I’ll be up front and say I’ve never saved the city, no one in my family has ever died a tragic death and I probably couldn’t save a cat from a tree without getting stuck. And yet the people I relate to more than anyone else in literature, television or movies do. I’m 21 years old and I am a comic fan.
It’s a strange thing to be, as comic-based films and television soar to popularity. The idols of my childhood are now displayed proudly on the Facebook walls and Twitter posts of my friends. A corner of my life sectioned off into the corners of decrepit brick and mortar stores is now being dragged into the light and it really is a good time to be a comic nerd.
The imaginary world of contemporary gods and heroes has always served as a beacon for me. The happy moments of my life are found in the pages of “The Amazing Spider-Man” when things actually work out for the beaten down Peter Parker. And those less than ideal circumstances are reflected in Ron Marz’s work on Green Lantern when editorial demands forced a budding new hero to be replaced by an anachronic man of popularity. But more than anything right now I resonate with the trials and tribulations of the young adult heroes of Marvel Comics.
Everyone knows who the Avengers are thanks to the recent blockbuster phenomenon directed by Joss Whedon, but, for the most part, only hardcore nerds know about the Young Avengers. Originally created by one of the producers from Fox’s “The O.C.,” Allan Heinberg, the Young Avengers were a group of teenage superheroes who chose to revolt against the set standards of their predecessors. The 2005 self-titled series focused on teenage acts of rebellion and responsibility. It resonated with the person I was at the time and its cancellation a year later felt like a personal attack on my generation.
Fast forward to 2013 and the Young Avengers are back with a different spin. The same way I aged between publications, so has the team that resonated with me in my youth. The Young Avengers aren’t a bunch of high school heroes with good intentions anymore. Instead, I’ve found new characters that fit with who I am now. They’re undertrained, unmonitored and totally unprepared for what’s coming their way.
Giving powers and responsibility to my peers is a questionable event. We need space to become new adults, but we also need guidance to keep us from making bad decisions. As one of my favorite characters points out in the first issues, “I have no powers and not nearly enough training, but I’m doing this anyway. Being a super hero is amazing. Everyone should try it.”
And that’s what it feels like being in college sometimes. I’m constantly doing things that make me feel like I’m out of my depth, but I love every second of it. Granted, setting up a huge philanthropic event for my fraternity isn’t the same as saving the world from space invaders, but the principle is the same. I’m still learning the fundamentals of what I want to do for my career, but I’ve learned that the best way to do things is to tackle them head on. Instead of stepping back and thinking about what I can’t do, I’ve learned to just do what I can and let the rest fall into place – or flat on the floor in some cases.
So that’s what it comes down to for me. If you want an insight on how I view my life, just turn to the wildly colored panels of contemporary comic books and you’ll get it. I may not save the world or fit into a spandex outfit, but it helps me to think I go through similar things. And it helps to imagine I’m superhero from time to time. Wouldn’t it be wild to fly to class?