The Horrifying Reality of Living In A Comic Book Universe

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Comic books are awesome. Men and women like Greek gods, sacrificing all to save the world in its most dire times. Facing the the gravest of consequences these people risk their very lives to keep the world safe, but one thing is never considered in the world of tights and flights: the average person on the street. The non-powered, jeans and t-shirt, everyman who populates the reality in which they fight.

Now before we go any further, nerds, we need to establish a few things to keep this from degenerating into an internet slap fight.

1. This is a hypothetical thesis and has no merit, or basis, on judging you, or your personal, sacred cow of the print medium. So save your, “But what about (random indie comic character that you have tattooed on your shoulder)?” diatribes. I’m a comic nerd and I understand the attachment that one can have to a character that one has spent and inordinate amount of time reading about. I, too, love Spider Jerusalem but the average person is only aware of the super hero exploits of the most marketable characters through the most readily available medium: movies.

2. For the purposes of simplicity we will only be talking to the realities of the massively well known characters and scenarios as presented in comic books films. Yes, Powers and The Boys are ball crushingly awesome, and might throw the entirety of my thesis straight out the fucking window, but most people have no idea who they are. So for the purposes of this article let’s all agree that we’re only talking about comic book films released since 1998.

3. The first two points may anger you because you believe that I am discounting a history of the medium so great that it could fill an entire wing of the library of congress. I understand that; but not everyone holds the art form in the same esteem that we do. So, for now, we’re going to talk to the broadest audience possible. That means we’re only talking about the reality of super powered individuals as presented in the following films:

Blade Trilogy
X-men Trilogy and First Class
Fantastic Four
Green Lantern
Batman (Nolan)
Iron Man
Thor
Spiderman ( Raime and Reboot)
Captain America
Hulk
Superman ( Returns and Man of Steel)
etc.

We will be, for the most part, ignoring Watchmen. Save for a few giant, blue dick jokes. Please place all of your fanboy rage into a mason jar, seal it, and set it off to the side for the time being. We’ll also be completely ignoring anything that Nicholas Cage has done while crazy-ing his way through a comic book film. I think that’s for the best.

If we take these films as our baseline then we can establish that there may exist, at most, 50 super heroes who’ve actually been given names that we can identify with. With that in mind, if you were to live in the world established by these films…

What is the likelihood that you would be a Super-Hero? Not Very.

Ignoring the idea that these characters exist in different realities – meaning as far as this article is concerned they all exist on this earth – that means out of seven billion people on the face of the earth only 50 are capable of putting on their fancy undergarments and saving the planet from all manner of bad guys. Yes living in a world where super people exist would be awesome…for the super people. Everyone else? Well it gets a lot more complicated.
Take a look at the magazines that line your supermarket check out counters. They are slathered with the glossy, pampered faces of the rich and famous. They’re newsworthy because they exist in a world of lavish luxury and privilege. Feasibly the only difference between you and them is timing, talent and luck. They could have been you, given different circumstances.


and a willingness to fuck on camera for endoresement deals

Now imagine that same checkout counter newsstand in a world where a single man can entirely disarm a nuclear powered dictatorship with the blink of an eye. You’re no longer looking at pampered celebrities or socialites with slappable asses. These are gods made corporeal and nothing you can ever do will make you one of them. You have a 0.0000007143% chance of being a super powered being. You have a slightly better chance of being The President, The Pope, a rock star, a super model, winning the lottery and being struck by lightning…on the same day.

So What Does That Mean For You.

I hate to tell you this, person who thinks they’re important, but you’re nothing but cattle. As an average Joe in the super hero universe you are one of two things: victim of circumstance or hostage.

this is you

The good guy needs someone to save the world for and the bad guy needs an endless supply of nameless victims to threaten the good guys with, and that’s where you come in. Take, for example, the citizens of Gotham City. It is a city protected by a mythical, yet very non super powered, man in a mask and cape. Due to the exploits of this masked vigilante the entire god damned city finds itself hostage to the psychotic desires of a disfigured lunatic. They, the citizens, didn’t do anything. All they did was pick an apartment in the wrong god damned zip code and suddenly they’re sitting on a boat filled to the gills with explosives. That’s you. No powers. No Billions. Just one of a group of dip shits waiting to see if the boat you take to work everyday is going to blow itself sky-high. And you’re only there because you couldn’t get off work an hour earlier. Think about that the next time your boss asks you to work overtime.


all I wanted was an hour; but noooooooo….prick

Even if you’re not a victim of circumstance – Everyday of your life is going to be shit

Superman, Batman, The Avengers, Fantastic Four, Spiderman, The X-men – They all have one thing in common: they all take place in, actual or figurative, New York City. New York city has a population approaching nine million and each and every one of these citizens lives directly within the target zone of almost every super hero figure known to man – (discounting the X-Men who live in an upscale neighborhood upstate…the elitists) This means that on any given day the citizens of New York city are potential fodder for an intergalactic war, a pan-dimensional threat or just a little taste of good old fashioned terrorism. With roughly three percent of the population of the entire country living on, or working within, one little island, it’s more likely that your world would look like this:

Imagine just trying to get a Mexican Pizza from Taco Bell with all of this craziness going on. You’d be lucky if the place didn’t get blown all to shit while you were sitting in the drive-thru. But what if, just what if, you happen to be one the special ones?

Even if you are a Super Hero, your life is going to be in ruins.

When it comes to proving a point there is nothing I like more than comparative analytics.

Batman: Dead parents.
Superman: Last son of a dead planet.
Spiderman: Dead parents and dead father figure.
Captain America: Lost a generation.
The Hulk: Isolated from all of his friends and family.

Even the ordinary people amongst this pantheon of demi-gods – characters like Black Widow and Hawkeye – are clandestine operatives; conditioned to exist alone.

As the literal last line of defense between humanity and annihilation you can not afford to have extraneous interpersonal relationships. Because every person you love, every person close to you is a liability that can be exploited. The relationships that you do maintain have to be both paramount to your survival, as a super hero and a regular person, and they must be indispensable. In essence: no super hero, nor their alter ego, can afford to have casual acquaintances.

Batman / Bruce Wayne has Alfred and Lucious Fox. Spiderman / Peter Parker has Aunt May and his girl (Gwen Stacey or Mary Jane). You will never see The Hulk / Bruce Banner hanging out with the kids he spent time with at summer camp. Every person you speak with on a regular basis is someone that you need to be able to watch die – simply because they’ve talked to you. With that in mind you will, more than likely, never do anything even as simple as attending your high school reunion.


Shot. Killed in a death trap. Sliced to ribbons. Snapped in two. Dismembered. Fuck you Bruce. Take me off your Christmas card list.

This will become your life. You will not be able to form meaningful relationships because it’s not worth the risk. Every time the girl behind the counter at Starbucks winks at you the only thing you’ll be able to think about is what would happen to her if Doctor Doom liquified her brain simply because he wants to fuck with you. When you’re not fighting off an alien invasion or dodging death rays you will only have a small group of close friends to turn to as a means of repose, and they’re all dead fucking tired of hearing about your day. Are you comfortable with this idea?

Even if you are okay with being a loner, and you do have super powers, where does that leave you?

Before we answer that question; let’s ask another. Are you in the military? Are you special forces? I’ll go with a solid answer of: I doubt it. Unless you’re one of the few friends that I’ve made in special forces and cajoled into reading this website. The fact of the matter is that being in the military alone requires a certain amount of sacrifice. Being in the special forces requires absolute sacrifice. An unending dedication to the men you serve with and the branch flag you server under. You live, eat, sleep, breathe, shit your combat specialty every moment of every day. Because you have to. The lives of your men depend on it. Now imagine being a one man special forces brigade. A single human nuclear deterrent, without Dr. Manhattan’s inhuman detachment.


told you so

Let’s detour, again, briefly. The reason that theme parks install newer, faster, scarier roller coasters every year is because the visitors to these theme parks get desensitized to the thrills of the old coasters. After the first few rides a roller coaster with a single upside down loop doesn’t blow their skirts up anymore. So they implement a coaster with corkscrews. Next they have you standing for the entire ride. Each iteration has to be greater than the last. More thrills, more excitement, each new ride pushing the adrenaline boundary. This is why we have skydiving, wing suits, base jumping, bungee jumping – hell there’s even an adrenaline ride at one amusement park where all they do is drop you ten stories into a net. Adventure seekers want the closest thing to the thrill of surviving death just so they can get their rocks off.

If you are a super hero these are the realities you must live with: solitary dedication to the millions, if not billions, of non-powered human beings who rely on you to keep them from being wiped off of the white board of existence. You must sacrifice the entirety of your being, your every waking moment, to the task of keeping the world alive because you’re one of the only few that can do it. After years of this your entire frame of reference will be skewed. You will be that thrill seeker. Single terrorist bent on chaos? Pish posh. Nuclear crisis? Make sure someone in catering has lunch ready for me when I’m done. Alien Invasion? Now that sounds sexy, I haven’t done one of those yet. Each crisis will be met with with the same excitement that an adrenaline junkie posesses – not necessarily concerned with the out come but only with your ability to get a boner during the course of the ride.


there’s no support group for this kind of sexual deviance.

Sadly if you were to live in a world where Super Heroes existed the greatest likelihood is that you’d end up either killed or personally and financially devastated simply because; fuck you. Even if you are one of the few God People you’ll either end up crushed by the literal fate of the world resting upon your shoulders and your inability to form any lasting relationships because of that; or you’ll become an unquenchable junkie for life or death situations who can’t even get it up in the morning unless the world is in danger.

So…best of luck with that.

Travis
Get cape. Wear Cape. Fly.

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There Is 1 Response So Far. »

  1. This truly was a blessing of a way to end my day! Love it man!!! Thanks for your talented writing, soooo funny and awesome!

    Jeremiah :)

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