Back in the before times, 2020 was poised to be the Year of the Superhero. If you follow such things like I do, 2020 was supposed to follow some amazing storylines in both the DC and Marvel universes. DC was already home to some incredible television crossovers with Crisis on Infinite Earths and a number of DC movies were set to be launched this year as well including Wonder Woman 1984. In the Marvel world, we were all aiming for life after Infinity War and what they call Phase 4.
Okay, maybe I follow this stuff a little too closely. But that all changed back in March. Production on television shows shut down. Movie theaters were closed so releases of Wonder Woman, Black Widow and even The Batman were all pushed off to 2021.
This means no stories about people who fly and people who sling webs and people who fly invisible jets. It means we can’t catch up with The Flash and Cisco Ramone and Elastic Man. No Batwoman or Supergirl. No arrows. No Captain America shield. No crossovers.
Instead 2020 brought us masks of a different sort. The brought us peril and danger — and these perils were real.
It dawned on me this week as I watched lines stretch around city blocks of people waiting patiently to vote that maybe these superhero shows are setting an unrealistic bar for me. I’ve never seen a man fly. I’ve never seen a woman with a lasso of truth. I’ve never seen a suit that can make someone navigate the speed force. I have seen a friend of mine work an 18 hour shift at a hospital, sleep four hours, then work another 18 hour shift. That same friend had to change PPE gear every hour and after treating particularly contagious patients. There was no magical phone booth nearby to make a quick change.
We all have done incredible things over the past nine months. And even the definition of incredible needs to be redefined. Simply wearing a mask in the Walmart is what this world needs right now. It seems simple (to some), but if you wore a mask, you may have saved a life. You may have saved a hospital bed or a ventilator.
If you waited in a line to vote this week, you likely made a difference for your neighbors and relatives around you. It’s not unreasonable to say that you changed the world. The simple is heroic because so many of us choose to do nothing than even the simple. So if you voted or protected others by wearing a mask, worked a polling place, or even called your Congressperson this year, you made a difference. You may not wear a latex suit or leap tall buildings in a single bound. But you are real and you made a tangible difference in the world.
Maybe 2020 was the year of the Superhero all along.
(Chris Kamler often sends his tweets while wearing a latex suit. Follow him on Twitter as @TheFakeNed)