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Comic Culture

The comic strip is not new: Family Circle, Marmaduke, The Far Side, Calvin and Hobbes, Garfield. These are all classics. But it is a new day for comic and fantasy culture. It seems like every third movie that comes out is about some comic book (most of these being a part of the Marvel Universe currently), so why this sudden increase in comic infatuation in popular culture? What once was reserved for the stereotypical nerdy and acne infested comic book collector (which I like to think I broke the mold of ... ?) is now so mainstream that children know more about comic book lore and character's backstories before they are able to read and write. A friend recently admitted it took years for him to recognize that Superman had an "S" in the symbol of his costume since he had been exposed to it prolifically before he knew what letters were. Before he knew what an "S" was, Superman's logo was simply a pattern of shapes and colors. Part of this is because of the comic invasion to the silver screen. No longer do people have to read in order to enter this fantasy world, now all they have to do is be able to open their eyes and ears for roughly 90 minutes. Now, don't get me wrong. I am as a big a Stan Lee groupie as the next hormonal teenager, and I can certainly appreciate the appeal to being entertained by bulging muscles on a guy with powers and abilities I have always dreamed of having myself, along with an amazingly in shape and supernaturally-endowed woman by his side. So what's the problem? It's not real. And this is the problem we face; perfecting a false reality in order to scratch our itch of dissatisfaction with our reality. This is the heart of addiction. We don't like our lives (or at least many parts of them if we are honest), so we find ways for our senses to be pleased in order to distract us from that annoying thing called reality. I once knew a girl who waited in line for the midnight release of the latest beloved Harry Potter book, only to lock herself in her room for the next 72 hours in order to read the fantasy novel, devoid of all human interaction, sleep, and food, only breaking to use the bathroom. And all of this in order to find out what happens next to a character that is the figment of a real person's imagination. Oh, the saddening irony. Drugs, sexuality, modern gaming (people have literally starved themselves to death on gaming binges), movies, social media, etc., all of it to disengage the harsh realities of our lives: the reality that we don't actually have bulging muscles and small waists, we don't actually have power to leap buildings in single bounds, we don't actually have the power to overthrow the evil in our lives, we don't actually have unlimited resources to have all the newest and flashiest things, we don't actually have the power to have the sexy and romantic relationship that we see on the screen. Why doesn't our life look like theirs? Because it's not real. So what's the solution? Engage in real life. Instead of watching one more movie this week, spending 3 more hours on that game or your favorite social media site, or indulging in the fantasy of porn, or coping through drug and alcohol addiction, decide to connect with a real person in a real way. Get a cup of coffee and talk with them. Go on a walk with someone and talk about who you really are, and who you want to be. Share a meal with someone. Give to someone who has needs that you can help to meet. Tell someone what they mean to you, and that you love them. Find ways to engage. In real life.


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