I have been reading comics since I was a kid. There was always something about them that caught my attention, even among the unending flood of available books from various libraries. As well, I have, more recently, been listening to randomly found artists on YouTube, Spotify, and other music finding sites. So, I took immediate notice when something found online married two of my favorite things:
Seriously, how great was that music video?! I have been playing it on repeat for the last few days. Naturally, I had to see if there were any bits of message that were worth further analysis. As always, SPOILERS ahead.
The song discusses the narrator’s (most likely Chu himself) relationship with comic books and the heroes he found within the colored pages. Comics have taken the place of myths and legends of the past. They are now the new means of instilling lessons and tales of grandeur that inspire generations to come. Basically, Comics are the new Greek myths. This is no more apparent than in the following lines: Just a boy, barely even into puberty/ these books gave me a vision of the super man I could be. Obviously, no one will obtain super powers from biological or chemical accidents, but these stories that a bunch of “nerds” obsess over are just as much a guide to life as the words and lessons found in any religious text.
Of course, these are still just stories which is just another fancy way to say lies. In a crisis, my defenders left me all alone/No power ring, ringing the bat phone/No SHIELD Agents, my whole world invaded/And heroes were nothing but pictures on paper. The second verse of rap tells the fall of the veil on the narrator’s eyes. He now sees that these comics and stories were false promises. That good guys don’t always win and that most of the world’s problems can’t be solved by a guy or girl in spandex and a cape. It is only after this realization that the narrator can truly become what he is meant to be. Sometimes, we need the dream and ideal image to pass our eyes, so that the truth can be seen. The perils and ideas of childhood must be left in childhood.
However, that does not mean that there are no gems of wisdom in the things of childhood. We tend to move past our pasts thinking that they have nothing to teach or give us. Yet, our pasts usually impart some of the best lessons of our lives. But I’ve learned: a hero isn’t about being super/We become heroes because of what makes us human. In the end, the lessons the narrator learns from his love of comics and their stories help him become who he is meant to be. Also, they impart the understanding that the core of the characters he loved was not found in their powers, but in their adherence to the ideas of service and sacrifice and humanity.
Ultimately, this song and video caught my attention for its overall message of hope and purpose and imagination and faith that But one small spark can light the whole night/So one small life can fight the good fight. And isn’t that the message and ideal of comics and stories in general?
Thus endeth today’s lessons.