Losers Rule

Bon­nie Bur­ton says hur­rah for the mis­fits and od­dballs

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Opinion -

There’s noth­ing more ex­cit­ing to watch than mis­fit an­ti­heroes and un­der­dogs claim­ing victory against the bad guys of the uni­verse. Whether you root for Groot, Rocket Rac­coon and the rest of the rag­tag crew in Guardians Of The Galaxy, or be­lieve in a kid on a mois­ture farm who just wants to find adventure and help out a princess, the out­siders will al­ways be the coolest kids in SF.

Per­haps we adore od­dballs the most be­cause they mir­ror our own his­tory of be­ing con­sid­ered the ado­les­cent losers and lone wolves. I can re­late to feel­ing like a mis­fit on more than one oc­ca­sion all through­out my long le­gacy as the last kid picked for any­thing. I never quite fit­ted in with all the other self- as­sured kids who could make friends in­stantly and mas­ter sports with­out re­ally try­ing.

I was the kid peo­ple looked at with one raised eye­brow. Sure, I may have had imag­i­nary friends longer than most chil­dren, and I would talk to public trash­cans pre­tend­ing they were ro­bots. So what? I was a dif­fer­ent breed of awe­some. I was a cre­ative ec­cen­tric trapped in an awk­ward pre- teen body.

I wore all black to make a state­ment. I would re­cite Shake­speare so­lil­o­quies in Klin­gon dur­ing high school au­di­tions for Ham­let. I wore glowin- the- dark lip­stick for photography lab just so I could freak out class­mates while we pro­cessed film in the dark room. I’d use a ouija board in the school li­brary to pre­tend ghosts were my tu­tors.

So yeah, I can re­late to the dis­si­dents that are her­alded as beloved sci- fi and fan­tasy he­roes. It’s so much more fun to cel­e­brate he­roes that have dealt with the same tri­als and tribu­la­tions as we do. It’s called the Hero’s Jour­ney for a rea­son.

Harry Pot­ter would never have been the hero we needed if he came from a lov­ing home and got ev­ery­thing he de­sired from the get- go. He needed to have a hor­ri­ble child­hood, min­i­mal friends and a ques­tion­able his­tory for us to re­ally get ex­cited when he stood up to un­fair pro­fes­sors, prej­u­diced wiz­ards and Lord Volde­mort him­self.

Luke Sky­walker would have been down­right dull if we’d met him at the Jedi Academy in­stead of trapped on a mois­ture farm with his aunt and un­cle, fix­ing bro­ken droids and dreaming of a more ex­cit­ing ex­is­tence.

Rocket Rac­coon wouldn’t have been the war­rior he be­came un­less he had to prove he could take on an army at his minute size. Even Groot had to over­come a few is­sues for be­ing a gi­ant with a limited vo­cab­u­lary.

There’s also he­roes who started out ex­actly like us – goofy geeks with zero game. Spi­der- Man started out as the science whiz kid be­fore he be­came the guy who could catch crim­i­nals with web from his wrists. Keep­ing his se­cret iden­tity in­tact, he still has to put up with taunt­ing peers, an over­bear­ing news­pa­per boss and a chaotic love life.

Buffy the Vam­pire Slayer is an­other great ex­am­ple of what it means to suf­fer through high school living a dou­ble life. I barely sur­vived my high school years just try­ing to get good grades while mak­ing at least one friend so as not to turn into a com­plete so­cial out­cast. I can’t imag­ine do­ing that and sav­ing the world from armies of vam­pires and demons.

Thank­fully all th­ese bizarre he­roes ex­ist for us geeks to look up to so we know that we’re not alone with our per­son­al­ity quirks and an­ti­so­cial be­hav­iour. We want to be loved, ap­pre­ci­ated and wanted just as much as our strange su­per­heroes.

I can’t wait to see what ex­cep­tional ad­ven­tures the next batch of weirdo he­roes have in store for us. I hope they con­tinue to in­spire me, as well as the next gen­er­a­tion of freaks and geeks who could use some­one like them to look up to.

I would talk to trash­cans pre­tend­ing they were ro­bots

Bon­nie reck­ons we have more in com­mon with mu­tants, Wook­iees, aliens, mois­ture farm kids and ri­otous rac­coons than we thought.

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