Every week, usually on Wednesday, sometime between leaving work and going to bed, I watch, spellbound, as my gods save the world.
It’s my holy day. Wednesday. My Sabbath. And nary a week goes by that I don’t remember it. It’s a sacrosanct ritual, complete with a pilgrimage, a feast, and a bit of sacrifice. There’s even a high priest – a decidedly unheroic hooligan named Mark.
I have a front-row seat from which I view their adventures, and believe me when I tell you that I pay through the nose for it. We’re talking the cost of a monthly car payment, or a monthly gas bill in the height of a harsh winter in Michigan. Sometimes both.
But how can I not? I mean, really? Who am I to deny my gods their due?
The gods of the ancient Greeks and Romans and Norsemen were brought into existence through a combination of ignorant belief and the need to lend meaning to the otherwise meaningless creation surrounding them. Primitive cultures lacked the means of determining the composition of the sun, so they dreamed up Apollo. The god Poseidon became the personification of the fickle and angry oceans. The rumbling explosions of thunder were the concussions of Thor’s mighty hammer.
In short, the old gods grew from a need to make sense of the world. These days, however, people have developed a need to look inward rather than outward. Rather than understanding the world around us, we’re now trying to understand what makes us tick.
To that end, the gods of today – my gods – have grown from a need to make sense of ourselves. In spite of their titanic abilities and the grandiose nature of their struggles, each and every one of these modern gods remains decidedly human in nature. Or, to put it another way, we humans have created new gods in our own image. Emotional. Soulful. And ultimately fallible. But always, always meaningful.
This New Comic Book Day post is dedicated to Mark Ferace, a comic-slinging madman in St. Louis. It’s a meager gift, these words. But he needs to understand how much he means to fanboys like me.
Mark you created an environment at All-American that made collecting comics cool, and sometimes even edgy. I could never have bought my comics from anyone else. Thanks for guiding me to the good stuff, for being an enabler, and a friend. I miss you, bro.
Godspeed and excelsior.