Before I was REALLY deep into MMOs most of my escapism was through the pages of comic books. I’d read the things as a passing fancy for years but never really was allowed to own a collection because my father believed them to be some gateway to idiocy. As loathe as I am to admit it, he sort of was right, because when I was left to my own devices, I went into comic collecting with a fervor that hadn’t been seen since the cocaine-fueled 80’s. I was such a fiend for the things that I wasn’t really paying attention to what was being written so much as how outlandish things could get. I was grabbing up stuff like Lady Death and Purgatori and Cyber Force–basically, if it looked like the mentally challenged spawn of Marc Silvestri and Todd MacFarlane, I was all about it.
I’m not sure what singular moment shook me out of my reverie…but like most drugs it was about the lack of a source. The comic book store in the area went out of business and so I hadn’t followed things through. There were not a great deal of digital choices at the time, and I just prefer the idea of holding a damn book in my hand instead of clicking through one.
Fast forward to about eight or nine years later, and all of a sudden that old itch is coming back.
One of the people I follow on Twitter is the magnificently talented and delicious quip-firing cannon Luke McKinney. I was introduced to him via Cracked, and have since been reading his submissions in Retro magazine. His Twitter has been one of the highlights of my feed, a combination of UK-centric political jabbing, science adoration, and videogaming and comic book love, all wrapped in a comedy shell that is far crunchier and more refined than my own. It’s his recent posts that have prompted this particular blog.
The above image stirred in me a huge response. Nevermind the fact that there’s a female superhero who isn’t dressed in second skin lycra, but is also a person of color. Apparently a Muslim, even. This sort of stuff was beyond my scope of understanding. It was superheroism at its most classical form, re-imagined for an age of current confusion and fear and idiocy.
It, admittedly, was the idolization I had forgotten about when I first was about comic books…and it provided more escapism than any sort of ridiculous book I had bought previously.
So, now, I stand at the edge of falling back into the mire, so to speak. I’ve lived and learned through some horrible comic choices…but maybe, just maybe, this time can be different. Maybe comic books will not be a stupid sort of thing.
Here, however, lies my problem. I have far more responsibilities than I had before. Granted, at the time I was collecting, I was renting with someone, but I was able to somehow pay my few bills as well as purchase comic books and Magic: The Gathering cards. It was likely helped by the fact that I didn’t really drive very often, but still…things still come to my mind as having been simpler somehow. Now I have significantly more bills…or certainly larger ones.
There’s also the matter of distribution. I still live in an area where the comic book store is a pretty distant ride. The closest one looks to be about 20 minutes away or so…which isn’t exactly a huge travel time, but certainly a long ride for somebody who isn’t really sure what he wants.
So that leads me back to the whole digital avenue, which I’m not a fan of. However, it also seems to be the best avenue to try out books before I commit. Or better yet, one that delivers the things to my door. I could, conceivably, download the things to my Kindle, but as much as I love that little reader, it just ain’t the same feeling as having those slick little pages in your hand.
I suppose this post is one long-winded and excessive cry for help. I want to get back into comics like Ms. Marvel and am open to suggestions–books that are as inclusive and smart and diverse as Ms. Marvel. Classic superhero stuff. Escapism through heroism, not fantasy for fantasy’s sake. I also need some help with finding services that provide comics. Delivery would be ideal. If I can subscribe to individual books or series that’d be perfect–it was a service that my old comic shop was able to provide. Obviously, I’ll be sure to do my own Google-fu, but suggestions and information from those more learned or experienced than I am now are what I seek.
I miss my heroes and want them back in my hands again.