My Life as a Comic Book Reader Part 8: New Outlets

The wind blows gently as the shadows of the trees sway on the carpet in your living room and you watch your new son trying to grab the shadows with determination and you can’t help but smile. Despite the last year, you’ve found some new solace and you talk t your baby and tell hi the same stories a certain grandfather told you many, many years ago. He looks up and smiles. It’s amazing how such turmoil has occurred, but seeing that smile or when you hear your wife laugh when the baby does something cute just warms you like the sun coming out of the clouds after a thunderstorm. Yeah, it does sound like fluff, but its true. Just have that time to spend with your little guy and reminisce about your own early comic book memories as you move them to the next generation. However, as you share in these new memories and try to keep yourself up to date in the world of comics while trying to score that 1 edition trade for less than $5 or less from an online site, a funny thing happens.

An old passion of yours reignites. I’m not talking about sneaking out a comic book from your long box or putting in an old movie, but a story telling passion of writing. I can remember a time when I hated writing. In high school, I remember gritting my teeth like Wolverine as I dreaded another English assignment. You can’t count the number of times you just were trying to find someway to finish the next paragraph so you would be finished. Then, after a time a another funny thing happens in college, you start to like writing. During my undergraduate days in theatre arts I started to learn how to tell stories on stage and then apply them to paper.

Not just interrupting other writers’ work into your own but actually crafting and writing your own fluent stories. Before you know it, you are enrolled in three play writing workshops and keeping a notebook of various characters you are creating in your spare time. It got so bad, I started cooking up characters out of nowhere and then I did something else, I learned how to write comic book scripts. I started writing so many scripts, not only did I start to get good at it, but I started submitting them to various companies big and small. I would even hit comic conventions up and would get personal feedback from professional editors, writers, artists (plus the occasional inker) on how to improve.

I listen to their advice and I would write everyday, a letter, in a notebook, on a computer. I even once submitted a short script that was almost bought by Marvel Comics (honest to God). Sadly, the title I almost sol the script for was ending in a few months, and my story couldn’t be bought as a result, I was so close. After that I kind of dropped the entire idea of ever getting published. So what happened after that? You continue to feel discourage and you end up dropping even more ideas of even writing on the professional level.

It’s not that big of a shock, when you channel these ideas, story board and take actual time to get professional criticism, why not try and take a chance and like I said, go with that gut feeling not to flip the scared coin? Of course, I chose the scarred side and let the dream die. So, I tried to live out other dreams, careers, home, family, and all the classic ones. We all know it takes forever to get published. We try and live life to the better term and just put away childish things and become a man. Then the son becomes the father, and that spark in you starts a fire again.

Now, you’re older, wiser, and have more real life experiences to channel into your work. You pick up a pen and paper and like riding a bike, stories start to flow out of your hand and you have a ten page outline and later a thirty-two page story. Then a series and then you get another spark. Your own POV and experience and you soon start a podcast later a vidcast and then you have three blogs and your twitter columns are being posted left and right. The spark truly has come back and you are a buzz with new life and soon you are comparing Jesse Quick to Outrun and explaining why the MC2 Universe and characters are just as important as relaunch than the Ultimate Universe a dozen times and soon people are following your reviews.

Your former comic book reading life has just taken a new form and a new respect and passion for them is reborn.

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My Life as a Comic Book Reader part 7: No Man's Land

You thought your sacrifices were enough. You think no more comics, sell off half of your collection to pay bills, move in with your in-laws and everything will work out. The next think you know the constant talk of getting a new job due to the fact that the current job is a dead end. You’ll eventually find one while working out the crazy hours and conditions you head into the office on one Friday afternoon and find out you don’t have a job anymore.

All of a sudden you feel like all the sacrifices haven’t really made much of a differences. Sure you paid things off or made a dent in other expenses, but just because you save eight dollars extra a month is only going to about eight jars of baby food and that won’t really make much of a difference since your future baby won’t be able to eat such food until they are at least five months of age.

Now, your time is spent looking for a job, collecting unemployment checks, trying to get ready for a new life and realizing you hit than Kenny from South Park. Sure, you have your health, and a family, but you live in a house that is now your own. Bills to pay, constantly told to keep things together, look desperately for a job and also try and complete school in the process. How can you get motivated? You make phone calls, and the people who said they would help you in a bind don’t.

In fact if all the people you use to work for spent time doing exactly what you did and when they either got the boot or decided to quit, everyone comes to their aide, writes a check or makes some phone calls to get you employment, but you don’t.

“Hang in there.” They say. Do I look like clothes hanging out to dry? I need a job, I need something to get me in a good place so I can have insurance, a paycheck and something to keep me going until I finish school and finally start my career path. Nope, they say they have to save money too but then head out to the bar with their friends and spend over fifty dollars in a couple of hours and then later complain they can’t meet their rent or pay their electric bill.

Meanwhile, I’m cutting everything down you can think of and selling almost everything on EBay to just have some type of extra cash to pay my bills or get a new pair of shoes so I look decent enough for job interviews. It’s a mess and you just feel like you are the only one even if others are struggling too. No one to help you out, the pressure on you from a number of factors to grow up and spend every waking out looking and applying for a job.

Then if you get a part time job (4 in a 7 month range) start badgering them to give you a full time job but soon they say: “well, sorry we can’t do that. Nice knowing you and good luck.” So, then what do you they say next after that happens? “Just keep your head up and look in your spare time but don’t waste time on anything else.” Yeah, because we all know that every second of the day a job you qualify for is posted and given away at the same moment. When the truth is, five posed in a single week and they don’t want to have people who might outside them. Yet they keep hiring the same people that either quit or get fired a week after security the job. So, sorry I want a career and a future to house and cloth my family.

Why don’t you send me to the Phantom Zone because I already feel like I’m living in hell. Sure he was a good man who smiled everyday at work. Never took things slow, worked hard, trained, hired and did the best he could despite unequal odds. “Hey, screw you” says the man in the ivory tower. “I got my job by kissing ass, naming names and wearing stupid hats. You can’t cater yourself to those ideals then there’s the door.”

All this on the next episode of: “Unemployment… you!”

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My Life as a Comic Book Reader: Chapter 6: Sacrifices

So, you changed for someone else, but there is that big issue in front of you. Your various long boxes of comics and collectibles. You’ve sold off issues that weren’t really worth your time or money and kept those pieces that you enjoy time and time again. You’ve also stopped reading books that are worth those main two just said. You are back on fibrous spending because you have bills to pay for and food to but you have still that small part of yourself you intend to pass down to your children. Yeah, I thought the same too.

Then you get involved with someone who wants you to get rid of your “childish things” because you need to grow up. The books are sold off for a fraction of what his collection is worth but needed to do it because he was told to do it. Now, this didn’t happen to me but a co-worker who did it without question but admitted he needed an excuse to give to do it, otherwise the books would have never left the house. No fault there, he wanted to do it but didn’t have the catalyst to get it done, so his wife finally gave him that push to do it.

I was no stranger to this concept and I figured when I got married and had children of my own I would be in the same situation. That didn’t happen, either. I suffered a horrible break up that left me in a large amount of debt and that was the trust first sacrifice I had to make when it came to my comics. The next thing I know my entire Daredevil collection from #1-100 was sold on Ebay. I had these books signed by Kevin Smith, Joe Quesada, Jimmy Palantino, Brian Michael Bendis, Alex Morvel, and David Mack and more and I only got $200 dollars for the entire collection. It paid off the insurance bills for a few months but then I was selling all my Avengers collections (also signed), JSA (massively signed) and more. One day they were here the next they were all gone, packed in boxes and shipped around the globe. I ended up pulling in over $600 for those various series and it went all to paying off one credit car and some gas money.

I completely scaled back my reading to just five books and remained with them for the time being but then I ended up losing my job due to budget cuts and I had to return to my previous job that I left in the first place due to money and treatment but what choice did I have? Soon, the five go to three books and then cover prices go up and you drop down to one book and you start to really feel how much your life is in shambles from everything hitting you like a hammer all at once and then… the Spider-man, Green Lantern collections are also sold just to get your back in a stable financial climate again.

At the end of the day, you at least know that it’s working as you see your boxes empty out and more and more are taken to the curb to be picked up by the recycling truck. Its staying green but the green you might be saving soon doesn’t really contribute much and that one book you have because your only small joy outside some occasional web page work. It seems that dark hole of depression is going to stay with you for a long time and you wonder just how you are ever going to feel like yourself again. However, soon a small blessing happens, you get a job promotion, your hours become balance and your pay goes up.

You start off small, get things in order and even add in a couple of new titles to your reading pile and then you go into work and someone stops in for coffee and those sacrifices all seem worth it.

Most of your collection might be gone but you paid some bills off, got some spare change back and even more, this beautiful young woman steps into your life and actually accepts who you are. What could be better? Well, a year later you marry that same woman. Yep, just like Hourman and Jesse Quick it’s a rock solid relationship and things haven’t been better but then you on your own hear that voice that tells you what you need to do next.

Might as well cut back on your books and safe a little money so you can start saving for a house and then you get a real life changer, your wife tells you: “I’m pregnant”. Yep, your going to be a father and you know it’s time to find a better job and the money needs to start coming from some where so you sell off almost the entire rest of your collection. Pocket a little over a grand and make some big changes but you need to save more. What do you do? You decide to move in with your in-laws sell off your other collections and your savings star to grow. Everything is starting to look good, you know what’s important and you are making the sacrifices for a better tomorrow and even get back into school.

Looks like you are back on the up and up but then one day, it’s a Friday, you are about to call it a week when you are brought into your boss’s office and you sit down and he tells you: “Your fired!”

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My Life as a Comic Book Reader Chapter 5: Missed Oppurtunities

As we venture away from the romantic life of comics and head into the other big spectrum of what books did you miss and kicked yourself later for not getting them. These are the books that are talked about so much but you missed the initial bandwagon. Sure you get the trades at a later date or grab the complete collection on Ebay or Amazon, but why them to begin with?

The number one reason is pretty obvious, money! Back in 1994-1999 comics were regularly cheap compared to today’s price but when you are so fed into your love of one type of book of series, you stay with what you know. Now that is being pretty closed minded but when you buy and read what you enjoy how can you imagine you are doing anything wrong? Hindsight is truly 20/20 when you realize you should have dropped those two issues of Spider-man and New Warriors for Batman: The Long Halloween.

Truly the best Batman story in fifteen years. I watched every month as people raved and reviewed the series and I was like: “Oh it can’t be that good.” One year later I got my hands on the trade and I was hooked myself and then kicked myself for not getting the series during its initial run. Here was this fantastic story and while I was reading it in the trade I realized I could have found a new type of entertainment and love for a great story but I decided to go with what I knew.

A few years prior I would have gone with my gut and I would have picked up this story instead of just reading what I knew. It’s a lesson I have needed to relearn time and time again. Sometimes the head does think things through first but you have to sometimes listen to that inner voice and first instinct that tells you without a doubt what is right and what is wrong.

It has nothing to do with an addiction or a crisis of conscience. It’s that above all feeling where you need to listen to your inner voice and to believe in your choice. Sad to say, I didn’t listen to that voice enough during that time. I decided to think things through, which is just as sound of a life’s goal but in a split second decision, where you are taking a test or something similar to it. You need to know when to listen to that voice. Because as life tells you, your first choice is usually the right one.

“Take a chance” they say. Don’t flip the coin like Two-face or look for the right day to come like the Calendar Man. The simplest truth to the matter is usually the right one. Speaking of our favorite former district attorney of Gotham City. The Long Halloween was about the origins of Two-face and the fall of the organized crime families of Gotham and the rise of the “freaks” as it is put in the series.

The story tells of a new serial killer known as Holiday who is killing members of the Falcone Family on a holiday each month. The under all theme of the story is how far would you go to achieve your goals. What sacrifices would you make for the greater good? As the story goes, Harvey Dent becomes so enthralled in stopping Carmine Falcone, it leads to him being a suspect as Holiday and by the end of the story he has lost himself in his vendetta against the crime boss and becomes disfigured and just as bad as those who intended to stop through the law. While the story is extreme in the telling, the moral holds true. How many of us have done the same to hold a job, date someone, fit in with a group of cliche? I couldn’t begin to count the number of times I made those same sacrifices. You’ve read in the last few chapters of being true to myself in reading comics or trying to have a happy life isn’t always shared by others.

So, we hide who were are and what we smile about what we hold as parts of the whole to please someone else. We don’t need to share everyone bad habit with the world and of course we need boundaries between what we enjoy and what we obsess about. As they say, leave your problems at the door. Don’t bring your favorite TV show or book up at a job interview. Don’t bounce your leg up and down in public and now how to restrain yourself and be calm, relaxed and presentable but we don’t live in a society where that’s all you need.

We live in one where others see themselves as a perfect example of how everyone should be. If you don’t fit their style, you’re an outcast and while being you isn’t a crime. People can be very vindictive. As mentioned earlier, just because I read comics, I was considered a little kid but if the CEO of a company would read them, it would be charming. However, if you would bring a puppet with you to do the talking at a meeting with investors they would think you are insane or how you got put in charge in the first place.

What if you explained that you have social interaction problems and the puppet gives you a crutch a way of reading out what you truly want to say because you can’t seem to muster the ability to speak the same way. Then others might view you in a different light and say that you are being both brave and original instead of doing a snap judgment. As it’s put, don’t judge a book by its cover. Then don’t judge someone you don’t truly know or understand. Stay open.

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My Life as a Comic Book Reader Chapter 4: Are you a Little Kid?

High school fades away, college starts, you become an adult and you make your own true decisions, balance tuition, classes, bills, work and girls. Yep, the glory days are done the rest of your life has just gotten started. Sure you stay true to yourself and your comics continue to follow you and you look forward to your local comic book store and summer conventions (more on that later).

Yeah, welcome to college, some kids bring pictures, some old toys and creative memories when they move away to college. I bring the latest issue of Flash, Savage Dragon or X-men. Shouldn’t be that much difference than some freshman bringing their old teddy bear they’ve had since kindergarten, right? Well, at least that’s the thought process and we all know nothing is ever that simple.

When you are in college, you make new friends and some blossom into more but when you bring a girl to your place or they ask you what is your guilty pleasure, you tell them “comics”. All of a sudden its like the signal watch goes off and they look at you with a look that would make Superman stop in mid-flight. “Really?” they respond. I would say: “yeah.” “What are you? A kid?”

Through the heart like a stake into a vampire. “Well, no it’s just I enjoy reading comics.” “I mean there are TV and movies coming out based on comics is that so hard to believe?” You then see the other look that tells you that was not the answer they were looking for.

Just like a low selling title, the relationship is over before it can really begin. I soon found out that it was going to happen on a regular basis after that. The next thing I know it’s three years later and I’ve barely had a relationship longer than a month and it really wasn’t anything more than some hand holding, a few dinner and movie nights and maybe some cuddling and making out at best. “It’ll get better” you tell yourself. Right? Someone will eventually accept you for who you are just like you always accept them.

Yeah, not going to happen and before you can say: “Well that is a defeatist attitude.” We all think it’s over when you are in your early 20s. I thought those exact words during that time. I remember the hardest blow came about a year after I finished my undergraduate degree. When I was seeing this younger girl and things started off pretty well. She found me to be this sweet caring guy and the first couple of months were great. However, she had a previous boyfriend who had a video game love equilvent to my comics. The difference was I kept my love for the books to a past time and not a daily interaction (of course she would probably disagree with me today).

After a couple of months our relationship ended but we stayed friends but that wasn’t the hard part. No, that came about a year later when we were together with some friends and we were all bringing up current relationships and I said I hadn’t had one in a while and I also said how it was kind of depressing. She shot back with a: “Well, maybe if you didn’t read comics some girl might actually want to sleep with you!” Everyone stopped in their conversations and I don’t think I ever felt a more personal string to my very being than that moment.

Now, let’s face it, everyone has that love for something that is so entangled into who you are. Granted we all move from the minor to the extreme and while I’ve considered myself in the middle stream. That doesn’t mean others view it as such. What happens next when you meet someone who has a motorcycle or car love? Isn’t checking out motor magazines or tuning your bike up every other weekend just the same? How about a girl who has a Harry Potter or bad TV drama obsession? Looks forward to everyone edition or a fan blog, is they’re much of a difference then?

The answer is “no”, but what really brings out this “anti-love” is the fact that they can’t identify with the same love you have for something you enjoy and vice versa. Before you know it, words are said in a very hurtful manner and the damage is done. Now, you think about everything I just said and I am willing to guess this chapter has made you think about a moment that exact thing happened to you.

I always was about giving someone my heart and excepting them for who they were. I was involved with one girl who was totally in love with a type of product and genre that was equal to my comic love. They even had fan made clothes, pjs and even a collectible DVD player and when all was said and done. She considered me to be a little kid with my love of comics. So what is wrong with that picture?

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My Life as a Comic Book Reader: Chapter 3: Hello old Friend

So, I felt low to the point I was suicidal but you hear that voice in your head that tells you, your life is just beginning and you start climbing out of that hole. You seek advice and one question comes to you: “name one thing that made you smile each time you picked it up?”

“Comics” I said without hesitation.

“Then you should read them again.” He replied.

Yikes, was I just told by a professional to read comics? Seriously?! Well, I wasn’t one to argue with that kind of advice and in the spring of 1994 after a month delay (and my mother yelling at the principal). I had just gotten my license, jumped in my car and drove into town but where? The corner market had stopped carrying store shelf comics years ago but fortunately; there was three comic book stories in town (today there are only 2).

On that warm Wednesday afternoon after school, I walked into the comic store right off the main road in town and began looking around. I hadn’t stepped foot in a shop since my pre-teen days but where I was and with all the books laid out on tables. So many choices and while books were $1.95-$1.99 back in those days, the ten dollars I had in my wallet could buy a lot of books.

I looked over and saw Green Lantern ‘yonk’. Then about a few books over I saw Spider-man ‘yonk’ again and then… um… good question. There were so many books from known brands to independent companies that I had no idea what to choose next.

“Can I help you?” a voice called out. I turned to see one of the managers of the shop next to me.

“Yes.” I told him. I went on to explain how I had been out comics for a few years and I was just getting back into them. I then told him why I had chosen Spider-man and Green Lantern and then he started rubbing his chin.

“Hmm” in that voice only a true salesman working at a store could make. He took a few steps back and then picked up a comic book buyers guide and handed it to me. He then told me to flip to this month’s comic book reviews and read up on their picks for the month and then go from there.

I put my Green Lantern and Spider-man books down and started thumbing through the magazine. I read one review to another but one piece stuck out to me… Daredevil. I don’t remember the full article but the words that were highlighted in the section still stick out to me to this day: “Not only is this a new direction and creative but it’s pretty darn good too.”

Talk about a sales pitch, after reading that my trinity was complete. Daredevil was my final choice in returning to comics after such a drought. Once I had paid the manager and grabbed a few bags and boards to preserve my comics, I quickly rushed home and started reading. Soon this big smile came across my face.

I was back baby! That joy had returned and in the weeks that followed that ember ignited and before I knew it I was making a weekly pull list, buying a long box to store my books in at home and sneaking a read in-between homework sessions. Did I just stop at myself? Oh, no. I started corrupting my younger siblings but only my brothers ever truly took a shine to comics (boys will be boys).

Now, while I was resuming my comic book reading experience, this type of reading didn’t go unnoticed at school. I had friends and classmates seeing me read my comics and they would later lean over and said: “Can I read that when you are done?” who was I to deny that kind of request? Before I knew it, comics were back in my life daily, there were new animated series of my favorite characters on TV again like Batman and Spider-man that I couldn’t see enough of.

Then there were my favorite parts of summer when I would take a comic followed by a good regular book I was reading, a soda or drink and head out to the front lawn on a warm day and just sit in the grass and read and relax. Now, those were some lazy summer days you couldn’t get enough of and that are when I felt it for the first time.

That dark part of me was gone, life was good and yes even girls took interest to me even if they chuckled when they saw me reading a comic but it was in that cute type of laugh. Of course that part was only meant to last so long.

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My Life as a Comic Book Reader: Chapter 2: The Peter Parker Era

My last comics found themselves in various dented cardboard boxes and my days of walking down the street to St. Mary’s were done and the summer was ahead of me.

“I’m 12 now, I’m not a little kid anymore.” I spoke to my best friend, Vince next door that summer. He was a year older than me and we went through the various stages of childhood together, comics and all. “Yeah” he said in a deeper voice now. I was still that transition stage before my own voice lowered a few octaves. “It’s a different world in Junior high,” he said in a monotone voice. I just nodded and agreed.

What did I know? Both my parents had remarried that year, my dad and stepmother were expecting a baby girl in the fall and my mom and stepfather were expecting a baby boy a few months later after that. Yeah, it was a different world all right. Of course it all became different when my grandfather passed away that July.

The man who once told me how great Green Lantern was had headed to his own Emerald Halls. I felt a true part of my childhood end that summer leading to my entry into junior high and that’s when the true “Peter Parker” factor kicked in. For those who don’t know, the Peter Parker factor is how the Amazing Spider-man was treated in his early years… bullying.

I can’t count the times I was punched somewhere or shoved into a locker or had some practical joke played on me but it was a lot. To emphasis this nerd factor, I was wearing glasses now and I sported a hear style even I want to punch myself over now that I look back on it (peer pressure). To top the true nerd factor, I had excelled in science and history classes (not math) and I had my own Flash Thompson plaguing me day in and day out. I had lost my grandfather who I had loved and encouraged me and help raise me and I was spending most days with my grandmother as her own health started to fail. Where were the radioactive spider and the Green Goblin?

The answer was this wasn’t the Marvel Universe, this was my own life and things had changed dramatically in a short time. Soon even more with the death of my grandmother and my father and stepmother having a boy and later a girl, causing me to go from an only child to being the oldest of 5 in just a few short years. Of course life changes again, the bullying stops, you get older and then you enter high school.

You start at the bottom as a freshman and face the next four years optimistically, but things can still pull you down. It starts with that dreaded session, summer school. You sacrifice two months of your summer for two hours of late classes and completing your homework early so you can go places and hang out with your friends but then you realize… you aren’t doing anything with anyone but yourself.

That’s the depressing and like a big commercial for some new drug, the depression starts to linger. Some days it’s a small puddle; other days it’s Darkseid descending on you from on high. Things look grim and then you quote a phrase: “Do I matter?” and before you know it a blade is in your hand, but a voice rings out in your head saying: “You do!” an that’s when you know you’ve hit rock bottom, but now it’s all up from there.

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My Life as a Comic Book Reader: Chapter 1: Next on Super Friends

Those are my earliest memories when I first became a part of comic book reading but keep in mind I was two years old in 1980. I couldn’t read yet and I could just remember saying “Uperman”. “No Ryan, it’s ‘Superman’. Said my grandpa. “And that’s Green Lantern.” He remarked. “He was around when I was young.” “No grandpa” I replied. “He’s not that old.”

“Oh yes he is, well… not this one but the original is.” I remember jumping back a bit when my grandfather uttered those words. Keep in mind to a two year-old he thinks his grandpa is just old but his new favorite super heroes couldn’t possibly be that old. How little I knew back then.

My grandpa took me to his side and started telling me the story the first Green Lantern, Alan Scott from way back in 1940. At that time, my young mind could only remember hearing that Alan was a “train engineer”; he found a rock, made a lantern out of it and then said an oath. So, I just listen to my grandpa tell me the rest of the story and I later jumped up and pretended to have a magic green ring that could fight anything unless it was made out of yellow.

In the next few years, I remember hearing: “Spider-man and his Amazing Friends,” “Nananananana…. Batman!” and Christopher Reeves flying. So, my comic book reading was still on TV and not in written form from the corner market. However, in 1984 came GI Joe and Transformers and my comic book reading officially began. I remember my mom asking me what comics I wanted and back in the fifty cents days my choices were simple. Transformers, GI Joe, Spider-man and Green Lantern and have course the occasional issue of Justice League of America. Even though I still called them ‘super friends’. I was six, what else could I say?

Each week we would head to the corner market and each week I would look for my favorite titles and every single day after school I would make sure I had time to watch my favorite super hero cartoons but times soon changed. Cartoons went from old 60-70s series to more 80s shows like Thundercats, M.A.S.K. and more, but my comics didn’t. Most of my friends read comics and bought the toys, but then something happened to all of us… 6 grade.

All of a sudden reading comics wasn’t “cool” anymore. Sure we had the 1989 Batman movie and other comic book adapted films of our favorite cartoons and a few comics during the end of the decade, but we weren’t heading back to the corner market anymore. Teen years came in; girls are more of your focus and trying to transition into puberty ends up taking high priority.

The last official comic I remember buying was the last issue of Transformers from a local drug store in town and hence my comic book reading days were over. Almost 9 years of Optimus Prime fighting Megatron, Spider-man swinging by the Daily Bugle and the pre-Parallax days of Hal Jordan faded into the start of the 1990s and so did grade school.

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Mythology vs Comicology: The Chimera

For some time, the idea behind the chimera, according to Greek mythology, a monstrous fire-breathing female creature of Lycia in Asia Minor, composed of the parts of multiple animals: upon the body of a lioness with a tail that ended in a snake's head, the head of a goat arose on her back at the center of her spine. The Chimera was one of the offspring of Typhon and Echidna and a sibling of such monsters as Cerberus and the Lernaean Hydra. The term chimera has also come to describe any mythical animal with parts taken from various animals and, more generally, an impossible fantasy. The most well known chimera right now in comics is Ai Apaec, better known as the six-armed dark Spider-man currently in Dark Avengers. being that has the head, torso, and arms of a human, the lower half being a spider's body, snakes for hair, and long sharp fangs. He was worshipped by the Moche people of South America (Peru). He was eventually captured by government officials and held in a secret government base somewhere underwater.

While not quite the real creature of myth, Ai Apaec does follow quite the walking effect of the creature of legend, even with his ability to turn into a six-armed version of Spider-man in his costume, he is still under the main part of a being composed of several features of others. The Chimera is generally considered to have been female (see the quotation from Hesiod above) despite the maneadorning its lion's head, the inclusion of a close mane often was depicted on lionesses, but the ears always were visible (that does not occur with depictions of male lions). Sighting the Chimera was an omen of storms, shipwrecks, and natural disasters (particularly volcanoes). Iron that he was found in South America in an unstable region when Norman Osborn recruited him for the next version of the Dark Avengers. Hopefully as Dark Avengers continues we will learn more of Ai Apaec and just how close he is to the true legend of the Chimera.

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Mythology vs Comicology: The Eye of Odin

My eye!

For years the Eye of Odin has been used in both the comic and animated universe. According to legend, a well associated with the being Mímir, located beneath the world tree Yggdrasil. Mímisbrunnr is attested in the Poetic Edda, compiled in the 13th century from earlier traditional sources, and the Prose Edda, written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson. Both sources relate that the god Odin once placed one of his eyes within the well. The Prose Edda details that well is located beneath one of three roots of the world tree Yggdrasil, a root that passes into the land of the frost jötnar where the primordial plane of Ginnungagap once existed. In addition, the Prose Edda relates that the water of the well contains much wisdom, and that Odin's eye sacrifice to the well was in exchange for a drink from it. In the most recent spin the Marvel Universe Odin, the All-father still carved out his own eye after hanging himself from Yggdrasil and piercing himself with his own spear in order to gain wisdom from the Well of Mimir. However, it was to find a way to stop his brother, Cul, better known as the Serpent from destroying Asgard instead of finding the eternal wisdom to better rule his people. In a way, there isn't too much rewriting of history, as the original sacrifice is still intact.

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