If in the previous article we mentioned heroes as mythological beings comparable to the gods and semi-gods of the ancient myth, now it seems right to face the other side of the coin: the city level with its urban hero.


Urban hero in all his glory
A nice roundup of friends. Classic example of an Urban Hero

The Street and the City are a little different from Space, did you know?

The street and the city are ecosystems strongly linked to any type of hero, but in this context we are talking about individuals who do not have "amazing cosmic powers in tiny living space" or who do not fall into the real category of archetypes. In short, let's go from Olympus and epic themes to something else, a lower level, perhaps?

To tell the truth no, in fact urban heroism, while not speaking through elegant metaphors or symbols, deals with very delicate themes and often closer to everyday life. So while heroes with legendary powers face invasions of worlds and devourers of planets, on the other side of the fence the enemy is the damage related to substance abuse, exploitation of people or issues such as discrimination, no matter who.

So while Batman talks about the problem of addiction through the metaphor of Venom, the super-drug capable of providing physical performance at the limit of the human, and which will then become the strength of Bane, one of his deadliest nemeses, Green Arrow, one of the many minor characters born as a copy of Bruce Wayne, will directly slam the theme of heroin in the face of readers with a story "Snowbirds don't Fly”Where it will be discovered that Speedy, his shoulder, makes use of the substance.


Your "friendly" neighborhood urban hero

So what world does the more urban hero move into? And what does he represent?
I think life, the epic nature of everyday life and the banality of evil can be excellent answers.

Although Spider-Man may face the Maggia from time to time or Wonder Woman may have an episode dedicated to domestic violence, it is only the "super", who are not so super, who move in the alleys and without colorful costumes or funny cloaks. really find yourself fighting the constant abuse that ordinary people suffer.

So if Superman invites us to give the best of us, aiming higher and higher, heroes like Luke Cage or Daredevil teach us that, in any case, it is not necessary to have a huge set of skills or to be individuals with unlimited charisma, but it is also enough to give only the example by doing every day what we have been taught to be right and that often the great ideals run the risk of distancing us from what is injustice.

A key example worth remembering is the Green Lantern saga. Intergalactic policeman with a ring capable of creating energy constructs, and the aforementioned Green Arrow, a highly politicized DC Comics hero on the left, and the journey around America.

The saga opens with a thief who escapes from a shop in an earthquake area chased by the robbed: while Freccia Verde blocks the shopkeeper because "the real thief is the one who raises the costs in case of disasters", the space policeman, of republican tendency ( were the Reagan years) abides by the law by trapping the thief. The quarrel between the two is resolved with a wandering around the territories of the United States, territories that under the American Dream hide the drama of a country in economic crisis, still full of contradictions and in the hands of corporate power.


Conclusions on the Urban Hero and gameplay tips!

The point that I personally find most symbolic is when in one of the classic ghettos where police brutality and the exploitation of workers reign, an elderly man accuses Green Lantern of having done a lot for the green-skinned people of a planet, for the one with orange than another and nothing for the black-skinned people of his.

Here is the crux of everything and at the same time the reason why in a world of demigods we also need minor heroes who move among ordinary people and help them thanks to almost derisory powers.

The mythology must exist, it is the story that stimulates us to push towards the best, that affects our imagination and speaks to our unconscious helping us to have examples that go beyond the human, but without the urban part, without contact with the common life all these ideals and these beautiful hopes remain in the air, floating like a flag blown by the wind.

The world of role-playing games also helps us in this, bringing before our eyes products heirs of the deconstructionism of the 80s such as #UrbanHeroes by Alessandro Rivaroli and Matteo Botti and published by Tin Hat Games.

A raw comics game like "Watchmen"of Alan Moore or "The Boys" by Garth Ennis, which places in front of people everything that is hidden behind the golden world of heroes, bringing us back to earth and reminding us that often those who make certain choices do not do so driven by utopian ideals but also simply from a "someone will have to do it", making them in their epic, more human than the very human beings they defend.