Earth’s Mightiest Heroes

And there came a day, a day unlike any other, when Earth’s mightiest heroes and heroines found themselves united against a common threat. On that day, the Avengers were born—to fight the foes no single super hero could withstand! Through the years, their roster has prospered, changing many times, but their glory has never been denied! Heed the call, then—for now, the Avengers Assemble!

Why am I a fan? Why does the world of “super heroes” appeal to me so much? Why am I attracted to that which is considered to be childish and immature?

The simple answer: super heroes are neither childish nor immature.

As a child, my family moved often. There was an opportunity for a new business here or there, a return to our roots was desired, or a new job was needed. Whatever the reason, moving causes a strain on the ability of a child to make long-term friends. (Note: I love my parents; they did what needed to be done and I am thankful to them for living different cities across Texas and Oklahoma.)

When I was about 11 or so, I discovered my first comic book. It was X-Men: Classic #30-something. In a handful of issues, I discovered one of the most game-changing story-lines in comics from the 1980’s – The Dark Phoenix Saga. And I fell in love. 

I feel in love with Jean Grey (which is why I probably still love red hair to this day). I strongly identified with Scott Summers (an outcast among outcast for he always feared accidentally killing this teammates). And I made some of the best friends in my life – friends I could always return to at a moment’s notice.

As I matured, so did my tastes. Thankfully, the comics did as well. My palette expanded to include the likes of Green Lantern, the Avengers, the New Warriors, among others. Comics grew darker and grittier with more mature themes.

Because of this love affair, and that is really what it is, the recent advent of mainstream comic book movies warms my heart. I get to watch as my childhood heroes are introduced to friends who didn’t have a concept of what comic books are really like. And thankfully (for the most part), the movies have been accurate depictions and have done justice to the medium.

When Iron Man was first released, it marked the first comic book movie released by the comic book company who originated the stories. This shift was very important – it meant that the company that created the stories retained creative control. It meant that changes that non-fans wanted to make could be overridden by the men and women (who happen to be fans themselves) that create the source material. 

And it shows.

Now, after several years, Marvel Entertainment is bringing forth a new concepts to movies – a shared universe and continuity, concepts long known and beloved of comic fans worldwide.

My heroes are here – Iron Man, Captain America, Hawkeye, and more. Marvel has taken their time in introducing these characters, and allowing us to get to know them slowly. The Avengers movie is one where we already know who these characters are as individuals, and now the world gets to see how these different personalities will interact, and you won’t have to wait 30-45 minutes to introduce them – they have all the exposition needed. I suspect that The Avengers will be an explosive ride from the start.

And the end result: my heroes are back again. Perhaps you will let them be yours, as well.

Author’s note: Boy and girls, if you take nothing else from this article, know this: comic books are not for kids anymore. Yes there are some that are aimed at children, but those are ones that have special indicators – if you have kids and they want to read comics, be sure to monitor what they read.

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