The Most Human Superhero: Spider-Man

The Most Human Superhero: Spider-Man

For over fifty years, we have been following the adventures of the Amazing Spider-Man - so what makes us keep coming back?

Spider-Man: Homecoming is the third film incarnation of the friendly neighborhood webslinger in under ten years - the film itself being a sequel to Captain America: Civil War. Despite these movies, the countless TV shows, video games, toys, and comics, it is obvious that the audience hasn't grown tired of Spider-Man. And why would they? He’s not a perfect hero, he makes mistakes, people don't always trust him - we can see some of ourselves in the character.

His love life isn't perfect when compared to other heroes, and it only helps to make him seem more “everyman.” Starting with his high school crushes - Liz Allen, etc, Peter Parker isn't smooth like Tony Stark. He’s shy, socially awkward, and, as said in the first appearance in Amazing Fantasy #15, “Midtown High’s only professional wallflower.” It should be noted that thanks to a retcon in Alias, Jessica Jones had a crush on Peter when they were in school. Even when Peter later dated Gwen Stacy and future fiance Mary Jane Watson,he wasn't always the best boyfriend - he is the Amazing Spider-Man, and just because it’s date night doesn't mean crime stops. Yet despite this, he is still deeply in love with Mary Jane and will do anything to be with her. That's something we all can relate to. One of his driving forces is love, and he’s done everything possible to keep his personal life safe from harm.

Mistakes have been made, and those stick with him. His origin is based on this, wherein he lets a criminal go free after a wrestling match. The unnamed criminal goes on to kill Peter’s Uncle Ben in a carjacking, causing Peter to use his powers for good and not for personal gain. This comes up for Peter quite often, knowing that he has to be the hero to prevent another death like that of his uncle (very much like Batman.) The famous Death of Gwen Stacy story involves Green Goblin dropping Gwen from the George Washington Bridge, and as Spider-Man slings a web line to catch her, the sudden stop snaps her neck. This unexpected death becomes a driving force of the character for several issues, and often is brought up even now - such as when the mainstream “616” Spider-Man met the alternate universe Spider-Woman/Gwen Stacy. With every mistake and error he makes, it only helps Peter grow and become a better hero. He learns from them, much like we do. These follow him, make him into the man he is. And with every one, he is determined not to let it happen again.

The mantra of Spider-Man is one that has become one of the most iconic lines in literature - “with great power comes great responsibility.” As this is motivates Peter to be the hero New York needs, it also gives a message to the reader. Throughout the fifty-plus years of the character’s publication, this six word phrase comes up again and again - always there to remind us to do good. Currently, Peter Parker is running a company, yet he hasn't stopped being Spider-Man. These words echo in his head, reminding him that he is more than just a guy in a costume. He is a hero to many, and he owes it to the people to keep them safe. His "great responsibility" comes from a desire to do good with his life, which is a desire of many. This sentence, first used in the very first appearance, is a staple of the comic book genre, and even the Supreme Court has cited it in their rulings. Power is always nice, but one must use that for good and for the betterment of mankind, not for themselves like so many do.

Spider-Man is one of the rare superheroes that we all can connect to in some way. He isn't perfect like Superman, nor is he as confident as Iron Man. He is the average guy, with all the problems life brings. Peter Parker stands out as someone who doesn't really fit the usual “superhero stereotype,” but that's what makes him a good character. He fights for what he belives in, and keeps the knowledge of his past mistakes as a guiding light. We all can see something to relate to in Spider-Man, and the next generation will as well. I mean, come on - they’ll be on the twenty-third reboot by then.

Cover Image Credit: Sony/Marvel Studios/Disney

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Just Because I'm From Hawaii, Does Not Mean I'm Hawaiian

My residency is not my race.

Let me start off with a few things about myself. I am a first generation American who is primarily Filipino, Spanish and Hungarian. With that said, I am a woman of color, who frankly, looks all white. I was born and raised on the North Shore of O'ahu, but currently live in the mainland.

Now, let me tell you a little bit about Hawai'i, because I'm sure you don't know much about it since it's only given like, a paragraph of recognition in our history books. The Ancient Hawaiians traveled by canoe for thousands of miles using only the stars to navigate and found themselves in the Hawaiian Islands. They settled and their culture spread throughout the mountains and shores.
In 1778, Captain Cook "discovered" the islands, despite the thriving population residing there (he can be compared to Christopher Columbus). In the 1830s, the Sugar Industry was introduced, bringing a diverse range of immigrants from China, the Philippines, Japan and many other countries to work on the plantations, creating the diverse and ethnic population that makes up the islands today. In the 1890s, Queen Lili'uokalani (lily-oo-oh-kah-lah-nee) was imprisoned in an upstairs bedroom of her palace and soon after, the monarchy was overthrown. Hawai'i became a state in the 1950s.

With all of that said, we can now discuss an issue that I have realized needs to be addressed.

Since I moved to the mainland, I have had many encounters where people assure me that I am Hawaiian, despite my rebuttals that I am definitely not. The conversation usually goes something like this:

Them: "So you're from Hawaii, are you Native Hawaiian?"

Me: "Oh no, I'm Filipino, Hungarian and Spanish."

Them: "No, I mean, were you born and raised there?"

Me: "Yeah, but I'm not Hawaiian."

Them: "Yeah you are. It's the same thing."

No, it is most definitely not the same thing. If you were in Japan and saw a white person or any person not of Japanese descent, would you ask if they were Japanese simply because they lived there?
No, you wouldn't because you should know that residency does not equate descent. Sure, you might be curious and ask, but if they told you they weren't Japanese, you wouldn't try to convince them that they are. As I mentioned, Hawaii's population is made up of a ton of immigrants, and just because someone's family may have been there for generations, they are still not Hawaiian unless they actually have Hawaiian blood.

Not only do people assume that I am Hawaiian simply because I am from there, but they will continuously say that I look Hawaiian even if they have no idea what someone of Hawaiian descent looks like. Hawaiians are people of color, as are many of those who reside in the islands. However, as I previously mentioned, I do not look like a person of color even though I am, so why would you associate me, a seemingly full white person, to be Hawaiian? It makes no sense.

There are many things wrong with choosing to misidentify an individual or a group of people.
One, is that by you convincing yourself that I am something that I am not, you are diminishing who I am, and how I identify myself.
Second, you are creating an illusion based upon your own desires of who Hawaiians as a people are.
Third, by using me specifically, you are whitewashing the image of an entire race. I could go on, but there is not enough time in the world to name them all.

Their culture has been reduced to leis, aloha shirts, surfing, and tiki torches. Aloha has become a household word used by people who have no understanding of what Aloha truly means. Girls go as hula dancers in an effort to show skin on Halloween without any second thought. Please stop. We cannot continue to misidentify, appropriate and basically erase Hawaiian culture, just as has been done to the Native Americans.

Hawaiians have already been stripped of their land. I will not allow them to be stripped of their identity as well.

Cover Image Credit: TourMaui

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You Can Tell The Difference Between Momentary Happiness And Deeper Happiness

"At the end of your life, go out with a bruised-up, worn out heart that gave too much and loved too strongly and felt too fiercely. Go out with the certainty that you gave it everything you had and didn't hold anything back". - Heidi Priebe


First level happiness: Momentary

Momentary happiness is waking up early and watching the sunrise. It's the first sip of coffee in the morning. It's a big breakfast before a long day of doing what I love.

Momentary happiness is stepping into the restaurant I love and being surrounded by the people who have watched me grow up these past three years. It's understanding that this thing is about family just as much as it is business. It's falling in love with every early morning and every late night. It's learning that hard work isn't hard if you love what you're doing.

Momentary happiness is hitting a new personal record at the gym. It's that smile plastered across my face every time I enter a team huddle. It's down on one knee, all eyes on me. It's feeling the trust my team has in me. It's the feeling of joy when my number gets called. It's the burning in my lungs because I know that I gave it my everything. It's not being able to move without wincing the next day because the game asked for my hustle and I gave it my heart.

Momentary happiness is the instant you see someone you love and can't help but smile. It's the tight hug between you and someone that means the world to you. It's the weight off your shoulders when you finally express your true feelings. It's holding your breath as you wait for a response. Monetary happiness is being scared but doing it anyway.

Momentary happiness is coming home at night and having your dog jump on you the moment you open the door. It's your parents smiling, knowing you got home safe.

Momentary happiness is driving without a destination and simply reflecting on life. It's taking a step back and allowing myself to be aware of my breathing and existence. It's allowing myself to find pleasure in the little things.

Momentary happiness is getting accepted into college. It's getting that job. It's making the Dean's list. It's acing the test you study so hard for. It's watching your hard work pay off. It's finding your people. It's all the things that make you proud of yourself and happy to be alive.

Momentary happiness was buying my dream car at age 17 without my parents help.

A Deeper Happiness:

A deeper happiness is finding beauty in vulnerability. Not holding back my feelings and telling people how magnificent they are because people don't get told that enough. A deeper happiness is allowing me to feel everything deeply and without explanation. It's finding beauty in the madness and trusting the process.

Life's about getting lost in passion and dedicating myself to the things that matter most. It's wanting success as bad as I want to breathe. It's about taking that jump and seeing if I can land it, and if I don't, it's about being crazy enough to give it one more try. Life's about risking it all even if the outcome is uncertain. A deeper happiness is seeing myself grow into the person I've always wanted to become. Deeper happiness is being able to keep my promises to myself and others.

Life is about being empathetic. Finding out someone's story and attempting to understand their actions. It's about not taking things personally and allowing for second chances, even thirds. It's understanding that not every action needs a reaction. A greater happiness is caring for those around me just as much, if not more, than myself.

Life is embracing hardships and disappointments. Understanding that knowledge comes from experience and disappointments are all apart of the journey. A deeper happiness is understanding that this to shall pass. It's being able to laugh and smile even though things didn't go my way because everything that is meant to be will be. It's understanding that I will be stronger because of my defeats.

A deeper happiness is putting myself in hard situations, situations I know will hurt me. It's helping people get through their hard times. A deeper happiness is being the reason someone smiled. It's being the shoulder to cry on. It's wearing my heart on my sleeve because I would rather feel everything than nothing at all.

A deeper happiness is giving everything I have and being a better person than I was yesterday. Making my friends and family proud but myself prouder. A deeper happiness is leaving my mark on the world. It's about leaving a person, situation, and world better than I found it.

A beautiful, fulfilling life is one that money can't buy.

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