Yes, I've been collecting comics on and off since I was 7. Yes, I'm 41 years old. Yes, I have approximently 10, 000 books (predominantly ©Marvel). And yes, I still get excited every Wednesday going to my local comic shop and picking up that week's books. Does that make me a comic "geek". I'm fine with that; everyone geeks out about something. I don't try to hide it because there's no reason to be ashamed of it. Some people don't get it and sometimes I'm made fun of for my "hobby" (and by that I mean obsession). I may not totally get what you are into, and that's ok. The difference is that I can still be excited about what you are into without making fun of you for it.
Recently I was challenged with why I'm so into comics. What is it about comics that has so captured my imagination? What keeps the obsession (... OK, there I've said it ...) alive? To smaller degrees it's the writing and the art; not taking anything away from the VERY talented people who get to live out their passion in the industry. But it's more than that. Here's my top 3 reasons for being such a fanatic.
1. The "Hero" factor
Everyone has a person or group of people, real or fictional, that they look towards for hope and inspiration, a hero. This hero is usually strong, courageous, and "larger than life". This hero has the power to inspire those around him (or her) to something bigger than themselves. This hero always finds a way, somehow, to make it through anything life throws at him.
2. The "Good Triumphing Over Evil" factor
The concepts of good and evil are concepts we wrestle with every day. Sometimes there seems to be no way to escape the evil that haunts us. Sometimes. But then, against the odds, good finds a way to win the day! Those looking to do harm and evil are beaten back. Evil is defeated! This proves that evil can be overcome with good.
3. The "Complexities Within the Struggle" factor
There are no easy solutions. Not everything can be solved with a fist, hammer, or claws. Just because evil is defeated doesn't mean that there wasn't a cost. Sometimes bad things happen to good people. Sometimes there is a great cost to be paid, a sacrifice to be made. Sometimes things change; and sometimes those changes are good and other times bad. Within the struggle to do right, hard choices have to be made.
At the end of the day, comics (when they are done well) are more like life than most care to admit. And it's that concept that keeps drawing me back ... again and again. Do I use comics to escape reality? No. I read them to better understand the world around me; the good and the bad, in all it's complexity.