I’m a comic geek. Not a surprising confession to most who know me, but for those who don’t know…I am a comic geek.
There’s a plaza near where I live called Plaza 88. It has the most demented sense of design I’ve ever seen. Outside the plaza are three (I think?) horses in a fountain spewing water from their noses. The horses continue inside the mall – decorative horse heads act as supports for each floor above the ground floor. There’s a deer (?) with big antlers above the entrance. There are soccer balls and basketballs all over the interior.
The stores inside the mall continue the eclectic theme with a Baskin-Robbins, a coffee shop, an illegal DVD store (which I love and frequent and feel like a giant hypocrite when I watch them), and a woodworking shop with pieces from Lombok.
So…what does this have to do with comics? Outside the mall, crawling up the wall, is Spiderman. Hulk and Superman are hanging out inside the mall, and there’s this guy, the Spiderman above, crawling up an interior wall. It looks like it was put together by children with great imaginations.
I’ve had the chance to do a lot of reading this summer and very little of it was applicable to my profession (which makes it awesome). Photo Friday’s challenge this week is Recreation and I couldn’t think of a better definition of recreation than the reading list that exists in this photo. Please allow me to explain a couple of things. I have a Bachelor of Arts, with a major in English Literature. I am a teacher of 11th and 12th grade English, creative writing and student leadership. I am an unabashed comic book fan.
My reading list for tonight, above, is indicative of all that I find fun, exciting and interesting about the offerings of literature. Here’s what you see above:
1. Image Comics Trade Paperback 1st volume of Elephantmen. I’m going to caution you about this series. It is incredible, but involves a great deal of disturbing concepts and visuals. It involves a number of Animal/Human hybrids who were the brainchild of, from what I’ve deduced, a psychopathic geneticist who saw them as his greatest achievement and a weapon to use against humankind. They rebelled, or were decommissioned, and are now trying to fit into general society. They re-created their own purpose. Interesting premise, if you can get past the violence.
2. DC Comics Trade Paperbacks (Superman, Superboy, Batman). I’m not even going to explain this one. If you don’t know who these characters are, shame on you. Recreational superhero reading. Yay!
3. Marvel Comics Ultimate X-Men. Mark Millar reimagined (re-created?) the iconic X-Men back in 2001 and retold the original series in a modernized setting. From what I gather, the series was re-created in Ultimate form in order to bring in younger comics readers who couldn’t keep up with the many iterations of X-Men that existed as of the turn of the century, so Millar put his much loved edge to the series and rebooted it. Very cool. Seriously. I would love to have Magneto’s hair.
4. Dark Horse Comics Star Wars: The Old Republic. This TPB (trade paperback) collected comics based on a video game based on a fictional history based on the movies of Star Wars. Yup. If you don’t get that, smile, nod, and move on. Pure recreation.
5. Terry Moore’s independently-published Echo. This is the first volume TPB of Echo. It’s about a photographer named Julie who accidentally witnesses the destruction of a military experiment. The result is that she is exposed to a high-tech metal that fuses with part of her body and the repercussions involved. She realizes that her life has been changed, re-created, and starts to accept her new purpose. Lots of humor and adventure. I can’t wait to read more.
6. Vertigo Comics Fables: Rose Red. This series, which I’ve only read in TPB format, is incredible. This is the 15th volume and it centers on Snow White’s sister, Rose Red. The entire series is based on the idea that there is (was?) a war in the worlds of the Fables and our most beloved of them move into our world and occupy a magical borough called Fabletown in the city of New York. The vulnerability and power of the Fables themselves is based entirely in our knowledge and belief in them. This means that Snow White, thanks to Walt Disney, is nigh unto invulnerable to any attack (in fact, she is shot in the head by Goldilocks and recovers within weeks). Incredible writing; incredible visuals; even more incredible creativity re-creating characters with whom we are so familiar.
7. Finally, Onward by Howard Schultz. I’ve barely cracked this book and already I’m impressed. I wanted to read this book after I watched Schultz speak, on Piers Morgan Tonight, about his boycott on political campaign contributions and impressed me with his seeming integrity and forthrightness. It seems to me that he is re-creating the American business landscape and I want to know more about him. So far (the Introduction) it’s interesting and bold. I like it.
So, that’s my recreational reading. What’s yours like? Who or what do you read during your leisure time?
Here’s the deal. Some of you know that I have action figures; some of you do not. Here’s the confirmation that I have more collectibles that many of you have not seen. And, again, it’s Batman. I just love that guy.
And, yes, I know he’s not real.
This is a close-up of my Pentax K1000. I’ve still not taken it out to shoot photos since I shot this photo a couple of weeks ago. Sad. But I’m on holidays and yesterday I sat on my butt watching Justice League Unlimited on DVD for four hours, followed by two hours of Batman: Arkham Asylum. I feel rested and, if I’m being truthful, totally lazy. AWESOME!
…will possess the power of the mighty Thor. No, wait. That’s the hammer to which Odin was referring, not the helmet. Sorry. I got that all wrong.
On the other hand, given the mustache, this could be, say, Don Quixote.
It could be, however, that the artist who created this painting had nothing superhero-ish in mind at all. Maybe it’s a comment on the way in which we’re all masked through our use of technology and that “nothing is but what is not.” A sort of post-modern Macbeth-ian interpretation of our Facebooked, texted, Twittered society, wherein we guard ourselves against life by creating insular armor of emoticons and 140 character blurbs about our exercise regimens and bathroom habits. Maybe the artist is begging us to embrace the humanity behind the armor, behind the guarded personalities we project through our use of smartphones and iPhones.
Or, maybe he just thought that a glowing aura helmet guy would look cool.
The “Superman” blue is on the wall. I’m not sure how many other 37 year olds would be crazy enough to turn the entire basement into a shrine to Batman and Superman (the two greatest superheroes ever!). I’m even less sure of how many families would let their husband/father paint the basement in the color schemes of his favorite comic book heroes. I have a great family.
I painted the east wall in the basement today. I have some fun ahead of me when I start on the “Batman” grey, but the blue is up. It looks amazing. The basement went from a dull, flat white, with the marks of a lived-in basement, to a brilliant, vibrant blue. It took a few hours, but the difference is incredible. Now I just have to figure out where, and how, I’m going to present all of my action figures, maquettes and Batman lunch box.
This whole last week I’ve felt as though the Incredible Hulk has been trying to break out of my head. There is a week to go before Christmas holidays and too many things to do before I’m done. So, this morning I went out to the lake and wandered. There was almost no wind and the temperature was a balmy five degrees. It was so tranquil that the Hulk took a little break. Here’s what calms the beast:
I shot this on the way home tonight. I am finding that the weather cooperates beautifully with my commute home. That’s weird, now that I think about it. I wonder if maybe I’m controlling it. Hmmm…
Maybe I have superpowers that control the weather…although every person who could control weather, in the comics I read, is a supervillain. Well, I guess I need to start practicing my evil laugh.