Friday, June 20, 2014

Reading Comics

 Have you read a comic today?

To say that I love comics is understating my passion for words and pictures. Comics are my refuge. After a good oncologist visit, I will celebrate with a new comic. After a bad visit (more and more lately), I’ll treat myself to two comics. I read them to get going in the morning and last thing at night. I read them while I’m waiting for the kettle to boil, the doctor to get to me, the nurse with my shots, and my husband and children to get ready.

In comic land, I can escape to the world I would choose to live in. If good does not trump evil, I am not interested. I choose a just world with strong characters, sharp wits and a fighting spirit wrapped around a steel moral core. For a few stolen minutes, I firmly shut the door on the evil disease that defines so many things about me and sucks so much comic-reading time.

There is something so in-your-face about the raw emotions captured in a comic. I love the way an evil smirk curls the lips upward and inward, the color of an angry face, the evasive look of a lie.

Sometimes, I get to escape to live in comics for a few days at a convention. I do research on comics so I have an excuse to talk comics wherever I go. At conventions, I am in character if I can get away with it. The one who is dressed as a Star Trek science officer, a character from Harry Potter or Thor’s mother, Frigga – that would be me. My son described three kinds of nerds: There are nerds who go to cons, super nerds who wear nerdy t-shirts and then there are the eccentric nerds who don costumes. Welcome to my eccentricity.

At conventions, I will stand in line with a team of comic characters and talk about web comics and graphic novels and no one cares about my tumor markers or next scan. No one asks me how I am in that meaningful way, and for a short while I can forget that my body is disintegrating under my suit of armor. We talk about the next panel and the last one and how tiring but fun this is. We browse at the merchant booths and admire the artists. We discuss zombie tales with authors and find out which artists are just jerks and which are so nice that we want to just hand over our credit cards to them.

Most of all, I love to learn new stuff. I find out how to model resin and clay into superheroes or villains, how to make a foam Godzilla or how Gargoyles was pitched to Disney. I pretend that I will be able to use this knowledge for a long time.

In the cancer universe, I huddle miserably as the oncologist wraps me in chains with words like clinical trials and disease progression. In the comic multiverse, there are no stupid rules. Facing evil is a choice.

Shall we read a comic today?

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