Updated 8/12/11 3:37pm |
We all grow up admiring superheroes, we at Alert1 have our own aging
in place champions too. For some of us it is Batman, for others, Superman.
The Superhero Trinity is complete with Wonder Woman. For those that aren’t
satisfied with the DC Comics world, Spiderman and Iron Man from the Marvel
universe fill the need for a superhero.
Our superheroes are meant to embody the best in humanity and the
qualities that people strive to have each and every day. They are the
inspirations, and in their own fictional worlds, the entire world watches them
and aspires to be like them. In the real world as well, the influence of these
characters can’t be denied. They’re on screens, on books, TVs, magazine covers,
shirts, toys, everywhere. And, superheroes are ageless.
The works of Andreas
Englund strike a different chord. Not only is the superhero of this series
aged, but they are decaying, withering away, incongruous with our notion of the
“hero.” He is smoking, coughing, frightened, hung-over, addicted, arrested, and
essentially a counter-icon to the image of the superhero that people hold dear
to their hearts.
In an alternate image of
the aging superhero, we have the modern conception of Batman: as he grows
older, he continues to fight crime as long as he can, and then to train the
next generation who would carry on his legacy as the “bane” of crime.
But the most important
part of this retirement story is the journey that Batman has to go through in
order to successfully
grow into the golden years. He has to face the limits of his aging. Bruce
Wayne also faces new questions on morals and beliefs as his alter ego has to be
retired and as only Bruce Wayne himself is left. Not at all easy, but senior
retirement is accomplished in the end.
So no, superheroes will
not die as a shadow of their glory days as Andreas Englund would have us
believe. They will live in their continued legacies as paragons of the best of
Outside of the medium of
comic books, we often forget that superheroes walk among us. They don no armor,
no cape, or no utility belt. Skin tight body suits truly wouldn't suit them. We
see them daily as they walk the streets clad in shawls or cane on hand. They
sit in cafes, movies, restaurants and oversee their children with knowing,
They are our independent
seniors. These heroes are marked by their mortality, rather than their
The works of oil painter
Andreas Englund strike a particular chord. Englund’s portrayals of an aged hero
in the twilight of his days depict such displacement: a once active hero
struggling to remain relevant in a world that has forgotten him. Time, it
seems, is the inescapable truth.
Englund’s hero is illustrated to continue his heroics (and
occasionally reimagined in less-than-super circumstances). And as the center of
Englund’s work, the hero is a deification of the human desire to be respected
and acknowledged—though I am aged, my accomplishments are worthy of
Our senior citizens have
depth, knowledge and wisdom that are not to be underestimated. They are the
heroes that spun our world and fashioned it towards more tomorrows.