What Makes a Hero?

9, 13-19 November 2016

Last November 9, Instagram’s @sketch_dailies picked female heroes or #sheroes as prompts for one week. With the prompts, I drew She-Ra and and Wonderwoman. Within the same week, the #sheroes prompt inspired me to draw Pyrrha Nikos from Rooster Teeth’s RWBY.

Wonder Woman

“If it means interfering in an ensconced, outdated system, to help just one woman, man or child…I’m willing to accept the consequences.” -Wonder Woman #170

Looking back at what I’ve drawn (as well as one recent issue in our country), I reflected –

What  do we look for in a person to be considered a hero? Or, rather, what makes a person a hero?

She-Ra, Princess of Power

As I was trying to read more on heroism, I noticed that a quote by Arthur Ashe has frequently used in the articles. According to Ashe, “True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost.”

In an article entitled “Understanding Heroism” from Heroic Imagination Project, Dr. Philip Zimbano defines heroes as “people who transform compassion (a personal virtue) into heroic action (a civic virtue). In doing so, they put their best selves forward in service to humanity.”

“Nothing but the power of good – it’s always stronger than evil.” – She-Ra

Heroism has always been linked with courage and bravery. As I see it, it is better to associate it with service – an act where you are willing to give to the fullest of what you have without so much of a thought of what will be in it for you.

“I’ve always felt as though I was destined to become a Huntress – to protect the world…”-Pyrrha Nikos

RWBY’s Pyrrha Nikos

Popular culture through comic books, films, television shows and web series has introduced us to a multitude of individuals who usually possess gifts or powers which they use to help others. Superheroes, we call them. And while they use power or skills to aid those in need, a number of these superheroes require no recognition as they conceal their identity with a mask or in an alternate persona. Some consider it as a duty.

As a popular line from a movie goes –

“With great power comes great responsibility.” 

However, we all cannot be caped crusaders and fight crime like them. But that does not mean that we cannot perform acts of heroism

Heroism does not necesarily entail grand acts like preventing a train to get derailed or stopping an armed group from robbing a bank. Us, civilians, can extend simple acts of kindness. Actions as simple as offering a seat to the elderly or a pregnant woman or assisting someone lost for directions may not seem very ground breaking – but it is a good start. When everyone performs an act of kindness towards others without expecting anything in return on a daily basis, this can become the norm-  a way to make this world a more pleasant place to live in.

“We must learn that passively to accept an unjust system is to cooperate with that system, and thereby to become a participant in its evil.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.


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