Saturday, September 28, 2013

Ben 10: Can A Child Be A Superhero?

A superhero is a hyperbolized image of a hero who if fighting the evil, and his main outstanding features are some paranormal abilities, as well as an easily recognisable costume and often a mask. In the American tradition--both in comics and films--it is common for a superhero to wear a costume, have a codename, fight super-villains (who are pretty much like themselves, also have costumes and codenames, but--naturally--are evil). Along with the above said, a superhero may also have a secret identity, and come as a result of an experiment, able to outlive his/her creators.

Superheroes may be normal people leading their ordinary everyday lives, but at the periods of time, when their city or the humankind needs help, they turn into superheroes. They may even be ill-fated and have a lot of complexes, yet in their magical form of superheroes they make up for all their mishaps and enjoy fame and acknowledgment.

That is perhaps one of the reasons why there finally appeared a child superhero. The image of such a hero serves as self-esteem booster for thousands of kids and teenagers who do not feel secure among their peers and grown-ups. At the certain period of time in life, pretty much every kid goes through this stage of establishing himself or herself as an individual, so such positive images as superhero child might be of great assistance. Ben used to be an ordinary boy, but after he had become an owner of a magical artefact Omnitrix, he became able to turn into different aliens, each of them having their own extraordinary power. So he fights different villains from various planets and saves the Earth now and then.

There might also be another reason that we needed Ben 10 to emerge as a child superhero--the thing is that within the last couple of decades, the popularity of superhero comics is believed to be declining rapidly in America, and it is nowhere else but in specialty shops that the remaining hardcore fans can find a decent selection of superhero comics. Some earlier superheroes like Batman and Superman have become a part of the American pop culture, though. But still--the lack of demand for American comics and cartoons featuring superheroes was the reason many people started to address the foreign tradition, e.g. Japanese anime and manga for fresh ideas to revitalise the genre.

Thus, the appearance of a new superhero who is a child is, same as switching onto the foreign tradition, the way to liberate from the conventional stereotype of a superhero that is viewed by many as a necessary precondition for the revival of public interest to the genre. And here he comes--Ben 10, who is not only a kid, but who also can turn into several different superheroes and not just one. Unlike the 'traditional' grown-up superheroes, Ben 10 is not contained by one style, but he rather combines several of them. Perhaps that is why he has become so popular not only as a movie character from Cartoon Network series but also as a character for many online games.

Thousands of boys and girls in different countries enjoy following the adventures of Ben 10, and when it comes to computer games about Ben, the good thing about them is that while some of them deal with the boy superhero's alien fights (e.g. "Ben 10--Saving Sparksville", "Ben 10 Alien Hunter"), others develop your logical skills or memory (e.g. "Ben 10 Fix My Tiles", "Ben 10 Memory Balls") or even stimulate you to learn academic subjects ("Ben 10 Mathrix").

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