I have a confession to make: I don’t know much about superheroes. I know I know. I’m a terrible Captain Amazing. It’s not that I don’t like superheroes and the stories they inhabit, I just haven’t really exposed myself enough to have anything more than a surface knowledge of them.
Most likely my vast unknowledge (my own word) of heroic men, women, beasts, and aliens stems from the fact that I didn’t read many comic-books growing up, and I was raised in an age where movies featuring superheroes just weren’t commonplace. Sure there was Superman and its sequels, and Tim Burton got me all interested in Batman (and Kim Basinger – huminahuminahumina), but those two are the superhero stalwarts, and known by people ages 0 to 100 through cultural osmosis, if anything. Also, the films never encouraged me to go back and open up the panel filled pages on which they were based, so I never absorbed the characters mythology, other than what Burton and Richard Donner told me. Back then I didn’t know Jor-El from Joe Chill, and to this day I still don’t know anything other than the former is Superman’s pops and the other killed Bruce Wayne’s parents – in at least the most widely accepted story of Batman’s origins.
It’s not that I had anything *against* comic-books, really, it’s just that, while I was growing up, any form of entertainment that didn’t move at twenty-four frames per second in front of my eyes didn’t really interest me. I had zero appreciation for the intricate artwork of comic-books because the action was chopped into individual frames, with each movement frozen in a time and place I felt too disconnected from. When I read a book, I could imagine every single little detail in my head. Movies were the exact opposite, showing me how someone else imagined something and leaving little for my mind to run with. Comic-books, to me, were like some sort of limbo: the artist was telling me what to see, but my mind couldn’t create the movement and fill in the gaps between panels.
That is, of course, not a problem now, and for the past few years I’ve been trying to catch up at least some of the major comics I’ve missed throughout the years. I re-read Watchmen every year now, completed Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Hush, and The Killing Joke recently, and have taken a look at some X:Men series as well. While I don’t ever expect to scratch anything more than the surface when it comes to these stories (I’m just too much of a movie guy, and I’m always thinking of what movie I could be watching while reading), I do hope to one day have a well rounded foundation when it comes to the myths surrounding the world’s favorite superheroes.
So now, Super Blogged Up readers, I’m going to ask you to help me out. I need some recommendations on what to read, why to read it, and how you think it’ll inform/improve my performance as Captain Amazing. I pretty much want you to write about superheroes and what they mean to you. Start anywhere, end anywhere, just make sure your prose is less than a thousand words and it’s spell/grammar checked.
Then, email it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We’ll choose our favorite write-ups and, every other week for the next few weeks or so, post them here at Super Blogged Up. So get writing, and stay Super!