The heroes of childhood

Fantasy is a domain allowed to children and I think that is an important part of the creative development. Important part of my own childhood was filled with comic book heroes. Why did these fictional characters so successful? The most remarkable feature of these characters is the presence of super powers. But there are a while this profile has changed, so that today most popular superheroes have super powers less fantastic or essentially none. Our kids today are more familiar with human features more than fantastic. although still exaggerated, expertise, intelligence and sense of humor combined with the use of high technology of Bruce Wayne and Anthony Stark, for example, makes successful while the old saga of super heroes fantastically endowed with extra-natural powers have remained in oblivion.

Although the matter seems uninteresting, has important significance for the future of our children and I would say for the future of science too. We’re not used to see our scientists as heroes, after all what they have of super? do not climb mountains, jump chasms, rescues people from burning buildings or things like that. However, we should remember that those tools used by comic book heroes are essentially the same that our scientists use in their routine. Not to solve problems caused by a major crime boss, but to solve a disease or disorder ecological, for example. From books to movies and comics, characters like Sherlock Holmes and Gregory House are heroic protagonists of stories and, in common, make use of deductive reasoning. That one used in science to solve problems. If Holmes or House were not using deductive reasoning (or scientific reasoning) I doubt they would be so popular.

Characters like these essentially human (even about defects), are undeniably more successful than the fantastic, which soon become boring. The media realized this phenomenon and takes advantage of it to achieve big box office. We are seeing a generation learning to value heroes of intellect and not only heroes of action. Who knows our children will have comic books telling the history of great discoveries and great inventions in a close future. If you think this is overkill, I suggest you take a good look at the classic comic series Watchmen, whose success became the theme comics for adults. The public is no longer interested in mysterious powers (supernatural), whose origin is not explained or do not place along the natural world, as Superman. The interest turned to the conspiracy stories starring human characters without any powers or, with a heroic license, with powers justified on physical laws, thus becoming a mystery revealed and not something supernatural.

When we’re children we don’t want to be doctors, lawyers or engineers. Children, especially boys, they want to be the Iron Man or Batman. When we grow up and realize that the stories do not fit the real world, we change outlooks. But, if we spent to show another hero profile, a profile closer to reality, like Holmes or House? I suspect that our science would gain more fans and an audience more familiar with the scientific proceedings.

Creative Commons License
This work by Alison Felipe Alencar Chaves is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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