Thursday, December 27, 2018


I like to think of myself as an open-minded individual, but I know that this is not consistently true. I like to kid myself that I have very fact-based reasonings behind my opinions. Which is what they are. The way I appreciate PCs over their across the room competitors made by Apple. I will point to matters such as price point and the relative ease that PCs can be upgraded or repaired compared to their very streamlined cousins. I know this is a "bias," and though I try to shake these cultural blinders, at fifty-six years old, I know that some of them are lodged in there pretty tight.
Like the way I perceive comic books. I read my share of DC comics in my day. I hold the work of Frank Miller in especially high regard. I understand that it was Superman that made so much else possible. But they aren't Marvel.
I had this prejudice reaffirmed last weekend when I went out to the movies with my wife. We were headed out to see Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse when we became encumbered by holiday traffic. When we arrived at the superfaplex, the Spider-Movie had already begun, but it just so happened that Aquaman was starting in just a few minutes. In the big theater. Big holiday movie in the big theater? Why not? It's a super hero movie, after all, and everyone else seemed to be lined up to see it.
So in we went.
Two and a half hours later, I felt abused by the oppressive drum beat of the uber world of undersea. I was burdened by the plot holes that I was being asked to ignore in favor of the spectacle and explosions. Then I remembered that this was the DC world, and even though I respect their initials, I don't love their movies. Or characters. They show up as super heroes, and it's only a matter of time before their omnipotence finds its way to the surface. Surface. Get it? The DC stable is all pretty solidly based in the "born to greatness" camp. Recently it became apparent that Superman's powers include resurrection. It's not a matter of how DC heroes will save the world, but when.
I don't relate to that.
The characters at Marvel are the ones who tend to have greatness thrust upon them. How they end up coping with the proportionate strength and agility of a spider is at the heart of their stories. The next day, my wife and I found our way to the Spider-Verse, and were impressed and relieved to find the story of Miles Morales, a teenager who finds himself in a familiar predicament: bitten by a radioactive spider, he is suddenly in possession of a number of special powers and abilities. It's hard enough being a nerdy adolescent, but the son of a cop and nurse in an ethnically fluid Brooklyn who is suddenly confronted with great power and great responsibility. Being a hero turns out to be a challenge in and of itself.
And I won't go on about how beautiful the Spider-Verse was. It was an animated film that stretched itself beyond being just a cartoon. A comic book lit from inside. Sorry, I promised. But when it was all over, I felt renewed. I felt - dare I say - heroic.
I miss Stan Lee.

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