“Twilight of the Superheroes”

by: Deborah Eisenberg

Nathaniel

Characters Nathaniel

Nathaniel is part of a new generation that faces a bright future with endless possibilities but is simultaneously filled with uncertainty. Although Nathaniel has yet to accomplish anything of significance so far, his life is full of potential. He has come to New York to access the cultured, artistic, and vibrant lifestyle his Uncle Lucien and Aunt Charlie embodied when they visited him as a child. However, his youth and inexperience coupled with the traumatic world events he has witnessed have stunted his personal growth and prevented him from maturing into full adulthood. After witnessing the World Trade Center collapse, he has lost his innocence without gaining an adult perspective on the world. He doesn’t idealize the world but hopes to passively create an authentic space for himself and his friends, as evidenced by the hero of his own comic strip, “Passivityman.” Like Passivityman, Nathaniel is trapped by the paradox of wanting to engage the world around him but also wanting to stay protected from it. Unlike Passivityman, however, Nathaniel actually does attempt to interact with others: he has a job, he has had a relationship with Delphine, and now he may need to find a place to live on his own. This final step will be an important test of Nathaniel’s promise and will offer him the chance to become fully independent.