I've been thinking about how I got to be the person I am today, how challenging my childhood was and how I still, in my opinion, turned out to be a decent person. I am now 38 years old. I discovered super heroes like most children do, watching TV and movies. My earliest memories were the Super-Friends, The old Spider-Man and Marvel cartoons and the Superman movies. Of course I cannot forget the 80's TV shows like Wonder Woman and Incredible Hulk.
I've been thinking about getting this off my mind and could not think of a better place to say than Comicvine. I do not know anybody else who is really in comics.
My parents divorced when I was 4, my little brother was not even 1 yet. My mom moved us to California and we moved in with her friend and her two clhildren, who became my greatest and closest friends until my young adult years. My mother's friend was not the best influence, and my mom quickly became addicted to crystal meth. She met a man who was also a crystal meth user, they later married. He was abusive, both physically and verbally, my mother was too far gone to really notice to protect us. Life became Hell for both my brother and myself.
In the mid-eighties, I was given and old box of comics from from my step-fathers friend, who was also a user. Superman, Batman, Thor and Silver Surfer are some of the books I can remember being in the box. They became my escape from my reality, new heroes to look up to. I started using my weely allowence of two dollars to buy comics every week. I knew they weren't real, but looking back, they were much better role models than the people that surronded me. Comics became an obsession for me. I studied them, got all the "Who's Who of the DC Universe" and the Marvel Handbooks. I would say by the time I got out of middle school, I new just as much about the comic world as the writers themselves.
It was their morals that looked up to, I realize now that I'm all grown up and looking back. Superman always did the right thing, no matter how hard it was to accomplish. Maybe he could have taken the easy way out, just killed his enemies, taken over the planet and make sure people were "good". Who could have stopped him? But morals came first. Doing the right thing.
Spider-Man knew that with Great power came great responsibilies. Someone our governments, religious establishments and corporations could take a lesson from. Not to mention the rest of us.
Sometime in my late teens through my young adult life I let "supers-heroes" fall by the wayside. I discovered smoking pot, drinking and dropping acid were also a lot of fun, made me popular with the cool kids (who I now realize most of these people were not really friends, just party buddies), and also was an escape out of reality.
This went on until about my mid-twenties, I had already grown bored with the acid, but still smoked pot and drank regularly. I do not have a personal problem with people drinking or smoking a doobie once an awhile, but is probably not the best idea for everyday. I was living with my girlfriend at the time (now ex). She knew of my comic book love as a child, and one day she came home with the Secret Wars trade as a gift. I remembered this story. I though it was great! I soon went out and bought the Crisis on Infinite Earths trade, which was my favorite story ever, at the time, from my childhood. The spark was back!!
Soon after me and my girlfriend broke up, within a year I had a new girlfriend. (She is now my wife, we have been together for 10 years and have a daughter who is 7.) Drinking became less important after getting back into comics, something for evenings out or having a beer or two while BBQ-ing in the back yard. Smoking pot slowly went away. I became more focused, excelled in my jobs, got several promotions. Then I had my own family.
I know there were man varibles in my life that shaped the person who that I now am, comics were not the only infuence in my life. I do think these imaginary characters had a huge influence on my morals. Even though these super-heroes were not real, they were real to me as a child. I think they are still real to me, now that I think about it.
My brother turned out well, is married with 4 children. Many of the people I know, including my family members, say he turned out well because I was a good influence on him. I'm not sure I can take credit for that, but if I helped in anyway becoming the wonderful person he is today, then I am proud to have helped. I know he was a positive influence on me and my best friend to this day.
My mother stayed addicted to drugs my whole life until recently, she has been clean for about 4 years. She divorced my step-father when I was 20.
My step-father became addicted to heroin, had many serious health issues. I never saw him again, I would be really suprised if he were still alive.