A few years ago I went to FanCon which is Vancouver’s version of Comic Con only no way nearly as cool. I met a bunch of famous people, and I met a bunch of non famous people, and I realized that I missed out on a lot not reading comic books.
In my formative years I was only allowed to read Archie comics, which was always about which girl Archie was going to take to the big dance, or sock hop, or bullshit event that was somehow always filled with girls fighting over boys and boys fitting over girls.
That went a long way toward developing me into someone who only cared about boys, and girls, who only cared about drama, and bullshit, instead of on things that mattered.
A lot of people want to talk about how Greta Thunberg is a “spoiled brat” and how she’s too loud and annoying, but do you know why she is the way she is? It’s purely because her parents fostered in her imagination, they applied lessons that taught her to think about the world around her, and they empowered her to believe that she had the power to change the world around her.
At only sixteen she, among many other young people her age who are nowhere near as famous, changed the world by holding one of the biggest pro-planet, environmental protests in the history of the world.
That’s because their parents allowed them to believe that regardless of their age, their color, their nationality, creed, or orientation, they had voices that matter, and I guarantee you it’s because their parents read comic books.
Stan Lee and Jack Kirby built multiple universes in the stories that they helped tell, they took actual scientific facts and wove them into stories that inspired and continue to inspire billions of people around the world.
I however, was not one of those kids who were allowed to read comic books. I was one of those kids who had to be lucky to sneak a copy of my brother’s comic books when I was a kid, because my mom’s boyfriend didn’t think it was appropriate for girl’s to believe they could be superheros.
I knew what he was doing, the same way that I know what he was doing now. He was deliberately trying to teach me to remain small, so that I would make a good “wife” for some Black man that would fill me with babies without caring about my dreams. I say Black man, because he made it very clear that I was never to date or marry a white man. Race was a big thing to this piece of shit.
When my mom finally left him, she tried to repair some of the damage that he left, but I don’t think either of us knew how to address it, so the memories of the trauma with him started to fade, but the habits that I had picked up to secure my safety had not.
I stayed away from “boy” things, I did what I was supposed to, when guys came on to me I didn’t fight back, I didn’t know I was allowed to. If I had had access to comic books, I might have learned that I had the power to fight back all along.
It took a really really long time before I was able to find my own inner super powers, so long in fact that I tried a couple of times to give up on myself before I’d even really discovered who it is that I might be able to be if I try.
Comic books, the very nature of their existence, is designed to teach children that they can be anything. That they can be super, amazing, powerful, that they can be in their very own way, Gods.
The one thing that the comics I did get to read taught me is that no one becomes super without first experiencing a bit of trauma, that was a hard lesson to remember, and an even harder one to relearn. It might have changed my perspective if I’d been given access to a tool as wonderful and inspiring as comic books.
The reason that I was so excited when the Avengers was announced, was because it meant that Captain America was going to be made, largely because this was the first “superhero” I ever saw.
Before I fell in love with Wolverine and convinced myself that I was going to marry him, (I would have but Hugh Jackman is married and I think his wife is too cool), Captain America was my favorite.
At seven years old standing inside my house I declared that I was going to marry the “third man to play Captain America,” turns out Anthony Mackie is also married, but that doesn’t stop the fact that Captain America was always the hero to my seven year old self. Especially because Captain fought for the little guy, especially because Cap was one of us, an ordinary kid just trying to do the best he could do for his country.
When Fate intervenes he becomes a superhero, but he kept those morals about fighting for the little guy. Unfortunately there is a lot of racism in the old comic books, a lot of digs towards Black characters, but the films don’t show any of that (thankfully) they have been updated so that they are relateable in spite of race, color, creed, or nationality.
When Black Panther came out billions of little kids dressed up as Black Panther to go and see the movies, not only did it break box office records, but people actually paid for OTHER people to go see the films. It was one of the most majestic things that ever happened. Theaters were basically showing the films for free because of how much money was donated.
AROUND THE WORLD.
Comic books absolutely are not a waste of time. They inspire kids to believe in science, and in majick, from Thor to the books about Shuri, from the books about Batman to little known characters such as Rogue and Jubilee. Storm and Magneto and Professor X.
There are millions of comic book characters in this world, and millions more coming to our reality every single day. The essence of their stories is wrapped up in things we experience every single day.
From Bullying to child kidnappings, the comic books covered it all, and they will continue to be a more majickal, inventive, and explorative version of our world for the rest of our times.
Let your sons, AND your daughters read comic books, let them foster their identity through imagination and play.
Growing up my little brother LOVED Jean Claude Van Damn, he thought he was the coolest guy that ever lived. Alcatraz although not a JCVD movie, was my brother’s favorite. He knows every word by heart. To this day, he used to beat up old pillows trying to be like his hero, because he was given the freedom to foster his imagination.
I had to hide mine, because it wasn’t appropriate for little girls to believe in majick, we had to believe in reality. My entire life would be completely different – not necessarily better – but different if the world had just let me be a kid and lose my mind in some comic books.
Something to think about, don’t you agree?
Sending all my love,
Devon J Hall
P.S. The Joker is my favorite character of all time. Jared Leto played an amazing one and I want that damned film, but Heath Ledger is my favorite seconded only by Joaquin Phoenix and that film is my favorite film of all time. If You haven’t seen The Joker, you’re wasting your life.
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