September 15th, 2012
Not: Night of the Weirwolf
Do you remember that Wolverine story where he goes all edgy and kills some superheroes, and the only ones he in fact murders are disabled or gay? It was written by staunch defender-of-women / rape profiteer Mark Millar. Is this like that? Or is this latest casual extermination of the bald, wheelchair-bound one something different, serious, and maybe even Real this time?
Whatever – it’s clearly a great time to be killing off your disabled characters Marvel.
(Are you actually going to sit there and say ‘Hey smartarse he got his legs back and working again this time? Are you actually going to do that? Are you going to deny that Charles Xavier is disabled? Did he bring a wig back from space with him this time too?)
November 9th, 2009
The other morning my son asks if he can watch a DVD. Mummy suggests that he hold off on that score because, guess what? Superman II is on this afternoon and he won’t be allowed to watch it if he spends the morning in front of Chicken Run. I felt good about this choice at the time – a little guilty that we let our three and a half year-old watch any of this brainrot, for sure – but basically good that we draw the line somewhere with his telly watching. That, however feebly, we put our feet down! Such is the terribly compromised lot of a parent.
I felt good about it on another level too. My son, you see, is a superhero addict, and that’s my fault, or at least very largely my fault. When other kids were getting their kicks from In The Night the Night Garden, the Boy was watching a bloody Spiderman DVD produced by Brian Michael Bendis. Okay, that wasn’t strictly my doing, but I can’t shake the feeling that I pull the four colour spectrum towards me like some weird ass black hole. It seems certain that were I not the colossal geek that I am the little chap wouldn’t be quite so obsessed with smashing his toys (“baddies”) to smithereens with his Batman action figure, and that he’d never have been found sweaty and crying in his bed whispering “Mongul” under his breath.
Ultimately he opted to reject a Superhero flavoured experience in favour of another one. Didn’t matter that in many ways it was a like for like swap, the absence of pants over tights was the deciding factor in my approval, which when you think about it is pretty weak sauce in the quality parenting stakes and almost certainly says more about my guilt than anything else. To be honest I probably would have approved of his redecorating the living room with plasticine if it had meant that he was proactively eschewing capes and booties in favour of something, anything else. Thankfully, so strong is the urge to run and jump and multi-play when you’re nearly four that the Boy didn’t have too much time for the joys of Melly Mel “I mainly like it when people are whipping me or shoving torture instruments up my arse” Gibson and his Ardman pals, and so it was that Chicken Run was overwhelmed by more constructive activity and our parental anxieties faded.
Ah, but the day drew on and tempers started to fray and TIREDNESS (has a special meaning when applied to one’s very own misbehaving children) started to set in. Oh yes, and four forty rolled around and right there was the remote and “God, I need to sit down!”, and – *bumf* – the television finds itself on and switched to Channel 5.
And here’s where I have to make an admission: I was secretly very happy
But I was strong, I didn’t push for it. I didn’t even hint that I’d like to watch it. I felt very, very bad about entertaining such thoughts let alone vocalizing them. My wife sat the Boy down and turned on the box. I – the geek – was busy doing the washing up in the kitchen while all this was happening. In fact the only evidence of my joy could be found in my post the fact observation that “Superman will be on in a minute”. Had anyone looked deep into my eyes at that very moment they would have spotted a slathering fanboy clawing at the insides of my retina screaming and crying with glee.
Anyway, Superman II begins and, as ever, I’m almost moved to tears. Kal-El’s mother selflessly surrending her son to an uncaring universe, the glacial white of Krypton, the blackness of space, and WOOSH! the Superman symbol trailing red and blue and that orchestral blast. This, I think, must be what all those folk get out of those mega-prayer gatherings, and when you come to think about it isn’t Superman a bit like Christ?. I start to wonder whether this is as close to a hardcore Chrisian experience as I am likely to get, but then I glance down at the boy – he’s rapt – and I realise that actually these thoughts might not be so healthy. In fact the entire scenario is making me feel slightly sick: here I am seriously considering the possibility of a Superman religion and selfishly (unlike Superman’s Mum) exposing my son to the same fucked up training that got me into this sorry state in the first place…
And the scary thing is that you’re just like me. That’s the threat, not the violence or the sex or Jeph Loeb. You, your fucking brain on pants and booties.
Here endeth the guilt