Monday, January 24, 2005

Oy, where are the updates...

Well, can’t say I’ve been rather diligent in my blogging, but I beg forgiveness, for as the eve of Babylonian elections draws ever nearer, the number of guests in my inquisitors chamber grows in direct proportion. I am not going to talk about Babylon or walks on the dark side or bad things this time though—lo I have become rather depressing dear reader, and surely you are ready to find a happier site ( or something). So this entry if going to be fun. I’m going to talk about comic books.

I love comic books. I mean really. Career, sure it’s OK. Family guy? Sure I am, and I like to think I’m OK with that too. But I love comics. Is it the seamless blend of visual art and narrative storytelling? Is it the iconic heroes embodying concepts like Truth, Justice, and doing the right damn thing? Maybe it’s the epic stories that span years of real time and generations in the comic book world. The fact is these modern myths thrill me, and I am hooked. There is of course the question that plagues all American comic book fans: DC or Marvel?

I love both. I will give my description of why I love each, and then we’ll talk about which one I prefer. Marvel Comics offers a variety of colorful characters who have miraculous powers, but are people like you and me. When Spidey laments over Gwen Stacy, we feel it. When he’s worried about classes, we understand it. We can commiserate with these characters because as Stan Lee says, when he wrote these characters he put his own thoughts and personality traits into them. Hulk is Stan’s anger. The Everlovin’ Thing is Stan’s sense of being an outsider. They are ordinary people in extraordinary situations and we love them for it.

DC? These are gods. Superman is all that is good and beyond temptation. Batman is the concept of justice in persona. Flash is the essence of speed itself. These are not people you commiserate with, these are people you aspire to. I don’t identify with Batman, but I want to be him. These are characters of a new Olympus.

So which do I prefer? DC. I like the bold presentation of iconic characters with no excuses. Sure I enjoy Wolverine, and love the well-written tales of his struggle with the animal within (sound familiar?), but as I said before, I want to be Batman. I want to be Superman.

OK, there are other comic companies too. Sam Keith’s The Maxx for Image was terrific, and Devil’s Due has some great franchise (GI Joe) and originals (Love Bunny and Mr. Hell). No issues with the good independents, but I think they will always be just that—the independents. I will always love Marvel; Hulk, Spidey, and anything Ultimate. But then there is DC. I can see my grandkids reading Superman like my grandpa did. Maybe 2000 years from now, High Schoolers will have to sit through American Mythology instead of Greek mythology. No more “Explain how Zeus gave birth to Minerva as the Goddess of wisdom…” but rather “How did Jason Todd succeed Dick Grayson, and what happened to him post Crisis?”

Wish I could be there. I’d get an A.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

North by Northwest

Our Moral Compass. We all have one, for better or worse. Gives us our directions of Right Action. Mine usually shows up as that little voice in the back of the head that tells you when things aren’t quite right. Is it the voice of guilt? Sometimes, but like those cliché angel and demon that pop up on your shoulders, every little good voice in the back of your head has a little bad counterpart that thinks it would be a good idea to take the last cookie, throw a party while Mom and Dad are away, or institute a plan of ethnic cleansing across southern Europe.

I will admit that I have been under a fair amount of stress lately. Though admittedly the “things that blow up really good and throw fast moving sharp pieces of metal” quotient has diminished, the inverse of that is more of the ones that would send those things our way are waiting for my inquisitional skills. They’re off the streets and I spend much of my time sitting in a small room with people who would just as soon see me bleed, asking if they can tell me where their bad guy friends are. As a result of my stress, I have found my mind wondering to places I freely admit I am not comfortable with it going. Nothing to do with torture and such, I’m just not the guy to do that, and I really don’t entertain thoughts of it. Times though, I just want to kill folks.

Easy now, I’m not sharpening my knives and making victim lists, but as abhorrent as I find killing I just sometimes run into people that in a cold dispassionate way I think would make the world a better place by leaving it. Then, the guilt sets in for thinking that way. I don’t really want to kill people says saintly figure on right shoulder, and let them taste their own blood says horned figure on left shoulder. Yes I belong to an organization that kills people and breaks things, but in my career I have yet to confront the first one of those. I’m hoping I don’t have to, I really hope I don’t have to.

So, dealing with the death dealing, I go looking for solace elsewhere. And what goes with violence? See, my life mate is well chosen. Pretty much perfect for me. And she is my solace: in heart, in soul, and certainly in body. There is nothing that cleanses my demons better than kind words, acceptance, and physical contact. It can be as simple as a hand on mine, or hours of sweat-drenched, breath-taking… well I’m sure you get the idea.

But what do I do when she’s not here? I can’t tell you how happy I am the darling of my life is not in Babylon. Yet I yearn for her touch and her love. Without her here, the yearning doesn’t stop. The need for that acceptance and touch is just as strong, perhaps stronger because there is no release. And there comes the guilt again, the warning signs that keep us all members of society or families. But as with the other issue the thought is there. The little red guy with the horns telling me what to do and how to hide it. The guy with the halo though, sets him straight. But…

What if my moral compass pointed South? What if I could slaughter my way across Babylon and fuck whoever was left? What if for a single day I cast aside every compunction, every ethic, every little shred of moral decency that keeps me on the majority of people-I-like’s good sides? If I actually held down that Babylonian and used my ballpoint pen to do major cerebral adjustment through an eye socket? If the glance young girl-soldier gave me was pursued to the creative use of an empty tank? What happens then, when I become one of the bad guys? Do you come back from that, can you?

I really need to go home. I am tired of being this way, tired of contemplating how much I would be satisfied doing the wrong thing. The Negative surrounds me, and I feel it pulling my compass needle away from north, away from the Right, away from Her. Without her, I am another one of the masses that make the world worse instead of better.

I don’t know what takes one charismatic leader and allows him to become Jesus, and makes another Adolf Hitler. What makes a brilliant leader Gandhi, or another Napoleon? The things around us? Jesus got Mary Magdelene, Adolf got mustard gas. God gave me Her. I have Her. Except right now I don’t. I have mortars and rockets. I have…

…to hold on. Just a little while longer, I hope. Before everything goes South.