Well, here we are again, folks. That damnable job that puts food on my table keeps getting in the way of contributing to this and other blogs. Sorry about that.
So, what have we got?
Tonight I'd like to just kind of tell you about something that's important to me. This'll be sarcasm-free
, just to warn you all ahead of time. This is one of those posts I write because I want to say something, not because I want you to read something. It's personal, it's shmaltzy, but it's real. Also, there are no pictures.
I know, I know, the readers who are really pissed off are the ones who haven't gotten their weekly dose of complete spoilerage
since I haven't done a proper review in, what, a month?
But tonight, it's all about the children. My God, the children.
I have two sons and a daughter.
One of the reasons I'm hugely into Marvel Adventures: The Avengers
is that it's a damn fine old-school comic book. Also worth mentioning: the backup strips by Chris Giarrusso
are a hoot.
But the totally superawesome thing about it is that it's a comic I can sit down and read with my sons
, and they're really getting into it. It's corny, but it's awesome. A typical exchange goes something like this:SON #1:
How come the Hulk doesn't kill the bad guys?ME:
Well, the Hulk's a good guy.SON #2:
Yeah, but he smashed those people's cars and buildings!ME:
Well, I'm sure he only did it because he had to stop the U-Foes.SON #1:
But won't those people have to pay for new cars?ME:
Well, yes, but...SON #2:
Yeah! And now they won't have jobs because they don't have anywhere to go to work because the Hulk smashed their building!ME:
Yeah, but...SON #1:
Yeah! And they won't be able to take their kids to school without cars!ME:
Yeah! And they can't buy dinners because they don't have jobs!ME:
Well, it's--- (sigh)
listen, do you have anything else to say before I turn the page?SON #2:
The U-Foes are lame.SON #1:
I love you guys. The U-Foes are TOTALLY lame.
For what it's worth, it ends up taking about 45 minutes to get through a single 22-page comic
, but it's golden quality time. The really cool thing is that I've seen them going back over the issues when they think I'm not looking, and I've heard them discussing important ideas between them, including:
"Iron Man looks funny when he's not wearing his helmet
"Captain America's head-wings are way cooler than Namor's foot-wings
"If I were Storm, I'd just tell them all they're being stupid
. And then zap them with a hurricane.
The point is that it's got them reading, it's got them using their imaginations, it's got them running around playing "superheroes" with each other instead of watching the latest drivel on TV or staring mindlessly at a video game.
I have nothing inherently against TV or video games. I'm just saying that it's nice to see them entertaining themselves without electronic assistance.)
It's funny, because I know that part of the reason I love it is because I'm sharing something I enjoy very much with people I love very much, and that's good for the ol' ego
. I get to feel like I'm teaching them something, and they think it's fun. How often does that
happen these days?
And yes, of course some part of me is living vicariously through them --- that's 90% of the fun part of parenting
--- but another part of me is holding out hope that 10 years from now if they're faced with a difficult situation, they'll remember something like "with great power comes great responsibility" --- which is also pretty much the definition of parenting
, come to think of it.
And it's really cool
I also have a daughter --- technically a stepdaughter, but I've been her dad for 8 years now, and I've never thought of her as anything other than a daughter. She and I have had some difficulties, over and above the normal "teenage daughters will not only drive sane men up the wall, they will drive them off the cliff, into traffic, and make them do a commando roll out of the car into a pit of starving pythons"
So, yeah, we've had our issues --- not her issues, not my issues, OUR issues.
And then about a year and a half ago when she started high school, she was looking for something for a project--- I forget what--- and found my DC Encyclopedia
Two weeks later, I had to politely ask her to return it.
What followed was two solid hours of her asking me questions about continuity
, back issues
, and the various incarnations of the JLA
It was the longest conversation we'd ever
And it was wonderful
It was just nice
, you know? For once we weren't harping on what we perceived as each other's faults, weren't complaining about what was wrong, weren't being so goddamned serious about everything. I wasn't trying to be "All-Knowing Father Whom Commands Obedience
" and she wasn't trying to be "Disaffected Youth Who Has Problems Which No One Will Ever, Ever Understand As Long As I Live
We were just two people who enjoyed the same thing, and who finally realized that it's OK to let your guard down--- and that my God, you should
just be able to talk--- about a common interest.
I'm not about to say that "Comics Was The Magic Potion That Solved My Family Issues
". But they did help us to understand each other a little better. Just knowing that we could actually relate on any level whatsoever has done worlds of good in the way we approach each other now.
So now we can talk about serious issues, like high school pressures, or her schedule, or expectations, or her faith. And we still clash over certain things like any father and daughter would.
But we also like to talk about other issues--- like the one where Batman laid the whoopin' down on the Riddler, or how crappy we both thought "Seven Soldiers: Mister Miracle
" was, or why Hawkgirl sometimes has wrist bandages and sometimes doesn't.
And it, too, is really cool
For the record, she enjoys Batman, Zatanna, and Hawkgirl. Also for the record, it's extremely hard to explain to 6 and 7 year old boys why they never see Superman fighting Galactus.
Don't know why I felt like writing this down tonight. Don't really have a point behind it, but one's occurred to me just now. I leave you with it.
Maybe all the cynics and naysayers and jaded spectators and commenters (like me) are wrong. Maybe, to fly in the face of conventional wisdom, it's true on some level:
Comics really are
still for kids.