Like many reading these words, I grew up on a steady diet of comic books. Back then (we old folks like to call them the “good old days”) there weren’t too many movies, and the ones that did get made sucked. Cartoons were around, but they catered to the 5-year old child. But regardless of the medium, I still managed to discern certain bits of wisdom from my super hero mentors and continue to learn from them even now. I’d like to take this opportunity to share what I’ve learned and perhaps bring enlightenment to a younger generation. May these life lessons guide you in your future endeavors.
1) Battle Causes the Powers of Speech to Multiply Exponentially
You’d think that super folks would be winded as hell when doing battle, what with all the bashing each other around, getting kicked in the face and such. At the very least, you might think they’d be concentrating on the fight at hand and not on witty banter or aimless exposition. But no! As it turns out you can fight with all your might and still have enough breath to spout out five or six pages of a novel in the span of a few minutes. I think their speech actually speeds up based on how many punches they throw, but I have yet to prove it. The next time I’m in a fight (or the first time, rather), I’m going to have to give this one a try.
2) Advanced Technology Doesn’t Always Solve Simple Problems
Tony Stark flies around in a billion-dollar suit of armor, S.H.I.E.L.D. patrols the sky in their nifty helicarrier and the X-Men have the super-powered Cerebro that can pick mutants out of a crowd on the other side of the planet. But no matter how awesome the technological inventions get, they don’t seem to fill certain gaps.
Professor X, for example, has yet to get a pair of properly working legs, or at least a wheelchair that turns into a giant, armored, fuck-off robot and lets him cruise around and launch missiles. And bad guys seem to sneak into everyone’s base at one time or another, which indicates to me that there’s a distinct lack of quality surveillance equipment available. The people that invent the awesome inventions must feel themselves too far above such ‘lesser projects’, leaving a big gap in technological evolution. I guess putting together these less awesome projects is the work of normal humans, who are all no doubt busy watching Dancing with the Stars.
3) Wolverine is a Fkn Superstar!
If it’s one thing the Marvel guys taught me, it’s that if you want to double your profits all you have to do is get Wolverine to flash his claws and say “bub” a couple of times. I’m really surprised he doesn’t have his own brand of cereal or a sitcom by now. I mean, this guy is freakin’ famous as all hell! He should quit the damn super hero business and start signing autographs and making guest appearances as mall openings or something. While I personally may be getting sick of seeing him, the general public seems to disagree. Wolverine = ca$h money. Dude should have his own stock on the New York Exchange.
And speaking of New York…
4) Never, Ever, EVER Live in New York City
From just watching one fkn Avengers movie anyone can tell that New York has a hard time of it. Try reading a full series of comic books and you’ll see just how bad the super villain crime rate really is. If you’re not killed by an alien invasion, impending apocalypse or some whack-job’s attempt to murder everyone, you’re bound to have a piece of New York fall on your head from the battles constantly raging in the sky above. Hell, even Spider-Man is dropping shit left and right. Just the rain of broken glass would be enough to make you want to carry a steel umbrella around 24/7. And I’m not even going to touch on what insurance must run in the city, assuming super hero battles are even covered.
5) Leaving Someone to Wallow in Defeat is Better than Killing Them
While in the end things might not always turn out how super-villains would like them to, they all seem to agree that killing someone outright is just tacky. It is far better to save their punishment for later or enact some sort of ‘fitting revenge’ upon them that ends in their humiliation. The villains may end up being beat silly in the next scene, but the lasting psychological damage to heroes that constantly get subjected to strange humiliation has got to be worth the trouble. Otherwise, why would villains keep with this same routine? Maybe they’re all actually psychologists in real life and need the work?
6) Death is NEVER the End… Something Will Bring You Back
After reading stacks of comic books for dozens of years, I finally managed to overcome my fear of death. Turns out that if you kick the bucket there’s always some convenient way for you to come back from the dead! Hell, how many different times have the X-Men met their final end? Whether it be from a temporal flux, some great power beyond the stars or the fact that it wasn’t actually you that died, but instead a clone/android/shapeshifter, death is easily shrugged aside.
7) Whatever Problems You Face in Life, the Next Problem Will Be “The Most Powerful Ever!”
This slogan gets plastered across comic books left-and-right, and so I’ve come to accept it as fact. Villains on day 2 are always better than the day 1 villains and day 3 baddies even worse than that. Sequel enemies will be bigger and better. Challenges will be overwhelming, but not as overwhelming as next week. I think this applies to life as well, and I rest easy in the fact that if I make it through today, tomorrow I have a new, exciting and more challenging day awaiting me. Of course, if I fuck it up the first time, I’m probably is deep shit come dawn.
8) Sexy Outfits are More Effective than Body Armor (at least for the ladies)
Body armor is truly overrated, else why would many of the world’s top super heroines opt for skin-tight, cleavage-inducing swimsuits with thigh-high boots? I’m guessing that this has something to do with the fact that male super heroes/villains are so busy gawking and adjusting their tent-poles that they can’t fight effectively. Or maybe it’s just some sort of fashion trend… who knows. All I know is, if women in corporate America want to burst that glass ceiling, a spandex thong is going to work much better than a pant-suit.
9) No Matter How Many Times the World is About to End, People Remain Calm
I’m beginning to think there’s some sort of mental field that government agencies project across the world to make people forget about the number of massive explosions, alien invasions and attempted destructions of the world that occur weekly. I’ve never heard anything of the sort, but if the comics are to be believed, this thing happens all the time (on a semi-monthly basis, it seems). Yet no one is running through the streets screaming about the end of the world. Shit, people freak out when a comet comes too close to the planet, you’d think they’d be a bit upset when Galactus makes a house-call.
10) Always Set Your Clocks 5 Minutes Fast
A recent survey of super villains shows that the vast majority of world-dominating/destroying plots are thwarted in the last few critical moments. Bombs are diffused with less than 10 seconds on the timer, doomsday devices are broken right before they’re about to fire off, and the time a villain needs to channel the right amount of power to destroy his or her enemies is always interrupted. If super villains would simply set all their clocks 5 minutes fast, then heroes would be thrown way off balance. They’d rush into your secret fortress, ready to stop the mega-destructo-ray with 4 minutes left til it fires off and discover they were already a minute late. Bingo, problem solved.
I hope that my readers can take these lessons with them and create a better world and life for themselves. Art hands wisdom down through the generations and comic books should be no exception. Next time you leave the house to fight villains, be a villain or just avoid getting caught in a world-ending catastrophe, remember what you have learned here and everything will be just fine.
And as one of my mentors was so fond of saying – ‘Nuff Said!