Thursday, August 19, 2010

Man Without Fear

I'm jumping into the fray. I am fearlessly adding my post to the Pleasantly Disturbed Thursdays carnival at Duane Scott's blog. Pray for me...

It was just announced that the comic book Daredevil will end in November. I'm a comic book nerd (more excited to see Scott Pilgrim than the Expendables believe it or not) and Daredevil has always been my favorite character. He's my homie.

It was a Daredevil comic that I remember being the first I ever read (that, or some random issue of Superman, but I remember vividly the issue of Daredevil). I have a nearly continuous run of issues that spans twenty years. The last issue will be #512; I have roughly 350 of those. With a small family, tight budget, and a local comic shop (LCS) that I loathe, I've fallen back on my reading. I'm ashamed to admit that I've only purchased one issue over the past year.

As a kid I daydreamed about being Daredevil. He was a blind, Catholic red-head who always did what was right. That sounded a lot like me. Plus he fought ninjas and mobsters! As I grew older and I took notice of the more mature themes, I could relate even more. Yes, he always did what was right, but not always the right way. He had a bad tempter, was vengeful, and lustful. Hmm, still sounded a lot like me. I admired him because the fight he waged against his sinful nature to do the right thing was a central part of his character. Some writers sadly miss this point (see the movie as the most glaring example), but I kept on reading. Did I mention that he fought ninjas?

So what's disturbing about this post? Maybe it's the fact that I own more than a thousand comic books and live in my mom's basement. (I'll let you guess which one of those two statements are true).

Actually, what's disturbing is the recent news that a child psychologist considers super heroes bad role models. Say what? I was reading The Punisher as a pre-teen and loved his unrestrained vengeance against crime as he racked up a body count in the hundreds. I also loved the movie Total Recall, which at the time was considered the most violent (mainstream) movie ever. This was also towards the end of the Cold War with movies like Red Dawn fresh in my memory. I would daydream during school about being either a super hero, a professional wrestler (now that's disturbing!), or what my friends and I would do if our school was overrun by a bunch of commie terrorists. "Wolverines!"

I'd like to think I turned out all right. Sure, the line blurs for me sometimes between fantasy and reality, but I suspect that's true for just about everyone. Yet despite the violence and misogyny present in comic books, I took away their most valuable lesson: we are all screwed up in some way, so we must decide if we should use our powers to be a good guy or a bad guy. We are all anti-heroes. And sometimes we get to fight ninjas.

(for a great summary of Daredevil's on again/off again religion, check out this article.)


JC Dude said...

I'm a Spiderman guy myself but fighting ninja's is cool! The comic heroes were fun to follow growing up...and yes, I do read an occasional comic at times.

Being heroic...that's a different story. I like how the Duke puts it..

Courage is being scared to death... and saddling up anyway. ~John Wayne

Duane Scott said...

I have never read a comic book besides Calvin & Hobbes and Far Side.

But that's interesting that you do! Who woulda guessed? And that you live in your mom's basement. Weird...

HisFireFly said...

ThAnks for coming up out of the basement long enough to share with us..

is it damp and dark down there?

Mansi said...

I don't think anybody's going to make the wrong guess here -- you made it too easy for us; although I don't think you need to come out of the basement to write a disturbing post. It may be dark and damp but I'm sure it's inspiring for posts such as this! Welcome to the PD Thursday club :-)

Wendy said...

Okay, but does your mom's basement include all the soda you can drink? 'Cause if not, that's just disturbing.

Anonymous said...

oh that's a lot of comic books! they would be great for making some collage art work!