Posts Tagged ‘Superman’

H(your)story

Posted: April 5, 2019 by Ty in Spirituality
Tags: , , , , ,

Image result for action comics vol. 4 new world orderRemember that little fan collectible shop I discovered the story for my renewal post in. It is a treasure trove for I stumbled across Action Comics Volume 4 (rebirth) New World Order. Well, it was 10 bucks, and it was SUPERMAN. What’s not to love in the process. The Rebirth was DC Comics work at bringing back the legacy of their characters while keeping the good of the New 52 soft relaunch. For Superman, it meant bringing back the Superman of the Post-Crisis/Pre-Flashpoint, the one that married Lois Lane, and now…had a son Jonathan (new  Superboy).

There is a five-part story I want to acknowledge because it was a good old fashioned superhero thread the Dan Jurgens put together (an amazing old school Superman storyteller, who got that Clark Kent is the character). Revenge Squad featured the evil Cyborg Superman, The Eradicator, Metallo, Blanque and Zod (yes that General of wanna be world domination). It was great fun because it showed off the zaniness that is the Kryptonian heritage left on Earth, but also interactions that are familiar with Batman and Wonder Woman.

That aside it is the first 3 part story I wan to touch upon for it’s simplistic beauty.  Clark feels something is missing in his reborn life. He seeks out answers with Klenex, the Krypton robot caretaker of Clark’s (Kal-El) two Fortresses of Solitude. The 3 part “New World” is great because it takes Clark through what his life is like (a nice homage to the past, present and new). The writing is simple, as Clark tries to search out his sense of ill-ease, but shows that he is able to see his values to hold to no matter the situation to come through into the light.

For those in recovery, it is a visual way of seeing Narrative Therapy in action (and de-stigmatizing it):

“A form of psychotherapy that seeks to help people identify their values and the skills and knowledge they have to live these values, so they can effectively confront whatever problems they face.”

What is your history?

That is what is your H-your-story?

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It is a comic book based on a video game. Normally it would be a unique read, but it is not Archie’s Sonic the Hedgehog or Mega Man we are talking about. It is Taylor, Raapack and Miller’s Injustice: Gods Among us Year One. When boiled down to its core, it is the story of grief, loss and the corruption to the soul that happens when one cannot seek help. The first issue sets the stage (yes there are a few spoilers, but not many).

Image result for injustice gods among us year oneThe Joker is bored with losing to Batman, and hatches an evil plan to see what happens when you rip the soul from a hero. Superman is gitty anxious, for Clark Kent has just woken up surprised to hear the heartbeat of his child inside his wife, Lois Lane. The Scarecrow murdered and his fear gas taken. Lois and Jimmy off to break a story. BANG! The Joker quips he has gotten Jimmy on his shoe. Lois kidnapped.

The scheme hatched.

Fear gas and Kryptonite leave Superman seeing the monstrous Doomsday about to rampage, as the Joker tells him Lois is dead, and did you know she was pregnant? In a rage he flies Doomsday into the atmosphere, too late for Batman to warn him it is not Doomsday, but Lois, still alive, and made a living deadman’s switch to a nuke aimed at Metropolis.

What happens when Superman loses Clark Kent as Lois Lane and his city die?

Image result for injustice gods among us year one

I miss Superman. I miss the guy who actually inspired people. The Superman who had time to help a kid who fell off a bike. Before he was changed. Before he gritted his teeth and looked angry all the time. Before he became all hard and dark because people supposedly, needed him to. I miss the City of Tomorrow and the Man of Yesterday.

-James, a boy who Superman fixed his bike B.L. (Before Lois died)

Grief can do many things to a person’s being. Depression. Anxiety. Anger. Physical pain. To name but just a few. When lost in the anger and the grief, when someone is not able to see the path out for themselves, and those around them are unwilling to remove the veil from their own eyes. The eyes that just want to believe everything is hunky-dory…then grief is destructive. Within this story construct it leads Superman to work to create the world in his own ideal world of no crime or violence. Sounds great, but i completely removes free will, and is enforced.

Batman leads the resistance as he realizes that Superman has jumped the shark “Superman is no longer the man we knew.”

But backing up, it is Catwoman and Martha Kent that get what is needed. Not more bloodshed, not removing control of the world, or breaking of the Batman. No, it is something far simpler, for this hurting hero:

Catwoman: is this what you’re doing now? Killing criminals in sewers.

Superman: No! I wouldn’t–I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to scare you. I just want to talk.

Catwoman: So talk.

Superman: It’s Batman.

Catwoman: What happened?

Superman: Nightwing…Nightwing died. He’ll need someone.

Catwoman: You’re supposed to be his best friend. Go talk to him.

Superman: I can’t. He wouldn’t–

Catwoman: Oh, you idiotic, stubborn, scared little boys.

Superman: Too much has happened.

Catwoman: That’s crap! Batman would throw himself in front of a bullet and you would fight Doomsday to the death— and you’d both find that easier and less terrifying than trying to talk to your friend. It’s maddening.

Yes, Selina Kyle, Catwoman is right. It can be maddening how a helper can find it so difficult to open up to another helper to…

HEAL.

How different would this story have turned out, if these two best friends, had chosen the good grief path?

Will you heal today?

 


Related imageThe Heroes in Crisis mini series has been excellent. Well paced with the super hero action, and the crime mystery noir feel of mystery to it. Who invaded Sanctuary? Who did the spree killing? Who removed the safe space for heroes to heal? These are the underlying questions.

But then the questions erupt even more as the mysterious Puddler has leaked the story to the media of Sanctuary. Lois Lane can only sit on the story for so long, and as issue 4 came to a close, it was revealed the story was going out.

This is the opening to issue 5. As Booster Gold and Harley Quinn, partnered with Blue Beetle and Bat-girl respectively seek out answers. Flash and Batman deep dive into this weird mystery.

Superman and Wonder Woman address the press. It is a timely tale within the week of Belle’s Let’s Talk, a social media initiative to remove stigma of mental health. It reveals that there is much more needed than simply social media awareness raising. It is a concerted effort by governments around the world to appropriately fund mental health care equally, and as part of universal health care. It is understanding what is happening, that it is shifting how one experiences the world. It takes courage to live differently, but it also takes courage to understand when one needs help, to seek that help out and to heal.

This is what Superman addresses to the world. The fear that they human citizens are feeling knowing that metas are struggling with trauma, and PTSD. The thoughts of someone that can level cities now being afflicted with what has been mistaken for violence trigger. It is a key piece of Superman’s press conference, and something everyone needs to understand with any first respondents, front line workers:

“The nightmares, the nightmares they will forever endure. Yes Sanctuary exists. It exists to help these heroes recover from this pain, to help them recognize themselves under these scars, to help them wake from these nightmares. But its existence, it should not scare you. On the contrary it should comfort you. This suffering, is needed for healing. It is not the mark of a madman. It is the wound of a warrior. It’s a sign. A sign of their love…”

-Superman, Heroes in Crisis #5

Will you live in fear of the unknown, or know that by someone opening up they will discover whey they are under the scars, and discover love of life once more.

 


Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Internalized trauma. We know it is a reality in soldiers, abuse survivors, first responders. Now King and Mann bring this reality to the world of super-heroes. Some will toss it aside as yet another hero deconstructed story. There is more to it than that however. For it is also about the hero as person. Understanding that their decisions, lives and experiences craft who they are.

Welcome to Sanctuary. A specialty location built by the Trinity (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman) for the utmost privacy in debriefing, and healing. It is  a place with a computer therapist that allows for complete autonomy. Supposedly no recordings, it is there for health. We are 2/9 issues in and so far it is a strong character driven story.

It is also a super hero story. As Sanctuary is not safe, someone has attacked and murdered those who sought healing. There are two suspects who survived of those that were supposed to be there. Was it an outside attack? Did the missing survivors have a psychotic break and kill?

Within those that are now dead, there are chilling full page confessionals sharing the effects of the life. These that show how out of control Blue Jay’s shrinking powers have become during his flashbacks. Truly showing how internalized trauma affects the whole self, whether it is convulsions, sweats, hypertension…the list can go on as no one patient is identical, same with the stories of the heroes seeking aid. Coming to the place that is supposed to be safe to decompress.

The heroes lay themselves bare.

Then the idea of stigma is so well handled. As even the big 3, the Trinity, use Sanctuary. Guard down, masks off. Who is the ones that use it for help? Who are the ones that continue to squash and avoid emotion? The answer may surprise you as tears flow.

Then the hack and the revelation that someone has the stories. The double standard is shown as the first story leaked is Arsenal (formerly Speedy), a recovering addict. The shock and dismay of the public on the hero laid bare.

Stigma.

Why someone would not seek help for trauma?

Laid out well in the shock of the public that a hero would have demons to battle. Even as walls come down around mental health support, old stigmas, internalized dialogues still persist.

The greatest fear of seeking help:

What if someone finds out?

What will the world think?

Will my loved ones see me as weak?

What will I lose by diagnosis?

 


A compilation of random thoughts on the political landscape.

First up: Hon. Ricardo Miranda (Min. Tourism & Culture, YYC Cross MLA) and his twitter up with Airdrie UCP MLA Angela Pitt. It started with Ms. Pitt’s tweet as best as I can see pointing out Mr. Miranda calling her out on being at the Women’s Centre after being part of the UCP walk-out on Bill 9 (bubble zone legislation for pregnancy care centres that include those providing abortions).

I can see his point, I can see her point. Where is should’ve stayed is dereliction in duty of the office (not being on record for the vote). But in typical hyper-partisan fashion Mr. Miranda jumped the shark and took it to a whole other level. Where the comparison may have been able to be made about a worker crossing a picket line, then showing up to the Union Office for help to keep their job or even more high road: I hope you had a good experience at the Women’s Centre and learned why Bill 9 was important, or MLA Pitt do you care to share what you learned or heard today?

Nope. Instead it went to from Mr. Miranda:

WTH??? Yes I saw the tweet, yes I was about to respond, but thankfully those from across the political spectrum jumped on it and called it out.  It has since been deleted, and a supposed apology issued. But let’s be honest, we have honest to God Nazi’s still in this country, and a strong history of holocaust deniers (Keegstra in Red Deer anyone? or the Green Party member from Canada on trial in Europe)…where did this jump come from???

It is the dehumanizing falsity of dualistic politics. Keeping up there is only two choices NDP or UCP…we have a multitude in Alberta, and please look beyond party to your local candidate.

Point 2: If Charles Adler calls out the CPC ya know it also jumped the shark. Yes, I will admit my bias against the Conservative Party of Canada since the hostile sell out of McKay to Harper, but the image of a Haitian refugee crossing Trudeau’s tweet as a bridge into Canada with the hyperbole  and falsity of illegal entry was deplorable. Thank you Mr. Adler for holding your party to account, and using your media presence to do so.

I say falsity on the illegal entry, because the processing of refugee, immigrant and irregular entries is part of international agreements Canada has been apart of since the end of World War II to ensure what happened in the Holocaust does not happen again. Yes the system may be refined, but it is working and is simply a hot button issue and as the image projected going for the lowest possible denominator in a multi-cultural country. What I do endorse is the ending of Safe Third Country with the USA (who shares our border) which then allows us to look at a system that does not have a failed caveat within it.

Point 3: Just a fun flashback point, like going to Granddad and Nan’s for dinner. Political parties hope one does not have a historical context or understanding. They hope you have a drive for power or hatred of the “other guy” enough to dodge the tough policy questions, the questions that affect your life and your neighbours. The ability to look beyond your own household, person and context to the whole. It is why I try to look at the person running over the party, and then hope that the person can stand up to their party when needed. Sadly our system has become about leader over member and this is wrong and unconstitutional.

That is a ramble into a funny story from when I ran in 2006. The CPC candidate’s campaign manager attempted to recruit me to run for the party at the candidate’s debate. He pointed to the policy around poverty and was dumbfounded when I said no. He asked why and I bluntly pointed out, it was point one of a 7 pillar approach I aided in creating to alleviate poverty. His gobsmacked face is a fond remembrance.

Hold to history, hold to accountability. Look for change if it has happened.

Now a bit of fun:

First, as endorsed in previous elections, I do think Jeremy Nixon would make a good representative in government. I am unsure if he would break party lines with the UCP, that will be up to those in Calgary-Klein to ask him and press him on the doorsteps. Including things such as Bill 9, not just his stance but also would he have voted, but I could not let this endorsement meme pass without a comment from my comic geek side:

“Where unintentionally the UCP makes themselves Lex Luthor, and the NDP Superman…for Kryptonite was only wielded by the bad guys.

Where unintentionally the UCP makes themselves Lex Luthor and the NDP Superman…for Kryptonite was only wielded by the bad guys.


A bit of humour in Brad Meltzer’s story faster than a speeding bullet celebrating 80 years of the Man of Tomorrow, the Man of Steel…from fighter of social injustice to crime to war and back again. I do not have to go into full out fan boy geek mode.

First all, I want to give the 1000th issue a full 10/10. I had to go track one down as I believed Amazon that the Action Comics 80th anniversary deluxe included said issue, but no, it did not- bad Amazon. BUT find I did, and $10.00 CDN + GST not so bad for what I would sum up as a fun romp through who Superman was, is and will be (and yes the trunks are back).

But here is a ponderer for you dear reader (and I encourage you to buy the issue and read it!!!): Who inspires you?

At the end of the day who has renewed your hope in humanity? Shown you the good?

Who are your heroes?

For that is the question Lois poses to Clark at the end of his day, for who that day was the one for him. The one that showed the good summation of humanity.

Who showed you the good today?


Vulcan, AB. A small prairie town that a few decades ago realized the greatest tourist option ever— the birthplace of Spock. For a Trekkie a great place, they have an information star base with souveniers and once every few years we go by and I pick up a few new things. One year my Dad’s day gift the kids got me a preaching hoody “Keep Khan and Klingon”. This year my daughter who wants to be a veterinarian got herself a doctor t-shirt; and my son got a shirt with a Spock head made from a famous McCoyism “are you out of your Vulcan Mind?”

One of the t-shirts from the 50th celebration sums up though the small minded ableism/elitism of the world, and how I feel in the fray. A caricature of McCoy with a word bubble, “50 years, Damn it Jim I am tired.”

Why you ask?

Because I see my son as a miracle worker, things he was not supposed to be able to do due to his blessings of life (tri-spastic CP, Epilepsy, ADHD, Global Delay)–well to quote Brad Paisley’s song– he’s been crushin’ it and breaking glass-kicking ass. Beside where my daughter got her t-shirt that looks like an original series medical/science uniform…they had an engineering one.

scottyThe fabled and joked in pop culture Red Shirt. My son, who I see as Scotty what a perfect gift, yet I didn’t. Why? Simple, I let the elitist ass hats get in my brain and stop me. Years ago my son so loved Superman that he wanted to be him for Halloween. He got the suit, and was so happy with his cape trailing after his wheel chair. And… adults ruined it for him in their nastiness.

“How could he mock Christopher Reeve so?”

“What a hateful costume?”

Really? A child (in a wheelchair) wanted to be Superman and you caused him to cry.

ac3Now another time to celebrate him, and I let these haters get in my head… I did not buy it because I did not need the negative “you know the red shirts always die first” crap. Not seeing beyond the scope and picture. Uhura was a red shirt. Scotty was a red shirt. The ones that beat the odds.

So yes, I am tired that they finally wore me down. I am tired that I let people like the Halloween haters win. The hateful families that had pushed us out of churches. The Minister that raged at my son from the pulpit. I am tired that in a moment I let them win.

I am tired, but I think another road trip to Vulcan is do.

Why?

Damn it Jim, the idjits aren’t going to beat us.