Zero to Hero

Various comic book covers featuring superheroes like Spider Man and Batman.

Like many kids growing up, I always wanted to be a superhero. I wanted to fight crime and save people from danger. I wanted to be like Wonder Woman, agile and strong, or swing from builds and swoosh through the air like Spiderman. Comic-Con played a huge part in my early 20s as it offered both a chance to dress up as one of my heroes and be among hundreds of others who shared similar likes. My life was forever changed for the better after my first Comic-Con. 

In early 2018, I randomly entered a contest for Denver Pop Culture Con (now called FAN EXPO Denver) to win the chance to do my own panel talk on anything I wanted to. I was optimistic and over-caffeinated (as usual) and entered with the same vibes as one has while tossing a coin into a fountain, a passive wish but not expecting anything major to be the outcome of it. 

About a month later, I got the news I’d won the contest and was equal parts ecstatic and overwhelmed with a sense of doom. The geeky storyteller/performer side of me was thrilled at the opportunity I'd dreamt of this since I was a kid - to give a panel talk at one of my favorite places on Earth - but the stage fright side of me was warning me of how I’d make an idiot of myself during one of the happiest days of my life.

It’s times like this my “productive procrastination” kicks into overload. Instead of jumping on writing my material, I decided to take up sign language, wasting precious time and pushing it to the last minute. But I digress.  

Comic-Con is many things, but superheroes and their respective fandoms play a core part of most Comic-Cons. I’ve wanted to be a superhero for as long as I can remember. As being bitten by a radioactive spider is highly unlikely (and probably unhealthy) and following in the footsteps of Batman and Daredevil is a crime, I came up with a list of some ways people could be more like superheroes in their daily lives. Here are some of the things from my list that I talked about in my panel:

  • Take care of yourself first before you take care of others. You can't fill someone's cup from an empty pot, as the saying goes. This includes setting goals for yourself, practicing self-care and regularly setting aside time for what makes you happy.
  • Be aware of the small things you can do every day that would make someone else's day better. This can be as small as opening a door for someone, making someone laugh or just being there for them during a hard day.
  • Go one step further and volunteer where help is needed, such as a shelter, a food bank, etc. Another option is to donate items such as clothes, furniture or other material goods to thrift stores or other organizations that need those types of items.
  • Learn First Aid and CPR. It's always a good thing to know how to help yourself and others should things go awry. You may not have superpowers, but knowing how and when to help is a power in and of itself. 
  • Fill your brain with knowledge. Read a book on pollinators and the planets that attract them, listen to a podcast about random interesting facts or watch a video on how to build a birdhouse. The possibilities are endless!
  • Push yourself physically, if possible, and having fun with activities such as martial arts, parkour, gymnastics, archery, axe throwing, etc. is a fun way to be more like your favorite superheroes and is just a fun way to keep moving. 
  • Explore new things. Never stop being curious. One way to do this is by taking up a new hobby. Anythink has plenty of ways to try out a new hobby or rekindle an old one. Ask a staff member about TryIts and have fun!
  • Be kind. This is possibly the most important way to become a hero is to be kind to others and kind to yourself. Sounds cheesy, but it’s tried and true advice.

What are some ways you’ve been a hero, or someone has been a hero to you? Tell us in the comments, or just geek out about your favorite superhero.