Given the fact that I could never really recoup for the time and trouble I am putting into this book (there's a reason most authors- even successful ones, have day jobs), I am consciously working towards two goals in promoting it.

First, is to wake people up to the power of mythology and how we actually live our lives by it. This is not just a question of tidy little parables as some may want to believe. This is about the fact that complex issues in our lives always seem to be boiled down into narratives. For instance, a huge number of Americans still believe that Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11. An even larger number believe that the stories of the Bible are literally true. When he ran for president in 2000, Al Gore was saddled with myths such as that he "invented the internet," a sarcastic distillation of his claims about his work as a Senator in popularizing usage of what had been a military program used mainly by academics.

A lot of comics fans still believe that Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster were a couple of adolescent idiot savants who invented Superman by accident, neglecting the fact that both were published professionals and that Siegel had been seriously involved with fandom since he was in his early teens. When I was young, fans believed that Stan Lee created everything by himself, ignoring that Lee himself repeatedly cited the irreplaceable contributions of artists like Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko. By accepting myths at face value, we not only can develop dangerous beliefs, we also close our eyes to the mind-blowing improbablity of our existence on this planet and the spiderweb of synchronicity that makes our lives meaningful.

So my second ambition follows from that truth. I hope that people who make comics or want to make them realize what a deep ocean of history lies beneath the tiny, leaky, little lifeboat that the current fan/creator consensus has become. These characters are nothing but a mask for much, much older archetypes. Comics should be the dream lab of our culture- the scope and thematic material of mainstream comics is potentially limitless and the creators and editors should realize how influential the medium has historically been and how necessary it is today. The medium must exist for reasons other than servicing trademarks.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Chris; Its been at least several months now since I read 'Our God's wear spandex' and I have to say it was an excellent and thought provoking read, and certainly its central premise is one thats very evident. I also the use of archetypes to classify particular heroes, but I have to say the classification of characters such as Batman and Spectre as Golems niggled me somewhat. I think applied to those characters such as Hulk, Thing & Wonder Woman it made perfect sense, but have you come across the term Revenant which is a vengeful spirit of a murdered victim which will not stop until it achieves its revenge. Something which the Spectre is quite literally, or in more recent times the character the Crow. I believe that it also applies well to Batman as you could argue that Bruce Wayne the boy died with his parents in a symbolic way, and his resurection as an avenging creature of the night is empasized by his coming forth from a cave traditionally a burial site in many cultures, early christianity not the least of them.

    One final question which struck me with the book, had you considered the rise in popularity of action figures of our beloved characters to hearken back to the ancient practice of carved figures of household gods which I believe from memory is referenced in Genesis as a practice of Abraham out of Ur one which he presumably later abandoned. Anyway thanks for a great book