Unless you’ve elected to shun technology and eek out in a part of the world where you can live off the land, odds are you know who the Avengers are. Often billed as “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes”, the Avengers made their first appearance way back in 1963 and was the brainchild of hot-shot duo, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. Thanks to the creation of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Avengers have seen their popularity soar like never before, with each cinematic outing creaming over a billion dollars at the box office.
The concept of the hero is something that has captured the imagination of mankind for a long, long time. The dictionary definition of a hero is someone who in the face of danger, presides over adversity by way of courage, ingenuity or strength. Heroism has fascinated us for thousands of years and the concept has been personified through myths, legends, stories and real life. However, in today’s climate of movies, advertising and distractions, it’s easy to get lost in the worlds of the Avengers, Superman, Batman and other fictional heroes. It’s easy to forget that we live in a very real world, and while escapism is something many of us seek out, it’s important to acknowledge the real heroes in our lives – people who have made real and genuine contributions towards the betterment society. It is these people that are the Real Avengers…
The Real Captain America
Let’s kick things off with Cap, often compared to DC’s big blue boy scout, Captain America. Captain America’s unflinching attitude towards doing the right thing makes him one of the most admired Avengers, and possibly the most annoying too. But who is considered the real Captain America? Who is the most lauded soldier out there? Who went beyond the call of duty for his county? The honour of this status belongs to Audie Leon Murphy, one of the most decorated American combat soldiers during World War II. Murphy wasn’t just lauded by his country, but also by France and Belgium. For a person who came from dire poverty and who falsified his documentation to meet the minimal enlisting requirements, Murphy overcame tremendous obstacles in life and stuck to his morals in his twilight years when facing poverty once again, when he refused to make cigarette and alcohol commercials as he didn’t want to send people the wrong message.
The Real Black Widow
In the Avengers, Black Widow, AKA Natasha Romanova, portrayed by Scarlett Johansson, is an incredibly capable and formidable spy, sniper and martial artist. Scarlett Johansson injects Black Widow with enough conviction for viewers, male and female, to buy into her antics. However, if we’re going to talk about the possibility of a real Avenger that can replicate anything that the Black Widow can do, then the honour of that status would have to go to Nadia Comaneci. Comaneci, of Eastern European decent just like Black Widow was the first woman to ever score a perfect 10 at the Olympic Games plus six more 10’s and three gold medals. She is credited with popularising the sport around the world and is in the opinion of this writer, a real Avenger.
The Real Hawkeye
Jeremy Renner is a competent actor who’s starred in a string of hits such as The Town (2010) and The Hurt Locker (2008). His biggest claim to fame however has been his role as Hawkeye in the Avengers series. The fictional character of Hawkeye is an absolute master with a bow and arrow, so much so that we all know it’s a bunch of baloney done so for the sheer purpose of entertainment. There was however a man in real life who was renowned for his archery skills and that man was Howard Hill. For two decades, from the 1930s to the 1950s, he was billed as “The World’s Greatest Archer”. Hill made history on the set of The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) when he shot an arrow to split that of a competitor’s. But Hill didn’t just collect numerous accolades for records set by his archery skills, he also produced 23 movies for Warner Bros and stayed married to one woman until his passing in 1975 – a feat for anyone working in Hollywood.
The Real Iron Man
Our heroes aren’t perfect. In no character is this more personified than in Iron Man. Tony Stark, portrayed with style, gusto and authenticity by Robert Downey Jnr is a man battling his own demons when he dons the suit of armour that will turn him into Iron Man and in the end, he makes the biggest sacrifice someone could make, which is the sacrifice of his life to save that of others. This writer is in no way implying that Elon Musk is going to lay down his life, but as we look at his accomplishments thus far, he is the closest thing we have to a real Iron Man Avenger. The self-made billionaire heads up Tesla, Space X, has incredible aspirations for the future of mankind and was the real-life inspiration for Robert Downey Jnr’s take on Iron Man – nuff’ said.
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