May 7th, 2022
It’s Free Comic Book Day, an event that celebrates an art form that has had not only a substantial impact on culture and society, but has a deeply personal connection with the people who love it.
I’m one of those people.
I create comics (see: The Weirdos: Volume I, a graphic novel I released in May 2020, or Brushfire, a graphic novel coming out this July). I have also said countless times that comics have saved my life; I’ve told some of those stories to my friends, but I don’t know if I’ve written about any.
Let’s write about one.
Part 13 of No Surrender. Waid, Ewing, Zub, Medina, Vlasco & Aburtov.
This book came out at the beginning of my sobriety. I was having a very hard time, to put it plainly.
In this issue, Bruce Banner — the Hulk — had just come off a rampage. “Do you know what it’s like to turn on the TV in the morning to find out what you did the night before?” I’m paraphrasing, but that idea hit me like a big, green fist. I know exactly what that’s like.
I was sober, but I had just started the journey to figure out if a life like mine was even worth saving.
Then Jarvis, the butler, had this to say to Bruce:
“It has long been my privilege to serve heroes. Including you, doctor.
And often, what drives them on is the knowledge that they are not always heroes. If, when we do what good we can, we are avengers — what crimes are we avenging?
I think… our own.
We carry within us all our failures. All our mistakes. All the times we have done less than we might. We are all exiles from the divine, Doctor Banner.
What matters is how hard you work to rise again.
I beg you, sir. Do not give up.”
And so I didn’t. This page got me through that day, and I refer to it often.
It saved my life.
And I’ve heard so many stories of pop culture lifting people up that it reminds me how worthwhile it is.
Even when we don’t deserve it.
Happy FCBD, true believers.