The Hope of Comics

Even though it’s not why I do it, because in the beginning I considered this blog to be a fun extension of my life and my many interests, it has become something bigger and much more literate. And with that come judgments from people who just aren’t very intellectual presently, or perhaps never will be which I consider worthless. The difference between me writing these many articles for myself, which I have for many, many years and sharing them in the form of a blog is that in the back of my mind I hope to help people realize that there is more to life than what they are presently living. I think by any measure I am a very well-balanced person and an excellent thinker. True, I could be another Alex Jones, I certainly have interests in that direction, but I could also be a sports star, or any number of things. But what I am is a lot of things and I like it that way. And I share those things with my audience purely for the sake of their own uses, certainly not mine. What I do for myself is know that I am trying to help people live better and more authentically, and when the refusal of that offer is openly rejected I do get mad about it. I don’t force people to do anything and they certainly shouldn’t expect such a thing from me. The things I do object to in life however is anything that leads to below the line thinking and when I see such a thing I do get pretty vocal about a need to rebel against it erupts. But sometimes even for me the disappointments about how people choose to live and paint themselves into a corner gets to be too much and on those moments I give myself a breath by going to my local comic book store.

As I’ve said before, I like every sport there is. The reason I didn’t enter professional sports as a young person was that while I liked the objectives of winning, I didn’t like the compliance of building a team. I always related more to the coaches than the players and the elements of leadership so sports took up too much time and there were too many social stigmas about what success or failure meant and I had other things I wanted to spend time on. But I’m certainly not one who is an either or person, either the life of a jock or the life of the geek who hangs out in comic book stores avoiding life while others chase balls around and get headlines in the newspapers because of it. Those divisions were always absurd to me and still are. I enjoy reading all types of things, including comic books. They are usually full of ambition and the artwork is usually very energetic.

So it was with that zeal that my oldest daughter, my youngest grandson and my wife went to two comic book stores on Saturday which was a combination of Star Wars day and free comic book day. What I really wanted was the new comic about the new Star Wars land at their theme parks called Galaxy’s Edge. I’ve always been a Han Solo guy so I am quite excited that the plot of the new land was featuring him and that it was highlighted in the new comic, and I wanted to get it. I can’t recall the last time a theme park decided to tie modern mythology in this way and I found it very interesting. So for the history of it I wanted to collect it for reflection 50 or 60 years from now in the future. I was also curious how Disney would attempt to tie all these media platforms together into a big unified story.

Much to my surprise they were sold out of the Galaxy’s Edge comic that I wanted at the first comic store, but otherwise it was a very bustling place. I didn’t see any kids there, but a lot of adults and they were all talking quite vibrantly about various comics, the recent Game of Thrones episode, the Avengers climax with Endgame and the upcoming Cincinnati Comic Con which my other daughter is planning to attend as an exhibitor. I couldn’t help but wonder if Socrates ever thought for a second that any culture on earth would have so much mythology produced and that people would gather in a comic book store to talk about them with such passion. I am encouraged by such places, they often restore my thoughts that people are worth saving when I read comics and see the bold desires there that are unfurled by obscure artists revealing their hopes and dreams through fantastic characters that are translated onto colorful pages full of art. There was more art produced just in that one comic book store than the entire Renaissance period of Europe, which I think is every bit as good.

We ultimately had to go to a comic book store in Mason to get my Galaxy’s Edge comic. I picked up far more than I had planned to and I enjoyed reading them later while I watched the Reds game on television and for me, all was right with the world. But more than anything I enjoyed the people. There were a lot more people participating in the free comic book day events than I would have thought which led to a lot of contemplation for me. My daughter and I discussed it over lunch. Her generation has grown up in a lot of hapless situations. The political system has let them down, their educations were a joke, their parental structure often broken. It was in their last hopes for participating in mankind that they go to the comic book store looking for heroes to believe in. Some people would say they were escaping from reality, but what I saw was that it was for their own good. Their love of comics was a survival mechanism to the disappointments of life and I saw in all those people a desire to not just accept a “bla” existence, but to at least learn through the mythology of fantasy characters that there was more to the human experience than just accepting defeat then eventually death.

To say I’m excited about Disney’s new Galaxy’s Edge would be a severe understatement. I read the comic pretty much in the car on the way home because I couldn’t wait to see how everything would be tied together and I was happy with the ambition of it all. I personally needed the break in thought myself. For me it’s never about going backwards. When I get disappointed in the ambitions of the human species, I too look for reasons to feel good about it all again and comic book stores do it for me. They are filled with hope not just in the artists who produce the content, but in the participants. In all their geekdom, they are essentially out for the same thing that the baseball player is, or the golf enthusiast, or Fantasy Football player, everyone wants a win. And if there are things that comics are typically selling, its victories of the human soul overcoming adversity. And unfortunately for most, such concepts are a fantasy. But at least they haven’t lost sight of the need for such a thing.

Rich Hoffman

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