Why My Favorite Superheroes are Spiderman and Dr. Who


I was hanging out with a new friend a couple of weeks ago, and like we always do, we were talking about everything, jumping from topic to topic (my astrologer sweetie says her Chinese chart has more metal than mine, so she “feeds” me), and the topic of superheroes came up. We talked about why we both love Marvel’s approach to superheroes more than DC’s… though we did have reasons to love DC too. Then she asked me who my favorite superhero was. It didn’t take more than a minute to think about it and give her an answer.

Spiderman I heard myself say, and memories from childhood (good and bad ones), came rushing back to me. I chose to keep the good memories and dismiss the bad ones, as I’ve recently come to the more healthy point of view that my abuser’s shame is not mine, and I refuse to carry it anymore. Instead, I told my friend why I had always loved how Spiderman always defended the weak and helpless, and how before he got bit by that atomic spider, he was the bullied kid, and being the bullied kid all through grade school, and even into high school, I related to that instantly.

Also, as a trans/black man/sissy boy, I could relate totally to feeling like the “weird kid” among my peers, something Spiderman certainly delved into, in both the comics and the first movie. We both laughed, and she, a transwoman, who is just coming to embrace her “inner woman,” also related to Spiderman in a similar way, though she has different points of view, having had a much different childhood than me.

We also talked about Dr. Who, and how we both love the various doctors, and how the David Tennant doctor, Matt Smith doctor and Peter Capaldi doctor (who I didn’t at first like, but now love), all had traits we admired as well. Particularly how they solve issues without using violence, and how they have often championed the disenfranchised. That led to us considering if the next doctor (since, apparently Mr. Capaldi is stepping down from the role), should be maybe female, or even trans.

I loved this idea so much – even before talking to my new friend – that I decided that this year’s costume for Norwescon (the largest sci-fi/fantasy convention on the West Coast, that happens every Easter/Oestara weekend), will be my own version of Dr. Who. I’ve invented a backstory to answer why I can be black, with dreadlocks and still be the doctor, and I ran this backstory by my friend, who smiled in agreement.

Since the doctor can change into any persona he chooses, and there have been a number of space/time, er, accidents, I’m going with the doctor crosses up timelines with Dr. River Song (gorgeous Alex Kingston’s sassy, often featured character), and thus, me, a dreadlocked, black doctor. We, my friend and I thought it a good idea, and as I shake my head at the headlines that stare back at me every time I look at a newspaper or online newsfeed, I thought, yeah, if I could be any superhero, today, I’d love being the doctor, ’cause then maybe I could transport “lord dampnut,” our president, to the future, show him the result of his bad choices, give him a good speech, a la Peter Capaldi’s speech to the Zygon impersonating Claire, and change the world.

It certainly would make me happy, but that not being possible, I just keep thinking positive, light thoughts into the world and act as if trying, in my own way, to make a difference. And though I’m not Spiderman either, I still fight the good fight for those being targeted and I have to say, it does make me feel super. Blessed be.


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James Stansberry lives and writes in Seattle and can be reached at ijanaral@yahoo.com .

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