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The Origin Story of a Superhero Addict

I consider myself to be a superhero addict. Any movie or television series that features one or more superheroes fighting crime is going to appeal to me. It doesn't matter if the superheroes are Marvel characters, DC characters, or characters from some other brand. If a show or film features superheroes, I'm in.

Like the superheroes I enjoy so much, I have an origin story. My origin story doesn't explain how I became a superhero, though. Rather, it tells the story of how I became such a fan of superheroes. You see, it was the superheroes I enjoyed as a child that made me into the superhero lover that I am now.

Going back to my earliest memories, there are two superhero properties that I recall being fond of since as long as I can remember. The first one is Batman. Despite my youth being a time when Michael Keaton's Batman and the Batman from Batman: The Animated Series were popular, it was a different Batman that I remember watching regularly on television. While the aforementioned versions of Batman are probably my current preferences, the version that I watched most often as a child was the one that was played by Adam West in the 1960s series. The fact that a show from so long before my time was such a big part of my childhood may seem strange, but it just goes to show you how much of an impact that show had on pop culture. It truly does transcend generations. Heck, I read that when Adam West made an appearance at Comic Con not too long ago, the audience reacted to him the same way an audience might have reacted to the Beatles.

Moving on, the other superhero property that I remember enjoying early on in my childhood was a much more recent property, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Being born in 1988, the first few years of my life occurred at a time when the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were at the height of their popularity. I remember watching the cartoon, watching the movies, owning the toys, and seeing the merchandise featuring the characters everywhere in stores. Clearly, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ruled the world at this point in time, and if you didn't know who they were, you had to be living under a rock.

It's really easy to see why they were so popular, though. The characters all had distinct personalities that kids could relate to and enjoy. In fact, I personally remember constantly switching which one I considered to be my favorite of them because they all had their good qualities. At one time or another, I claimed each member of the team to be my favorite Ninja Turtle. I just couldn't make up my mind as to which one I liked the most.

As all things do, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles eventually faded in popularity and were replaced by the Power Rangers as the next big thing. Incidentally, the Power Rangers are also the superheroes who I next became fascinated by.

Of the earliest team of Power Rangers, I really enjoyed two characters the most, Tommy and Kimberly. Tommy was, in my opinion, the coolest of all of the Power Rangers, and apparently I wasn't the only one who thought so. He was quickly promoted to team leader, and in all of the incarnations of the show, he is the character who has had the most different Power Rangers costumes and has appeared in the most episodes. On the other hand, Kimberly was an early crush of mine. I liked her so much that I lost a bit of interest in the show after her character left, though I did become a big fan again by the time Power Rangers in Space and Power Rangers Lost Galaxy came around. The thing that ultimately caused me to stop watching the show was that the cast began to be replaced with each passing season. This was likely a brilliant strategy in terms of saving money by not having to keep giving cast members raises and in terms of gaining new fans by constantly rebooting the show, but for me, it was a reason to stop watching.

Sometime during the time I was watching Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, I became a fan of Spider-Man: The Animated Series. It was the first, but certainly not the last, Marvel property that caught my attention. Spider-Man was different from all of the superheroes I had been interested in before. He was more relatable, having the types of problems that I could see myself having, and that was a huge plus for me.

Spider-Man: The Animated Series didn't just get me interested in Spider-Man, though. It got me interested in a ton of other Marvel characters. Throughout the run of the series, Daredevil, Iron Man, Captain America, the Punisher, the X-Men, and other characters made guest appearances. Each of these characters, with the exception of the X-Men, were new to me.

Finally, around the late '90s, I discovered the superhero who would become my favorite, Superman. While I had watched and enjoyed the first Superman movie starring Christopher Reeve, it was really Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman that made Superman into my favorite superhero. The show gave Clark Kent the relatability factor that I had enjoyed about Spider-Man, as Clark was portrayed as a likable guy who had a strong relationship with his parents and just so happened to be in love with a woman who didn't notice him. He may have been the strongest man in the world, but like the rest of us, he struggled to get a date with the woman he liked, and something about that resonated with me. The show also featured the gorgeous Teri Hatcher as Lois Lane, a suave and sophisticated version of Lex Luthor, and a fan favorite supervillain who finally pointed out how silly it was that Lois couldn't recognize that Clark was Superman just because of a pair of glasses. Simply put, the show oozed charm.

And there you have it. The reason why I try to catch as many superhero movies in the theater as I can? The reason I dread the thought of missing a week of my favorite superhero shows on TV? It's because of the impact that the superheroes I grew up loving as a child had on me.
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