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.