I’ll be upfront and honest with you. I love fantasy stories, and stories told in other worlds. When I read, I like to be taken away from the world in which I live. I like a story to take me away from the problems I am dealing with in this life. My mind is constantly churning over the difficulties of this life, so when I read a book or watch a movie I like to escape, to force my mind to rest for a moment. That doesn’t mean I don’t read “real world” books or watch “real world” movies. It’s just that I prefer stories with an element of the fantastic, which brings me to “superhero” movies.
I also believe it taps into something we, as humans, know to be true. As a Christian, I believe the Bible to be the inspired word of God. While the source of the super-human strength stems from a different source than what we are typically used to in comic books, we can find superheroes interwoven throughout the Bible. I will focus on one that stands out above the rest: Samson.
He was an ordinary man who was given extraordinary strength. He even had a “kryptonite.” No, I’m not talking about Delilah. It was scissors to his hair. While the strength came from God, and ultimately his loss of it came through disobedience, it was “held” in his uncut hair.
But some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.
I recently read an obnoxious article that lambasted superhero movies and those that watch them. Don’t get me wrong. If someone doesn’t like that genre, I don’t really care. But when someone demeans those who do and labels them childish for liking them, that irritates me.
The article, however, got me thinking. What makes a story a childish story versus an adult story? While I like Liam Neeson movies, are they any less fake than superhero movies? I would say, “No!” They are just as fictional as Lord of the Rings.
I’m not exactly sure what motivates someone to label fans of superhero movies as childish, but it reminds me of teenagers who have decided that they are going to start acting like an “adult.” They are still living at home with Mom and Dad, but they must separate themselves from their younger siblings, and inevitably, they overcompensate. They start calling the behavior of their brothers and sisters immature. They make fun of the cartoons their siblings still watch and say things like, “I don’t watch little kid shows anymore.” In a sense, they are insecure of their own growing up. To appear more mature, they feel as though they must diminish things that they may have previously enjoyed when they were younger.
I think I can end this post with a quote by C.S. Lewis:
“I wrote this story for you, but when I began it I had not realized that girls grow quicker than books. As a result you are already too old for fairy tales, and by the time it is printed and bound you will be older still. But some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again. You can then take it down from some upper shelf, dust it, and tell me what you think of it. I shall probably be too deaf to hear, and too old to understand a word you say, but I shall still be your affectionate Godfather, C. S. Lewis.”
Just a thought.
Scott Keen is the author of three young adult fantasy novels, Scar of the Downers, Rise of the Branded, and War of the Downer King.