Comics and Belonging.
On Monday the world grieved the loss of Stan Lee and like many actors, book writer, singers, and normal people went to social media to share a picture or a heartfelt sentiment that how Stan Lee made an impact on their life. It was remarkable when the artists of the internet starting drawing pictures of Superman comforting Spiderman during this time of loss. Another tweet said something along the line of the only thing that Dc Comic and Marvel fans agree on is Stan Lee. I too was saddened by this loss.
I wanted to share what fandom and comics how they have made an impact on my life.
The first comic book I picked up was an X-men comic. I think I started with whatever one I could find at the library. Inside were colorful Characters with powers however they had real-life struggles. Unlike Superman or Batman whom I knew about, The X-men were mutants. Mutants in the Marvel world are considered outcasts, a group of humans who are inferior to others because they had a power that was unexplained. The X-men were also minorities, the team consisted of different nationalities and they had to learn how to work together and navigate the world which wasn’t as accepting. One interesting thing about Marvel uses real places for their locations unlike Dc which wraps their superheroes into a world completely fictional, Marvel had their superheroes in New York. So there could be a chance where one of the X-men were walking through streets and see another superhero. This made the world seem alive.
I was 15 when I got into comic books, I read as much as I could. I am a character reader, so I would go to comic stores and scour the book for my favorites. I discovered Rogue, Gambit, Kitty Pryde, Colossus, Storm, Wonder Woman, Teen Titans, Wolverine and many more. I often would bring a comic book and Journal to class to either read during lunch or after school. It was my rebellious stage and my parents allowed it. One of the first things I wrote for an online platform was a Fanfiction name where are you now and it centered around Rogue’s remorse for leaving Gambit in Anartica. I published it and looked up and said I’m a writer!!! I’m a published author.
Fanfiction was a place for myself to feel like my voice could be heard. And truthfully it was a place where I could escape the old novel I was reading for college. I found a community of supportive people who enjoyed my ideas and thought I was a good writer, even though through college all I heard from my professors is “why did you choose this career path?” and your grammar is horrible. I had one professor who supported my work and when I graduated she whispered to let her know what I do as a job. Only one!!!
In 2008, Iron Man the film came out and going to the movie with Mother to a superhero flick became a thing in our family. We still go to superhero movies together. It’s amazing how one movie has made an impact on our family.
In April, I was able to attend a local comic con and it was one of the best experiences I have had. I met so many people and they were warm and accepting. They asked about what fandoms I enjoyed. I met an artist that drew my favorite power couple and overall it felt like a day where outcasts came together and became a community.
This is what I observed about the fandom community. They are accepting, they are okay with which characters you like or don’t like. The world is crazy and hurtful sometimes, however, the fandom community is supportive. Its sometimes how I imagine the world in the way that God intended it before Adam and Eve made their decision. A world where people have discussions about differences without being hostile, where people who are universally divided can all mourn a man who died, and a place of belonging. Belonging that goes beyond skin color and ability but on preferences over which superpower is good for fixing the world problems. We protect the bullied, stand up to the bullies and respect each other.
2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ.