Things we talk about when we randomly talk about stuff (Updated)
So… I’m over at Lance Mannion’s reading his post about Iron Man which reminded me that the lovely and talented Casey, the accomplished and other-worldly mrs tbogg, and I were having a conversation about the aforementioned Iron Man last Friday night on the way home from the train station. These kind of conversations just seem to happen. The question being: who the hell is Iron Man and what makes him “Iron Man”? Calling upon my boyhood comic book memories I relayed about as much as I could remember (rich industrialist…suit keeps him from dying somehow…red and yellow… that was about all I could remember). This led to a discussion about the Silver Surfer and what his deal was. Like my Ironman knowledge, I was a bit sketchy. Age will do that to you.
This in turn brought up the question of whether I had even bothered to look at the book that mrs tbogg bought for us last December to celebrate Jesus’ Birthday (you remember… it was in all the papers. The birthday, not the book).
Okay, I suck.
I never even got around to even cracking the damn thing open.
But now, compelled by my ignorance , I have managed to waste many hours filling my head with even more absolutely useless trivia than it already contained. For example: there is a Marvel character called Bi-Beast (Incredible Hulk #169 November 1973) whose powers probably aren’t what you think they are. Who knew? Or that there was another character called Man-Thing who, along with Howard the Duck, defended the “Nexis of All Realities” from Thog the Netherspawn. You can look it up.
I’m guessing that I probably stopped reading comics about 1967 or about at about the same time that I discovered girls; I’m not sure which came first. But before I gave them up for sneaked peeks of Playboy magazines and Roger Corman or Russ Meyer movies (which are comics of a higher order) I was a big fan of Marvel comics. Compared to DC comics they seemed more grown up, more sophisticated. The heroes and villains of Marvel were more complex and conflicted compared to the DC gang who all seemed locked forever into stodgy Eisenhower America.
Since “the sixties” as we know them didn’t really start until the late sixties, the DC comics that we had enjoyed up until that time suddenly became our dad’s comics, the ones that needed to be disregarded. Marvel comics questioned authority which made them the right comics for the right time. They provided us with the ambiguity and darkness and angst that make the teenage years the festival of joy and light that we have all come to know and enjoy, particularly now that we have teenagers of our own.
I’ll be the first to admit that, had I known about Emma Frost (Height 5 ft 10 in, weight 125 pounds, First Appearance: X-Men # 132 January 1980), I might have stuck around for a few more years. But now that I’m deep into the Marvel Encyclopedia I’m starting to get caught up on everything I missed which should prove helpful when faced with the onslaught of comic books-become-movies that we seem to be facing from now until the Nexis of All Realities folds in upon itself.
Or until someone asks me about the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants (Uncanny X-Men #4 March 1964).
Whichever comes first…
(Update) We are pleased to see that James Kakalios author of The Physics of Superheroes has joined us in the comments. I bought a copy of his book before this school year started because the L & T Casey was (and is) taking physics this year and I thought it might ease the pain. She’s getting a B, so, in her case, it must be working.
She also thinks it’s very cool that he reads the blog. My approval ratings with the all-important seventeen year-old daughter demographic just went up.