar framework).

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Re: Your Definition Of A Super Hero?

 

Super; 1. above, beyond, or over in place or time or conceptually. 2. to a great or extreme degree. 3. extra good or large of its kind. 4. of a higher kind (i like this one).

 

Hero; 1. a person noted or admired for nobility, courage, outstanding achievements, etc... 2. Chief male character in a poem, play, story, etc...

 

Well I was just looking to see what others thought a "hero" might be. I just always thought that it was more heroic to risk everything in helping others. I see that my scale was off. I've just been thinking too small. A cop risking his life stopping a speeding drug dealer while wearing a bullet proof vest. Is obviously not as heroic as Wolverine going toe to toe with the Hulk in the Canadian wilderness. Silly me.

 

No he obviously isn't as superhuman as Wolverine going toe to toe with the Hulk in the Canadian wilderness. The "super" in super hero indicates that the hero in question has more power than the average hero not that he is necessarily "more heroic". Which is, after all, a subjective evaluation. Some people admire risk taking. Others admire power. Still others would admire someone strictly for the personal success they achieve and/or the scale of the good they do. But "super hero" is a fictional genre. Not anything that actually exists.

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Re: Your Definition Of A Super Hero?

 

The simple answer is a combination of

 

1: Super - powers and/or abilities far above that of a normal man.

 

2: Hero - performing deeds that, intentionally or not, cause others to proclaim you as a hero.

 

The super part of the definition is pretty easy to figure out.

 

The hero part is entirely subjective. And context sensitive. One man's freedom fighter is another man's terrorist. SpiderMan, threat or menace and all that.

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Re: Your Definition Of A Super Hero?

 

Super; 1. above, beyond, or over in place or time or conceptually. 2. to a great or extreme degree. 3. extra good or large of its kind. 4. of a higher kind (i like this one).

 

Hero; 1. a person noted or admired for nobility, courage, outstanding achievements, etc... 2. Chief male character in a poem, play, story, etc...

 

Well I was just looking to see what others thought a "hero" might be. I just always thought that it was more heroic to risk everything in helping others. I see that my scale was off. I've just been thinking too small. A cop risking his life stopping a speeding drug dealer while wearing a bullet proof vest. Is obviously not as heroic as Wolverine going toe to toe with the Hulk in the Canadian wilderness. Silly me.

 

The comparison between Superman and a police officer risking his life in the line of duty is completely unfair. You are comparing apples to oranges, trying to discredit a fictional character by comparing him to a real life individual. The options you give are basically to discredit the accomplishments and risks of a real, live person or to discredit an iconic symbol that is supposed to represent everything the real, live person is.

 

As far as your definition of “hero” goes, you seem to imply that someone can only be heroic if they are risking their lives. I believe there are many types of heroes. I mean, is someone who spends their entire lives helping others- maybe working with abused children, or supplying relief aid to third world countries- really less heroic than someone who pulled a child out of the way of a speeding car because they just happened to be at the right place at the right time? Are paramedics who save lives everyday not heroic simply because they live in a small city where their lives are not generally at risk while they do so? What a hero is, is extremely subjective, even more so in the real world than in fiction. In fiction, we generally have a good idea of the motivations behind a protagonist’s actions. In real life, we have no such magical insight into the thoughts and motivations of those we, as society, deem “heroes”. Is the cop that died trying to save a hostage still a hero, even though, unbeknownst to the public, he was an alcoholic who beat his wife almost every week? All we have to go on in the real world is the actions we can perceive, and of course, any real police officer, fireman, relief worker, et cetera, is “more heroic” than any fictional character. Is this because the fictional character is not heroic? No. It’s because they are fictional. “They” are not taking any risk, because they are not real. It’s not comparable.

 

As far as superheroes go, who would you find more heroic than Superman? I mean, you can say Blue Beetle risks his life more often because he’s not as powerful as Superman, but is that true? Blue Beetle doesn’t usually face villains that have the capacity to destroy the entire Earth. Superman does. You want self-sacrifice? Supes gave Batman the only known physical substance that can kill him, to safeguard against him going bad or being mind controlled. How many other super heroes have gone to a team mate and said, “here, if I ever go bad, this is how you can kill me to make sure I don’t hurt anyone,”? It’s like preparatory self sacrifice. Using your standard, no “superhero” is heroic, because even if they die they always get brought back, even if it’s decades later by a hack writer who couldn’t come up with something original. Batman got his back broken, TWICE. Is he more heroic than Superman, who “died”. Supes faced an opponent who took out the entire Justice League, (okay, so it was a crappy version of the JLA, I mean, what was Blue Beetle or the Green Lantern reject going to do against Doomsday, but still…) and proceeded to fight until they had beaten each other to "death". True, neither of them actually “died” but that’s the genre, not the “characters” fault. By your own definition the risk of the loss of your own life is part of what qualifies a “hero,” yet you insist that Superman isn’t a hero, even though he risks certain death more times a year than most real policemen do in their entire careers? (Not sure if I should even use that example, comparing comics to RL just seems irreverent…but you get my point) It makes no sense.

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Re: Your Definition Of A Super Hero?

 

I prefer the simpler approaches to definition myself.

 

Hero - Someone who selflessly carries out popular cultural values.

 

And while we're at it:

 

Villain - Someone who selfishly opposes popular cultural values.

 

If these two definitions are in the ball park then you simply give the above two unrealistic/fantastic means to carry out what they do.

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Re: Your Definition Of A Super Hero?

 

Super; 1. above, beyond, or over in place or time or conceptually. 2. to a great or extreme degree. 3. extra good or large of its kind. 4. of a higher kind (i like this one).

 

Hero; 1. a person noted or admired for nobility, courage, outstanding achievements, etc... 2. Chief male character in a poem, play, story, etc...

 

Well I was just looking to see what others thought a "hero" might be. I just always thought that it was more heroic to risk everything in helping others. I see that my scale was off. I've just been thinking too small. A cop risking his life stopping a speeding drug dealer while wearing a bullet proof vest. Is obviously not as heroic as Wolverine going toe to toe with the Hulk in the Canadian wilderness. Silly me.

 

First, what bigbywolfe said. Second, this is trolling of the worst sort and I regret not being a moderator.

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Re: Your Definition Of A Super Hero?

 

Super; 1. above, beyond, or over in place or time or conceptually. 2. to a great or extreme degree. 3. extra good or large of its kind. 4. of a higher kind (i like this one).

 

Hero; 1. a person noted or admired for nobility, courage, outstanding achievements, etc... 2. Chief male character in a poem, play, story, etc...

 

Well I was just looking to see what others thought a "hero" might be. I just always thought that it was more heroic to risk everything in helping others. I see that my scale was off. I've just been thinking too small. A cop risking his life stopping a speeding drug dealer while wearing a bullet proof vest. Is obviously not as heroic as Wolverine going toe to toe with the Hulk in the Canadian wilderness. Silly me.

 

I think that perhaps there isn't a need to rank levels of Heroic. I've always seen it as being binary like Unique or Historic.

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