BY ELANNA HEDA
When reality becomes too difficult or stressful to live in, people look to fictional universes for comfort and escape. More specifically, they look toward the worlds of superheroes. Since fans can’t actually enter these fictional universes, they can at least feel a little closer to the characters by purchasing superhero merchandise.
Senior Faby Echeverria said she exhibits her love for superheroes through fashion, including bags, jackets and shirts.
“My Hawkeye jacket is my favorite because it’s Hawkeye and he’s perfect,” said Echeverria, referring to a Marvel character who is talented with a bow and arrow. “And you can take off the sleeves and it’s a vest. So I get to be an archer and just run around being Hawkeye.”
Senior Clark Riester said he loves to wear superhero shirts because he feels a personal connection with the characters.
“My favorite superhero item would definitely be my Superman T-shirt,” he said. “I like to wear it because it shows my enjoyment of Superman as a character and a symbol for good. Also, I think it is kind of fun because both of our names are Clark.”
Junior Jessica Thomas said she wears superhero apparel to make herself feel more powerful, and she often mixes the paraphernalia of Marvel and DC heroes.
“I really like my Iron Man jacket,” she said. “I really like to wear my Batman shirt underneath my Iron Man jacket.”
Students find their paraphernalia from Hot Topic, FYE, Hallmark and Universal Studios. Hot Topic customer service phone representative, who would only identify herself as Esteph, said she has always found superhero paraphernalia to be a top seller.
“Just from working here every day, I’d say about half of our customers are purchasing superhero items,” she said. “They are in demand. The most popular item for superheroes is the DC Comics Superman iPhone 5 case.”
Thomas said wearing her superhero clothes and carrying her superhero paraphernalia gives her a sense of camaraderie with other students who love the characters.
“It’s always fun to meet people who like the same things that you do, and wearing fan merchandise is the perfect way to do that,” Thomas said. “I’m always happy when I’m advertising for my fandoms. There’s a sense of pride that goes along with it.”
Echeverria said she has a hard time choosing her favorite superhero item because she has so many of them. These items include an array of T-shirts, jackets and sweaters with Iron Man, Hawkeye or even the Marvel logo on them.
“I wear superhero things almost every day,” she said. “I have it ‘cause I’m a fan of the media and feel like it’s a conversation starter at times because I’m actually incredibly shy and rely on it a lot. I feel like I turned 7 all over again.”