Posts Tagged ‘comic characters’

Sadly I applied to Marvel Comics for an internship multiple times, and I never was quite let in.  I constantly debated including my Psychology degree on my resume.  Little did I know the person who created Wonder Woman, was, in fact, a psychologist, and psychology plays a huge role in comic books and how we relate to them.  I was never quite let in to Marvel’s writing areas of the internship (or like, five other areas)… which sucked greatly, since I live in New York City and busted my fucking bum to get it in early.  But, now I can safely say I will include it if I ever apply again (sidenote: I don’t know.)

Holy Sigmund Freud, Batman.

A little story for you first, as I always did:  Psychologically analyzing people is fun.  It’s slightly addictive for the psychology nerds of the world, in my humble opinion.  Psychologically analyzing fictional people is probably even more fun. 

But in all seriousness, there is now a legitimate psychologically therapy called comic book therapy.  I am not lying.  Go to Wikipedia, type it in, and read it.  There are mounds of books published on this.  Literally everyone takes these things seriously.

Now, I’m sorry, S type fans (Superman type), I’m focusing on B-type heroes (which, if you don’t know what that is, it’s heroes without a super-power).  S-types are very much defined by their ability, not what they’ve been through.  Yes, what they’ve been through can be shaped by their circumstances, but I mean purely being affected by something that might have happened to them without a power inducing that situation.

Firstly, and this is pretty cool: They make us comfortable with uncomfortable topics.  They talk about all the taboo shit society avoids.  Death, mass killings, murders, sexual assault, disability (as a technically disabled person I can say society hates talking about it).  And it’s cool, because comic books/comic movies shove it in your face and you’re cool with it.  They shove so much uncomfortable shit at you.  Everything from discrimination to death to disability is in a comic book.  But it makes you wonder why we’re cool with, like, seeing Barbara Gordon be disabled by the Joker and not an actual physically disabled person.  I wouldn’t call it empowering, but I’d say once it seeps into a comic book it’s a step in the right direction.  It’s a way of talking about things we don’t want to talk about, and it’s a way of simply opening up dialogue about things we don’t want to talk about.  Hell, this is so true, that it can be used in therapy sessions to portray something that happened to someone.  If someone doesn’t want to talk about a particular traumatic event, according to Wikipedia, “Comic book therapy is a form of art therapy in which those undergoing rehabilitation express their experiences through personal narratives in a graphic novel/sequential art format that enables them to process their memories and emotions.”  It’s still a form of communication, and it’s still a form of talking about things.  According to another article (cited below), a psychologist used superheroes as a means of therapy for kids who had gone through traumatic events.  It got them to talk about things they didn’t want to talk about.  They are literally used to analyze their deepest fears and traumas – and I can’t help but get the feeling every time you watch a movie or pick up a book you are doing the same to yourself for free because that is what these things feature.  We face fears without talking about it.

Only furthering this, I see a lot of people who were relentlessly bullied who take to the haven of comic books. They usually feature a classic underdog story.  It’s like everyone and their mother has been in some situation that they can relate to because of these things.  Like, some guy’s parents did actually die and that’s why Batman is their go-to.  I always find people explaining why a superhero is their favorite is a major league, deeply personal question.  I’m not asking for your social security number, I’m asking why Superman is your man.  It’s almost as if they become woven into the cores of us much like they become woven into the core of pop culture (and as such, that’s why comic con is so fucking crowded).  And maybe our parents didn’t die in an alley because of a guy named Joe Chill, but, maybe they were absent for things.  Maybe they missed your graduation, shit, I don’t know.  We can relate to the psychology of superheroes.  We can relate to their psyche… and maybe that’s why we all have our personal favorites.  We’re emotionally similar to them.  I find The Flash annoying because he’s hyperactive – which I am not.

Now the really morbid part comes.

You know, almost all of them have some kind of thing they want to fix or escape.  And if you tell me you have no regrets in your life, tell me your secrets.

Oh, please.

We all regret something.  And most of the time, a superhero is working off of a regret, an event, or something they wish they could’ve changed.  Isn’t that like, half of the population’s motivation?  Make something better?  Improve something?  Like, people pick certain careers because they want to be better than their experience sometimes.  Sometimes they like what they see and want to make it better.  And we can feel an undying pain of guilt for things we might regret.  They’re super, sure, but they have regrets just like the rest of us.  And we want to run from them, but we’re not a genius billionaire playboy philanthropist.  Maybe we want to fix something that happened to us.  And you know what?  You’re completely fucking powerless to fix it most the time.  The guy who sexually harassed you is somewhere in the world, the dying 6 year old is still dying, you still suck at math (I needed to lighten this mood).  Sometimes you can fix it, but sometimes you can’t.  Things stay with us – and things stay with them.  It’s okay to be a little fucked up (coming from someone who is, decidedly, fucked up a little bit).  It’s taboo to admit these things, but in this world?  It’s all good.

And wouldn’t we all like to live in a world where fixing the wrongs of the world was as simple as putting on a suit and knocking out a few teeth.

Citation:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/02/17/the-rise-of-superhero-therapy-comic-books-as-psychological-treatment.html

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So I haven’t been updating as much.  A lot of you are probably wondering why.  I have always put something out… whether it was a spotlight post, small review, comic book review, QA.. I always pulled something out of the sky.  What happened?  Did you just get lazy?  Did you just stop caring?  No.  None of the above.  I guess it’s time I came clean, and after a day where it’s appropriate.

Feb. 28th is Rare Disease Day.  Recently, yes, my pets got sick – but that’s largely over now and everyone is better!

If you’re not interested in anything remotely personal, I suggest you stop reading.  Don’t be an asshole, either, because that’s not cool.

Here’s some happy shit before we start.

So, what’s the problem?  Why did I figuratively and literally fall off the face of The Planet? Well it was Rare Disease Day.

(FYI: I’ll go back to full time.  The fact I’m even writing this is amazing enough, and means it’s slowly going back to normal.)

I fit into that category.  I have a rare disease, and that is why I haven’t updated.  While I’m not ready to reveal exactly what it is, I’m going to ask you to not foo-foo rare diseases.  There is a larger point to this post other than me telling you why I haven’t been here and why I haven’t been able to update.  Before you click off in an attempt to save yourself from a state of depression, I’m really actually pretty cool about it and I make it funny (I think?).  Think of it this way – you’ve been reading me this long without knowing a thing about it.  It’s only since it completely KO’d me have you found out anything.  And I didn’t want to tell you.  I didn’t want to tell you I had anything wrong with me.

It’s like I’m in a relationship with my blog.  Facebook status changed.

My pets ended up being okay a few weeks ago. But, the fact is, you know some things about the people you read/watch/hear/etc.  You know maybe they have kids or are in college.  You know circumstances of their lives that will affect their content in other words.  Unfortunately, this is my circumstance that makes a pile of dog shit more attractive than my life at times.  Long story short, I am a superhero.  Yes, you read that right.  I am a superhero.  I am an X-Men. I am the Batman.

Nevermind, I’m getting carried away.

Here’s the deal: I have superpeople powers (oddly, my own character is not superpowered).  I have a connective tissue disease.  I’m uber-flexible to the point where I could join the circus and probably become filthy rich and famous, and I could be on American Horror Story (technically). I can tell the temperature without even looking at a thermometer, and certain normal medication doesn’t work on me because of genetic resistance (in other words, taking Motrin is like eating Skittles).  In fact, I once needed local anesthetics and the doctor would have overdosed me if he gave me any more.  It does not work on me.  Yeah, I felt the entire procedure, because local anesthetics don’t work on me (I could see the look of horror on your face already).  It made for a very uncomfortable procedure and a very freaked out doctor. In all honesty it was hilarious.

I wish I could say I possess super-strength, but I’m working on it.  Yes, this is all a part of that “rare illness” thing I mentioned.  It affects everything. Eating, sleeping, blogging, fish tanks, what I can eat, college, what jobs I can get, etc.

So now that I’ve related it to something you clearly will be able to relate to as a comic book reader, you need to understand the other side of the coin.

For every superpower, there is a downside.  The uber-flexibility means I’m also in pain a lot without much rhyme or reason.  The pain also means I have the attention span of a squirrel when I am in pain. Normally people say attention span of a goldfish, but because I have fish as pets, fish have longer attention spans than you think so I will not diss them!

Most of the time, I’m fine.  But lately, it’s kicking my ass – it’s like as if Superman couldn’t control his super senses for a little bit.  In the process, you couldn’t tell that there is anything wrong with me.  I look completely normal, until I make giant claws come out of my han-… wrong power..

But you know, I’m also telling you because our heroes do have limitations.  Superman was bullied because he had super-senses.  Wolverine can’t go through metal detectors.  Cyclops needs those fancy ass glasses. Even Batman probably could be his own psychology case study, and forget about Captain America, who had a long list of illnesses in The First Avenger.  Granted he’s not sickly now, but they all had limitations.  If you ever wanted to know what being a real life superhero was like, you could interview me – because being uber-bendy has it’s perks.  I’ll probably never break a bone because I’m flexible.  I could prevent slipping better than any person in my immediate (and probably extended) family, possibly better than my cat.  It requires me to exercise a lot, so that also means I have some semblance of super strength involved here.  I could pinpoint the temperature inside or outside because of my hypersensitivity to it – I know if someone raised the heat 1 degree in my house. One.  Degree.

In elementary school – and high school – I was probably the fastest or in the top three of fastest people in the classes because of my flexible legs, and I never have an itch on my back I can’t get to.

^ you.  Itches you can’t get to suck.  Sucker.

So, everyone has their bad times.  Superman, Wolverine, Cyclops, Professor X (seriously I reacted the same way he did almost), Captain America, Magneto… and every other super powered person you could imagine.  The concepts of illnesses isn’t new to comic books and Barbara Gordon brought it even more into the spotlight.  Hell, even Hulk qualifies a little bit, and if you consider Iron Man to be unhealthily conceited, he does too.  You can’t “fix” me just like you can’t “fix” them.

Don’t define my blog by the one reason that I can’t write for a few days.  If it must be in the equation, define it by letting it drive my interest in comic books.  Define it by  “she’s a real superhero” (yep, I’m a she, people). She could be an X-Men.  But know that’s why I haven’t been here – been out saving the world, you know?  Busy…

I will be back full time within the next week or so, and I don’t let it keep me down – if I did, I’d be writing about how much my life sucks.  If I did, I wouldn’t write here or take care of big fish tanks or dogs or cats or cooking my own meals.  If I did, I wouldn’t go to a gym or go to college or do everything else everyone else does.  If I did, I wouldn’t still want to be writing comics or have another job I do now, whether it’s mine or someone else’s character (yeah, I want to write comics, and I am working on my own character book).

Just remember, I’m not any different than the people you read about. I identify with them because people think I’m weird when they hear I’m so stretchy. People have asked what is wrong with me and then stopped me halfway saying they didn’t want to know. People have outwardly asked me if it will kill me in very insensitive ways. An ex-boyfriend left me over it via text message while I was in a doctor’s office trying to figure out what exactly was wrong. The fact is, people have been prejudiced against me because I’m bendy and need some small but significant accommodations sometimes – like being able to move around if I need to. It really is nothing graphic or strange – but people don’t like it. I scare people but I am not scary. Just like the X-Men.

I’ve always identified with Barbara Gordon and the X-Men since my diagnosis, and that’s why we need more characters like her. We need more disabled people talking regardless if you can see their disability or not. My disability is genetic so it was always there even before I knew it was – and I always felt out of place or as if something was wrong with me. Then I found out and I had doctors sitting around debating the course of my illness/life and when I’d need a wheelchair, if I ever did – and if that were to happen, I’d like to think I’d be the real version of Barbara Gordon.
But the comic characters get it.

Do you?

(This post was also meant to raise awareness for Rare Disease Day 2015).

Sorry I didn’t do this sooner.  I was also supposed to do the Ant-Man trailer, but I’m just not excited for Ant-Man.  I didn’t do the Ultron trailer because I’m going to do a big post just before the movie comes out, so stay tuned.

So Agent Carter’s next episode grounded the series further.  Not only do we get serious but funny situations (The beginning of the show, where the man is looking for his girlfriend), but we see the chemistry between Peggy and Jarvis deepen.  As the story goes on, Jarvis – still very serious about miniscule things – and Peggy begin to clash a bit, until they realize just how much they do need each other when Jarvis is taken in for interrogation, and Peggy picks a crappy hiding spot.  Peggy realizes Jarvis is hiding something, and then the SSR shows up at Jarvis’ (or Howard’s) door.  After this, we see the two clashing personalities finally come together a bit.

Jarvis is finally forced to reveal a part of himself to Peggy.  After the interrogation – which did his character some justice – he and Peggy talk about his past.  The interrogation showed Jarvis is more than a bumbling yet sophisticated butler.  It showed how fiercely loyal he is, and possibly how fiercely loyal he may become to Peggy.  He, too, is also a bit capable of getting snarky.  Finally, though, those men get fleshed out a bit.  We learn Peggy thinks Souza is a just barely decent person.  Dooley and Thompson get angry at Peggy for compromising the earlier interrogation with Jarvis, and we start to see that “small feeling”.  I will elaborate on that – I am a woman, and I almost felt what Peggy felt like as she was getting yelled at.  I swear, I could relate to that moment so much it hurt.

In the beginning, though, it seemed as though he was just doing it for Stark, but now, we do really see them work as a team, and the chemistry finally melds.  As I said before, Jarvis makes himself feel vulnerable to Peggy by telling her about his wife and how they met.  It’s pretty apparent during this scene that it is almost as if they are equals in a time where women were not equals – Peggy is listening to Jarvis speak, and it’s pretty clear she is blatantly in control of the situation.  It is at this moment, for me, Peggy really seems like a 21st century woman stuck in a time when women were not equals.  All that “girl power” assertion people complained about paid off, and it manifested in this moment.  Jarvis is the one making himself vulnerable to Peggy by telling her about he and his wife and their marriages’ genesis.  She is not pining over her love for Captain America – Jarvis, though, is pining over his love for his wife.

But then, my point about them working together really came together at this moment.  They realize Stark’s technology was stolen, and found the ship.

A thug shows up, though, compromising everything just a bit.

SHE’S WEARING PANTS. THIS IS A BIG DEAL.

I have to say, after learning about the Hawkeye Initiative, I realize her attire was not entirely appropriate for fighting big thugs, but the general comic book alternative (aka basically not having clothes on) is not terribly appropriate either.

But Jarvis and Peggy really work as a team now, and Peggy does most of the fighting – Not Jarvis.  After Jarvis taps into his inner spy and calls the SSR (Peggy is rubbing off, I see) they flee as the men are on the way while the thug is on the floor after Peggy uses one of Stark’s gadgets.  Finally, that “small” feeling has left me as Peggy kicks ass once again. The men are becoming suspicious, and you’re on the edge of your seat – you don’t want Peggy to be found out.  You just don’t.  She’s so likeable much like Captain America.  I want to elaborate on that.

All the people currently saying she is flawless: While her flaws may not be glaring at you – she does have them.  Not only that, though, but I thought about that more.  Peggy and Captain America are like the perfect couple.  She’s a badass, and he’s honorable.  Captain America doesn’t exactly have glaring consistent flaws.  They both have their moments (like kissing another girl in TFA… for shame, Cap), but nothing is relatively consistent.  They are both like perfect people – not just Peggy.  Considering Captain America is practically America’s superhero rep, and Peggy seems to be America’s spy and woman rep, it’s hard to hate on them for that.  They’re also both so much in the public spotlight that they must know by now to try to be as flawless as possible.  (imagine seeing the headline:  Captain America, arrested for driving drunk, speeding, on freeway.. yeah, I don’t think so).

The threats finally hit home, though, as one of the SSR workers (Krzeminski) is taken out by Leviathan.  This is a good touch, though.  It finally makes you feel some remorse for the incredibly-sexist-men.  It’s easy to hate them, but we need to remember they’re also products of their time.  They do feel emotions like the rest of us and like Peggy, who shows her soft side after learning of the death.  This is also a good time to put another rumor to rest: Peggy is not a man hater.  She is sad for a man who objectified her.  She cries.  (Sidenote:  I wasn’t terribly surprised he was the one, because of how awful of a character he was).  It reminds us the threat is growing. She speaks about it to Angie, who, for some reason, I inherently don’t trust.  I’m suspicious of her or Dottie – I feel one of them is going to betray Peggy, and I don’t know why.

Overall, Peggy is very well rounded out, and I expect the crotch kicking to go up in the next episode ten fold.  I think next episode we’re going to see the true wrath of Peggy.  I think instead of Captain America protecting her as would be stereotype – we are going to see how deeply they love each other and how pissed off Peggy is capable of becoming, even toward the people she works with.

No longer feeling so small.

But regarding my earlier “small feeling” comment.  Maybe it’s just my terrible experiences kicking in (not all of my experiences are bad, so do not label me a man hater), but when Peggy was getting yelled at, I had that small feeling coming back.  I hope it was present for everyone, and not just me.  How a strong woman was reduced to seeming child like.  How an adult woman was standing there, virtually unable to defend herself, listening to a man run his mouth on how what she did was so awful.  I hope you felt how small Peggy felt during that moment, because that scene really spoke to me.  It brought me down from the high that was Peggy being able to do things a woman in the 40s could not do.  Boys have done that to me, even now, in 2015 (because I’m not fucking calling them men).  I have been Peggy.  I have felt small because of a man speaking to me as they spoke to Peggy. That small feeling I felt during the scene – I hope you felt it, too.  I hope it gave you a window into some of the issues of sexism on both sides (as in MEN and WOMEN stereotype) going on right now.  I hope it gave you a window into how to treat people of any gender.

Like an equal.

Don’t be small.  Be Peggy Carter.

As some Twitter followers may know (twitter.com/FictionalPlanet) I plan on releasing my own comic book.  This was posted on my blog while it was on Blogger.  I have decided to repost it here:

Without further adieu:

Q: so… What’s his name?
A: not going to give you that just yet!

Q: Give us something! What is his character like?
A: you are using how many social profiles right now? Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Tumblr?
This character is a play on the world we live in.  He’s a play on various aspects of society that are hotly debated (like SOPA).  He is a very political character and he is very relevant to society.

Q: hero or villain?
A: neither.

Q: anti hero or anti villain?
A: honestly, not even that is too clear cut but I’d lean on anti hero.

Q: so any other heroes?
A: what’s good about this character is that I don’t need to make him the only hero in whatever universe he is in.  Truthfully, no other heroes want to actually interact with him because they don’t trust him.  He isn’t innately bad or a villain.  He just makes you question morality, good and bad, the basics of what make us human.

Q: Did any work influence you?
A: George Orwell, 1984.

Q: how about villains?
A: you’ll fine out in time.