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“...I could never understand why any crime fighter would go out and fight crime.” from an interview with Will Eisner printed in Witzend Magazine published in 1969 and used here without permission of either Mister Eisner or Witzend Magazine.

Let me go on record here with my unqualified admiration for Mister Eisner as one of the great pioneers of the comics story medium and as one of the unsurpassed masters and innovators of comics and graphic novels.

That stipulated, I can think of several reasons off the top of my head why a crime fighter would fight crime. One that springs immediately to mind is a passionate love of justice and a determination to see that criminals do not profit from their acts of aggression against innocent victims.

Conversely, to follow Mister Eisner’s logic to an obvious conclusion, a “hero” who fights crime for no particular reason, one who cares nothing for justice and has no personal interest in the concept of justice is a character without motivation, without goals and without a reason to exist. Whatever the character may be, he is no hero.

There is a great deal of misconception today about the concept of a hero. The regime in Washington will insist a hero is someone who climbs into a military aircraft, flies half way around the world and drops explosives on civilians far below, people he has never seen and will never know. His excuse is that he has been told this will inspire his victims to dispose of their current political leaders and to install leaders more subservient to the Washington regime.

In similar fashion, the concept of “hero” has been so universally diluted that anyone can qualify as “hero”. Doctors are heroes and nurses are heroes and bus drivers are heroes and teachers are heroes and cops are heroes and firemen are heroes and civil rights activists are heroes and bureaucrats are heroes and unionized workers out on strike are heroes and average citizens are heroes and everybody is a hero so long as their activities are politically correct and so long as they act to help some unfortunate in some way that in no wise of direct benefit to the “hero”.

The concept of “hero” has been so devalued it no longer means anything.

It’s time to ask the question, “What is a hero?”

A hero is a person of inspiration, one who shows the way of achievement, one who shows by example what is possible.

Though a hero may, by his example, help someone less fortunate, that is not his primary function. In fact helping another person or group of people is incidental to the purpose of a hero.

A hero shows by example what may be accomplished by great effort and exceptional ability. He inspires others of lesser ability to attempt things they might never have considered without the example of a hero’s success to guide them.

A hero is not concerned with being a hero. Heroism is not part of his ambition, he likely has no interest in being looked upon as a hero. His interest is directed toward the attainment of the goals he has set for himself. If others should see his example and profit from his accomplishments, so much to the good, but likely he will not notice. The admiration of others is not one of a hero’s concerns.

So why would a crime fighter go out and fight crime, Mister Eisner? Because of a passionate love of justice.

A love of justice is a selfish motive. A man who loves justice is a man who demands to live in a world where justice is the standard and who will accept nothing less. His fight for justice has benefits for those about him who also love justice and his love of justice has consequences for those who would circumvent justice and try to get away with the shady deal and the dishonest compromise.

For those who would avoid justice, the man who fights for justice is no friend. He is someone to be avoided, to be hated, to be ridiculed for his failure to compromise, to be destroyed if possible.

But for the honest, he is someone to be admired, an example to be followed.

He is a hero.