There was embarrassment associated with my guilty pleasure once upon a time.
I was supposed to have outgrown such childish nonsense. I was supposed to be above such pretty pictures and such unconstrained violence.
This is where I smile at the world and absently scratch at the grey hairs on my chin or rub my hand over the top of my head where my hair used to be. If I want... I can rifle through the files on my lap top, calling up a corporate sales assessment that I constructed for a major telecommunications firm in Sao Paolo, Brazil. I might even take a fresh look at the train-the-trainer that I wrote and implemented for a GE subsidiary a few years back. I’ve been the keynote speaker at sales conference events In Singapore, Tenerife, Beijing, Bangkok, and Sydney just to name a few. I can call senior level executives in several Fortune 50 corporations… and they will recognize me and take my call. So I no longer have to prove anything to anyone!
My guilty pleasure is my addiction to comic books.
I grew up reading Marvel comics as a child and then as a teenager. I stopped for a period of my life and I don’t recall exactly when I went back… but I did it with abandon.
Interestingly enough… Hollywood’s current love affair with Iron Man, Spiderman, the X-Men, the Hulk, Blade, the Fantastic Four, the Punisher and others… is little more than the rest of the world catching up with me. Suddenly, I am a subject matter expert in water cooler conversations about something other than sales programs, skills assessment solutions, and performance management systems.
My kids went an entirely different way. They got caught up in Japanese anime… and the video DVD’s became their version of what comic books have been for me. So these days, when they need to understand why Marvel is willing to sign Samuel L. Jackson to a nine picture deal with Marvel as Nick Fury, including “Iron Man 2” and “Thor”…. they turn to me. When they want to know why Eric Bana’s Hulk tanked, while Ed Norton’s Hulk rocked … they turn to me. When they want to know why… amazingly… as much as I love Halle Berry… she was just so very wrong for the role of Storm in the X-Men… they turn to me. When they want to know why three Blade Movies by Wesley Snipes, was two Blade movies too many… they turn to me. When they simply don’t understand why I absolutely loved Doctor Octopus in Spiderman II and the Sandman in Spiderman III … but hated the Green Goblin in Spiderman… they turn to me. When they want to know why Ghost Rider had an instant audience that had absolutely nothing to do with Nicolas Cage… they turn to me. When they want to know why the very idea of Wolverine overcoming the Dark Phoenix in X-Men: The Last Stand is absurd in the extreme… they turn to me. And when I roll my eyes at the thought of an Ant Man movie… they truly don’t give a damn.
In my role as the self appointed critic of all things Marvel, I am enjoying unprecedented omnipotence. Here are some of my pronouncements:
Kirsten Dunst was a sad selection for Mary Jane Watson in the Spiderman franchise. Long live Kitty Pride.
Don Cheadle is an extraordinarily gifted actor, but I just don’t see him as James Rhodes (War Machine) in the upcoming Iron Man 2.
I am not a big DC fan... but the new Batman franchise is simply amazing.
Michael Chiklis as Ben Grimm was an attempt to capture his personality in the role… but The Thing really should have been a CGM construct like the Hulk.
I am disappointed with Marvel’s plans to make the upcoming film “The First Avenger: Captain America” a period piece set entirely during World War II. I think that not taking on the angst associated with the massive generation gap Cap experiences as a man from the 40’s who finds himself now living in the twenty-first century.
I thought Daredevil had real potential and there were parts of it that I absolutely loved. I am not a Ben Affleck fan … but I did not mind him in the role. The very cool news is that they have announced “Daredevil: Reboot”… and after seeing a complete overhaul of the Batman franchise… I have my fingers crossed. (The Elektra spinoff was horrible.)
“The Black Panther” has been announced and if they do it right… and do justice to the African culture of Wakanda, this could be the most amazing movie of all of the Marvel films… with one critical caveat. This must NOT be a Wesley Snipes movie. He came very close to producing and starring in a Black Panther movie in the late 1990’s. Director, John Singleton has been approached to do Black Panther. We will see.
There is so much more that I could share, but I will stop for now. Kerry turned me on and he may not be able to turn me off if I keep going. I read them to this day because I enjoy the culture. The comic book shop is a sub-culture onto its self. You might assume that when shopping in the average comic book shop these days you would be there among a bunch of little kids. Wrong. Kids can’t afford the weekly expense of comic book titles.
In reality, you will find a bunch of old men just like me reliving their youth… and loving it.