I know comics aren’t real. Please stop telling me.

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With the growing trend of superhero movies, and tv show references, it would seem that everyone thinks they are an expert in the comic book genre, and have the freedom to comment about the passion I have for the universe created between the covers of these books.

Newcomers to the comic book world, like to remind avid readers that comics aren’t real. It’s not about being real or fake. It’s about investing your time and passion into something that is the mental equivalent of a sport or hobby. Much how certain athletes and their fans put into sports. When Eli Manning won his first Super Bowl, no one thought it would happen. Many laughed and said, “Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, did better this year”. Then Eli did it again. This passion is no different.

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Yet, none of these passions have no actual merit beyond what it means to the individual and those they share it with. You have your kids take part in it or share it with them. You’ll share it with your friends or family. It’s no different than the passion a person has for comics. You learn who is highly regarded amongst other enthusiasts, within the comic book culture. Just like fans of athletes, car designers, artists, writers or any other passion a human chooses to engage their time in.

You become invested in comics. You learn as much as you can. You get better at understanding what you are engaged in; maybe even learn where the story originated. Even if that character has a bit part that florist into something more. Like Wolverine in the pages of The Incredible Hulk #180 (Oct. 1974); and The Incredible Hulk #181 (Nov. 1974). Even the appearance of the Punisher in the pages of The Amazing Spider-Man #129 (February 1974).

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Newer fans are getting into comics for entirely different reasons than some of us that did years ago before they were considered popular. For those of us that grew up in the not so “cool” world of comic book reading, we don’t demand that the comic mimic a show or movie; we learned to anxiously wait for the next issue to introduce characters and challenge old ones in a continuous story with often unpredictable future storylines.

Now it seems comics are more of a trend. Comics are everywhere, stores, restaurants, commercials, movie theaters, clothing,…etc. Now, it isn’t shameful to know about superheroes through the pages of comics. I think that’s one divide for most new and old, readers/fans.

I’m not trying to be rude. It’s just very condescending when people say, “I don’t get why you take comics so emotionally/personal“. To me, like other things, you put time and effort into, you have a bond to it, a sentiment.

Add to this, that I have a long history of understanding the artform and characters within the pages of the book. This is the second divide between long time fans and new. For example, many comics from a company combine to share a cohesive universe. In this case you’re not just creating a story or a world. You are building a universe. A cohesive universe where things connect, and are relevant to those characters.

So, when someone says, “I don’t get why people like Superman, he’s pretty much unstoppable”. They don’t understand that Superman has been beaten in some part of the universe. Superman has been defeated. You see the fuller picture and understand that Superman is much more his than strength. He’s about compassion and the betterment of man, because the multiple experiences I have indulged in within the Universe has show me this. Or like when Batman fought Captain Marvel and Solomon Grundy — opponents as strong as Superman. Or when Superman went up against Deathstroke and other highly skilled martial artists. He’s won and failed against them.

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So when someone from outside the Universe, peaking at a small piece of a larger story makes uninformed comments, it is infuriating. If you knew the characters, you would know their opponents, and what they’ve gone through, or even if they’ve fought before. So, when someone reminds me that comics aren’t real. It’s as if people are telling me, “you’re dumb for liking this and taking it seriously“. I do take it serious, because I spend my time and energy developing a fuller understanding of the big picture that is being presented by the industry’s artists and storytellers.

Regardless of the fact that comic books represent a cohesive universe with a strong lineage and lore, the fact remains I do understand that it is nothing more than a passion of the mind. I understand that the universe created within the pages of the book, though complex, spring from the imagination of the artist and my interpretation of their work. You do not need to remind me or any other long standing fans of the genre for that matter, that comics aren’t real.

Edited by Jodi Ryalls

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Written by FTO : NERD TALK

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