(I know what you’re thinking. Why do I have a picture of Vera Farmiga-in uniform no less- in a post about superheroes? Trust me. Have I ever let you down before? Don’t answer that.)
Anyways . . . X-Men ushered in a new age of superhero worship after which the good guys in funny costumes became brooding, sexy beasts with magnanimous skill sets. Christopher Nolan upped the ante with his Dark Knight trilogy, which served to extinguish the campy soul of Adam West.
Today’s superhero has gone lean and mean, replacing campy with cool. And while Downey and Bale and Jackman are game changers with mad skills, this boy happens to believe campy and cool are not mutually exclusive qualities.
So I’m making my own superhero. He’s campier than ‘smores and back packs, he doesn’t much care for leaping tall buildings in a single bound. He’s not faster than a speeding bullet or more powerful than a locomotive. He can’t swing from rooftop to rooftop or regenerate or punch stone into gravel. But what he does have is an innate ability to merge campy with cool. More coolness than any person in the free world (Except Pat Riley, of course.). He understands full well that it’s not about the game you talk, it’s about the game you bring.
Greg Gutfeld-who happens to be the shortest superhero of all time as
well as a favorite commentator of mine- is right when he talks about the subjective (read: bullshit) nature of Cool. Being cool doesn’t really mean anything, but I do believe that’s because you have to make it mean something. That’s where Super Dude comes in. He’s a little bit campy, a little bit disco and a LOT of The Big Lebowski. Hey, I always considered the Dude to be a superhero.
-Super Dude is late thirties . . . Maybe even mid forty something- Granted, he’s lost a few steps and his paunch has become more formidable than his punch. Anyone who says you must be physically gifted to kick ass and take names never watched The Sopranos.
-Super Dude has kids. Kids are nature’s way taking your ego and throwing it in the microwave. Superheroes should be confident without being cocky, and kids will take care of that.
-Super Dude has a steady love thing. Not a vaguish love interest that comes and goes with the story line. This woman is the reason his superhero outfit doesn’t have that marinara stain on the the logo. If not for her, he wouldn’t know where in the hell he left his boots or that ray gun and he sure as hell wouldn’t remember that ten o’clock meeting to decide the fate of the universe . . .
-Super Dude drives a Bugati- More specifically, aVeyron 16. Because this beast can go from 0-60 in the time it takes you to sneeze. It grooves macadam at 260 mph. You want more horsepower? Buy a team of Clydesdales and feed them steroids.
-Super Dude has a female sidekick- Because when you’re fighting for truth, justice and yes, the American way. . you don’t have time for pissing contests with a kid who’s got a chip on his shoulder the size of Montana. When dudes team up, they usually spend as much time fighting each other as they do fighting the bad guys. A Super Dudette balances the books- literally, figuratively, soulfully.
-Super Dudette drives the Bugati- Does this one need explanation?
-Super Dudette looks exactly like Vera Farmiga- I told you I wasn’t gonna let you down. If you doubted me . . well, okay . . you were probably right to doubt me. Never mind.
-And she wears this getup when fighting crime- Yeah, I know it’s body paint. And there isn’t a bad guy on Goblin’s green earth that would refuse to lay down their arms and surrender when this extremely convincing fashion argument made the scene. God doesn’t have to bless America . . . but arch villains are gonna be all over it.
-(And oh yeah) Super Dude and Super Dudette love their country- They would do anything for it. And by anything, I’m not dealing in hyperbole . . nah ah. They would give their lives for it. That, to me, is more than just anything. That’s everything.
Come to think of it, America doesn’t need a Super Dude or a Super Dudette after all. Not when we have men and women who willingly choose to put themselves in harm’s way by venturing to the desperate places of this scary world. Men and women whose skill sets and drive would keep them safe, sound and successful on this side of the fence.
They’re not here for that kind of roll. They’re somewhere else, always. They trudge through nightmarish tribal conflicts and unforgiving political entanglements despite the fact they’re not made of steel and they don’t have x-ray vision. Despite the fact the bad guys are not always so easy to figure out. The sense of duty these men and women possess is not some antiquated notion, it’s a genuine calling whose value is priceless.
I don’t know about you, but this world seems to be unraveling by the day. So color me thankful that our superheroes don’t hide in phone booths or bat caves. They’re right where we need them.