Every Guy at some point or another wishes he was a superhero. It’s in our blood. We’d all like to be the Guy whom everyone loves. The Guy who saves the day, gets the girl and is adored by “fans” worldwide. Or maybe even sweeter, use our powers to exact revenge on the bullies or evil people of the world.
Of course, this is all fantasy, along with our dreams of Farrah Fawcett and the Bond Girls. So we turn to comic books to live vicariously through our favorite heroes.
All these memories came flooding back to me when my son asked me to take him to the comic book store yesterday. I remember visiting my grandma walking down Bliss Rd. to the neighborhood pharmacy. Back then comics went for 15 cents. (Now of course they’re $2.99 and more.) The pharmacy was next to the very first Friendly’s restaurant where we could buy Fribbles and enjoy our favorite heroes. Talk about a one-two punch!!! WHAM!!!!
I also remember taking the Rapid Transit with a friend at ten year’s of age to the comic store in the old “Mall” in the big city. I mean really!?? By ourselves!!! At this “Mall” we instinctively knew not to use the public restrooms. Bad things could happen in there. Bad things did happen in there. We kept to ourselves, took care of business and went home. But I mean, REALLY??? How times have changed. These days, as much as I want to be a progressive, I keep a close watch on my kids. I mean, they’re not super heroes you know!
“Iron Man” was my favorite hero. This is way before Robert Downey Jr. became a star, then a drug addled nobody, then a star again. “Iron Man” wasn’t even one of Marvel Comics’ most popular heroes. But that’s why I liked him. He was different. I wanted to be unique myself, so I identified with him.
I remember going into the big Comic Store one day with $10, which was a ton of money for a kid, 35 years ago. Iron Man #1 was about $7 at the time. But if I skipped that, I could get Iron Man #2-#6 for my $10. It was an easy choice. I was all about volume. At that time kids collected for the sake of collecting. We didn’t put our baseball cards in plastic sleeves, we flipped, traded and enjoyed them. The same with our comic books. We actually read them and discussed them and dreamed of being comic book artists and writers. What a fun time in the life of a young guy!
Comics have changed a lot since then. Sure you still have your super hero genre, but now we have, Horror, Comedy, Alternative, etc. So much to choose from. So many fantasies to have. (In a moment we’ll be talking about one of our buddies and his new comic.) But let’s finish our story.
Guys never give up their fantasy of being super heroes, we just lower our expectations a ton. Instead of flying from the sky and saving the damsel, we hope that we are the “best” our woman’s ever had. (Yes, we’ll even believe a lie!) Instead of saving the city from a giant monster, we fix something around the house. Even helping an elderly person cross the street makes us feel a little bit like a hero….especially if our girlfriend or wife sees us do it.
But it’s our kids that we have the best chance with. That’s if we don’t screw it up. For some reason they give us credit for stuff that we have no business getting credit for. Here’s a few clips from my house:
My Boys: Dad, you’re probably better at basketball than Lebron James.
Me: Ahh, thanks boys. Sorry, but no Lebron’s a little better than me.
My Daughter: You’ve been to the moon right?
Me: (Laughing to myself) Well, not actually. But I like the moon.
These kind of questions and statements go on all day. I cringe to think of the day they realize I’m just an ordinary guy doing the best I can to be a good dad, a good husband and provide for the family any way I can.
So even though I’ll never actually be a superhero in the true sense of the word, that’s OK. As long as my wife and my kids think I’m pretty cool, I can live with that.