The past few months, I’ve been getting EXTREMELY busy! This is not a bad thing, but it doesn’t leave me much time to relax and do the things I enjoy. I’m finding that my hours are extremely odd, I typically wake up at 6AM, take a 1-2 hour siesta around 3PM, and go to bed around 11 or if i’m feeling like a “rebel” 12AM. Since I don’t have the energy to do anything for 8 hours straight anymore, I have to manage my time very cautiously! To keep my sanity, I’ve found that going to the movies is a great escape. I never would have thought going to the movies by myself would be something that I enjoy doing, but I find it relaxing being surrounded by strangers enjoying something together. It’s kinda reminds me of enjoying a big sporting event. I remember going to my first University of Michigan football game at “The Big House” as a kid in Ann Arbor. I remember being in awe of 110,000 screaming fans cheering on “my” Wolverines. I was hooked! There is really nothing like it! On a smaller scale, I really enjoy that same crowd atmosphere when watching a good movie. That’s why I really enjoy going to opening weekend blockbuster movies. It is kinda ironic that “an escape” for me is getting lost in a group of people enjoying a large event! Experiencing something for the first time with a large group of people is extremely exciting for me. I like going by myself because I like to unwind and just get lost in the story. I typically like going to animated movies or action movies because they don’t require much thinking. I don’t like horror or romance movies because I don’t like being jumpy, and romantic movies I find “cheezy”… In a way, I haven’t really grown up because the things that entertained me at 10 years old still entertain me now! I guess that mentality keeps me “young at heart”. hee hee hee…
Had an AWESOME time at ComicCon! I haven’t been inside the convention center since 2010, but I still went downtown to experience the festivities on Friday and Saturday! This popped in my head as I rode the trolley home surrounded by costumed freaks and geeks… In college, I took a couple classes in Classical Mythology… Greek Mythology and Roman Mythology. We read the classics like Homer’s The Odessey, Homer’s The Illiad, and Virgil’s The Aeneid. After a weekend at ComicCon, it dawned on me that modern comic books have themes that are very similar to Classical Mythology. You have:
heroes and villans;
heroes with super powers that need to commit “trials” to save people;
“ordinary people” who step up and become extraordinary heroes (the hero’s journey).
There is definitely a structure to each hero’s journey and the heroic archetypes. I realized that there are so many similarities between modern heroes and the ancient heroes. Check out these similarities…
Superman: Hercules, invincible but with one weakness (cutting his hair=kryptonite)
Batman, Spiderman: Odesseus, tragedy breeds a call to action,
Superman, Luke Skywalker: Perseus, orphaned son with special powers
Alfred Pennyworth (Batman), Aunt May (Spiderman), Obi-wan Kenobi (Star Wars): The wiseguide
X-Men: “imperfect” greek demi-gods with special powers
Harvard Classics Professor Gregory Nagy explains it by saying, “It’s not that they were ‘believed’ . . . Rather, myths about heroes were accepted as valid narratives about moral truths”. In a way, comic books recreate these myths, but for different reasons. In the “Golden Age” of comic books (late 1930’s to 1950s), the superheroarchetype was created, and many famous characters debuted, including: Superman, Batman, Captain America, Wonder Woman, and Captain Marvel. The world needed heroes to look up to for World War II.
In the Silver Age of comics, from 1956 to 1970, the popularity and circulation of comic books about superheroes declined following World War II. Comic books about horror, crime and romance took larger shares of the market. In contrast to previous eras, Silver Age characters were “flawed and self-doubting”. Characters such as Spider-Man, the X-Men and the Hulk popped up during a time period of social upheaval and the rise of a youth counterculture in the 60’s. Comic book readers of the Silver Age were more scientifically-inclined than previous generations. Thus, comic books of the Silver Age explained superhero phenomenons and origins through science, as opposed to the Golden Age, which commonly relied on magic or mysticism.
The Bronze Age of comics 1970-1985 was characterized by more mature and modern comic books. More ethnically diverse characters were also created such as Marvel‘s Luke Cage (who was the first black superhero to star in his own comic book in 1972, followed a year later by Black Panther in Jungle Action), Storm, Blade, DC‘s Green Lantern John Stewart, Bronze Tiger, Black Lightning,Vixen, Cyborg and Monica Rambeau. Characters such as Luke Cage, Mantis, Misty Knight, Shang-Chi, and Iron Fist have been seen by some as an attempt by Marvel Comics to cash in on the 1970s crazes for Kung Fu movies. In the 70s, there were also a lot of super hero Team ups / Cross overs. I remember getting my first comics books in this period. My parents actually let me subscribe to comic books via mail. I’ll never forget the first comic book I got in the mail… The Amazing Spider-Man #238 where the Hobgoblin first appeared! Part of me thinks it was a ploy for me and my brother to check the mail daily because as a kid, you very rarely receive anything in the mail box. When we got mail it was exciting! It worked because it got me reading and appreciating good stories.
In the Modern Age of Comics (from the mid-1980s to present) we are seeing more of these stories in Pop Culture (popular culture) because the “hero’s journey” is constantly repeated yet still an entertaining escape from reality! The super hero has evolved from socially moral god-like characters in the 1930s to the modern anti-hero with particular character flaws. Regardless, they have become a major source of entertainment in Hollywood because everyone can relate to them. It’s no coincidence that many of the big summer block buster movies are comic book related… Spider Man, the Avengers, Batman, Superman… all with great super hero stories. These stories are filed with classical mythology concepts. These modern mythology themes makes me wonder how people in the future will look at our 20th Century Pop Culture and our “Modern Mythology”.
There is so much that can be learned by understanding origins of things… On the surface these comic book stories appear to be for kids, but in actuality they represent evolution of centuries of classic mythology. I found this great article online that discusses this deeper.
I’m actually going to be in town this year for the World Famous San Diego Comic Con! I went downtown last year for the festivities, but I haven’t been inside the actual convention center since 2010… going downtown is always fun because there are a lot of people in costumes dressed up for people watching, there is something going on, and of course FREE PROMOTIONAL STUFF! It’s like Halloween in warm weather. I went to my first Comic Convention in Michigan back in the 90s actually, a friend dragged me to a Star Trek convention too. I didn’t wear a costume though… I won’t get dressed up for anything unless I have too. In high school, I was the typical jock. I played sports every season, but I was secretly obsessed with science fiction and comic books. Over the years, I’ve learned to embrace my geekiness! You can try to hide it or learn to embrace it. I’m proud to be different.
Oh man… there will be so many costumed characters in San Diego next weekend! It will fun people watching! Last year I got a kick out of this guy playing the “Ocarana of Time” from the Legend of Zelda outside the Gaslamp trolley stop. I wasted so much time playing this video game! I don’t know what was worse: me playing for hours in the living room OR my roommates watching me play for hours and giving me STRATEGIC advice… HAHAHA! Anyways… Been laying the ground work for a VERY BUSY Sept, Oct, and Nov… Stay Tuned! Some BIG NEWS is coming!