Why Being a Grown Man and Excited About Men in Tights is Okay

My wife has no use whatsoever for superheroes. Despite that, she’s agreed to attend the Marvel Movie Marathon with me and a couple of our friends on May 3rd. Six movies. Fourteen hours. The last movie we’ll be seeing? The Avengers, at midnight. Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Hawkeye, Black Widow and Nick Fury, all in one movie. With my wife. I wish I could go back in time and tell 8-year-old me that this was actually happening.

Or 16-year-old me.

Or 20-year-old me.

Or 28-year-old me.

Or me from last fall.

Once I got into the comic book buying habit, I never really grew out of it. Sure, there have been hard financial times when I’ve had to set the habit aside for a bit, or times, like now, when the price of a single comic book is not justified by the amount and quality of content inside (I prefer to purchase collected editions or “graphic novels”), but I’m always reading comics. And, yeah, I’m usually reading about superheroes.

I am not an overgrown child trapped in a child’s body. The stereotype of the 30-year-old arrested adolescent living in his mother’s basement, picking Cheetos out of the beard he thinks makes him look older and playing video games while debating disembodied mouth breathers over a headset during online Halo games about whether or not Batman’s 1950’s adventures with their sci-fi trappings can be squared with the persona of the “Dark Knight” is, unfortunately, based on some all-too-real individuals. But they’re not as numerous as most people think.

Most geeks or superhero fans have a steady job, a spouse and kids. Or they at least aspire to some combination of the three. Many are college-educated and can hold real conversations. You may be tempted to stare at their chests and wonder at the magnificent shield of Captain America screenprinted upon it, but–hey now–their eyes are up here.

A grown man with a love for men in primary-colored tights is ridiculous on its face, but only if you reductively describe the passion as such. What it’s really all about, at least for me, is the simple power of great imagination in the service of telling a story of good triumphing over evil.

My worldview is reinforced and stuff gets smashed. That is never not going to be entertaining.

So, in a couple of weeks, I’ll put my love to the test and plant my butt in a seat for 14 hours and see just how much awesome I can take. I’ll also put my other love to the test. I hope she likes Thor as much as I do.*

Like superheroes? Hate ’em? Love to hear your reasons why or why not.

 

*I seem to be the only person on Earth who understands that Thor is the best of the Marvel movies. So far, anyway.

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15 comments

    1. Tell Karen that the actor who plays Thor is Chris Hemsworth, brother to Liam Hemsworth (who played Peeta in the Hunger Games). Also tell her that one should really watch Thor before one watches the sure to be awesomeness that is The Avengers. Good luck.

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  1. Nah, you might not be the only one to totally dig Thor. I come close to your opinion, but maybe not quite. I think the original three Spiderman flicks – with varying amount of grievances for some of the third’s content and direction – have been the best Marvel movies I’ve seen. But, past that, Thor was amazing and Captain America was, to me, probably the best post-Spiderman 3 flicks. Whereas I thought Iron Man was an okay but disappointing sub-par movie and that Iron Man 2 was even worse. I never saw the earlier Hulk movie, the one with the mutated dogs, but did see the second one with Fury and Iron Man at the end of it, and didn’t think it was too bad, but sadly must not have left a big impression on me as it is not very remember-able to me years later. I am half-hearted – actually, more like 75% hearted against – toward the upcoming new Spiderman film, but mostly only because I don’t think the actor looks like a Peter Parker, I hate the costume that diverges from the classic, I’ve heard there’s a bigger emphasis on Gwen Stacy and Peter still in high school which is foreign to my tastes, and I honestly see absolutely no reason to discontinue the older film series in favor of a newer series, especially one that is billed as a “darker take on Spiderman.” I understand that the director and actors of the previous film franchise have, if you will, flown the coop with no intentions on returning to ever make another Spiderman film, but I don’t think it impossible to replace the actors and director and place a fourth movie years later in order to explain aging as the reason the actors may look somewhat different. Still, because of that, I concede that a reboot may be less of a headache. My positives for the new Spiderman film are as thus: 1) The Lizard is the villain, 2) web-cartridges are back, which is interesting but I have no bias towards or against, 3) Peter’s parents disappearance is actually brought up which may be an interesting plot point, and 4) there is an absolutely good chance that this Spiderman may crossover with the newly formed Avengers movie series, if we’re lucky. Speaking of which, I’ve been enjoying the X-Men franchise of movies quite much as well. Somehow I put them into a different bracket as I do the other Marvel superheroes for some reason. My favorite has been X-Men Origins: Wolverine (I wait with abated breath for X-Men Origins: Wolverine part 2 and Deadpool’s movie, lol), with X-Men: First Class coming in second, but somehow didn’t enjoy the original three X-Men movies as much. I mostly enjoy them because of the character of Wolverine and the actor playing him. I very much chuckled at his cameo in X-Men: First Class at the bar. I am hoping for Wolverine to possibly grace the Avengers movie franchise at some point in time as well. I want, more than that however, for the movies to be well-written and well-made more so than a huge cast of characters. After all, the last thing we need is a big-screen example of the failure of our epic-earth-shattering-Crisis-On-Infinite-Comic-Series where in which every superhero known to man overwhelms us and there is so much action and not any real story or plot or dialogue going on that everything becomes nonsensical, confusing, and ultimately irritating, unenjoyable, and an obvious sales gimmick to get myriads of busloads of hungry fans to buy more books just because one of their favorite characters might meet and interact with a gagillion other characters they might like too, all while saving earth or reality itself from complete erasure or some other mind-boggling epic dilemma that is blown up completely out-of-proportion. But, moving on, when done the right way – the well-written, balanced, and toned down (less constant epicness) way – a mega-cross over (or, better yet, a smaller cross over) can be and is a real treat! I’m honestly very much looking forward to The Avengers, to give an example, and hoping for the possibility of a Superman/Batman movie at some time that may lead to a Justice League movie (of which most likely neither will ever happen at all, I’m afraid). For now, I’d settle for a Wonder Woman movie that his heavily saturated with ancient Greek mythology and culture (I like authenticity and historical period movies). Speaking of which, what’s up with Superman’s new costume in Man of Steel? Seriously. But looking forward to seeing that, I suppose, although I’m not sold yet or dying to run out to the theater on opening day. Batman’s third is intriguing me mostly due to Catwoman and the fact that I have no idea what direction the franchise will take for the third installment, and especially since it is the concluding movie.

    I had completely forgotten about Marvel’s Fantastic Four movies, Dare Devil, Ghost Rider (as well as Elektra and Punisher which I never saw), and any I have not listed (I must not know they exist). This is mostly due to the fact that absolutely none of them made a good impression on me whatsoever – except Fantastic Four, I admit, as I have always loved Ben Grimm and his desire to become “normal” again (him being Jewish and reminding me of the Jewish Golem myth is an interesting plus). I thought that the first FF movie was fairly great, although not much happened; but ultimately it’s true that it set up the origin for the movie franchise (may it rest in peace as I’ve heard no news of a third film) and we are still awaiting to see Dr. Doom at his greatest. But the the second one disappointed me as having too many jokes and puns. I felt like the plot was almost non-existent, as if what little plot it did have was strung together by too much comedy and action, and not enough smart dialogue and etc. I suppose I’m taking my superhero movies too seriously, though.

    I plan on seeing the next Green Lantern movie. I thought it was fairly good, but hoping the second will be even better. Anyway, I guess I just felt like typing up a message about my own love for the genre. I get really carried away sometimes. It’s scary. I originally didn’t mean to ramble endlessly as I did.

    Good luck, Brock, with your movie marathon! I would never do that. šŸ™‚ I can’t sit still for 14 hours straight. I don’t even like sitting through a 3 hour movie if I can help it, ha ha.

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  2. Psh, the man-child argument can be applied to anyone for anything. A sports fanatic is still getting worked up over high school, the comic book lover is operating just a little younger, but I see a lot of people who haven’t grown up who love to toss that insult around.

    This is going to be a long rant. If you want to read why it’s ok to like super-heroes and why they’re not just for neckbeards, skip to the last paragraph.

    That aside, I don’t like super-heroes. This might sound a bit odd considering I’m a Super-Fogeys regular and have my own super-hero themed comic Super Temps, but obviously I wouldn’t have mentioned it if I didn’t intend to explain myself.

    I turned on mainstream comics and super-heroes early in a 12-going-on-40 sort of way. Mainstream comics were and are still poorly written trash on the whole. To give you a proper idea of exactly what I think of comics, I think Stan Lee, Frank Miller, Jack Kirby, and Alan Moore are bloody hacks (harsh and probably an exaggeration but I hold no respect for them)

    The contributions made by the people I accused of being hacks are everything I dislike about them. Horrible dialogue, appeals to 14-year-olds, poorly constructed villains, angst and the inability to realize that as soon as you put a guy in tights forget about trying to tell too serious a story.

    Sooooo… you might ask what the heck I’m doing here.

    I like web comics. A good web comic will be superior to a mainstream comic not because it’s on the web, and not because there’s something superior about people who do web comics, but because a web comic is the only comic that can operate without interference from forces with interests in business over story-telling. Not that these business-oriented forces are always bad, but they can be quite incompetent and lacking in both good long-term business practices and in entertainment skills.

    Quite often with a web comic, there’s only one person behind it. Like Super Fogeys, there’s only one writer, a writer who really cares about telling a good story, a writer who won’t be pulled to another project because it’s too expensive to leave him on the current one, a writer who fully understands the world and characters he’s dealing with.

    I like Super Fogeys because it’s a unique take on super-heroes, asking what happens when they get old and running with the idea for more than a single story. It also has a more cohesive plot. All the clever twists of the Watchmen with none of the pretentiousness that I despise about Moore.

    Now despite how much I bashed super-hero comics, returning to the original point there’s nothing wrong with enjoying them! At the heart of the super-hero comic is the story of a legendary figure who has abilities beyond the ordinary and who runs around having adventures few others could survive. Hercules is probably the oldest super-hero story out there and if it was good enough for Roman Emperors then super-heroes are good enough for anyone else.

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    1. Scott, I know you’re not always a fan of the many twists and turns SuperFogeys takes, so I’m doubly appreciative of how highly you regard it. I don’t share your opinions of who I consider some of the true comic greats, but a solid, strong opinion is always welcome.

      And you’re right about the man-child thing being applied to more than just the “neck beards.” How sports fanatics feel comfortable making fun of ubergeeks, I’ll never know.

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      1. @Brock — sport has been around longer than comics. I imagine early civilizations depended on some degree of strength and fitness for survival (even for their early genius inventors). I think the reasons why the geeks are looked down upon include a long-standing tradition of valuing physical strength, the bitter realization that brains are more valuable than brain in our modern age, but mostly good ol’ fashioned ignorance.

        Perhaps one more thing as well — sports demands a strong team spirit to be successful. You can have super-stars but for most sports fans, teamwork is essential and this isn’t necessarily a part of geek culture. Yes, we band together but we’re not nearly as team-oriented. I think this is why the sports fan doesn’t have the basement-dwelling neckbeard stereotype. The negative stereotype of the sports fanatic is more an ignorant, beer-bellied wifebeater, isn’t it?

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  3. Dude I think it’s just awesome that your wife is going to go along with you for this. I’m attending one in Dallas, it’s only 2 hours away so I didn’t want to miss my chance. I just think it’s awesome in marriage to be able to share your passion for things like this. My wife shares these interests with me as well, she’s not into them like I am but she enjoys them none the less right along side me. If it weren’t for someone needing to be home with the kiddo’s I know she’d be right there along with me for those 14 hours of pure AWESOMENESS!!! Have a blast making another wonderful memory with the one you love.

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    1. Thanks, Todd! Just think… thanks to time zones, you’ll actually be seeing it before me!

      However, I’m sorry I have the impression my wife shares my interests. She really doesn’t. She’s going for the experience more than anything. And to be with me. She’s cool like that.

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  4. Dude- Christ Hemsworth, shirtless. That’s all the argument you need to make.

    But seriously, I liked Thor a lot. I can’t wait to see The Avengers. I am totally jealous.

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  5. We haven’t seen IM 1&2, any of the Hulks, or Thor yet. We did see Captain America, because this character is a favorite of both of us… which piqued her interest in seeing the previously mentioned movies.
    But sitting in a movie theater for 14 hours, besides being tough on the bladder, is not an option for us because of my wife’s breathing problems. (We watch things on DVD.)
    Enjoy your marathon… I almost envy you.
    Cheers!

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  6. Out of all the digital content we have available, only Thor is on my Ipod and is still my favorite movie, although CA is my favorite superhero (cos he’s just this guy, the “little guy,”). I talked to K about this marathon before your post. The last movie we saw at a midnite showing was Jurassic Park (the first one!). Sam Neill saving children from a 25 foot reptile (albeit tiny arms) is my idea of a superhero! But I can wait to see the party Loki throws til the theatre is not so crowded. I know you’ll have a great time and Erin will too(bring extra seat pads…)

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