WARNING: The following article, although sincere, definitely borders on the sappy. But, even a confessed smartass is entitled to be sappy once in a while …
Two kids sitting on a bench at summer sports camp.
In between kick ball and softball and dodge ball, they’re talking comics. They’re making up heroes. They’re building worlds. They’re rebranding G.I. Joe figures as super heroes. They’re tracing body shapes out the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe to create their own heroes and costumes. And, they’re dreading the next game of kick ball or softball or dodge ball.
“What’s your favorite comic?”
“Like you have to ask – West Coast Avengers, man.”
“Me, too, and Hawkeye is my favorite.”
“Yeah, and Mockingbird.”
“And, Dazzler. And, Cloak and Dagger. And, Power Pack.”
“I’m going with She-Hulk.”
“You always say that.”
“I want to work for Marvel Comics when I grow up.”
“Come on. I have an idea for a villan named Huntarr.”
“Isn’t that just like Kraven the Hunter?”
“No. This one has two R’s.”
By the time eighth grade graduation rolls around, one kid has to move to another town. Not long after, he decides that there’s no way he’ll ever get a date if he still reads comics and makes heroes. So, he puts the comics away and stops drawing. And, he loses touch with his partner in crime. (P.S. It didn’t work. He should have kept reading comics. Would have been more fun on a Friday night.)
Twenty years later, he’s realized he’s an idiot and he’s reading comics again. He still loves Hawkeye and Mockingbird. (Truth be told, he’s still a little ticked off about Hawkeye blowing up thanks to a flaming quiver.) And, on New Year’s Day 2008, he reads this: http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=19336
Then, he freaks out … Then, he calls his mother.
For a while now, it’s been evident that I am a raging Jim McCann supporter. It’s not just because he’s a gifted writer. (He is.) It’s just not because he is in love with the same period of Marvel history that I am. (We are.) It’s not just because he brought my beloved Mockingbird back from the grave and put Clint Barton back in purple. (He did.)
It’s because he’s one of my oldest friends. He’s pretty much the same today as he was when he was sneaking away at sports camp to make comics. And, I’m very proud of him.
For so many of us, growing up and becoming an adult encourages us to put aside the things we loved as a child. We think it means having to letting go the dreams of our youth and focus on what we deem “practical” or “sensible” or “necessary.” It can even mean looking in the mirror and wondering if it’s just too late to go after the dream you won’t allow yourself to pursue, but that you can’t forget.
Thankfully, Jim taught me that being an adult doesn’t mean any of that. It isn’t necessary to leave behind the dreams you have as a kid.
When New Avengers: The Reunion came out. I was so excited for Jim. It was awesome. But, last week, was the real deal. At my local comic book store — and yours — two of the passions of Jim’s youth were on display – a Dazzler comic and an ongoing Hawkeye & Mockingbird comic. And, his name was on the cover of both.
Gotta’ say it … WOW.
Reconnecting with my old friend has been tremendous. And, reading his comics has been a blast. But, there’s something more to it than that.
Knowing that someone I know followed his dream and made it …
That he fulfilled a promise he made to himself as a child …
That he didn’t let it go by the wayside…
And, that most importantly that he had cultivated the talent to put himself in that position …
Well, that is empowering.
It is inspiring.
It’s that inspiration that helped push me to start this blog and then to the creation of www.5MinuteMarvels.com. They may not lead to anything for me in the world of comics, but these blogs have introduced me to some great friends and have pushed me to be creative again. On some level, they’re helping me fulfil the promise I made to myself as a child. And, It doesn’t hurt that they are tremendously fun.
So, thanks, Jim. I can’t wait to see you name on the comics I buy for many years to come …
Two adults sitting at a convention.
In between signings and panels and photographs, they’re talking comics.
We don’t need to make up another hero. I already have one.
Not sappy! I loved it. And . . . You never really gave it up. I still have some Tim miner originals 🙂
Yeah, you’re right. I gave up comics in high school. I gave up on drawing in college.
Neither one helped me get dates, though. 🙂 Turns out I was just terrified of girls.
P.S. My wife is a saint. (And, so is Dorothy Mantooth.)
Nothing wrong with sappy when it is heartfelt and this, so clearly, was that. It is pretty amazing (and sadly all too rare) to see anyone express pride in their friends accomplishments. Jim certainly deserves the accolades because beyond being just talented, he is a pretty great guy… Judging by the company he keeps and what I’ve read here, you certainly don’t seem to suck either, Tim. 😉
I’ve never grown up. I’m not going to say it doesn’t cost me things socially, but it’s definitely a price I’m more than willing to pay. One of my major goals as a father is to instill in my kids the idea that you should never grow up, just older.
You know the ironic part for me was that I only found the love of my life when I decided to completely let my flag fly and just do what I wanted. And lookit what happened….
This is more refreshing than sappy. Both of you are following your dreams in your own ways and that inspires me. It really boils down to making that commitment. Jim did it, you did it and I did it almost four years ago when I started my life all over. Best decision of my life.
Fantastic post, Tim!
Let me tell you a little story myself: Despite being a lifelong comics reader and fan, I’ve recently cut most of the current comics from my pull. Between decompression, event fatigue, a darker (and sometimes nasty) tone, and prices jumping up to $3.99 … I just didn’t feel I was getting my money’s worth any more, you know? Especially when I’m having such an enjoyable time reading the older stuff!
I didn’t stop entirely. But where I used to get about a dozen comics a week, after the culling I only get a dozen a month. One or two a week. Three if I’m lucky. And I certainly wasn’t expecting to pick up any new titles.
But when Hawkeye and Mockingbird came out, I picked up the first issue. Pretty much out of nostalgia and old-timey love for the characters. Wasn’t really expecting much; just hoped it wouldn’t suck.
And I was stunned – stunned! – at how good it was.
Since then, I’ve been raving about the comic to anyone who will listen. I went back and picked up the New Avengers: The Reunion trade, and gushed about it. And I’m excited to say that I have a new favorite writer. One who is clearly old-school in both his favorite characters and the amount of action he packs in, and yet still has the modern approach to dialogue and personality.
I’ll say it again: I have a new favorite writer. And, y’know – I wasn’t really expecting that. 🙂
This may be deeply troubling, but am I the only one who thought, “‘Huntarr’? I remember him! He was an experiment of Baron Karza’s who could create weapons and things from his mutated body, and after battling them briefly, joined the Micronauts!”
(I did not look any of this up. I just remember this.)
Yes. Yes, I am just that geeky.
Touching story. Not sappy at all. Hope you are well, my friend.