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Marvel and Me: How My Introduction to Comic Books Has Changed My Life

Honestly I can’t remember a time before I was absolutely Marvel trash. Which is really surprising because I only really got into it about a year ago. Sure, I had seen The Avengers, Iron Man and Thor, and they were all alright movies, they were fun, but I wasn’t really into the whole superhero thing. But then I saw Captain America 2: The Winter Solider, and I fell in love.
I don’t quite know what it was that I fell in love with. Maybe it was the storytelling aspects of the film, perhaps it was the (not so) subtle commentaries on our everyday lives, or maybe it was the strong, brilliant characterisation of the characters, but I knew that I couldn’t get enough. I watched all the films, I started watching Agents of SHIELD (which is still my favourite TV show), but that still wasn’t enough, so I picked up my first superhero comic.
While it should be noted that I had read a few comic books before – in 2010 I was very into Warehouse 13, so I read their comic series, and I enjoyed reading the Hack/Slash series, but I never got into superhero comics, and I only ever imagined them to be like the ones from the 90s, with the overly drawn muscle, little character development and way to much fighting. But I hadn’t picked up a comic book for about 4 years, until that fateful day.

  

Black Widow by Edmondson and Noto Issue #2
And honestly, comic books are daunting as hell. In marvel alone there are so many different characters, story arcs, writers, artists, where do I begin? It’s pretty obvious actually. I loved Natasha Romanoff in CA:TWS, so I’ll read some of my favourite character. She was so amazing in TWS, she’ll be amazing in everything right? I was very lucky actually, because at that time Edmondson and Noto’s Black Widow had only just started to be published. And well that confirmed my suspicions. Black Widow is a BAMF. I quickly googled something along the lines of “essential black widow story arcs”. I easily would have spent $50 on comic books within the first week. But it was well worth it. I’ve found a new form of media that is absolutely amazing. As I was reading Black Widow, I found a new character that I became interested in – Hawkeye. So I went and read one of the most critically aclaimed comic series in recent history – Faction’s Hawkeye, and it was set. I became marvel trash. I’ve now been reading marvel  for almost a year (maybe a little bit under it), but I definitely feel like a part of the community. The guys down in the comic book shop (shout out to kings comics) recognise my face every time I enter, and will happily strike up a conversation with me about the newest issue of whatever i’m holding, or the recent gossip in the mcu, or what series they are looking forward too. I’ve been starting to read some DC comics as well (particularly wonder woman because she’s amazing, and frankly I can’t get enough of women in comics), and I just feel really happy in this community of people with shared interests and investments in the characters we love.
  
Hawkeye by Faction, Aja and Pulido Issue
I’m lucky, I haven’t been exposed to the whole elitist attitude that the marvel, and comic community seems to have towards the people that have been introduced to the comics through pop culture and the films. With the recent releases of the MCU, it’s surprising that I haven’t encountered it, in real life or online. In fact, quite a lot of people are very welcoming to those who were introduced to comics through the MCU, because hey, at least they’ve been introduced. And really, it’s hard to keep up that elitist attitude nowadays, because honestly, only the people above the ago of 25 really remember what the community was like before the MCU, and it is only detrimental to exclude anyone below that age.
  
It’s funny though. Whenever I say that I like reading comic books, in public (i.e. not within these communities) I get the weirdest looks from people. Being a woman in a stereotypically male-dominanted community has only really affected me outside of the community, with people saying things like “Oh, but you’re too pretty to be one of those people”, or “But you’re a chick. Chicks don’t like comic books”, both of which are hilarious comments to me, solely because they are so wrong.
  
To me, comics are fun. They represent hopes and ideals, while simultaneously making commentaries on everyday society. They are so much better at representation than other forms of media, and they have given me a community that I can call my own. And that’s all a person wants isn’t it? A community.

  

Stan Lee: Another definition of a hero is someone who is concerned about other people’s well-being, and will go out of his or her way to help them — even if there is no chance of a reward. That person who helps others simply because it should or must be done, and because it is the right thing to do, is indeed without a doubt, a real superhero

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