I was never that into comic books as a kid, I knew they existed, I knew what they were, but I never really read any of them, nor did I quite get why they were so popular. I knew about Batman and Superman-who doesn’t- but I never quite got why they were so popular or why they had such a devoted fan base. Even when Marvel started releasing their movies, I never quite understood the whole hoopla, I mean got that the movies were good and the actors were fantastic, but there was nothing more to it for me.
A friend shared the Injustice video game movie with me, and for those who aren’t aware of what it is, it’s a scenario where Superman loses the love of his life Lois Lane and goes about trying to make the world a better place through force as a consequence, and the fall out from all of that. I watched part of it and couldn’t get into it, I didn’t understand why the female characters had such big breasts, I didn’t understand why the male characters were all muscled to fuck. I really didn’t get it. Needless to say, when I stated this, my friend wasn’t impressed. But he left it alone.
Then, a few months later this same friend recommended that I watch the television show, The Flash, saying he thought I’d enjoy it. I wasn’t quite sure, I resisted for a while, but then my curiosity got the better of me and I watched it. Man, that was the best decision I could have made at that point in time. Before I knew it, it was twelve in the morning and I’d watched half of the first season. I was hooked, over the next two or three weeks, I watched all of Season One and then all of Season Two. There was something about the show that really appealed to me. It was a mix of hope, joy, growth and love that I think at that point in time was something I really needed. I went out searching for something more and found Arrow. Another show that I got hooked on. Then there was Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow, and man, watching those shows, I found something I thought I’d lost.
You see, and this sounds really cheesy, but when I discovered The Flash, things were a bit tough for me, I’d gone from being a very happy dude, with a lot of friends, to someone who was not sure he liked who he was, and was struggling with work and with finding a way to connect with the people around him. I felt as though I was adrift in a sea of faces and there was no hope, there was no chance at joy again. Watching The Flash, Arrow, Supergirl and Legends, but especially The Flash, I found hope again. As cheesy as it sounds, seeing Barry Allen discover his powers, seeing him save the day, and seeing him fall in love and work with a team, man that was something that made me smile, it made me laugh, it made me cry, and it made me feel again. It showed that there was hope out there, and that was something I really needed.
I watched the Injustice movie again after getting baptised into the CW’s Arrowverse, and I understood. I got it. I got why these characters meant so much to people and I understood the fascination with these different scenarios. Hell, I’ve got a few dozen of them in my head right now. I told the very same friend who introduced me to all of this about this, and he recommended watching Smallville. Now for those of you who don’t know, Smallville is the show we have to thank for the Arrowverse. It was the show that showed how awesome it was to explore these heroes who have so much history behind. Smallville detailed the childhood and early years of Clark Kent/Superman, from his time growing up on a small farm in Kansas, to his first few years at the Daily Planet and his steps into becoming the legendary symbol of hope that everyone knows. Throughout there is love, there is heartbreak, there is joy and there is plenty to make you laugh and smile.
Again, I was a bit hesitant, but I gave it a shot, and man was it worth it. There’s something about watching Superman, go through the struggles of being a kid and coming out on top that really, I guess makes things better. This dude is essentially a God, and yet he does all he can to fit in, he struggles, he falls in love, he makes friends, he loses friends, and he saves the day. That’s pretty fucking awesome and also somewhat relatable, apart from the saving the day part, haha. Smallville is a show that has so much depth to it, so much hope to it and so much I guess potential of great things inside it, that it’s impossible not to love it. I watched ten seasons of Smallville over a year and a half, as Clark Kent grew, so did I. I graduated university, I started being an adult-somewhat, can’t go full adult yet!- and I watched Clark Kent go from being this nervous kid, who was just trying to fit in, to being a man grown, with his whole life before him. We see him put on the iconic blue and red toward the end, and when he did, I was crying, it was something that I think needed to happen. It felt like this was a huge moment, as stupid as that sounds.
Smallville was the thing that when things got dark in my head when it seemed like there was too much shit that was just too fucked up to make sense, made me realise that maybe everything ain’t so bad. That there was still hope, there was still light out there. That might seem dramatic, fuck, writing this it seems dramatic now, but at the time, when I was stuck inside my own head, it made sense, it was what I needed. And I think it’s what the world needs now.
There is so much darkness out there, there’s so much hate, so much anger and rage, I think we have forgotten what it means to love, to listen, to care. I think we’ve lost sight of what it means to be a person, to be human. I think we could all do with a bit more hope in our lives. I think we could do with being a bit more like Clark Kent, a bit more like Barry Allen. If more people wanted to do the little things that make the world a better place, be it saying hello to a friend, to picking up litter and putting it in the bin, to talking to someone and making new friends, maybe there would be a little less darkness in the world. Maybe that sounds naive, maybe that’s too fanciful, but I do truly believe that if we were more willing to listen and talk, instead of shouting at one another, we could actually try and do what the heroes countless generations of kids have read about, do. There might not be a Clark Kent or a Barry Allen in real life, that doesn’t mean we as people can’t try and stand for what they stand for, or strive for what they strive for.
Finally, I owe so much to these shows, to Barry Allen and Clark Kent, for teaching me that it’s alright to be angry, it’s alright to be sad, but it’s also possible to strive to make the world better. To remember that no matter how dark shit gets out there, there is always light present. There is always hope. I can never say thank you enough to them, to those shows, nor to my friend who introduced me to these characters, to this universe. Thank you for reminding me that there’s still good out there.