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Comics & psychology


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oh yes, i will own that shirt one day


I'd wanted to return to a point made earlier by logans that stuck with me, when discussing Clowes' recent book, Wilson.


Here's the thing, and it's possibly why a lot of existing comic book fans can't get into this kind of story: A lot of the time when reading a super-hero book (myself included, don't get the impression I'm hanging out on a high horse here), people find traits in the hero that they can see in themselves. They attempt to relate, and then when Cap'n Awesome does something heroic they can vicariously feel a sense of fulfillment from it.

"Hey, that guy's like me and that makes me awesome!" Cue fantasy.


Long story short: People like a character they can relate to that does things that they admire. It's why women, generally speaking, have a hard time getting into mainstream comics. It's why the genre is filled with a lot of good looking men with well formed pecs.


Now, what was I talking about? Ah, Wilson.


When I'm brutally honest with myself, I have to admit that I can relate a lot more to Wilson than most other comic book characters. And he's a genuinely awful person. The first time I read it, I think I was distracted by thoughts like


"Holyshit, am I that much of a godawful misanthrope? Is being around me this hard?"


The answers, of course, are "Not quite" and "Very much so, for entirely different reasons" respectively. I've made my peace with that.


So while being able to generally relate to your average comic book protagonist makes you feel good , relating to Wilson makes you feel like a sack of shit.


many indie rags ive indulged have taken on the idea of superhero comics as pure escapism (often not so subtlety/kind), but there's obviously a lotta room for discussion here.


when i was younger & first getting back into comics/making my own collection, everybody on our block had to have their respective characters. Panch obviously ran with spidey, for reasons he's gotten into in the past in this forum & likely woudln't mind doing so again. I went with :wolvy: but not when he was written stupid and either sociopathic/eagerly starting shit or way overpowered; i mean, yeah, he could talk shit and do almost anything & know he'd survive, but that didnt mean he'd come out on top at all. My favorite shit was when he'd get the piss beaten out of him (for not staying in his weight division) by someone like the Hulk and get up again. probably one of my favorite panels was this one:




...he's really not wanting to do this, but Juggs is about to fuck up Cannonball, who was left with wolvy chaperoning. they both know a) Juggs has taken down his whole squad before, and b) he's got fucking bone claws but he's up there anyway. when you're about 15 and 120 lbs wet & playing on your school's football team, this means something to you.

i still have my wolverine necklace id wear every day back then.



years later, id read Miller and then Bendis Daredevil and dig an irish catholic walking dichotomy (lawyer/vigilante) who couldn't see so well and liked hitting things (heh), and god knows i can talk all day with baytor about Preacher vs Hitman, why Jesse tries to be more like the duke but Tommy's obviously more Eastwood and what's cool about both, etc...but Logan's dead-on here; this is sort've projecting inversely. We're highlighting glory moments & badass qualities we'd like to see (or have others see) in ourselves.


...but when i first saw American Splendor, i was a film clerk at a local hospital, and no doubt had way more in common with Pekar than anyone in tights. i thought it was bold of lo to kind've have a public moment of introspection and say "ive got more in common with this d-bag character than i'm (possibly) comfortable with". for example: it's hilarious when Scott Pilgrim is ignoring people & thinking about video games, and i can relate to it - but when pretty much everyone says he's kind of a dick, well...yeah. :misty:


I'm not sure where i wanted to take this from here, so I'm gonna end on the note that the RZA said he runs with Moon Knight, cause the dude's "all spiritual and shit.", and that's fucking awesome.

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I hear all that, but what about the other aspects of Wolverine's persona that don't fit? The tragedy that is his love life? His fondness towards teenage girls? I'm not trying to be funny, either. These are things I always found interesting about Logan's character, but also never fell into 'the Nick comparison'. You know I've always believed that Wolverine should have, like, a kid in every town. The ultimate deadbeat dad. The guy gladly brings young mutants girls under his wing, but not his own children. I'm not trying to offend, but you never took me as the fatherly type. I mean sure, you've fed me on more than a few occasions when I was hungry and you were great with Solara when she came that one time. Also, you're amazing with animals. Um, I guess I might have to rethink this... :2T:


As for Spidey... is his story that different than mine? Traumatic events in his past that compel him to be a better person, but he can't seem to catch a break. Also, his love life? Heh. Maybe I'm reaching here, but Spidey speaks to me. I used to be a HUGE Batman fan as a kid, but when I was old enough to know better, I switched. Nothing against the character (cause let's be real, Batman is way cooler), I just couldn't relate to him as much as I grew up.

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exactly! wolverine's women die (cause writers arent gonna carry a relationship), and he plays mentor a lotta times. they're only big deals if you get past the parts where he's basically immortal, kills a tremendous amount of people, and is canadian (heh).

Just like how Peter Parker is excellent with heights, an amazing scientist, always well-intended, and kind of a chump. that's the point: these things dont fit because they're icons/comic characters, and we're people, hence Logan kinda being on the money by saying we're gonna relate more to petty (but honest) indie-type characters who deal with real emotions and day-to-day shit, more than we'd want to. this of course defeats much of the stated purpose - escapism - but i personally think it undermines these things to say that's the whole of it; i love the shit out of plenty characters i cant relate to one bit.



ps no offense taken; id prolly be kind've a shitty father, to be honest.


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I disagree. I think you'd be a great father! Shit, bonding time alone would be awesome for Nick, Jr. Video games! Comics! Philosophy! Philosophy? JK. I just think that you might be disconnected after a certain amount of time. Kid would demand too much of your time and love and don't think you would give it. Let's be honest... you're a little selfish.


Edit: Again, not trying to offend.


Back to the topic at hand, though. Where do you fall in the category of comics and escapism? What level do you fall under? The guy that reads to escape the suckiness of reality? The guy that just wants a good story? Or both?

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