This I Believe

Cornelius - Raleigh, North Carolina
Entered on September 26, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
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Every Kid Needs a Super-Hero

Long before he became a multi-million dollar movie star, there was a time when Spider-Man was my hero. It took me a short time longer to realize he still is. And I believe that every kid needs a super-hero.

Growing up, there was nothing more exciting than waiting for Dad to come back from the airport, comic books in tow. He loved bringing them back for me because they were nice, cheap gifts that supplied me with hours of enjoyment. At the age of six, those twenty-two page four-colored masterpieces were the epitome of story-telling genius.

I read of Captain America and his battles with the Red Skull for the Cosmic Cube. I read of the X-Men and their struggle to protect a world that fears and hates them. I read of Superman and his death and return. I found myself in a world filled with magic, good, and evil, a world where great people with extraordinary powers never failed to do the right thing in the face of adversity. Those stories shaped me, helped define me, but none touched me more than the Amazing Spider-Man. “With great power there must also come – great responsibility!” That one phrase was imbedded in my mind. It was what Spider-Man lived by and, subsequently, what I lived by.

Yet as I grew older, the heroes got lost. The comic books slipped into a binder, forgotten in the closet. There was no longer room in my mundane life for the fantastic world of comics. I went to go see X-Men and enjoyed the film, but still, even seeing old friends like Cyclops and Wolverine wasn’t enough to bring me back into the fold. It would take my oldest and truest friend—Spider-Man—to really hook me again. On opening day, I went into the theater to embrace my old pal with open arms. When I finally stepped back outside that theater, there was a little kid in a Spider-Man shirt and a Spider-Man hat, holding his exclusive, limited edition Spider-Man cup. He grabbed my pant leg and shook it.

“Hey, mister! Did you know that Harry Osborn is gonna become the Hobgoblin!?” the kid enthusiastically asked me.

I didn’t have the heart to tell him Harry actually becomes the second Green Goblin (the first Hobgoblin was Ned Leeds). I just smiled at the kid, appreciating his wide-eyed enthusiasm.

“Really? That’s pretty cool.”

That weekend, I went to Borders and bought the most recent issue of The Amazing Spider-Man. Now, every weekend I buzz over to the comic book store and buy a large handful of comics—pouring over the vast diversity of sequential art. I’m hooked again, because I found my heroes.

I believe that every kid needs a super-hero: Spider-Man, Batman, Superman, Wolverine, Captain America, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, whoever. They’re all out there, with their worlds and messages and visions of a place where good triumphs over evil, where people can do wondrous things so long as they put their minds to it. I believe every kid deserves at least a snapshot of that world. I know I’m forever grateful for it.