Hank McCoy (Before the Fur)

I am not afraid to be a dork. Seriously. This personality trait has aged well over the years, moving from a sometimes social concern of mine to a quality about myself that I fully own. And embracing it has helped me harness its power for great things. Even with the opposite gender. Now, I want to note that this is, by no means, a sexist column. Plenty of female readers enjoy comic books all over the country. However, it has been my experience that beyond the age of 22 or so, displaying ones collection of color printed picture books for adults is not the first thing most of us lean towards on a first date. Nevertheless, I share the following story with you: The other night, I returned home to my apartment with a classmate of mine, who for the purposes of this post will be known as Attractive Girl. Attractive Girl is somewhat older than me and almost undoubtedly more sophisticated. On a typical evening, one can assume I’m spending much of my time watching Family Guy or other pop culture drivel, whereas she is likely watching History Channel, PBS, Discovery, etc. You know. Furthering herself with REAL knowledge. Like a normal, full grown adult. Just before Attractive Girl and I commenced pleasantries, she glanced at my bookcase and asked, skeptically: “What’s Earth X?”, perhaps briefly wondering if it was the title of some extremely lecherous guide to activities that I enjoyed in my free time or some other worrying item. I explained, confidently, that it was a comic book and that I was a huge dork. Attractive Girl pshawed me and told me I was not a dork, at which point I reiterated, nay, DECLARED that I was a dork and that I was totally comfortable with that. She laughed, and asked me why I thought I was a dork. To which I responded: “I don’t have a problem with this. Really. I know who I am.” Of course, you can easily imagine the scene that followed- swooning commenced and so on. SO, this message to you my friends- CONFIDENCE. Confidence in your leftover childhood obsessions that you refuse to let go of. EMBRACE them. I may start a support group soon. Anyway- what have I been reading lately? I’ve finally gotten around to reading a number of titles by Marvel labeled “The End.” By now, certainly, you’ve noticed that comics don’t really…end. They’ll just keep going. Forever. No matter how many bad guys the good guys beat, they’ll always come up against something much, much worse a few issues later. And that story will always be written as if to suggest that you are reading the most groundbreaking, Earth-shattering Spider-man/ Batman/ X-Men story of ALL TIME. Oh, but as the years go by- you learn the hard, hard truth. You are, in fact, reading a soap-opera. With tights. And it will go on, forever. Of course, it’s easy to get disillusioned upon such a realization and give up on reading. But sooner or later, you probably have a similar realization- you don’t really WANT it to end, do you? YES, you too are guilty, you are an accomplice in these companies’ mad plans to stretch out the evolution of their character for the last however many years- you always want there to be another story so that no matter where you are in your life, you can pick up said story and dive in, just like you did when you were a kid. If it changed, it wouldn’t be there for you to go back to. And THEN where would you be? Trying to read something new? Getting another hobby? SOCIALIZING more!? GOD, no. So you let it go on. You know you do. But, I’ve really enjoyed the “The End” series by Marvel- some of them have been surprisingly creative. Essentially, a bunch of writers have taken a crack at writing fictional “endings” to many popular comics. They range from one-shots, such as Punisher and Hulk, to full on trilogy’s, such as the (I think) underrated Chris Claremont trilogy of X-Men stories. I really think Claremont did an impressive job of spanning so much of the X-Men cannon while writing “The End.” Also, I have to put in a word here about Marvel Universe: The End. I know everyone looks back now at Infinity Gauntlet, Infinity War, and Infinity Crusade and goes “Ugh, what were we smoking when we liked this?”. But I really love Thanos and Warlock- and they are featured prominently in M.U.T.E. It’s not that their friends, really- they just get each other. Like two very old rivals. I love the way things are written between them. Anyway. By all means. Sate your lust for climax and culmination and read the end of your comics. Some of them will really surprise you. The last few panels of Hulk totally freaks me out. When you see why, you’ll see why.


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